Baltic Cities: Vilnius and Riga

To start in an Around the World journey, you have to start with obscure cities! I was able to purchase an oddly cheap flight from Boston to Vilnius, and since I had never been to Lithuania, I figured “why not?”

Once I arrived in Vilnius and had a much needed rest, my first thing to do was a walking tour around the Old Town of Vilnius – the largest Old Town area of any of the Baltic capitals. The highlight of the Old Town is from atop the hill in the center of the Old Town, which also has the Gediminas Castle Tower.
18446768_10213570912932075_4043673172823069013_n.jpg

When it comes to the actual landmarks of Vilnius, do not expect to find as many as you would in Western Europe. The feel of the cities comes from walking through the streets, and notably, the courtyards. You can find statues in the middle of many of the courtyards as a representation of past Lithuanian life, such as notable figures in history or a symbol of their Pagan past, having been the last area of Europe to give up Paganism as a religious following.

The feel of the city is quite similar to that of Western European cities, you could easily mistake yourself being in France or Italy.

edit.jpg

edit 1.jpg

edit 4.jpg

edit 2.jpg

If you find yourself satisfied with your time in Vilnius and you’re looking to venture out of the city for a day – keep Trakai on your list. About 30 minutes outside of the city, by bus, you can find an incredible castle in the middle of a lake. The cost of the bus ride is about $1.50 each way.

edit 2.jpg

edit 3.jpg

edit 4.jpg

edit.jpg

My next stop was Riga, Latvia. If you only had time for one, I would choose Riga over Vilnius. While the Old Town is smaller, it seems more unique than Vilnius and more Eastern European. There are two main sectors of Riga, the Old Town which has a distinctive Baltic look, and an Art Nouveau neighborhood which feels more Western European.

Riga is noticeably more expensive than Vilnius, however it is still certainly a budget friendly city. I was easily able to keep my budget under $40 per day for food and activities.

18485834_10213592511112016_2607813894022028480_n.jpg

18519658_10213592513432074_6980953391729963922_n.jpg

18485967_10213592512712056_6284868520242195750_n.jpg

18485541_10213592511752032_2426694660165925383_n.jpg

18556238_10213592511912036_3013004052010891073_n.jpg

18486028_10213592512472050_4235872995563683597_n.jpg

Another day trip I highly recommend is to Cēsis, Latvia, about a 2 hour train ride away. The cost of the trip there and back is $8 total. Again, you will find a castle in the center of a town that has been dubbed, “The Most Latvian Town.” The town is quaint and the castle is from the Middle Ages, and in my opinion, much prettier than the one I saw in Lithuania.

Explore the Medieval Castle by candle-lit lantern, from the chambers to the dungeons and also the New Castle which is right next door. In the New Castle, there is a museum explaining the sad history of the castle – including its sieges and one of the largest mass suicides of European history. You can visit the entire castle complex for about $8 total.

Castle Park at the foot of the hill that the castle resides on is an Instagram dream, with beautiful staircases leading up to the medieval castle.

Be sure to also visit the Old Town, where you can enjoy a beer in the main square for 2 euros, and also the church which has free admission. 18486369_10213592514392098_8957232152883998890_n.jpg

18485859_10213592515992138_4522552570206216528_n.jpg

18519795_10213592513912086_5174456046278566789_n.jpg

18555977_10213592516632154_3330733837263715619_n.jpg

18486035_10213592514712106_4902858995369338969_n.jpg

18485509_10213592516992163_4617878181870329969_n.jpg

18556984_10213592516152142_5063003022094438218_n.jpg

18527780_10213592515032114_7881327361896630291_n.jpg

18582312_10213592515112116_4868792284473498365_n.jpg

18527916_10213592518432199_5090977286828983628_n.jpg

One thought on “Baltic Cities: Vilnius and Riga

Add yours

  1. apparently EVERY day is gorgeous! these pics are magical… everything looks as if it has jumped off the pages of a travel magazine, or storybook. LOVE that you’re there having such a wonderful time!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: