Vilnius Old Town (Vilniaus Senamiestis)
Despite the odds, the Vilnius Old Town has survived its numerous invasions relatively unscathed. The district's architecture today includes Gothic, baroque, and Renaissance structures all in this single district, though the neoclassical Cathedral may be the standout attraction. Top sights include the 15th-century Gediminas Castle Tower, the Old Arsenal, 16th-century university building, and numerous churches.
Since many of the city's noteworthy attractions are located in the Old Town, you can see more on a sightseeing tour. Most Old Town tours—and Vilnius citywide tours—include stops at the Presidential Palace, St. Anne’s Church, Gate of Dawn, and more. If you want to see more in less time, scooter tours and bike tours are the best choices.
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Things to know before you go
- Devote a day or two to explore the Old Town, since the area covers about 3.6 square kilometers (887 acres).
- Don't miss the Higher Castle; it's easiest to reach via the funicular located next to the cathedral.
- If you're interested in the best views in the city, opt for a hot air balloon flight.
How to get there
Parking is a premium in the Old Town, so guided tours are the most convenient option. Walking tours, bike tours, and even food tours explore the Old Town. You can also visit on a regional tour, and find your way to Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, and more. Since the Old Town includes many of the city's top attractions, this district is typically included.
When to get there
Since Vilnius is warm in summer and cold in winter, you should plan to visit when the weather is balmy—in June, July, and August. If you want to avoid the peak July tourist season, you can also opt for a visit in late spring or early fall to enjoy great weather without the crowds.
Uncover the Jewish History of Vilnius
To discover the Jewish history of the Old Town from the devastation of World War II to Jewish culture in post-Soviet Lithuania, you can try a Jewish cultural tour. Most tours include stops at the great synagogue ruins, the Choral Synagogue, and the site of the Ponary massacre. Customized tours are also an option, and may give Jewish visitors the chance to uncover regional family heritage.
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- Gate of Dawn (Ausros Vartai)
- Church of the Holy Spirit (Sventosios Dvasios Baznycia)
- Bastion of the Vilnius Defensive Wall (Vilniaus Gynybines Sienos Basteja)
- Vilnil Museum of Illusions
- Vilnius University (Vilniaus Universitetas)
- Amber Museum-Gallery (Gintaro Muziejus-Galerija)
- St. Anne's Church
- Bernardine Church (Bernardinu Parapija)
- Presidential Palace
- Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (National Museum)
- Vilnius Cathedral (Arkikatedra Bazilika)
- Money Museum (Pinigu Muziejaus)
- Gediminas Castle Tower (Gedimino Pilies Bokstas)
- National Museum of Lithuania, New Arsenal