Destinations / City Breaks / Vilnius
Another UNESCO World Heritage gem, the city of Vilnius is a study in picture postcard pretty.
Compact and utterly self contained, the architecture bears the reminders of its many conquerors. The layout of the city is typically medieval and the buildings enjoy a beautiful blend of Baroque, Renaissance, classical and Gothic styles. Chosen as the European Culture Capital in 2009, Vilnius has an extra rich history of music, visual arts, literature, theatre and film. The Opera House is an acclaimed feature of the city as is the Lithuanian Art Museum and President's Palace. The delightful St Anne's Church, first constructed in the 14th century entirely from wood and, 200 years later re-built by the Franciscans, is a fine example of pure Gothic architectural style.
Formerly part of the Soviet Union, it was not until 1990 that Lithuiania declared its independence and emerged as a proud European country. A wonderful city for the visitor, Vilnius has narrow, cobbled streets where the houses seem to bulge in line with the curve of the street and flower-filled troughs brighten up window sills and gaily painted doors in the historic old town. One of the best known areas is Pilies Street (which links the Royal Palace with the Town hall) where any exciting festival or parade due to happen in Vilnius will definitely be experienced here. Gift shops and open air cafes create a lovely atmosphere and the city exudes a confident, cosmopolitan air. Although like every proper medieval town, the centre of Vilnius radiated from its Town Hall and the city developed into the modern capital it is today.
A true star of the Baltics, Vilnius is known as an excellent business centre and, with an eye to tourism, the city is a superb city break destination full of delightful architecture, lovely parks, a wealth of history and culture and great local flavour. Go soon!