While it’s in full bloom during summer, the garden is a great spot to relax, listen to the Vilnelė River and watch nature change all year round. Conveniently located in the heart of the Old Town, the park is just steps away from some of Vilnius’ iconic landmarks, including Gediminas Castle, the Cathedral and the Bernardine Monastery. You can walk in the oldest park and botanical garden in Vilnius, which was first established in 1469 by the Bernardine monks, and see the city’s oldest oak tree.
Half the size of Central Park in New York, Vingis Park is a favourite among locals. The 160- hectare park along the Neris River in the city centre is a natural oasis with numerous hiking trails that promise fresh forest air. It’s walking distance from Vilnius Old Town, but once you’re there it’ll feel like you’re in an entirely different world. If you go into a less busy area, you might even get lucky and spot some wildlife.
Go for a hike and combine nature with some history. Enjoy the impressive 18th-century Verkiai Palace complex. Check out the panorama of the city from atop the hill. Try bird-watching, as there are many rare birds living on the park premises. Or maybe even take a dip in the unique lakes, which are famous for their green waters. Verkiai Regional Park is an extensive protected territory, so you can spend your entire day outdoors.
The highest and most impressive exposure in Lithuania offers unforgettable views of Pavilniai Regional Park. Protected as a natural monument, the exposure is a great start for a hike on the cognitive trail that includes a sundial, the ruins of a cannon foundry and Belmontas Park along the way. For a 19th-century romantic atmosphere, walking down to the Belmontas Waterfalls, old mill buildings and ponds is a must.
Enjoy the colourful blossoms, ride a carriage or have a picnic. Natural landscapes match the perfectly trimmed plant labyrinths, and the hills offer a perfect bird’s-eye view of the park. The park always looks different as nature changes with each day.
Even though Vilnius has no access to the sea, swimming and tanning is always an option. Cool off in the waters of the Neris River at a couple of public beaches – Žirmūnai or Valakampiai Beach –right in the heart of the city. If you’re more of a lake person, the Green Lakes (Žalieji ežerai) in the outskirts of the city is a summer hotspot, but there are also plenty of other lakes around the city where you can take a refreshing swim.
If you have more time on your hands, take a small detour to the town of Trakai, located just 30 minutes from Vilnius. Its island castle on Lake Galvė looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale. In addition to the castle and its museum, you can take a boat to get a better view and indulge in kibinai, a traditional savoury stuffed pastry introduced to the country by the Karaims.
Just a short drive from Vilnius and you’ll be back in prehistoric times. The first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is a gem worth discovering. The UNESCO-listed archaeological site reveals a landscape formed by retreating glaciers and is a place of hill forts, settlements and burial sites. The five impressive Kernavė Hills are an exceptional collection of archaeological outdoor expositions, and you can climb the stairs to the top of each one.
Get into the ultimate vacation mode by spending a day at a sunny beach on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The fine white sand and cool water will make you forget everything. You can get to the Baltic Sea from Vilnius in just three hours. Choose any town along the coast or take a ferry and travel to the Curonian Spit, which features otherworldly UNESCO-listed sand dunes.
©R. Anusauskas/Lithuania Travel