Cheap Flights to Vilnius, Lithuania
- Area City : 401km² (155 sq mi)
- Area Code : (+370) 521
- Currency : Euro since 2015
- Population City : 542,664 (2015)
- Official Language : Lithuanian
- Time Zone : EET (UTC+2) Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
- Airport : Vilnius International Airport (VNO)
‘VNO’ is the biggest, by passenger traffic, of the country’s four commercial airports and located 5.9km south of Vilnius. To reach the city, passengers can take a train, microbus, bus, taxi, hired car or book a private transfer. The special ‘Vilnius-Airport’ train operates 16 times a day, taking just 7 minutes. The railway stop is located next to the passenger terminal and tickets can be purchased on the train, online or at the railway station. Bus line 88 travels to the ‘Old Town’ with other buses going to other destinations. To get a microbus (operated by ‘Toks’), the stop is located next to the airport terminal, close to Arrival Hall C. For a taxi take a ‘Vilnius Airport’ approved taxi that’s reliable, cheap and comfortable, located in front of arrivals. They have set tariff rates and accept cash or credit card. Always get your receipt in case you’ve been overcharged so you can claim a refund. To hire a car, based in the arrivals hall companies include: ‘AutoBANGA’, ‘Autocom’, ‘Avis’, ‘Budget’, ‘Enterprise’, ‘Europcar’, ‘Hertz’, ‘Sixt’ and others.
From Cape Town, travellers can fly to ‘VNO’ with the following airlines, with one + stops:
- Turkish (via Istanbul) 16h 25m+
- Air Namibia, Lufthansa (via Windhoek, Frankfurt) 17h 25m+
- Air France (via Paris) 17h 30m+
- KLM, Finnair (via Amsterdam, Helsinki) 17h 35m+
- LOT (via Warsaw) 18h 0m+
- Austrian (via Vienna) 18h 5m+
- Belavia (via Minsk) 18h 10m+
- Air Baltic (via Amsterdam) 18h 40m+
- Ethiopian (via Addis Ababa) 18h 50m+
- SAS (via Stockholm) 19h 5m+
- South African (via Johannesburg) 19h 35m+
- British Airways, Ukraine (via London, Kiev) 19h 45m+
- Brussels (via City of Brussels) 20h 0m+
- Aeroflot (via Moscow) 20h 15m+
- Qatar Airways (via Doha) 21h 5m+
Other airlines including charter flights reaching ‘VNO’ include:
- Aer Lingus
- CSA Czech Airlines
- DOT LT Danish Air Transport
- Estonian Air
- Joana Airlines
Reasons to Visit Vilnius, Lithuania:
- Nicknames include ‘Rome of the North’, ‘Athens of the North’ and ‘New Babylon’. Established during the 14th century (but likely dating to an earlier period) Vilnius is the largest city and capital of Lithuania with a wealth of history that includes Napoleon taking the city in 1812, the ‘Polish-Soviet War’, the ‘Lithuanian Wars of Independence’, the ‘Battle of Warsaw’ and ‘Żeligowski’s Mutiny’. Being one of the largest Jewish settlements in Europe prior to WW II, Vilnius was named the ‘Jerusalem of the North’ by Napoleon and its strong Jewish influence steered it to being described as the ‘Jerusalem of Lithuania’. The ‘Old Town’ was listed as a ‘UNESCO World Heritage’ site in 1994. In 2009, the city was awarded the ‘European Capital of Culture’ along with Linz in Austria.
- Plan your trip well as there’s a profusion of amazing historical attractions to admire. Indulge in a pleasant walking excursion in the ‘Old Town of Vilnius’, one the largest historical sectors in Europe with a concentration of fundamental cultural and historic sites. With almost 1,500 structures built over several centuries, there’s a marvellous mix of architectural designs to be appreciated. Spend time in the beautiful interior of ‘Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn’, home to the ‘Blessed Virgin Mary’ painting, said to have miracle working powers that was by 1805, the only remaining gate after the walls were destroyed during Russian rule. It’s a cosmopolitan city developed around its ‘Town Hall’, linked with the ‘Royal Palace’ by the main street Pilies, makes for ideal meandering along curvilinear, narrow streets through the palaces of medieval lords and landowners with shops, churches, tranquil courtyards and craftsmen’s workshops.
- Accommodation includes luxury hotels such as the 5-Star ‘Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square’, budget establishments, apartments, camping and a good range of great affordable hostels that include ’25 Hours’, ‘Hostel B&B (Adults only and ‘Fortuna’ that provides all a visitor needs. All are close to the train and bus station.
- For a delicious traditional Lithuanian meal served by waiters in old-fashioned costumes, ‘Forto Dvaras’ at Pilies 16 in the ‘Old Town’ has cosy downstairs rooms and outside tables. A bit more is ‘Senoji Trobelė’ at Naugarduko 36, just a 15- minute walk from the ‘Old Town’ that’s located in an old charming cottage and dishes up some of the best traditional Lithuanian food in the country. For fine dining, the small elegant space of ‘Ertlio Namas’ at Šv. Jono 7 prepares dishes from century old recipes. It’s great for couples or small groups and reservations are required.
- Discerned visitors have a number of theatres to attend with most performances in Lithuanian or Russian but a few providing occasional simultaneous translations. Theatres include the ‘Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet’, the ‘Lithuanian National Drama Theatre’, the ‘State Small Theatre’ The city’s nightlife comprises cafés, taverns, pubs and clubs. Pubs worth a visit are ‘Nisha Craft Capital’, for choice craft beers, ‘Craft & Draft’ brews six of its own plus superb honey beer, ‘Dirty Duck’, ‘Kablys’ and ‘Trinity’. Clubs include ‘Pantera’, ‘Mojo Lounge Vilnius’ and ‘Pabo Latino’.
When to Visit Vilnius, Lithuania:
Ideal months for exploring this city are May through September with July and August being the warmest and June and July the wettest. May and June have average highs of 20 and 22°C respectively; July is the hottest at 26°C; August 24°C and September 18°C.
Places to Visit Vilnius, Lithuania:
- The ‘Vilnius Castle Complex’, a group of cultural, religious and defensive buildings includes the ‘Gediminas Tower of the Upper Castle’ (part of the ‘National Museum of Lithuania), ‘Cathedral Square’ with the fine-looking ‘Vilnius Cathedral’, established around 1251 and the ‘Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania’.
- The small but striking ‘Vileišiai’ palace in Antakalnis, built in 1906 by the Vileišiai family is surrounded by larger buildings also owned by the family.
- Museums include the ‘Museum of Genocide Victims’ housed in a building that was the former headquarters of the KGB; the ‘National Museum of Lithuania’, ‘Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum’, ‘Vilnius Museum of Illusions’, the ‘Lithuanian Art Museum’ and plenty more worth visiting.
- Olden churches are plentiful with 28 in the ‘Old Town’ alone. Worth visiting are the city’s oldest, ‘St. Nicholas Church’, built by German immigrants in 1320 with a classic red brick exterior; ‘St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church’ shows off a beautiful interior comprising 2000 fastidiously shaped white figurines; located in ‘Katedros Square’ and the ‘Castle Hill’ area is the spectacular Gothic wonder of ‘Saint Ann Church’, built in the 1500s with its splendid, elaborate facade and close by, the much bigger ‘Saint Francis Church’ from 1516 that includes a monastery and holds Mass each Sunday; the 1594 late Renaissance ‘Saint Michael Church’, once a nunnery was turned into a museum of architecture by the Soviets and today is a museum of religious art; it’s interior more than impressive is the ‘Chapel of Stain Casimir’ within the ‘Cathedral of Vilnius’, built from 1623 to 1636 after Prince Casimir was canonized as a saint.
- The quaint ‘Neméžis’ 1909 wooden mosque, nestled in a lush area, is open on some Fridays and its rooftop minaret is not used for prayer calls.
- The 55ha ‘Europos Parkas’ in Balsiai is verdant with towering trees and tranquillity. It also serves as an open-air museum featuring modern art sculptures by international and local artists.
- Go shopping at ‘Kalvarijų Market’ or in the ‘high street’, far more fun than in the large malls of ‘Akropolis’ and ‘Ozas’.
Buses: The city provides an extensive network of buses and trolley buses that reach remote city areas including suburbs. Popular routes have buses departing every 10 to 15 minutes while other areas have buses at least every one to two hours. Trolley Buses travel on the busiest routes and are more frequent. Convenient for tourists are ‘fast buses’, marked with a ‘G’ and with the same frequency as trolley buses but faster, stopping at only half the amount of stops en-route and travelling longer routes. Note that a bus, a trolley bus, and a fast bus, all with a ‘No. 1’ are not related but all use the same numbers. To get a bus leaving for almost every destination, go to ‘Stotis’, close to the intercity bus and train terminal or to the Žáliasis tiltas’ stop. Fridays and Saturdays have night buses running marked with an ‘N’. A one-time ticket for 30 minutes or an hour with possible transfers is applicable to all public transport and can be purchased from kiosks or from the driver, with an added 25% that goes to the driver as compensation. Monthly tickets are also available.
Bicycle: Downtown Vilnius provides an automated bicycle rental system that affords free short term rentals when joining the system. Look out for a rack of orange bicycles.
Car Rental: Car rentals include ‘Europcar’, ‘Sixt’ and others.
Taxis: Travelling in taxis isn’t recommended as drivers often overcharge tourists and locals exorbitantly.