25 Free And Cheap Things To Do In Vilnius, LT
Though I'm not loath to spend money, I'm a generally frugal person. However, I really love to go out, eat out, and try new things -- which can really add up if I'm not careful. That's why you'll often find me (if you dropped by to say hi) with my laptop open searching free and inexpensive things to do. And this doesn't only extend to where I'm currently living (expect a post like this for Florence in the coming months) -- I also consider it when I'm traveling. And obviously, for former homes like Vilnius, Lithuania and Connecticut.
I've been thinking about Vilnius a lot lately, including how life was much less expensive there (and the internet was so much faster), which reminded me of all of the really fun, free or very cheap (I'm talking under 5 EUR) things there are to do there. That isn't to say that I'm not enjoying life in Florence -- I am -- but I do miss living in Lithuania.
Free And Cheap Things To Do In Vilnius
1) Visit churches (free)
Vilnius is home to a massive number of churches -- pretty much all of which are free to visit.
2) Relax in a cool cafe (~2 EUR)
Just like churches, Vilnius has no shortage of cool cafes; perhaps Lithuanians worship coffee as much as I do. I've written about cafes in Vilnius here and here, but you'll have no trouble finding a great care. So, for the price of a coffee (under 2 EUR), you'll have the option to relax, use the free Wi-Fi, or browse through books. My favorite cafes are Coffee 1, Crooked Nose and Coffee Stories, Strange Love, Mint Vinetu, and Chaika (pictured here).
3) Stroll through Bernardine Park (free)
Located right in the city center, Bernardine Park offers an oasis of green. If you want to combine this with a coffee, try Strange Love, which is right by one of the entrances.
4) Check out the gravestones (but watch out for bones) at the Bernardine Cemetery (free)
Located in Uzupis, the Bernardine Cemetery is a graveyard set on uneven ground, with gravestones popping out of the ground in a disarray. If you can, I'd suggest visiting it in the early fall when the leaves are all bright yellow. Read more here.
5) Learn about local design at one of the many design fairs (free)
Young Lithuanians have grabbed their country's traditional art forms and ran with them, taking the traditional crafts and breathing new life into them. Design fairs are the ideal place to meet Lithuanian designers and purchase unique souvenirs. I even have a list of things I'd love to pick up when we visit Lithuania next. You can read more about Lithuanian design and how to find design fairs here.
6) Take a free walking tour (cost of a tip)
Sponsored by the Vilnius Tourism Board, free walking tours are available that take you slightly off the beaten path. These tours are actually really good and only require the cost of a tip.
7) Tour the Presidential Palace (free)
The Presidential Palace offers free tours several times per week. Do note that you need to register for these tours in advance and you'll have to go through security upon arrival.
8) Get lost in Uzupis (free)
Uzupis is a tiny republic within Vilnius that claims its own constitution, flag, and Independence Day. In Uzupis, you'll find great cafes and restaurants, a playground, local shops, and numerous art galleries. Here are my suggestions for Uzuips.
9) Hill of Three Crosses (free)
Hike up the Hill of Three Crosses for great views of Vilnius and to learn about the significance of the three crosses.
10) Gediminas Tower (free)
Gediminas Tower is free to hike up to, but not free to enter. I'd suggest not entering, but enjoying the views from outside.
11) Walk along the paths by the Neris River (free)
The newly rejuvenated paths that follow the Neris River are great for walking, running, and biking. You also can enjoy some unique views of the city from these new walking paths.
12) Museum of Genocide Victims (4 EUR per adult)
I think everyone who visits Lithuania should visit the Museum of Genocide Victims. And for only 4 Euros for an adult entry ticket, it isn't so bad.
13) Check out the Art Gallery & Workshop on Tortoriu g. (free)
Vilnius has many, many art galleries, but I think my favorite has to be the Art Gallery & Workshop on Tortoriu g. because the prices are affordable.
14) Spend the day outdoors at Vingis Park (free)
Vingis Park is the large park in Vilnius and is just a 30 minute walk from old town.
15) Check out the local produce, honey, and baked goods at the Hales Market (free)
Anyone else love to visit local markets when traveling? Hales Market is a great bet when in Vilnius.
16) Chat with friends during a sunny Friday at Open Kitchen (free)
Open Kitchen is an awesome outdoor food festival that takes place every Friday at Tymo Turgus in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Visiting Open Kitchen is free, but you really should get a beer or a snack to make the most of it.
17) Sign up for a mead tasting (5 EUR for 4 samples, cheese plate, and 15-20 minutes of explanation)
I really, really wanted to do a mead tasting before we left Vilnius, but I ran out of time. But you should really try it and tell me about it! Read more on their website.
18) Sit by the crackling fire in Bambalyne (cost of a beer)
Enjoy a beer at the cozy Bambalyne, which is a basement bar on Stikliu g. This relaxed bar sells locally brewed craft beers.
19) Watch the ducks and dogs at Tymo Park (free)
Along the Vilnia River, right along Uzupis, Tymo Park is a small park that is popular among dog walkers. It is actually a really peaceful park.
20) Learn about beer at Alaus Biblioteka (cost of a beer)
Alaus Biblioteka is one of my favorite bars in Vilnius. It has a massive selection of beers and the owners are really knowledgeable about different beer types.
21) Enjoy a coffee and handmade chocolate (~5 EUR)
Theobromine chocolatier is a cute cafe in Vilnius that serves handmade Belgian chocolates. Grab a cup of coffee and a chocolate and spend a few hours relaxing.
22) Watch the hot air balloons take off (free)
Hot air balloon rides are frequent over Vilnius, but these are actually pretty expensive. Instead, watch the hot air balloons take off from Tymo Park or Market on sunny evenings.
23) Walk around the grounds of the Artillery Bastion on Subacious g. (free)
Though it definitely isn't worth it to pay to go into the Artillery Bastion, the grounds are beautiful to walk around and the views are great.
24) Learn about Lithuania's enthusiasm for basketball (cost of a beer)
If you happen to be in Vilnius during a basketball game, go to a bar for a really unique cultural experience. Lithuanians love basketball, so you'll see lively fans decked out in their team's colors.
25) Statue tour using your smart phone (free)
Grab your smart phone with a QR code scanner and walk around Vilnius to hear the statues talk.
How do you save money while getting out and exploring? What free things do you love doing?