Film tourism in Vilnius: in the footsteps of movies and TV series
Where movies were shot in Vilnius

Film tourism in Vilnius: in the footsteps of movies and TV series

Vilnius is photogenic. Its Old Town with miniature streets, dormitory neighborhoods with Soviet buildings and incredible natural landscapes. There are guided tours to the places of cinematic fame. I will tell you how to find movie locations on your own.
Film locations in Vilnius

Soviet films in Vilnius

In the USSR, movie companies actively used Vilnius for filming. The city’s sets replaced Paris, London, Rome, Bucharest, Florence and Moscow. Filming was cheap and sometimes even free — Vilnius did not charge money for street rent.

A visit to the minotaur

The five-part movie«A Visit to the Minotaur» has two storylines. The modern one takes place in the USSR, and the historical one in Italy of the XVII–XVIII centuries. The historical part shows the life of Antonio Stradivari: his youth, how he grew up and learned to create violins in the Italian city of Cremona (Lombardy).

Vilnius, in the opinion of the film director, was ideally suited to the role of northern Italy. The filmmakers were enchanted by Belmontas Park, its nature, old mill and miniature houses. Later the park was restored and it became a popular place for outdoor activities in Vilnius.

Universiteto Street, one of the most popular streets in the Old Town, and St. John’s Church are featured in the movie.

The Adventures of Electronics

The actors from The Adventures of Electronik recall with warmth the shooting of the movie in Vilnius. When scenes were filmed in the Old Town, during breaks the kids were taken to the Nykštukas café or to get fresh pastries near the Children’s World.

It is easy to recognize St. Anna’s Church in the film: Stump’s gang passed by it several times. The school scenes were filmed in the Lazdynu vidurine mokykla in the Lazdynai residential area, at that time it was school No. 36. Externally, the building has not changed much.

The final scene in the third episode was filmed in the courtyard of Trakai Castle. The location is easily recognizable by the ancient wooden staircase and red stone walls. I recommend this place to anyone who wants to get out of Vilnius for a day.

Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle
A still from the movie in Trakai Castle
A still from the movie in Trakai Castle

The tabor goes to the sky

In the center of the Old Town is one of the most beautiful streets in Vilnius, Pilies g. It is stylish and photogenic, especially the old houses with fresh flowers and the view of Gediminas Tower. Along the street there are cafes with traditional cuisine, live music, souvenir shops and paintings from local artists for sale.

Several alleys near Pilies Street are decorated with old houses that were built by Franciscan monks. The director of the movie Tabor Goes to Heaven chose this old architecture to convey the spirit of Bessarabian towns.

The Adventures of Pinocchio

There are many miniature streets in the center of Vilnius — atmospheric and colorful, they inspire directors to make movies and writers to write stories.

TheAdventures of Pinocchio was filmed in Stiklių, Dominikonų, Totoru, Gaono. Vilnius played the role of a fictional Italian city on the Mediterranean coast. Nature was filmed in Crimea, and city shots were shot in the Lithuanian capital.

The narrow streets of Old Vilnius begin to be shot from the 20th minute, when children are running to school in a crowd, and then a few more times.

A still from the movie The Adventures of Pinocchio filmed in Vilnius
A still from the movie The Adventures of Pinocchio filmed in Vilnius
A still from the movie showing the rooftops of Old Town
A still from the movie showing the rooftops of Old Town
A shot of the streets of Old Town
A shot of the streets of Old Town

The collapse of Engineer Garin

In 1973,«The Collapse of Engineer Garin» was filmed in Vilnius. At the 18th minute, the spires of St. Anna’s Church appear in the frame — it is the city’s calling card. Both characters enter the church, and if you’ve seen the movie, you can imagine the interior beforehand.

Vilnius often appeared in the frame. The house where Garin was found is located in Värkiai Park, but in the story it is in Leningrad. The St. Anne’s Church, where Garin and Lenoir were, is in Paris in the script, and Rolling’s office in New York is one of the Soviet buildings in Vilnius.

