Did you know that summer isn’t the only time you can fly in a hot-air balloon? In winter, hot-air balloons not only set off in the morning and evening, they often fly during the day as well! The view of Vilnius and Trakai from the sky in winter is breath-taking. It’s like an ice kingdom from a wonderful fantasy film. Soar over snowy roofs, smoking chimneys, snow-covered forests and frozen lakes, and enjoy the magical peace and quiet. And it might come as a surprise but flying in a hot-air balloon in winter is not as cold as it may seem, since you fly downwind! The pilots say that it’s fine to just wear your regular clothes, although you may want to go with a warmer choice of footwear.
Every time you drive by Liepkalnis, you can’t help but notice the snow-capped mountains with illuminated trails and skiers and snowboarders enjoying their descent. How is this not a resort? Guaranteed snow, like-minded people, and warm drinks and delicious food in the café up top. And a wonderful panorama of Vilnius and its surrounding forests to boot! Spending some time there makes you feel like you’ve actually been away.
This season, the Liepkalnis Winter Sports Centre is offering as many as 10 trails of varying complexity and 10 lifts. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can easily rent it on site. And if you’ve never stood on skis or a snowboard, professional instructors will quickly teach you.
What could be more romantic than ice skating on a frozen lake in the fresh air, surrounded by nature? One of the favourite places among Vilnius locals is Lake Galvė, which is home to Trakai Castle. However, you’ll also find numerous lakes right outside of Vilnius.
By the way, buying your own skates – whether new or second-hand – is not all that expensive, and they’ll easily pay themselves off with the pleasure they provide. If you don’t know how to skate yet, you can learn at one of the skating rinks in Vilnius, including Hoptrans by the White Bridge, Akropolis or Pramogų Arena.
Just remember to only skate on a frozen lake after making sure that it is safe to do so!
Yes, yes, you read that right – after all, Vilnius is one of the greenest capitals in Europe! And while it may not be all that green in winter, it’s still charming in its own wintry way. Plus, if you want to spend some time in real nature, you don’t even need to leave the city!
A hike around Vilnius? Go ahead and do all 100 km! That’s exactly how long the special trail for runners and hikers is around the city of Vilnius. You can try 10 sections of the 100 km route (8-14 km each) that encircles Vilnius. Maybe even one a day! Most of the route is not paved, but rather off-road, which is much better for your joints. And in addition to getting some exercise, we hope you’ll also discover places in Vilnius that you’ve never seen before.
Don’t forget to visit the places in Vilnius frequented by nature lovers as well as couples in love – the Verkiai and Pavilniai Regional Parks. Take in the winter views from above at the Pūčkoriai and Verkiai outcrops or Liepkalnis Hill. You’ll find the Vilnius Calvary Way of the Cross, a 7 km pilgrimage route with 35 stations of the cross right in Verkiai Regional Park. Try to find the miraculous spring near the route – local and visiting worshippers have long imbibed its waters, believing in their healing powers. Both parks have old-fashioned watermills, walking paths of different lengths, and year-round cafés where you can stop by to warm up.
Interesting exhibitions and events always enrich everyday life. And winter, when it’s gloomy outside, can be the perfect time to visit museums. Here are our top picks for you:
This is a new space that was opened in 2021 with the idea of presenting history to visitors not as a fixed past, but as a reality that was and still is being created by us all. The basement houses Lithuanian vernacular architecture, interiors and work tool sets dating from the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century, while the first two floors have various exhibitions, including research on ancient Egyptian mummies, the opening Lithuanian Tatar manuscript treasure, and the Goddesses and Warriors exhibition, which is dedicated to Marija Gimbutienė – the most famous Lithuanian archaeologist – and her hypotheses about the development of European culture.
In January and February, this modern art center will be holding several interesting exhibitions: paintings by the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian finalists of the Young Painter Prize competition; the Celebrate for Change photography exhibition; and Laisvydė Šalčiūtė’s work through the eyes of MO Museum founder Viktoras Butkus. In February, you will be able to see the BAXT project at the museum, made up of photographs by artist Andrew Miksys, who has been documenting the life of Lithuania’s Roma for 20 years.
This is a new educational space in the Lithuanian capital for locals and guests alike. The museum presents interesting stories from the city’s past. Starting in January, this is where you will find the Life on Vokiečių Street exhibition. Vokiečių Street has been built, burned, reborn, destroyed and built up again. Find out who lived there, where those people came from, and what they were doing there!
What better way to remind yourself of summer than splashing in the water, lounging in a sauna and indulging in other spa pleasures? As always, the Vichy Water Park promises a Polynesian environment and atmosphere for adults and children alike, with swimming pools, attractions, slides, saunas and other entertainment. If you want to sweat in a traditional sauna, you can also find one right in the city at places like Untu or the Pilaitė Watermill Sauna.
And Vilnius definitely has its share of spas! You can find spa pleasures at Spa Vilnius, Barbora Dreams, East Island Spa, Azia Spa and Nidos Kopos (where the power of amber is used), among others.