Excursions from Vilnius: the best day trips around Vilnius

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is a beautiful city lying on the rivers Vilnia and Neris, whose origins, according to legends, can be traced back to the sixteenth century, a complicated period made up of wars, plagues and drought. Specifically, the city, after the First World War and the battle between the Bolsheviks, Lithuanians and Poles, entered the Polish territory until the independence of the Baltic Republics. For this reason Vilnius is a new city, fresh and in continuous and modern expansion. What distinguishes it most is its typically baroque style present above all in the historic center with numerous historical and artistic attractions, and its contrast with its more modern part with skyscrapers and shopping malls. Do not miss its Cathedral, the Torre del Castello, the church of Sant'anna and its many attractions outside the city, a unique mix of nature, art and culture that will surprise you. Here the best day trips around Vilnius.



Index

  1. Trakai
  2. Neris Regional Park
  3. Europos Park
  4. Kernavè
  5. Ninth Fort
  6. Ancient Beekeeping Museum
  7. The Hill of Crosses
  8. User questions and comments

1 - Trakai

Trakai is a small town about 26 km west of Vilnius, totally surrounded by nature among forests, lakes and hills. Its shores are bathed by the Galvè, Totoriškių and Bernardinų (Lukos) lakes. Trakai is located on the homonymous lake where there is an island with a splendid castle, certainly the main attraction: the wonderful Trakai Castle, once an important military and political center and headquarters of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, is today a real tourist destination. A natural paradise where peace and relaxation are the masters, an ideal trip to get away from the city chaos of Vilnius. Trakai is also famous for the Caraimi and their traditions, a population of Turkish origin settled in Trakai since 1937. Do not miss the Karaite Synagogue, the houses of the Caraimi and the most typical national dishes such as kybin, the most famous, a pasta filled with meat ground.



  • Range: 26,7 km
  • by car from Vilnius along Savanoriù Avenue, follow the signs along the A16 highway; by bus from Vilnius station (Sodų St. 22) with local lines 6,7,8, and 28, 29 (intercity), frequency of about 10, 20 min. By train from Vilnius station (Geležinkelio St.16) - Get directions
  • the castle is open from May to September from 10:00 to 19:00, from October to April from 10:00 to 17:00
  • LTL 18,00 (€ 5,31)
  • From Vilnius: 4-hour tour to Trakai with audio guide From Vilnius: guided excursion to Trakai

2 - Neris Regional Park

A wonderful park crossed by the Neris River and characterized by its picturesque surroundings, small villages and luxuriant nature rich in typical flora and fauna. Among the most important species we find the oaks of Vaigeliškės and Ąžuolų karalienė (the queen of oaks), true natural monuments and symbols of strength. Located in the Vilnius-Trakai-Kernavè triangle, the park is a very popular attraction for tourists, thanks to the numerous tours and tourist routes organized inside, the cognitive paths, especially that of Saidè, are in great demand. Along the banks of the river you can also admire ancient stones dating back to the settlements of ancestors in this area, the remains of the Bradeliškės water mill built in the early th century, and an observation tower from which to admire a breathtaking view of the rivers. Neris and Dūkšta.

  • Range: 28,3 km
  • by car about 28,3 km from Vilnius proceeding along Ukmergė Street towards Paribio Street. By train proceed towards Vilnius-Kaunas and get off at Lazdėnai station, from where you can walk or cycle along the path to the right of the Neris river bank - Get directions
  • from 8: 00 to 12: 00 and the 12: 45 to 15: 45
  • free
  • Excursion and Historical Tour: Neris Park and Kernav UNESCO Site Snowshoeing Tour to Neris Park and Kernave UNESCO Site

3 - Europos Park

A real open-air museum of contemporary art where art, culture and nature merge. It is located about 16,3 km from Vilnius and was founded in 1991 by the then -year-old artist Gintaras Karosas, eager to offer Europe a meeting point between art and nature. About 100 sculptures made by different artists from all over the world are exhibited like Dennis Oppenheim, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Solas Le Witt.The most famous and curious creation is certainly the large sculpture made of televisions, the work of Gintaras Karosas, which also entered the Guinness World Records ranking. You will then find other incredible works on display and exhibition panels that tell the history of the park with all possible love for nature and art. Among the many curiosities to know, in the entrance gate of the park there is a piece of the Berlin Wall: the visitor is then welcomed with a hand-drawn map, free to wander freely among the trees and sculptures. Inside you will also find a museum-restaurant, a souvenir shop and a bike rental.



