Vilnius from a bird
Vilnius observation decks

Vilnius from a bird's eye view: the best viewpoints

Vilnius is a city of colorful sights, delicious cuisine and beautiful panoramas. Especially impressive are the ancient streets and red roofs. Want a bird’s eye view of them? I’ll tell you about the free and paid (conventionally) observation decks, whether you should climb them or can skip them.

Mountain of Three Crosses (Trys kryžiai)

The best view of Vilnius Old Town is from the Three Crosses Mountain. It is a high (162 meters above sea level) steep hill with a small observation platform at the top. You have to climb it on foot on an old wooden staircase with no railings.

At the top of the hill is a monument — three snow-white crosses. According to legend, it was erected as a signal for the crusaders sailing down the Näris. It served as a defense against attack and robbery: this is how the city informed the crusaders that it was already Christian. According to another legend, the crosses appeared in memory of Franciscans killed by pagans. Neither legend has been confirmed.

The only downside to the Three Crosses is that you only get a view of the Old Town. But what a view!

City Guide: What to see in Vilnius

View from Three Crosses Mountain
View from Three Crosses Mountain

The observation deck is open 24 hours a day. There are two roads leading to the mountain — from the Užupis district and from T. Kosciuškos gatve. In hot weather it is better to climb from T. Kosciuškos gatve. Kosciuškos gatve. The road is gentle and goes through the forest. In the evening or in pleasant weather you can climb from the Užupis side.

  • Opening hours: round the clock.
  • Cost: free of charge.
  • How to get there: The three crosses are located in the center — in Kalnų parkas. The park can be reached by bus 101N or 105N, by streetcar No. 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 15, 17, 20.
  • Website

Gediminas Castle Tower (Gedimino pilies bokštas)

A great view of old and new Vilnius is from the Gediminas Tower. From the top you can see the panorama of the red roofs of old houses, the quiet Žvėrinas, the trendy and sparkling Šnipiškės, and the green Karoliniškės.

The Gediminas Tower has a free and a paid area. For free you can look at Vilnius from the stone walls of the castle, but only at the old or the new city. For 5 € you can climb the tower and see a panoramic view, with a dizzying view at the top. For 10 € you can get a guided tour.

View from Gediminas Tower
View from Gediminas Tower

The Gediminas Tower can be climbed on foot. The steep ascent is paved with cobblestones. It is easier with comfortable shoes.

I don’t recommend climbing the mountain on your own if it’s hot outside or if you plan to go sightseeing in Vilnius — you may not have the energy for anything else after the climb. You can get to the mountain by cable car. Round-trip tickets are sold at the ticket office at the foot of the hill.

If you went up to the tower on foot, you can go back down by cable car and pay at the ticket office at the bottom. There are no funicular ticket offices upstairs.

  • Hours are April-September from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., box office until 8:30 p.m., October-March from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., box office until 5:30 p.m.
  • Cost: the view from the castle walls is free of charge, from the observation tower — 5 € adult ticket, 2 € children’s ticket. The funicular costs 1 € one way, 2 € both ways. Children under 12 years old are free of charge.
  • How to get there: take bus 101N, 105N to the stop Karaliaus Mindaugo tiltas, then 100 meters to the street Arsenalo g. 5.
  • Website
Cable car to the tower
Cable car to the tower

St. John’s Church (Šv. Jono Krikštytojo ir Šv. Jono apaštalo ir evangelisto bažnyčia)

The bell tower of St. John’s Church is the tallest building in the Old Town. The height of the structure is 68 meters and the observation deck is 45 meters high. There are 193 steps and an elevator to the top. It is the best place if you want to see all the streets of the Old Town described in the book by Max Fry.

The observation deck of the bell tower is not the most popular place for tourists. Not even every local resident knows of its existence, so there are always few people at the height. The observation deck is a gallery with a Foucault pendulum and windows without glass, grids and nets. Here you can take a photo without strangers in the frame.