St. Anne
St. Anne’s Church

Contemporary films in Vilnius

Films and TV series continue to be shot in Vilnius. Film companies from the USA, Poland, Russia, France and Germany come to the capital. For example, in 2012 foreigners made 8 films, and in 2013 already 11. Among them are sensational serials and films with very impressive budgets.


The 2019 HBO movie seriesChernobyl featured Vilnius, Kaunas, Visaginas and several other Lithuanian cities. A bedroom neighborhood in Vilnius was turned into Pripyat. Scenes of Soviet Moscow and the iconic scene on the bridge where radioactive ash falls on people were filmed in Kaunas.

The Fabieniškės district was chosen to play the role of the movie Pripyat. The houses on S. Stanevičiaus were similar, although they were built in 1986, just when the disaster occurred. The evacuation scenes were filmed near house No. 92, and Legasov and Shcherbina stood on the roof of house No. 47.

Where else were the scenes filmed:

  • The courtroom from the fifth series is located on the second floor of the Tyszkiewicz Palace at 26 Pylimo Street.
  • The KGB prison cell was filmed at the Genocide Museum in cell #14.
  • The Polesie hotel, bar and hall were located in Vilnius Palace of Culture and Sports in the Shnipiškės district.

The first episode aired at night and was watched by about 2 million viewers. This figure beat the rating of «Game of Thrones». The whole world saw a non-touristy Vilnius.

The Fabieniskes district is popular with filmmakers. For example, in 2013 Italians filmed here the movie«Siberian Upbringing» with John Malkovich in the lead role.

War and Peace

The most expensive adaptation of the classic is BBC One's 2016 seriesWar and Peace.

In the first episode, the symbol of Vilnius, Gedimin’s Tower, plays the role of a tower in the Austrian Alps. A total of 12 objects were included in the movie. Among them are Rusų and Bernardinų streets, Franciscan Church, Vilnius University.

Slope with Gedimin
Slope with Gedimin’s tower

The British used the nature of Vilnius, snowy Trakai, the ethnographic museum of Rumšiškės (near Kaunas) and the nature of Nemencine. The filmmakers simulated Russian villages and everyday life, the military council in Fili, Austerlitz and the field at Borodino.

This is not the first film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s books in Lithuania. In 2007, a slightly less popular version ofWar and Peace and Anna Karenina were filmed. For the winter scenes, the movie companies poured an ice rink in Lukis Square.

Upward movement

The 2017 Russian movie«Moving Up» takes you back to 1972 and tells about the incredible victory of Soviet basketball players at the Munich Olympics — it was a powerful breakthrough for the USSR national team.

Vilnius is back in the frame, now as the Bavarian capital. The Old Town streets Sv. Ignoto and Totoru and the building of the Salomea Neris Gymnasium on Vilniaus Street flash in the frame. The same streets appear in the movie «The Adventures of Pinocchio».

Sv. Ignoto street in the frame
Sv. Ignoto street in the frame
The same street and streetlights were in The Adventures of Pinocchio.
The same street and streetlights were in The Adventures of Pinocchio.
Salomea Neris Gymnasium building on Vilniaus Street
Salomea Neris Gymnasium building on Vilniaus Street

What’s next?

Internationally renowned movie companies continue to shoot movies and series in Vilnius. Netflix has already filmed«Young Wallander» and is preparing for the continuation of the series »Very Strange Things».

The movie company HBO is preparing to shoot the series «Catherine I» in Vilnius. The life of the empress took place in St. Petersburg, but according to the British, the Lithuanian capital is quite suitable for the same role. Scenes will be filmed on Town Hall Square, in the library of Vilnius University and in the courtyard of the Holy Trinity Church.

Town Hall Square
Town Hall Square

Fresh information, where and when filming takes place in Vilnius, on the official portal Vilniaus kino biuras. There is also a filmography for the last few years. What if during your stay in Lithuania you find yourself on the set of a new movie masterpiece?