Lithuania is one of the most visited countries in eastern Europe, and after its independence in 1990, the country allowed many western institutions to settle and nourished open relationships and modernity. In a country that celebrates Basketball like a religion, you can find many outdoor activities in and near Vilnius, and in all other corners of the Baltic state. High-speed internet is not a goal but is given by default here.
You can find a diverse landscape ranging from grassland, marshland, coast, and dunes, to forest, hills, and meadows in Lithuania. You can find one of the oldest European oak trees, the Stelmužė Oak, in Lithuania, which is between 1,500 and 2,000 years old and still alive. Although you find innovations all over Lithuania, the country keeps traditional folklore and culture alive, which you can experience by visiting a national dance festival or one of the many art and music events in Kaunas, the cultural capital of Lithuania.
🇱🇹 Entry requirements for Lithuania
- Visa: Valid Schengen visa.
- Insurance: Travel health insurance that matches the Schengen requirements. Your insurance policy needs a minimum amount of 30,000 Euros of emergency cover.
🌱 Travel health insurance for Lithuania
- Additional note: Covid-related entry regulations are lifted on May 1st, 2022. Please check your airline, train, or bus company for additional required documents.
🏡 How to find a place
Apartments in Vilnius are the most expensive accommodation, but you can save money by either moving out of the city center, to another part of the country or try one of the coliving spaces which are usually a few hundred Euro less than Airbnbs.
- Facebook groups: Check out Butų ir kambarių nuoma Vilniuje / Apartments for rent in Vilnius with more than 41,000 members, and Expats in Lithuania.
- Airbnb: A reliable but not affordable booking platform is Airbnb which has many listings for Vilnius. In July, you can expect to pay around 1,000 Euro rent per month for an apartment in the city center. In the autumn and winter months, the prices drop down a few hundred Euro.
- Coliving: Chapters Coliving has 2 locations in Vilnius and offers different apartments and studios for between 500 and 750 Euro per month. LivInVilnius is another coliving space that offers studios starting from 700 Euro per month plus a 1-month deposit and utilities.
✈️ How to get to Lithuania
- Plane: Lithuania has technically 4 international airports, but only 3 of them are civil airports. These airports are located in Vilnius, Kaunas, and in Palanga at the Baltic Sea. Lithuania is connected via direct flights to 58 airports in 50 cities in 27 countries around the world. However, the longest distance is Iceland, followed by Israel, and Malta. After arrival in Vilnius, you can take a taxi from the airport. A ride to the Old Town of Vilnius is around 14 Euro. Alternatively, you can also get an Uber at the airport or take the bus (1, 2, 3G (express bus) or 88).
- Train: Lithuania has direct train connections to Latvia, Belarus, Kaliningrad in Russia, and Poland. However, there is a break of gauge between Lithuania and Poland. Lithuania is part of Eurail, which connects 33 countries via train.
- Ferry: You can reach Lithuania from Denmark, Germany, or Poland via ferry.
- Bus: By bus, it takes around 8 hours from Tallinn or Warsaw, and 4 hours from Riga to reach Vilnius.
🚌 Public transport in Vilnius
One of the first things you should do when arriving in Vilnius is to download the Trafi App, which you can find on the App Store or on Google Play. A 10-days electronic ticket which you can purchase online is 15 Euro. A 30-minute ride with public transport costs you 0.65 Euro.
- Bus: The public transportation network in Vilnius consists of a bus system, including trolleybuses and night buses.
- Taxi: Taxis are widely available in Vilnius and you can pay the driver with cash and a card.
- Uber: You can either use Uber or Bolt in Vilnius.
- Bicycle: Cycling is safe and fun in Vilnius, and new bike lanes make it easier to navigate through the city. More and more citizens choose the bicycle over the car and even public transport.
- Metro: The city plans a metro system of 3 lines, but the project isn't finished yet.
