Always on the hunt for new weekend destinations to visit, I was delighted to discover that Wizz Air now offer a perfect weekend getaway to the fairytale, UNESCO world heritage city of Vilnius. It’s one of the largest preserved medieval cities in Europe with crumbling baroque churches, restored palaces, impressive cathedrals and a wealth of bustling cobbles. It is stunning from below, but this is a city that invites you to climb.
There’s a variety of ways to peer down on the spires of the old town, so come and discover four ways to see Vilnius from above. Here’s four options for every budget:
Gediminas Castle – FREE
Gediminas Castle towers above Cathedral Square, a stark reminder of the need to defend against Crusader attacks. Dating back to 1323, you can visit the museum in the tower (adults: €2, students and children; €1) which displays models of Vilnius castles through the ages. I am much more interested, however in gazing in wonder on the breathtaking rooftops, spires and domes of the city.
Take the ancient, cobbled path that winds its way up the hillside and emerge onto the castle plateau. You can see both the old and the new cities, the river and TV tower. It’s pretty spectacular and blissfully FREE.
Vilnius Cathedral Bell Tower – Budget
This may not be a climb for the faint-hearted. At one point, I thought I was going to have a panic attack clambering up the rickety stairs, with creaking joints, sagging steps and crumbling woodwork. The effort is rewarded however, as you plant a relieved foot on the wooden balustrade topping the belfry. From here, you can enjoy 360 views of the city and admire the cathedral from a breathtaking viewpoint.
The Vilnius Cathedral Bell Tower costs €4.50 for adults and €2.50 for children and students
Vilnius TV Tower – Medium Budget
The Vilnius TV Tower was the backdrop for the bloody events of January 1991. Fourteen people were killed, and hundreds injured when Soviets, attempting to occupy the tower, met local resistance. Tanks shot and mowed down civilians and the location now houses a memorial to those who died and a museum recounting the struggle for freedom. The museum is free to enter but there is a charge for the trip to the top.
If you wish to take in wonderful views of Vilnius, from the tallest building (326.5 m) in Lithuania, a ticket will set you back €9 at weekends, €6 for students and €4 for children over 5. You can also visit “Paukščių takas“ restaurant, and dine while enjoying far-reaching views of Vilnius and beyond.
Hot Air Balloon Rides – High end budget
Floating up into the skies in a hot air balloon is an experience like no other. Admiring views of countryside and wildlife from the serenity of a balloon basket, before lurching to the ground is an exhilerating experience. Sadly, we missed out in Vilnius, as the weather was not kind to us. I dare you to resist after watching this video though!
If you have the budget, I would highly recommend you splash the cash, as this is an adventure you will never forget. Rides start from €99, so whilst at the high end of the scale, this is a fantastic price for a hot air balloon ride. In the UK, the price would be double so take advantage.
So there, you have it – four ways to see Vilnius from above that will not break the bank.
Getting to Vilnius
If you are feeling inspired to visit, check out flights with Wizz Air. This is my third flight with the airline in less than twelve months and I have fallen in love with this budget airline. They have a fabulous selection of routes, to new and upcoming cities in Eastern Europe, from Doncaster Sheffield Airport and other UK airports.
My previous flights were to Cluj Napoca in Romania and Ohrid in Macedonia, both hidden gems which I would highly recommend. You can also discover how I managed to book this entire weekend for just £6.87 here.
Have your say
Perhaps you have visited Vilnius, and have your own ideas on the best ways to see the city. Feel free to share them in case there are any vertigo sufferers reading!