Vilnius neighborhoods: which one to choose and where to stay for a tourist?
Vilnius: the best neighborhoods for tourists

Vilnius neighborhoods: which one to choose and where to stay for a tourist?

Which neighborhood in Vilnius is worth staying in? Each neighborhood reveals my hometown in a new way. I will tell you about the most suitable neighborhoods for a rich exploration of the Lithuanian capital.

You don’t have to stay in the city center to get to know Vilnius better. The Lithuanian capital consists of 21 districts, 8 of which are within walking distance from the center. 10 minutes and you’re in the Old Town, with other attractions along the way.

The bonus of such accommodation is that it is quiet, cheap and interesting. Each neighborhood has its own sights, stories legends.

Vilnius neighborhoods in and near the center of Vilnius

Senamiestis (Senamiestis) is the central district of Vilnius

The historical center. This part of Vilnius has the most iconic sights and viewpoints. There are cafes with traditional cuisine everywhere. There are souvenir shops and photogenic locations on ancient streets. Max Fry wrote about them in the collection «Tales of Old Vilnius».

The Old Town hosts festivals and celebrations in summer and Christmas fairs in winter. Everything is close by and there is never a dull moment. It takes 7—10 minutes to walk from the main stations to the center.

Prices for hotels and apartments here are higher than in neighboring areas. A room in a 4* hotel in low season costs from 50 € and more.

Travel Guide: What to see in Vilnius

Xianamestis neighborhood
Xianamestis neighborhood

Naujamiestis (Naujamiestis)

Naujamestis or «New Town» is not really a new neighborhood. In the nineteenth century, it was the site of profitable houses and factories, and there was a train station nearby. It is not hard to guess how unattractive and dangerous the neighborhood was. On the plus side, the way to the station is straight, not through the winding streets of the Old Town.

In 2010, the situation changed. The neighborhood was cleaned up and decorated, and the facades of the houses were renewed. Former factories were rebuilt into trendy lofts, and profitable houses were converted into apartments and hostels. Modern Scandinavian-style houses and hotels were built on vacant lots.

Now Naujamestis is one of the neighborhoods where I prefer to stay in Vilnius when I visit my hometown. It’s a 15 minute walk to the train station and the same to the Old Town. Nearby there are large stores Iki and Maxima, park and observatory, cafes. From interesting — architectural monuments, originally decorated memorial to Frank Zappa and murales. In general, the atmosphere of Naujamestis reminds me of St. Petersburg.

The former Naujamestis lodging houses
The former Naujamestis lodging houses
The modern neighborhood of Naujamestis
The modern neighborhood of Naujamestis

Užupis (Užupis)

Live in an independent state in the center of Vilnius? Easy! In 1995, people of art took over the Užupis neighborhood, and two years later they self-proclaimed themselves a Republic. The people got a constitution, a coat of arms, an anthem, a symbol and an army. Joke or not, the story has been going on for over 20 years.

Užupis is a trendy and distinctive neighborhood near the Old Town and Three Crosses Mountain. Creative bohemians — artists, musicians and poets — live and work here. What’s not Montmartre? The neighborhood is full of art galleries, incubators and workshops. Even the walls of the houses are decorated with street art.

Užupis hosts unusual events — for example, on St. Patrick’s Day, the Vilniale River is dyed green. On the second day of Easter there are no cafes open. But it is White Tablecloth Day, which means that residents set a table on the terrace and invite passers-by.

The houses in Užupis are old and look dilapidated and neglected from the outside. In the courtyards there are makeshift benches and ropes on which to dry laundry. But on Booking, spacious apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows have the highest rating in Vilnius (from 9.4).

Užupis district
Užupis district

Žvėrynas (Žvėrynas)

The greenest neighborhood of Vilnius stands on a low hill. Back in the XVI century it was the hunting grounds of the Radziwills. The first houses appeared in the XIX century. In 1901 Zvėrynas was sold to Vilnius and now it is one of the prestigious districts of the capital.

There are old wooden houses and trendy brick cottages in Žvėrynas. Inhabitants of historic buildings are obliged to keep the facade and decorative elements in pristine condition. There are carved details and decorations, signs of Art Nouveau.

Zvėrynas is such a suburban Vilnius, from which it takes 15 minutes to the center or two stops by bus. Nearby is the Karaites' kenassa, a picturesque lake near the Russian Embassy, Vingis Park and the large Panorama shopping center.

Zverinas neighborhood
Zverinas neighborhood

Antakalnis (Antakalnis)

In the past Antakalnis was considered a prestigious neighborhood. In the XVII–XVIII centuries there were palaces and estates of the most powerful families in Europe. The palaces were inhabited by the Sapieghs, Radziwills, Patsy and Sluszka. In the XIX century the neighborhood was occupied by bohemians and intellectuals. And all this — 7—10 minutes from the center and the Old Town.

Antakalnis has attractions in Antakalnis:

  • St. Peter and Paul Church. Take a look inside: the outside of the church is not as beautiful as the inside. The interior was designed by Italian craftsmen who added 2,000 details (sculptures and paintings).
  • Antakalnis Cemetery. Not Père-Lachaise, but tourists come to see the crypts and war memorials commemorating the events of 1812, 1941 and 1991.
  • Palace of Vileyshis. A complex of three buildings built in the early 20th century. The materials used in the construction were rare at that time (concrete and cement). Stone for the foundation was brought from Finland, and tiles for the ovens from Holland.

Antakalnis is a green area, a little pompous and cozy. It is pleasant to walk along the Vilija River here. Two kilometers away is the «Mountain of the Three Crosses» — the observation point of Vilnius.

Šnipiškės (Šnipiškės)

The glass skyscrapers visible from the observation deck on the Gedimin Tower are the New Center of Vilnius. Only a bridge separates it from the Old Town. Locals call Šnipiškės «Shanghai» for its contrasts: modern high-rises hide palaces and 18th century manors.

The most prestigious chain hotels are located in Šnipiškės: Holiday Inn, IBIS and Redisson Blu Lietuva. The observation deck is located in the neighboring high-rise of the shopping center «Europe» (read here how to get to it and other observation decks in Vilnius). There are interesting places nearby, such as Raduszkiewicz Palace. The 18th century building looks unusual surrounded by glass giants. Near the Green Bridge there is the Church of St. Raphael the Archangel and the Planetarium.

View of Šnipiškės from Gedimin
View of Šnipiškės from Gedimin’s Tower

All these neighborhoods of Vilnius are suitable for a pleasant overnight stay. I often visit friends and relatives and choose a neighborhood to stay in according to my mood: historical, creative, green, bohemian, upscale or modern — but which neighborhood will you stay in?