🏘 Where to stay in Vilnius
- Šnipiškes: Located on the north bank of the River Neris, this neighborhood is also called the New City Center, and is the financial district of Vilnius. Šnipiškes is a good neighborhood when visiting Vilnius for the first time. From the airport, you can take bus no. G3 (express bus) or no. 88 to Europos aikštė and from there it is a short walk to Šnipiškes.
- Užupis: This neighborhood is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is largely located within the Old Town. It is a cool and hip neighborhood. The district is not very well connected with the airport and if you take public transport, you need to walk a bit and switch buses. Take a taxi or Uber instead.
- Old Town: This budget-friendly offers a wide variety of architectural highlights, ranging from gothic to baroque, renaissance, and neo-classical. The Old Town is best reachable by bus no. 88 coming from the airport or by taxi and Uber.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Vilnius
Coworking spaces in Šnipiškes
- Workland Quadrum: This coworking space is located in Vilnius' rapidly growing financial district, surrounded by malls, financial institutions, museums, restaurants, and cafés. This space is not designed for drop-ins but for longer stays with a minimum of one month.
Coffee shops in Užupis
- Coffee1: It is a small coffee shop, so best to come early to get a seat. Wifi, food, and coffee are good, and it is a cozy place to spend a few hours.
Coworking spaces in Old Town
- Workland G9: Located in the Old Town of Vilnius, this space offers plans for leisurely using coworking space members. It is located on the top floor of a premium shopping mall.
- Workland Didžioji: Another location of the coworking brand, located in Old Town of Vilnius and offers hot desk membership. This space is located next to the City Hall and has many restaurants, shops, and cafés within walking distance.
Coffee shops in Old Town
- Chaika Café No. 2: Small but cozy coffee shop near Old Town with a vegan menu and a bit higher prices than other cafés around. Nice to work from as it attracts interesting people.
- Taste Map Coffee Roasters: This café is for serious coffee lovers, as their roasts are delicious, and the professionally trained staff makes consistently great coffees. Stable wifi and a good menu.
- Mint Vinetu: A mix of a book store, an antique shop, and a café, this place is nice to work from for a couple of hours, although the prices are a bit higher here.
🚊 How to travel around Lithuania
- Train: Lithuania comes with a decent railway system, connecting for example Vilnius with Kaunas or Klaipėda at the coast. You can also take the train to Poland.
- Vilnius - Trakai: 30 minutes, tickets between 2 and 6 Euro.
- Vilnius - Kaunas: 1 hour, tickets between 6 and 10 Euro.
- Vilnius - Klaipėda: 4 hours, tickets between 22 and 35 Euro.
- Bus: You can travel to many destinations within Lithuania by bus, for example:
Vilnius - Trakai: 30 minutes, tickets between 2 and 4 Euro.
Vilnius - Kaunas: 1.20 minutes, tickets between 4 and 8 Euro.
You can purchase bus tickets and view bus schedules online.
- Car rental: Of course, you can rent a car in Lithuania, you just need to bring your passport, your driver's license, and a credit card to one of the many international car rental services, such as Europcar, Avis, or Sixt. When renting a car in Lithuania, you will drive on the right side of the road.
🎖Must see in Lithuania
- Vilnius: Lithuania's capital has one of Europe's biggest Old Towns which is large but easy to navigate and very walkable. Don't miss the historic center, the Vilnius Cathedral, the Gediminas Castle Tower, the Gates of the Dawn, and the Palace of the Grand Dukes.
- Trakai island castle: The Trakai island castle is maybe one of the most photographed places in Lithuania (see the photo above) and a popular landmark. You can get to Trakai island by train or bus in 30 minutes. The castle was built in the 15th century.
- Klaipėda: This beautiful historic town is located on the Baltic Sea and has easy access via train from Vilnius or by plane. The old timber-framed houses give a glimpse of the long eventful history of the town. Visit the university, the square, the sailboats at the port, the ruins of the Klaipėda castle, and the Maritime Museum. From Klaipėda, it is just a short ride to Nida, a cute town on the Curonian Spit.
