How do you usually explore a city? Even if you’ve researched online prior to your visit to Vilnius, walked its historic streets, visited some recommended museums, and popped into a few local bars, there are still some exciting angles of the city worth exploring that you can’t necessarily find on your own. Are you ready for some tours? Yes, tours – but not your regular ones! Call them refreshing, strange, quirky, or surprising, but never regular. Let these 6 tours around Vilnius astonish you.
You’ve probably already heard of Chernobyl, the famous HBO mini-series about the 1986 nuclear disaster. Most of it was filmed right here in Vilnius. Now you can take advantage of the unique opportunity to walk around the filming locations, marvel at the now infamous fictional Pripyat, listen to stories about actual life in the Soviet era, and visit a KGB prison with original pieces of furniture still intact.
Walk the halls of the Presidential Palace in Vilnius. You will see the inside of the most security-tight building in Vilnius, which has hosted the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Francis, and other high-ranking officials from all over the world. Even Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I have stayed here. Can you miss this chance? Absolutely not! The tours take place every weekend, but if you come here on Sunday at 12 PM, you’ll also witness the changing of the flag ceremony in the square. Tip: tours are free of charge, but plan ahead and make a reservation, and don’t forget your ID.
The houses in the heart of Vilnius are hundreds of years old. Some of them have been restored and rebuilt, but one thing has stayed the same with all of them – their cellars and catacombs. Get under the skin of the city by exploring what lies beneath it together with a guide. In just a couple of hours you’ll see the catacombs and the burial place of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes under the Cathedral, and visit the cellars and wine caves of the Old Town. You’ll also be able to explore the legends surrounding the secret underground passages used by the Lithuanian Grand Dukes in the 15th century.
What could be better than a local showing you how beer is made and consumed in Vilnius? You can visit small local bars and microbreweries, or stick to one bar and taste different Lithuanian beers. The brewing tradition is strong here, so there’s a whole beer culture to learn about while tasting it. What a perfect way to start the evening. Tip: the legal drinking age in Lithuania is 20, so have your ID prepared (we know you look younger).
See the city from the tallest building in Lithuania – the 326.5-metre TV tower! But it’s not just the city that you will see. Take a tour and discover the inside of the tower itself, like the rooms that no outsider was allowed to enter until just a few years ago. It’s where the entire country got its TV signal back in the day! If you’re not afraid of heights, you will be able to go on the open roof. But if the open roof is too much, you can always take a seat at the restaurant with a 360-degree view and sip on a coffee at 165 metres. There’s also a park of historic antennas to explore, once you’re back solid ground.
Reliving the past is impossible, or is it? Immerse yourself in Soviet times in a Soviet bunker 5 metres underground. You will learn first-hand what it was like to be a citizen of a totalitarian state. Forget the history books and try to survive the terror of the 1984. It was true back then, and it’s still possible to experience today.