Vilnius - Been there?

May 18th, 2007, 09:26 AM
  #1  
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Vilnius - Been there?

Anybody out there been to Vilnius? What did you think? How was accommodation, transportation, etc.
thanks. Is 5 days OK?
kenav is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 09:42 AM
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I've been to Tallin, Estonia twice and really like it but not Vilnius, so consider this comment, topping.
wally34949 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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ttt
kenav is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Was in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius last year. The old town of Vilnius is the "best" of these three outstanding cities, probably because it is the least commercialized so far.

However I found better food in Riga and Tallinn.

I suggest that you not wear jeans in the Baltics. They haven't westernized yet like Prague.

I stayed in a hostel. The old town is easily walked. A week is good. I didn't do it but trips by local buses to nearby cities would certainly be interesting if not amazing. The bus station is not intuitive. Get specific instructions and a round trip ticket.

They do speak English. German is a fallback.

Have fun. Please send us a report. I have much to see over there.

BTW, I guess you want to buy some amber?





hopscotch is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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we are going there this summer for four nights. you might be interested in reading recent articles. Gourmet Magazine of November 2006 has a story and the New York Times had an article in its Travel section last week I believe.

Hadn't heard about not wearing jeans.
skatedancer is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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We were there last September. Here is my Trip Advisor report on the Novotel Hotel:

"Booked for 4 nights on Novotel website. We cannot have been more pleased. Our room had a view of Cathederal, 3 crosses, and old town. The staff was very helpful and spoke excellent English. It's easy walking distance to any of the sights of Vilnius."

We arrived from Kaliningrad on the train and departed for Belarus on the train.

Jane




JaneB is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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Jane - What was Belarus like? My family (grandparents on my mother's side) was from Minsk - part of Russia at that time (1917). But I heard that Minsk was basically destroyed. Also, wondering about the political problems there - any problem for you?

May go to VIlnius (just a consideration at this time) - in the winter!
kenav is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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Kenav, Minsk is the "most Soviet" of all Eastern European cities according to the travel guide. The people were pleasant enough but not particularly outgoing. We had no problems and I kinda liked it. We stayed in a hotel on the main street and were able to walk everywhere. There is a WWII museum that was very interesting, even though nothing was in English. We used the Lonely Planet travel guide which was invaluable! We were there 3 nights and then flew on to Kiev. We got our visas while we were in Vilnius. I would have liked to have seen more of the country -- but you can't do everything!
Jane
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May 19th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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Curious why all of you decided to go to these Baltic cities -(and, additionally, Minsk). I'm thinking to get there before they all become too touristy or commercialized and expensive.

Went to Budapest recently and there's still some signs of Communism past. We found it fascinating, beautiful and fun.
kenav is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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we originally planned to take our teenage son to see some of the towns where my husband's family is from; our son loves geneology. The reality of our itinerary now is that we're not hitting any of the actual towns, but will satisfy ourselves that we will be in the "Pale of Settlement."

It seems that Vilnius is just hitting the tourist radar screens, so yes, I think it is a good idea to get there now!

skatedancer is offline  
Jun 4th, 2007, 02:42 AM
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have been to vilnius 3 times in the last 5 years and going again this summer - wife discovered family in rural lithuania. we love the city. old town is great and on the last visit we discovered an old cemetery in an older undeveloped part of town. DO NOT STAY IN A HOTEL!!! apartments are very inexpensive, about $80 a nite or less. includes kitchen and the one this time has free internet and computer included. on the first visit, the rent was $40 and was a beautiful 2 bedroom place with enclosed parking. the walls were filled with a lot of artwork that we loved. we visited a local art gallery and inquired about buying a piece by the same artist. we were told "oh we don't carry works by him, he is one of lithunia's most famous artists". it turns out that it was his place.

you can walk pretty much any where in vilnius if you are a walker. we have discovered more interesting areas and restaurants that way. last time we wandered into a local restaurant at lunch and the 2 of us ate a light lunch {soup, salad and glass of wine) for less than $10. no one in the place spoke english and it was interesting trying to order. but a real local experience.

5 days might be a little long, the most we have stayed is 3 days.
ddreher is offline  
Jun 4th, 2007, 03:08 AM
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I really enjoyed Vilnius, although it happened to be so hot during my stay that I didn't get around as quickly as I would have liked! I mostly walked to the places I wanted to see, as I was staying at Domus Maria (which I can recommend.)

