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Recently, Lithuania released a NSFW campaign, calling its capital city Vilnius “the g-spot of Europe.” As the ad copy goes, “No one knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing.” While this might be a slight oversell, there is something sorta sexy about visiting a city where hype hasn’t preceded it. Consider this your invitation to get lost in this fascinating Baltic city and make your own legacy among Vilnius’ fascinating art, plentiful food options, and budget-priced brews.

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yoga studio

Photo courtesy of Helen Boast

Stretch out

A healthy vacation starts with a bit of exercise, right? If you’re the kind of person who prefers ohms to zzzzs, take a morning class at Mai Ram Yoga Ashram, a studio offering classes tailored to everyone from the stark beginner to the zen master. (Their two-hour sessions are in Lithuanian, but you can request translation.) There’s also a small café, where you can cool down with a post-practice Yogi tea.

Go vegan      

Traditional Lithuanian food features things like fried bread (kepta duona), potato pancakes and cepelinai (potato dough dumplings with bacon). So by all means—eat your fill. (Pro-tip: A cheap plate of dumping from Žemaičių ąsotis is a good place to start.) But if you’re looking for something marginally less gut-busting, good news! In recent years, the city has opened up a string of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants. For the final word in Buddha bowls and homemade veggie burgers, visit the reasonably priced RoseHip Bistro, a relaxed diner painted in every millennial’s favorite shade of pink.

Grab a brew

Now that you’ve mellowed out and detoxed, it’s time for a beer, right? The craft beer scene is growing in Vilnius, and it seems like nearly every one of their medieval basements hosts a taproom—with a price per brew cheaper than anywhere else in Europe. Stop by Alaus Biblioteka (the Beer Library) and sample a few options from their nearly all-local menu. Don’t forget to pair your selections with any number of salty snacks.


Fantomas | Photo courtesy of Helen Boast

Drink some more

Need more beverage options? Get out of the city center and head to Žvėrynas, a modern, posh neighborhood most visitors overlook in favor of Old Town’s charm. Among its low-key offerings is Fantomas, a bar, club, performance space, and gallery. It can be bit random at times. Is that Mexican food they’re serving in the brightly-colored repurposed double-decker bus? Is that a bathtub on the roof? Well, of course. Sveikinimai! (Uh, that would be “cheers” in Lithuanian.)

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Get high

For the ultimate Instagram #cityscape, head to the Vilnius TV Tower. Since it’s the largest structure in town—and also conveniently located at the edge of town in the Karoliniškės district, it provides the perfect perch. Grab a drink in the retro-fabulous lounge on the top, and watch the world go by as the viewing platform rotates to give you that perfect, 360-degree view.


Photo courtesy of Helen Boast

Visit the independent nation of Užupis

There’s a second city inside Vilnius. Established on April Fool’s Day in 1997 (no joke!), the creative district of Užupis considers itself to be a “sovereign state.” (You can even get your passport stamped every year on their anniversary.) Euros are accepted in the unofficial city-state’s coffee houses and stores. But they also have their own currency—in addition to an anthem, 11-man army, and Declaration of Independence, with important amendments that include, “Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance,” “Everyone has the right to celebrate or not celebrate their birthday,” and, “A dog has the right to be a dog.”

Photo courtesy of Helen Boast

Enjoy the street art

Given Užupis’ unique back story, is it any surprise that Vilnius goes in hard on street art? Turn down any street, and you’re likely to see a mural or two. There’s even an underground passage near the Panorama mall, where if you’re feeling creative, you can (legally) leave your own mark. As if that’s not colorful enough—several parks also receive regular “yarn bombings” (where rogue groups knit what looks like tree cozies) and a large street art/sculpture tribute to Frank Zappa. (No formal connection to the country—they just really like him.)


Trover photo by Hira

Europos Park

Need more art? Yeah, no worries—this city has got you covered. Head just outside the city to Europos Park. There, you can get your Alice in Wonderland on thanks to sculptor Gintaras Karosas, who’s created a series of larger-than-life pieces designed to be viewed along a forest trail.

Moon Garden Art Hotel

Photo courtesy of Moon Garden Art Hotel

Relax, in style

A short walk from the train station, and a mere stone’s throw from Old Town (less than a 100 feet from the Old City gate to be exact) you can’t beat Moon Garden Art Hotel’s central location. Halfway between Wes Anderson charm and old world chic, each room has a different sense of cozy whimsy. Be sure to soak up the history while enjoying a complimentary breakfast buffet—their basement dining room has original pieces of the city wall on display!

Tagged: Europe

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Laura Studarus

Laura Studarus

Laura is a writer/vagabond with bylines in Marie Claire, Vice, Bandcamp and Lenny Letter. Sometimes she can go several hours without a cup of tea. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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