Christmas is here!!! And you are here too?! Wonderful. Here are couple of ideas what to do during your weekend getaway to Vilnius! Get ready for traditional markets, fairy lights brighter than the stars in the sky and the smell of gingerbreads...
Christmas tree, Train and 3D tail
Pictures: Go Vilnius
The Christmas spirit spreads from the main Christmas Tree at the Cathedral Square. The 27-meter-tall metal construction, which is made up of some 6,000 branches and over five kilometers of lighting, shines in the center of Vilnius’ Old Town and is visible to anyone flying over the our capital city. It represents a huge clock, counting hours to Christmas!
And after spending hours (or minutes, depending how cold it is) admiring the tree you’re welcome to ditch the sightseeing bus for the festive train and get a good look of Vilnius Old Town. The train “station” is located at a special stop opposite Cathedral Square. Just follow the fairy lights.
Pictures: Go Vilnius
Christmas story will be recounted on the wall of the Cathedral in 3D on 25-29 December. Seeing the iconic building come to life with accompanying music is a feast for the eyes and ears of children and adults alike.
If you get hungry, you can have a snack at one of the two Christmas markets and save time looking for Christmas gifts. Here’s a great little tip: locals love shopping at the Christmas fairs as well, so take a minute and watch what they get. Christmas markets will pop-up at various times all around town. The Design Square will be open in the centrally-located Vinco Kudirkos Square through 18-23 December. LOFTAS will host its annual Uptown Market on 21-23 December.
However, the place you cannot miss is Festive station – Independent Christmas Market! Located in Vilnius Railway Station museum it has all – street food markets and a possibility to try chocolate beer, experimental music performances, creative workshops and of course unique surroundings! Christmas Fair will take place at the main hall of the station. Festivities here will continue till January 3.
Christmas Ice-skating rink
If shopping is not for you, and you are looking for some action – run to Lukiškės Square! Outdoor Christmas Ice-skating rink will be open from 7 December till 7 January. Don’t worry, skates can be rented at the spot and it will cost only 3 Eur per session. A tip from local: the church located next to the rink houses the biggest carillon in the Baltics – a unique 61 bell instrument. Free concerts are happening every day at 1 PM and 7:15 PM.
Those Christmas lights...
OK, if after all this your life is still missing instagramable moments, we recommend to visit Christmas Oak in Bernardinai garden. A gift from one of the banks to the citizens of Vilnius really stands out in the rest of the park. Stikliu street is another great place to go. Almost every courtyard here hides a different art/light installation. From here head straight to the Savicius street. Why it is unique? Because all the lights you will see here were produced from used coffee grains! Local community and businesses were collecting them for the past month – more than 6 tons of material needed to be prepared!
And what about local traditions?
If Lithuanian Christmas traditions is the thing that really interests you, then join our jolly guides for Vilnius Old-town & Christmas Fairy tales tour! Together we will uncover the most important local Christmas traditions, unknown facts and funny stories about Vilnius and Lithuania! Bonus: we will teach you how to predict the future as Lithuanians have been doing for centuries!
CHRISTMAS IN VILNIUS – IMPORTANT INFORMATION
On the eve of a national holiday, museums always close one hour earlier. However, they are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Only a few museums will be open on New Year’s Day. Information on their working hours will be published between November and December.
Restaurants often close early on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day. But you’ll have no trouble finding a place to eat on the main streets in town.
Tourist Information Center working hours:
24 December, Christmas Eve – two centers will be open: Pilies Street 9:00-17:00, Vilnius Airport 10:00-18:00
THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN
1 December 2018 to 7 January 2019. The train station is located at a special stop opposite Cathedral Square.
SHOPPING IN VILNIUS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Most shops in Vilnius close early on Christmas Eve.
Big shopping centers are often open on Christmas Day, but they may have special working hours. All major Vilnius shopping centers – Akropolis, Ozas, Panorama, Europa – post their holiday season opening hours on their websites.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICES IN VILNIUS OVER CHRISTMAS
On 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January public transport will run on Sunday/holiday timetables – a little less often than usual. You’ll find exact departure times on stops.lt