Vilnius Favorite Tips by matcrazy1 Top 5 Page for this destination
Vilnius Favorites: 71 reviews and 81 photos
ATM = BANKOMATAS OF KREDYT BANK
Favorite thing: ATM is called BANKOMATAS in Lithuanian language and marked as on my picture. Just in case you are looking for any...
By the way, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are going to introduce European currency Euro, Lithuania in 2009 but the exact date is still not known (in 2004).
POLICEMAN IN VILNIUS
Favorite thing: I found Vilnius a safe city although maybe I was too short there to catch accurate opinion. There were not many police seen in Vilnius but I felt there as safe as in any other European capital.
Well, I had wrong prejudicies on low personal safety in Vilnius. That's why I, at least at first, was more careful: I avoided dark backstreets at night, areas around bus and railway stations, I watched my valuables all the time etc. Well, I would be scared to enter alone districts full of huge, Soviet style apartments buildings esp. at night although looking for accommodation at night I had to do it once and nothing bad happened.
Forget about car thefts but...
I was warned many times not to travel to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by my car because of high risk of car thefts. Haha, I do NOT believe in it although I don't know any official police statistics. Maybe it could happen in the past... maybe if I drive top class Mercedes car.
Well, there was something wrong about car alarms in Vilnius and generally in all Baltic states. I could hear their loud alarms many times although nothing bad happened to the cars. Low quality of alarms or what?
I saw one Lithuanian car with plastic wrap instead of glass window at my guarded hotel parking lot. Does it prove anything?
I drove quite new, small (but enough for two) Toyota Yaris (similar to American ECHO) which was equipped in some good (top secret :-) alarms and insuranced against thefts. And... I didn't wash my car during my trip haha. In Vilnius I parked on unguarded but mostly paid parking lots and at guarded (and additionally paid) parking lot of my hotel at night.
MY TRAVEL BOOKS TO VILNIUS :-)
Favorite thing: Before I went to Vilnius:
1. I read some pages on Vilnius on Virtual Tourist here
2. I used the tool "Find Hotel Deals" on the above page to check the prices of accommodations (hmm... I couldn't book any as I wasn't sure my dates).
3. I read latest discussions on Vilnius in VT Travel Forum here.
4. I bought a travel book in Polish: "Wilno. Barok z kamienia i oblokow" (192 p.). My recommendation: up-to-date practical info, great info on history and great description + maps of 8 walking tours (+ trip to Trakai). Hmm... still 5 to do including very interesting tour around Jewish Vilnius!
5. I bought Polish version of Rough Guide travel book to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Kaliningrad district and a map of these countries.
1. I bought travel guide to Vilnius by Tomas Venclova (Polish version: Wilno, 214 p.) at the Gediminas Tower. It was available for sure in English and Lithuanian as well - my recommendation! Hmm... 42.00 Lt was a little bit much but... I found inside: a lot of lovely pictures and well written, with some passion info on history of Vilnius and point by point on its 78 tourist attractions. No practical info there.
On the web I found tons of info on the following portals:
Vilnius City Paper
Vilnius in your pocket
Vilnius City Municipality
MAPS OF VILNIUS
Favorite thing: I was driving by car to Vilnius and I was driving around Vilnius as well. So, I had to buy maps of Vilnius. If you are going to visit (on foot) "only" Vilnius centre/downtown you don't need maps of the whole Vilnius area. In this case, a map included in some travel guides to Vilnius (or even Lithuania) maybe enough. Buy a leaflet "Vilnius in your pocket" available in any kiosk, bookstore, tourist information office, at some hotels as well - the map inside is enough.
Just in case you need detailed maps of the whole area of large Vilnius, I found and bought two (on petrol/gas stations):
Vilnus miesto planas (on right - 12.00 Lt):
1:25,000 map of great Vilnius + more detailed (no scale marked) map of the downtown (with marked main buildings, points of interest etc. although named in Lithuanian only), one-way streets, trolleybus and bus lines marked. Map is printed on one side (the second is not printed), hard cover with fixed a small leaflet with street index, info (addresses, phone numbers) on emergency, accommodations, theaters, museum, embassies. All in 5 languages: Lithuanian, English, German, Polish :-) and Russian.
Vilnius (map on the left - 18.00 Lt):
1:21,000 map of great Vilnius (covers less area than the above but... enough) in hard cover, on reverse side: map of Vilnius downtown (1:8,000) and very usuful map of area around Vilnius (with Trakai); one-way streets, bus and trolleybus lines marked, inportant buildings, points of interests etc. well marked although named in Lithuanian. On reverse side: street index, address and phone info on cafes, restaurants, post offices, banks, airlines, taxi companies, internet cafes, accommodations, museums etc., etc. All in 5 languages: Lithuanian, English, German, Polish :-) and Russian.
