Starting on 1 December, Christmas can be found around every corner in Vilnius. Get ready for one of the most beautiful Christmas Trees, a ride on a Christmas train, traditional Christmas markets, and a city illuminates with lights straight out of a holiday fairy tale. Take a look at the full programme of events and activities during the Christmas season in Vilnius.
Christmas in Vilnius starts with the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on 1 December at 7 p.m. following a free concert at Cathedral Square. The Christmas spirit spreads from the main Christmas Tree at the Cathedral Square to the streets filled with decorations and fairy lights. There’ll be photo ops aplenty, so come prepared. Even if you’re not travelling with children, you’re welcome to ditch the sightseeing bus for the festive train and get a good look of Vilnius Old Town.
If you get hungry, you can have a snack at one of the two Christmas markets and save time looking for Christmas gifts. Here’s a great little tip: locals love shopping at the Christmas fairs as well, so take a minute and watch what they get. Christmas markets will pop-up at various times all around town. First, there’s the Litexpo Christmas Market on 8 December. The Design Square will be open in the centrally-located Vinco Kudirkos Square through 18-23 December. LOFTAS will host its annual Uptown Market on 21-23 December. And the Pop-Up Market at Kablys is another one to keep an eye out for; it will be held on December 15-16.
Even if you don’t understand a word of Lithuanian, you can still participate in the Christmas Eve Mass at the Cathedral or the Bernardine Church on 24 December. It’s a rare and magical experience that happens only once a year. Even though the mass is in Lithuanian, it’s an experience that will leave anyone feeling elated. Locals come here for the town’s only living nativity scene.
To top it all off, a Christmas story is recounted in 3D on 25-29 December. Seeing the Cathedral come to life with accompanying music is a feast for the eyes and ears of children and adults alike.
On 29 December, the orchestra will invite three local rock legends to join them in covering popular hits by Depeche Mode, Queen, Nirvana and many other bands. But if rocking out isn’t your thing, choose 30 December to listen to the orchestra team up with well-known singers to cover German composer Carlo Orffo’s well-known choir piece.
Staying in the city for New Year’s Eve? Out of the many performances available in town that night, you can’t go wrong with choosing Swan Lake at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Vilnius Arsenalas ensemble at the Museum of Applied Arts and Design, or one of two performances by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra.
Whatever you do, make sure to come to Cathedral Square at the stroke of midnight to watch the sky illuminated by the fireworks show. Maybe you’ll even find some new friends.