After a travel hiatus of 18 weeks, my wanderlust had grown into unbearable measures. I was back in the working life so another long trip would have to wait. Luckily Easter was on its way which meant a long weekend. Last year, I spent an amazing Easter in Latvia. It seemed like the Baltics were a good place to go during Easter, so this year I headed to Latvia’s neighboring country, Lithuania. I took two extra days off from work, so I had six whole days to explore Vilnius and its surroundings.
After landing in Vilnius, I took the train from the airport to the city centre. The trip takes seven minutes and costs 0,72 €. The trains only run once an hour but there are also several buses from the airport to the city.
I started my first day in Vilnius with a delicious lunch at Namai, a vegetarian restaurant that uses a lot of local and organic produce.
After lunch, I checked in to my hostel. I stayed at Home Made House, which truly lived up to its name. This small hostel, with room for only twelve people, is super cozy.
A bed in a four bed dorm costs 13 € per night. The price includes breakfast.
Due to its small size, it’s easy to get to know other travelers in the hostel’s communal kitchen.
Some say Lithuania gets its name from the Lithuanian word lietus, which means rain. Most of my time in Lithuania it was raining – when it wasn’t snowing! I recommend visiting in summer.
After walking around in the rain for hours, a warming meal at hare krishna restaurant Radharane is more than welcome. Their lentil dahl is to die for.
I always end up ordering too much food when the prices are so low! I just assume the portions must be very small. At Radharane the total of a lentil dahl, a chana masala and a carrot juice was 5,10 €.
On my second day in Lithuania, I visited Trakai, a town about 30 km west of Vilnius. Trakai’s most famous sight is Trakai Island Castle.
Entrance to the castle grounds is 6 €.
The chapel with its impressive vaults is the biggest room in the castle.
While in Trakai, I made sure to eat kibinai at Senoji Kibininė. Apparently Trakai is the best place to get this traditional pastry, and even Lithuanians travel to Trakai just to buy them.
The tour also ventures into Užupis, an artist district that has declared independence from Lithuania!
My favourite street in the Old Town is Literatų Gatvė with its picturesque houses.
I recommend stepping away from the main streets and stumbling upon small inner courtyards strewn across the city.
There is also a large number of churches all around Vilnius.
I walked up to Gediminas Hill to visit the ruins of the Upper Castle of the Vilnius Castle Complex.
From the top of the Gediminas Tower you have a 360 degree view of the entire city.
On Easter Sunday, the hostel owner Lina had cooked a massive Easter breakfast, which included some beautifully coloured eggs.
I had lunch at Vegafé. Upon entering the restaurant, you take off your shoes and sit down on the floor. Unfortunately, the quality of the food didn’t match the unique atmosphere of the restaurant.
A museum in Vilnius worth visiting is The Museum for Genocide victims. Entry to this powerful museum is only 2 €. In the basement there is an old KGB prison. Grim, grim place.
The duty officer processed the papers of new prisoners in this room. With the equipment he could communicate with guard posts and interrogators, as well as receive calls from prisoners.
Here, prisoners were stripped away from their clothes, as well as their humanity.
Lunch at Raw Raw, a lovely raw vegan restaurant.
At the massive Halės market you can buy almost everything from sauerkraut to underwear!
On my final night, I ate dinner at the lovely Balti Drambliai, located in an ancient basement in the old town.
On my last day in Vilnius I treated myself to the most relaxing massage at Tailando Masazai. A 60-minute massage cost 25,50 €.
Yeah, in true Easter spirit I mostly just ate. A good holiday, then!