Vilnius native Kamilė Naraitė attributes her effusive hometown pride to her mother’s efforts to expose her to the most beautiful and historic spots in Lithuania‘s capital city. And though she loves traveling around the world, she’s always able to find a fresh reason to love what she calls “the best place to live” when she returns home. Kamilė shares her insider intel on the best things to see and do in Vilnius on Spotted by Locals. Here’s a taste of what she thinks will make fellow travelers “fall in love with this green, natural, and unique city.”
Vilnius Is My City
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them to is a “republic” of artists called Užupis that is comparable to Montmartre in Paris or Christiania in Copenhagen.
Early autumn is the best time to visit my city because the trees produce spectacular displays of color.
Locals know to skip shopping halls and check out the Old Town of Vilnius, where every little street leads to unique places, instead.
LTaste Cafeteria and Grocery Store is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs. All the goods that you find there can extend your knowledge about Lithuania and its culture and traditions.
My city’s best museum is the National Gallery of Art because it is a modern and multifunctional center of art and culture.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that you can easily reach every notable spot by walking.
My city really knows how to celebrate the equinox because it is linked with many local myths, rituals, and observances.
You can tell if someone is from my city if he or she can speak more than one language.
For a fancy night out, I go to Stebuklai.
Just outside my city, you can visit the ancient town of Trakai.
The best outdoor market in my city is Tymo turgus, which brings all the craftsmen, farmers, and artists in town together in one place. Furthermore, the Open Kitchen project is held here in the summer.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I head to the Garden of Ideas, a new recreational space in Old Town that’s sure to inspire interesting conversations and collaborations.
To escape the crowds, I wake up early in the morning and take a long walk.
The Lithuanian Song Celebration, Lithuania’s largest and most significant cultural event, could only happen in my city.
In the spring you should take part in Street Musician’s Day, when thousands of people go out to the streets to play or listen to live music.
In the fall you should participate in Vilnius Marathon or enjoy Vilnius Music Week.
In the winter you should go to Cathedral Square to experience the Christmas festivities. Grab some mulled wine and gingerbread and enjoy the spectacular atmosphere!
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the family-style restaurant Kukumuku.
The best book about my city is Lost Vilnius by Vladas Drėma because it reveals the magnificent history of this ancient city.
When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Eastern European Funk,” by Inculto.