  • Range: 16,3 km
  • by car from Vilnius along Kalvarijų street to antariškės roundabout, turning in the direction of Žalieji žerai (green lakes) and following the signs for Europos Parkas. By bus from Vilnius with line 66 from Žalgirio stop towards Skirgiškės (Europos parkas) - Get directions
  • from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 until sunset
  • adult LTL 30.49 (€ 9,00), students LTL 16,94 (€ 7,00)

4 - Kernavè

Kernavè was the first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, about 38 km from Vilnius, characterized by its forts in the homonymous hill, the only ones in the Baltic Sea region. A town that has been a Cultural Nature Reserve since 1989 with a spectacular landscape thanks to its breathtaking views from the hill-fortress of Karmazinai with a splendid view also over the Neris valley and its island, where once there was a pagan place of worship. Also not to be missed is the path that crosses the old oaks near the hill fort. There is also a historical archaeological museum where ancient finds dating back to Prehistory and the Middle Ages are kept, found during excavations that lasted several decades. A famous summer festival is also celebrated which attracts numerous crafts and archeology enthusiasts, where boot makers, potters, jewelers, beekeepers, blacksmiths and glassmakers gather, where they show their skills and sell their products. Medieval battles are also held with ethnic music and lots of entertainment.

  • Range: 38 km
  • by car from the center of Vilnius to the residential area of ​​Pilaitè or by the A1, A2 highway then 108 or 116. By bus from the Vilnius station (Sodų St. 22, 1661) with lines 10 and 11 with a frequency of about 30 min - Get directions
  • for the archaeological area from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00 (April, May, September, October), from November to March from 10:00 to 16:00; June, July, August from Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
  • for the archaeological area LTL 6,00 (€ 1,77)
  • Vilnius, Trakai and Kernave Private Full-Day Tour Excursion and Historical Tour: Neris Park and UNESCO Site Kernav?

5 - Ninth Fort

It is one of the most exciting and meaningful monuments Kaunas, a city in the south-central part of Lithuania, about 110 km from Vilnius. Theater of infinite atrocities against the Jewish people in the twentieth century by the Nazis and the Soviets, the Fort was originally used as a defensive monument of the city and then as a prison by the Russian and German people. The Fort today is a 32 meters tall sculpture surrounded by what have been the mass graves and by commemorative plaques with the names of the poor Jews murdered without mercy, carved names that can also be read coming from the road before reaching the monument. There is also a museum that tells the terrible story of the persecuted people with historical artifacts and visits to prisoners' homes, including bunkers and common rooms.



  • Range: 110 km
  • by car from Vilnius via Islandijos pl. or A2, by train line 53 and then bus Tallinn-Wrasaw - Get directions
  • Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 - closed on Mondays
  • LTL 811.57 (€ 2,40)

6 - Ancient Beekeeping Museum

The beekeeping museum is located in Stripeikiai, 103 km away from Vilnius. Stripeikiai is a village where the oldest community in the entire Aukštaitija National Park resides. Beekeeping is a popular activity throughout Lithuania since the sixteenth century, in origin with the natural cavities of the trees, then in the twentieth century with the beehives. The Museum, founded in 1984, consists of four rooms whichthey trace the history of honey also through educational programs. The first room describes how beekeeping was carried out in tree cavities as mentioned above, the second with hives up to the twentieth century, the third instead tells about beekeeping today enriched by the traditions of Lithuanian mythology. There are also workshops for the production of candles and wax and various honey tastings. It is also very interesting to observe the bees at work live in their own colonies.

  • Range: 103 km
  • by car from Vilnius via Geležinio Vilko g. - Get directions
  • Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 - closed on Mondays
  • LTL 6.76 (€ 2,00)
  • Vilnius to Aukstaitija National Park: Full-Day Tour

7 - The hill of crosses

The Hill of Crosses, so named because of the numerous crosses present one attached to the other, is located in Šiauliai, 212 km from Vilnius. We talk about thousands of crosses that were planted by pilgrims on the hill as a sign of devotion to the Lithuanian national identity. In the nineteenth century, in fact, during the Russian Empire, the Lithuanians rebelled against the tsar, guilty of preventing the families of the entire area from visiting the graves of loved ones. Fed up with this absurd imposition, the Lithuanian people then decided to plant crosses on the hill in honor of their loved ones who had passed away. The communist regime, during the Soviet era, tried to destroy all the crosses three times but, despite all attempts, the crosses were planted more and more numerous, which at today there are about 400 thousand, of different sizes, shapes and colors. The hill of crosses was also a place of visit by Pope John Paul II in 1993, who donated a crucifix that still stands at the foot of the hill today.

  • Range: 212 km
  • by car from Vilnius via A2 - by train from Vilnius to Siaulai then bus to the hill - Get directions
  • always open
  • free
  • Hill of Crosses: Private 2-Hour Tour from Siauliai Hill of Crosses: Full-Day Tour from Vilnius

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