Visit another country while you’re in Vilnius. Užupis, the city’s smallest district, declared independence in 1998 and has been marching to the beat of its own drum ever since. It has a unique bohemian atmosphere and history, but is also exceptionally open, drawing even first-time visitors into play. Stay curious and don’t be afraid to poke your nose around into the quiet courtyards. You can play a piano along the river, take a turn on the Destiny Swing, which hangs from the district’s main bridge, or read the Užupis Constitution in your native language.
How do you describe Užupis’ bohemian way of life in one manifesto? Have a look at the Užupis Constitution to find out. Its 41 points will help you understand what goes on in the heads of locals. The constitution was written by two of them – Romas Lileikis and Tomas Čepaitis – in just three hours and later published on a plaque on Paupio Street. "Everyone has the right to love,” reads the Constitution of the Independent Republic of Užupis, which is translated into more than 25 languages.
Whenever you visit Užupis, you can be sure that the district’s guardian angel will be standing there overlooking things and keeping everyone safe. Legend has it that placing a sculpture of an angel here was a suggestion made by the Dalai Lama on one of his visits to the city.
A group of students from the Vilnius Academy of Arts founded an artistic community almost 20 years ago, creating a space for artists to freely create and see where their inspiration takes them. That’s why walking in Užupis is always a surprise – new pieces of art are born here and exhibited right in the open – in the Vilnelė River, on its banks next to the Užupis Art Gallery, in the courtyards and on the walls of the district.
Do you like spending time in nature? You can camp in a tent right in the heart of the city if you like! Or simply come to grill some food and listen to an open-air concert. Downtown Forest Hostel and Camping is in the most bohemian district of Vilnius – the independent Republic of Užupis – and is an experience not to be missed.
Vilnius Train Station and the entire district around it are open to experiments. Visit the most fashionable area of the city, where creative energy turns into bright ideas, new flavours and modern projects. You never know what to expect in a place that never sleeps.
Travel 600 km in seconds and step right inside Lublin, a city in Poland. Wave to passersby in Lublin and get a glimpse of their city. The portal has a large circular door-like screen and cameras that broadcast live images and audio between the two cities, creating a kind of digital bridge. There are plans to add portals connecting Vilnius to other cities in Europe and around the world in the near future.
Keep the party going –summer nights are short, which means its probably best not to waste them on sleep. Peronas Bar is located along the railroad tracks and is home to a huge statue of James Gandolfini and crowds of people taking advantage of the city’s nightlife. The terrace under a high roof is the perfect place to listen to live bands or hide from the overheated city centre. Just a couple of steps away, you can dance your heart out at Halės Turgus, Vilnius’ oldest and most popular market. If you’re feeling low on energy, you’re in the right place to grab some food. Jamaika Hostel is known for parties that feature contemporary art, a relaxed atmosphere and a mixed international crowd. Not too far from the station, famous Lithuanian and foreign performers turn the volume up to eleven at the legendary club Kablys.
Spend a relaxing evening at one of the many trendy bars loved by locals. The nearby Vijokliai Beergarden terrace is an ideal spot to relax on a warm summer evening. Look for a small neon sign next to a set of stairs leading to a basement and you might end up at Love Bar, which makes some of the best cocktails in town. If you see yellow plastic curtains at an entrance and people standing around, you have found Deveti, a great for pre-party, party or after party.