Conclusion: both maps used too small font (VT-like :-); the second map was better for me.
Favorite thing: I found quite many public phones (always for telephone cards) around old town in Vilnius (add the post office at Gedimino prospektas close to the Cathedral), well, not as many as in say Berlin (visited in February 2004) or esp. in US cities. But I can't complain, in any doubts read below.
I remember times of the Soviet Union, the country which occupied Lithuania till 1990. Once my father tried to call home (in Poland) from Lviv (Ukraine, now) that was from the Soviet Union. Hmm... it's another story. Simply it was almost impossible, it took many hours (first a trip to the only one post office which offered in theory such possibility for foreigners), passport check-ups, special permissions etc. I though they called to Moscow to allow my father to call Poland that time. Hmm... they really didn't want people to contact without their full control.
OK, times luckily changed :-))). I called Poland from the public phone using the phone card I bought in the post office. The card costed 13.00 Lt and it was for 75 so called teleunits and 27 min. of domestic calls. It was enough for a few minutes call to Poland and less expensive than using my Polish cell phone.
There was no phone book inside the phone boot but (very nice surprice :-) exact information in English.
Free calls (no card required):
01 - Fire Station,
02 - Police
03 - First Aid
04 - Gas Emergency.
COLLEGIUM INTERNET CAFE
Favorite thing: If you are addicted to VT more than me... go to one of internet/cyber cafes ("interneto kavine") in Vilnius centre/downtown. Well, I did find only one of them - were there more?
This one on my picture was located at the backyard of Piles gatve 22 and was called Collegium (go through the gate, the cafe on your left - look at the map).
The cafe was small (only one computer was free when I was there), open from 8.00 am to midnight. Well, it was expensive as for Lithuania: 6.00 Lt per hour or 2.00 Lt per 15 min. Later in Lithuania I did find internet cafes at the price 4.00 or even 2.00 Lt per hour. More: here.
POLICE (POLICIJA) CAR
Favorite thing: I found Vilnius or better to say its centre/downtown very frindly and safe for visitors. Locals I was lucky to speak with, confirmed that opinon. Well, certainly I was watching my belongigs and valuables all the time as always during my trips and especially at crowded places. I didn't meet many policemen walking around the old town but they were. I would be probably arrested for taking a picture of a police car in the Soviet Union in not so old past but now, no worries...
Anyway, I would rather avoid walking alone at night outside the city center and esp. inside neglected housing districts and close to bus and train stations as I excepted higher risk crime rate at these areas. At night I would park my car on guarded parking lots only, although my car wasn't newest Mercedes model and was insuranced against thefts.
Just in case of any emergency... call free (no card required in public phones):
01 - Fire Station,
02 - Police
03 - First Aid
POST OFFICE AT GEDIMINO PROSPEKTAS
Favorite thing: I needed postage stamps and I found monumental building of main post office on my picture at Gedimino prospektas 7, 5 min. walk from the cathedral, second block on the right side. I didn't see more post offices in the centre/downtown of Vilnius.
Mon - Fri: 7.00 am - 7.00 pm
Sat: 9.00 am - 4.00 pm
I bought and sent postcards from Vilnius and I must admit that Lithuanian Post was very fast.
VISA ALWAYS ACCEPTED
Favorite thing: Just in case you don't have Lithuanian cash (litas): a few stores/supermarkets and resturants/pubs I visited accepted Visa cards (except one smaller grocery). But generally the cards were not accepted surely on street stalls, at some smaller stores and in some museums/expositions like for example the one inside the Gediminas Tower.
The most accepted cards were of Visa systen. Some ATMs didn't accept Mastercard/Eurocard, Maestro cards. American Express was rarely accepted whereas Discovery cards never.
ATM OF KREDYT BANK
Favorite thing: I bought lithuanian currency (LTL or Lt = litas) just when I crossed Polish border where Polish currency was accpted at quite good course. But I spent them before I reached Vilnius, for gas/fuel, hotel and in Kedainai.
I easy found a few ATMs in Vilnius downtown/centre. I used the first one on Gedimino Prospektas (Gediminas Boulevard) located on left, at its beginning, walking from the Cathedral. Great location for folks starting sightseeing at the Cathedral Square.
The ATM accepted only Visa system cards and offered service not only in Lithuanian and English but in German and... what a surprise, in Polish as well. In a moment I noticed that it was ATM of Polish Kredyt Bank which Vilnius office was located just there.
Well, there was another ATM which accepted Visa and Eurocard/Mastercard cards on the opposite side of Gedimino pr. 1-2 minutes futher, by a post office.
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