© Go Vilnius. Augustas Didžgalvis

Why You Should Add Vilnius to Your Bucket List This Year

The Lithuanian capital celebrates its 700th anniversary this year. But the joyous occasion isn’t the only reason the city is worth a trip.

January 8, 2023

International music events, a festival of lights, modern art, hot air balloons: to mark the city's anniversary, Vilnius is the place-to-be in 2023. The celebrations start on January 25 and will take place throughout the year. We reveal which events you definitely shouldn't miss and what else speaks for a trip to the Lithuanian capital.

A historic old town

The cathedral bell tower. © Go Vilnius

Vilnius is home to almost 570,000 people. Located in the southeast of Lithuania, it’s one of the largest cities in the Baltic region. The Old Town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 and it’s considered to be particularly well preserved. Among the most interesting buildings are the university, the town hall, the Gate of Dawn and the Gediminas Tower.

The Vilnius Light Festival

Light show at Gediminas Tower. © Saulius Ziura

From January 25 to 28, the old town will be transformed into a huge outdoor show. Numerous light installations will illuminate the historic buildings when the Vilnius Light Festival begins at nightfall.

Hot air balloon rides in front of the skyline


Balloon ride over the Old Town. © Igor Gubaidulin

There are very few cities that allow hot air balloon rides within the city limits. In Europe, Vilnius is the only one. The Baltic metropolis is the only city in the whole of Europe that allows its visitors to enjoy the view from above.

Outdoor music festivals


The As Young As music festival in Vingis Park. © Go Vilnius

Music plays a big role in the lives of the people of Vilnius. Last year, for example, over 45,000 people came to the As Young As music festival. It takes place on July 25, the holiday honoring the city's patron saint, St. Christopher. Classical as well as modern musical performances are on the lineup. The venue is Vingis Park. Opera lovers should keep September 2 and 3 in mind. That's when "Alopera," a 500-year-old piece will be performed at the Grand Ducal Palace. Outdoor, as part of the "Opera on Wheels" project, visitors will have the opportunity to hear parts from well-known operas in unusual places all over the city.

Baltic cuisine

Traditional cepelinai. © Karolina Grabowska

Seasonal fare, fish, cheese and lots of vegetables: the food in Lithuania is varied and definitely worth a try. To this day, the country's cuisine is considered authentic. Although there are connections and similarities to the culinary traditions of the surrounding countries, it has largely retained its own character. A particularly typical dish is cepelinai, a kind of potato dumpling with filling. Make sure to try the cold beet soup, not only because of its color!

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