Travel Guide: Vilnius
Vilnius, Lithuania is a very charming city that boasts a renowned arts and culture scene. We had a lot of fun checking out Vilnius and trying out their restaurants and bars, which did not disappoint (we recommend them below). We didn't know much about Lithuania and had no expectations for Vilnius. However, we were blown away. We normally only list the Top 3 bars in a city (which is difficult in big cities). However, Vilnius had such an unexpected food and drink scene that we had to list three more Honourable Mentions.
Food & Drink
1 Džiaugsmas • The best restaurant in Lithuania, Džiaugsmas is fast becoming a star in the world of Lithuanian fine dining. Authentic and mouth-watering food presented in a creative way. Ingredients used are primarily Lithuanian. Head chef, Martynas Praškevičius, reveals: "You could say that we are Tymo Market’s restaurant – about 70% of the products we use are sourced from there."
2 Nineteen18 • All the ingredients that make their way onto the dishes on the Nineteen18 menu have been carefully sourced from the restaurant’s farm – Farmers Circle – which is 75km from Nineteen18, near Ukmergė at Augustinų Dvaras (manor). “Nineteen18 is part of our farm and not the other way around,” explains the chef. Head Chef, Matas Paulinas took on an important task – to uncover the identity of Lithuanian cuisine and this expression is found and tasted at Nineteen18.
3 Snekutis • Stop by this bar, restaurant, and brewery to taste some traditional Lithuanian specialties, such as cepelinai, and wash down with a cold, locally brewed beer. Snekutis, the owner, is quite the character and a local personality.
1 Alkemikas • A cocktail bar with a rich selection of neat spirits and cocktails. Open since 2012, this bar knows how to make a cocktail and has one of the most comprehensive and artistic menus I've ever scene. I purchased one as a gift.
2 DOM16 • A super secret speak easy that doesn't show up on Google Maps. But their name gives you a clue: 16 is the street number and DOM is short for the street name (Dominikonų g. 16). We arrived late and they were so busy that we never got the chance to grab a drink, but we will be back as their Instagram account makes their speaky easy look like quite the Saturday night spot.
3 Nick & Nora • Described a "The first bar in Lithuania that combines modern cocktails with local Lithuanian flavors." This bar was a hit, great location, tucked away in a narrow street serving strong drinks out of "nick & nora" glasses (similar to coupes meaning the drink doesn't have ice and usually booze-forward. Think: martini, manhattan, etc.)
Honourable Mention Bars
1 Peronas • Visitors can watch the trains go by at Peronas—a perfect hipster hangout. Located directly on the train station platform, there is a giant man statue that is holding up the roof of the building. Peronas frequently features DJs and live music. This bar came highly recommended by a bartender in Warsaw at El Koktel bar.
2 Kas Kas • This bar is small and at first didn't hit us as a bar on this list. But the bartender was very friendly and explained the menu to us which had a lot of Lithuanian spirits and liquers on it. It turns out that the lithuania spirits were made from ingredient and fruits that had been foraged from the surrounding land. This one liquor was made from a forest berry, another from flower from a maple tree and the last one was almost a sage vodka that had one tons of global awards. To top it all off, instead of serving an espresso martini they served a matcha version with coconut milk—it was a great take on a classic.
3 Nomads Cocktail Bar & Apoteka Bar • We couldn't decided between these last two. They both have 4.8/5 stars from hundreds of Google Reviewers. We recommend both if you are visiting Vilnius as the quality of their drinks look amazing on social media!
Other Food & Drink
Other Food • Sweet Root, Amandus, Dine, Somm, Telegrafas (in the luxury Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square), The Town (best steak in Vilnius), Gaspar's Restaurant
Other Drink • Bambalynė, Alaus Biblioteka, Špunka, Piano Man Bar, Uncle Sam's American pub, Decantus Vyninė
Activities & Attractions
1 Explore Old Town • So much to do in the old town including the amazing restaurants and bars listed above. The old town is great for a nice walk, a morning coffee or an evening activity. There are many sites in old town as well including Gate of Dawn, Uzupis, Gediminas Castle Tower, St. Anne's Church and Church Of St Peter & St Paul.
2 KGB Museum (Genocido Auku Muziejus) • See historical rooms and cells where the KGB used to interrogate and even torture prisoners.
3 Sites e.g. Museum of illusions and Hill of Three Crosses • Museum of illusions: spend 1–2 hours at the historical premises full of riveting illusions, wonderful atmosphere, and helpful staff. Hill of Three Crosses: Amazing viewpoint over the southern side of the city with an impressive monument.
Hotels & Airbnbs
H Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius • Whether you are travelling for business or leisure, five-star Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius is located in the heart of the Old Town and is the perfect base from which to explore this fascinating city.
A Luxury Panoramic Vilnius Apartment • A magnificent penthouse in Vilnius located near the Old Town, a luxurious business class apartment enjoys panoramic views over the history of Vilnius. The apartment is just a 10-minute walk from Old Town.
A Entire rental unit hosted by Gediminas • Brand new fully stocked modern industrial loft with dedicated workspace in the city center surrounded by local artists and professionals. Close to restaurants, bars and culture - the open gallery featuring 20+ arts is just outside the door. Great for couples, solo adventurers, business travelers.
A Entire rental unit hosted by Kestutis • Cozy apartment in the Heart of Vilnius city center. Literally, only a few steps to Old Town and main tourist attractions, cafes and restaurants, gift shops and boutiques. Quiet, clean and spacious apartment will enrich your stay in Vilnius. It's fully equipped to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
A Warm and light Loft near Vilnius centre • Stay in light, cozy, newly renovated 2 level Scandinavian style mini Loft (26 km2) near Vilnius city centre (15 min walk to reach the Old Town) . The lower level has stylish dining area, kitchen and a bathroom. The upper level is only meant for sleeping.