You can click http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34841274 for my trip report: Vilnius is most of the way down in the first post.

And www.inyourpocket.com is invaluable!
Amy is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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Just returned from 3 nights and 2 days in Vilnius. Another day would be okay. Enjoyed it but not sure I would want 5 days. Of course we were off to other things...

Getting around is easy -- most things are walking distance. Carry a small umbrella.

My favorite was the "blimp" market -- largest in Europe. Fun just to walk around and then buy something. Each of the 5 former blimp hangers are devoted to certain food items. Example: one to fish, another red meat, one dairy, etc. Fruits and vegetables are mainly outside the "blimps"... I spent 2 hours meandering...

Another "must" is the Occupation Museum devoted to occupation by Germans and Russians... but this only takes an hour or so...

I spent about 4 hours meandering around the Old Town... but this came after visiting Old Town in Tallinn...
I am NOT a "shopper" so if you are you will spend more time...

Essentially did all three in one day with time left over to visit post office, etc.

We stayed at the hotel Centrum Monika...awesome 4-star ! Breakfast buffet superior... I recommend. The sauna is FREE during "breakfast hours" from 7-10 AM. I was the only one at 9 AM. You sign up at front desk. Ask if you can get a room with balcony with a DOOR and you will love just soaking up the atmosphere looking over the street -- some have balconies but windows that don't allow you out of the room.

From here I walked to everything... including a nice grocery just down the block from the hotel...
theheadysmiths is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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OOPS -- I confused my visit to Riga with Vilnius. My apologies... Everything in previous posting is about Riga.

Five days is OKAY for Vilnius...

In Vilinius stayed at the Novotel hotel (very Scandinavian feel)...still within walking distance to most things... I spent 3 days and 2 nights in Vilinius and felt I could have spent more... Nice grocery store just down the block from Novotel is underground and easy to miss entrance...

Excellent Old Town -- best in Baltics in my opinion. Can definitely meander for more than just the amber. Shop around BEFORE buying anything -- you likely will see the same thing down the road. Found the amber museum worthwhile -- learned a lot. Enjoyed lunch at the Double Coffee -- a popular chain in the Baltics.

Also the Genocide Victims museum. Quite sobering. Spent about 1 1/2 hours in it.
theheadysmiths is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 04:49 AM
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theheadysmiths: Thanks.

Where else did you go on that trip? How did you travel around?
kenav is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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HI Went to Vilnius 2 yrs ago. Stayed in Old Town Domus(sp) Maria Guest House which I obtained from someone on Fodor's. I loved it. The days are very long so if it is hot one can go out at night. I took the night train from Warsaw. It was 1st Class but a little threadbare. But had the cabin alone. Went to KGB Musuem, hired a driver to go to Riga for the day, went to Kaunas for a day. I bought Amber and beautiful linen which Vilnius is noted for. Everyone very friendly and like Americans. I went to the City Dept of Records and they were very helpful looking up old records but couldn't find long lost relatives. I would return.
johanna is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 05:42 AM
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Walking in Vilnius itself is fine unless you are pressed for time. But 5 days should allow lots of meandering. Remember small umbrella.
There is a good local and regional bus system -- your hotel can help.

Interesting day trip to Trakai (about 20 miles west of Vilnius). Very touristy with lots of Lithuanian tourists. Interesting history and island castle you can walk to. You can step inside for a look for free but there is a fee if you want to walk around inside.

Hill of Crosses located near Sianliai (there is a bus stop down the road from the Hill). Good stop if traveling between Vilnius and Riga but too far otherwise. A new monastery BEHIND the hill has indoor WC restrooms.
theheadysmiths is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 05:47 AM
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Also a short taxi ride to Vilnius airport -- really just a couple of miles from downtown. We flew LAL from Vilnius to Moscow. Quite good. The flight was delayed 3 1/2 hours but LAL gave us each a ($15) meal voucher so we could have dinner at airport restaurant or cafe -- no American airlines would do this ! (Also a $50 off coupon on next LAL flight if going within the next couple of months...)
theheadysmiths is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 10:50 AM
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I just posted a report on my recent trip, which included a visit to Vilnius. I should have put the names of the countries in my post, but it is essentially called "Heritage, Heartache and Holiday in Eastern Europe."
skatedancer is offline  

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