Vilnius is such a beautiful little town, which makes it even more shameful, that we only spent one afternoon and evening there. The only affordable (quite ok at €85 per person return) flights we could find left Riga in the early afternoon and returned there from Vilnius at 10pm. While it would have been much better to have more time, we did manage to pick up a list of 20 must-see sites from the tourism office as soon as the cab from the airport (€18) had dropped us off, and we didn’t miss a single one of the sites, tip to the hat. Even more surprisingly , we managed to squeeze in two full meals at lovely restaurants and a coffee house visit.
We started with late lunch at Restoranas “Lokys”, which seems to be themed on a hunting lodge, but not in a bad way, not too touristy. My wife had poached salmon, I had a beaver steak. Both meals were very tasty. From there we explored the Jewish quarter and stopped for a coffee and a few cookies at Ponių Laimė, sitting on the terrace outside watching passers-by.
We then continued our tour zigzagging through old town and across the main boulevard towards Gediminas’ Tower, which stands on top of a small hill, offering beautiful 360 degree views. We walked back towards the town hall via the Bernardine Gardens and the Republic of Užupis (bit too much hype around this artist quarter, but on the other hand not so bad either, some good street art), and St. Peter and Paul’s Church.
We had a lovely dinner at Alinė Leičiai, raw minced pork sausage, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and marinated mustard corns for me, and grilled chicken breast in almond cheese cream dill sauce for my wife, plus between the two of us a taster package of 6 0.2l local beers (mainly for me), all of which were interesting, some very good.
We haven’t been to Tallinn yet (only later this year), but compared with Riga, we’d say this is the most beautiful of the Baltic gems we’ve seen so far.