- Curonian Spit: A natural highlight of Lithuania is the sand dunes at the Curonian Spit, a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit near Klaipėda. It is a UNESCO World Nature site shared by Lithuania and Russia, as the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad lies just south of the dunes. From Klaipėda, you can take the bus to Nida, where you can find the dunes. Because the dunes are moving, hikers are only allowed to climb the dunes on designated paths.
- Nida: The upmarket holiday destination is a famous summer spot for Lithuanians, Latvians, Russians, and Germans. Its Blue Flag Beaches are often visited by nudists, which is very common in Germany, the Baltics, or Russia. So, no worries.
- Kaunas: The second-largest city in Lithuania is also known as the cultural capital of the country. It is labeled UNESCO City of Design and was the cultural capital of Europe in 2022. You can reach Kaunas by train (1 hour) or bus (1 hour and 20 minutes) from Vilnius.
💡Good to know
- Internet: The median internet speed for fixed broadband is about 85 Mbps download and 81 Mbps upload speed.
- Sim card: In Lithuania, you can choose between Telia Lithuania, Tele2 Lithuania, and Bite Lithuania. All operators offer 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. The best sim cards are from Telia and Tele2 because of their good coverage throughout the country.
- Digital nomad community: Most digital nomads are probably found in Vilnius. Check out meetup.com with events from Bitcoin and Beer to Jazz dance, chess games, and coffee & tea social events.
- Cost of living: In Vilnius, when renting short-term for one month, you can expect to pay between 600 and 800 Euro for your own apartment. Summer months can cost more due to the high season. Coliving spaces mentioned before are can be cheaper, when visiting Vilnius during summer. The overall cost of living for one person should be around 1,000 to 1,500 Euro, depending on the rent.
- Currency: Lithuania uses the Euro.
- Climate: Lithuanian climate is temperate and mild, characterized by warm summers and severe winters. The weather is often breezy and humid, due to the proximity to the Baltic Sea. The longest day in the summer can be 19 hours, while the shortest day in winter can be only 6 hours long.
- Safety: The country ranks 37th on the worldwide Global Peace Index, and can be marked as a very safe travel destination.
- Tipping: You can tip, but there is no rule and most people would simply round up to the tip.
🚧 What to avoid
- Confusing Lithuania with Latvia, Russia, or Poland: Lithuania, together with Estonia and Latvia, is a Baltic state and is neither a part of one of them nor Poland, nor Russia.
🚴🏻♀️ How to stay healthy
- Walking Vilnius: Join one of the pay-what-you-want walking tours in Vilnius, that lead you to Old Town and the Užupis neighborhood. Combining 2 to 2.5 hours of sightseeing and fitness is a fun activity.
- Hike up the Gediminas Tower: An easy 50-minutes hike is up to the Gediminas Tower, a city landmark that gives a great view of Vilnius. A more intermediate hike is by starting from the bus stop of Europos aikštė, climbing the hill to the tower, and continuing to walk to Užupis and Old Town.
- Running: Built in medieval times, Vilnius is very walkable and you can combine a sightseeing tour with a leisurely run. If you prefer to run in nature, try the Neris river bank (10 km one way) or the Vingis Park (5 km running path).
- Cycling: As mentioned earlier, Vilnius' citizens are more and more using the bicycle as a form of transport. The city has wide and new bike lanes, and a river promenade and the Vingis Park are good destinations for cycling within the city. If you want to cycle further, and outside of Vilnius, check out this map with some itineraries.
- Hiking: From Vilnius, you can take the bus (16 minutes, bus no. 27) from Vasaros st. bus stop to Girininkija bus stop, which is the entrance to Puckoriai National Park. Hike the Puckoriai Park Trail, a 4-km loop labeled as easy.