  • Hours are May through September from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., box office until 6:30 p.m.
  • Cost: admission 3 € for adults, 1.5 € for children. Elevator ride 2,5 €. The courtyard is accessible with the entrance ticket.
  • How to get there: the bell tower is in the center near Vilnius University and other attractions of the city. Entrance and ticket office from St. Jonas Street.
  • Website
tower of St. John
tower of St. John’s Church

St. Stanislaus and St. Wladyslaus Cathedral (Vilniaus katedra)

Guidebooks list it simply as «Cathedral» without specifying which one. There are two cathedrals in Vilnius: Assumption Cathedral and St. Stanislaus Cathedral. The observation tower is a bell tower next to St. Stanislaus Cathedral, it is a free-standing structure with a belfry and an observation tower on the upper tier. The height is 57 meters with the cross or 52 meters without the cross.

If the Gediminas Tower is closed for repairs, which is often the case, and you don’t have the energy to climb the Three Crosses, you can look at the city from the bell tower. The structure stands in the center of Vilnius on the square where local festivals are held and the Christmas tree is put up. The bells ring at 17:00.

  • Opening hours: May through September on Sundays. Climbing every hour from 8:00 to 19:00.
  • Cost: 4,5 € entrance fee for adults, 2,5 € for children and students.
  • How to get there: The bell tower is located in the historical part of Vilnius at the foot of the castle mountain and at the intersection of the main streets — Gediminas Avenue and Piles Street.
  • Website
Cathedral bell tower
Cathedral bell tower

Europa Tower skyscraper

In Šnipiškės district, on the right bank of the Vilija River stands a high-rise complex with the skyscraper Europa Tower (148 m). The building is visible from different points of the city. It was officially opened on May 1, 2004 on the occasion of Lithuania’s accession to the European Union.

The observation deck is located on an open terrace at a height of 114 meters. It offers a panoramic view of the city. You can only go up once a week, but it’s free of charge. Great photos are guaranteed.

  • Hours of operation are every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Cost: free of charge.
  • How to get there: from the center take buses 3G, 43, 52 to the Europos aikštė stop right next to the tower. On foot from the center it is only 1.2 km across the bridge on Kalvarijų gatve.
  • Complex Website.

Lookout on Subačiaus street (Subačiaus apžvalgos aikštelė)

The guidebooks don’t mention the observation deck on Subačiaus Street, but it’s where the locals relax. It is a small platform on a hill overlooking Užupis and the Old Town. You can see the Three Crosses, the Tower of Gedimin, the Tower of Europe and the churches in the center.

A stationary binoculars and a panoramic information board are installed on the equipped ledge. Nearby cafes, Kūdrų parkas with a pond and benches, a couple of places of interest: the Church of the Ascension of the Lord and the Church of the Heart of Jesus.

  • Opening hours: round the clock.
  • Cost: free of charge.
  • How to get there: on foot from Užupis on the side of Paupio gatve. From the train station three stops by bus 13, 34 or 74 to Subačiaus st. or walk 20 minutes.
View from the hill to Subayachaus St.
View from the hill to Subayachaus St.

Vilnius TV Tower (Vilniaus TV bokštas)

The TV Tower is the only observation deck located quite far from the center. But it’s worth a visit: you can see the city from a height of 165 meters. At this height, there is a restaurant that slowly rotates on its axis. In 55 minutes it rotates 360 degrees. The range of the view is 50 km (for example, Trakai is only 30 km away).

From here you can enjoy an incredibly picturesque view of Vilnius — the green massifs of forests, red tiled roofs of houses, the sky and the blue surface of the river Vilija. It is better to plan your visit to the TV tower in advance and book a table. The place is popular, and the prices are not higher than in any other café.

  • Hours of operation: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Cost: adult lift ticket 8—11 €, children 5 €, students 7 €.
  • How to get there: from the main station take bus 2G, 16 or 54 to Vaivorykštės st. stop and then walk 900 meters.
  • Booking Portal.


An unusual way to see the city from above is to take a hot air balloon ride. Vilnius is one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe and one of the few where flying is allowed directly over the city. The streets of the Old Town and the red roofs are impressive and inspiring. Flying over the city, you can see it all from a new angle.

  • Opening hours: flying is allowed only in clear weather. Flight hours are from 9:00 to 16:00.
  • Cost: per hour of flight 99 €. Price includes insurance, first flight certificate and champagne/wine.
  • How to find: several organizations provide services — Viatory, Ballooning. LT, Smile Balloons, Hot Air Lines.