Vilnius opens doors for Christmas visitors
November 28 (TravelAndy): Lithuania capital Vilnius is on a high since being named by Lonely Planet as one of its top destinations to visit in 2018. Consequently, it’s no wonder the city’s tourism department has been on a promotion overdrive.
The city is now getting ready to welcome visitors to its Christmas markets filled with stalls offering unique finds and the aroma of candied nuts that are a big thing in Vilnius.
For traditional Christmas entertainment, visit the two main Christmas markets in the city’s main squares. For a modern and trendy Christmas filled with local designs and handmade gifts, check out the smaller pop-up markets.
Cathedral Square, 1 December – 7 January
The biggest Christmas market in Vilnius will surround the city’s Christmas Tree at Cathedral Square. The tree will be lit on the evening of 1 December, which is also when the market will open its stalls. Vendors here typically sell seasonal staples like herbal teas, mulled wine and pastries, but you can also pick up gifts and Lithuanian souvenirs to take home with you.
Town Hall Square, 1 December – 7 January
Traditionally, this market has been a welcome refuge from the crowds at Cathedral Square. Town Hall Square is lined with picturesque makeshift houses, making it great for photos. The market, which will open here on 1 December, will follow a similar concept as the one at Cathedral Square; however, it will be a little bit smaller and offer a comparatively modest selection of goods. It’s still worth a visit, though, and the variety of holiday gifts and local food won’t disappoint.
Following is a list of some hip markets that will be open in town:
The International Christmas Charity Bazaar, 1 December
One of the top charity events in town brings together representatives of more than 30 international communities selling specialty goods from their corners of the world. Even if you don’t feel like buying anything, drop by for the lottery, which offers fabulous prizes in exchange for a donation to the bazaar’s beneficiaries. The event traditionally takes place at Vilnius Town Hall.
Etmonų Christmas Market, 7-8 December
The organisers of this market promise to give visitors a stress-free Christmas shopping experience. Make your way to the corner of Arklių Street 6 and Etmonų Street 3, where you’ll find bars open on the ground floor and the market one floor above. The event will focus on local designers and creatives.
The Vilnius Christmas Fair, 8 December
The Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre LITEXPO will host a fair that aims to offer the widest variety of Christmas essentials under one roof. The vendors will be grouped in different areas, making it easy to find what you need – food, gifts or fresh ideas. Even Santa Claus will drop by this market, which definitely makes it worth a visit.
The Christmas Design Square, 18-23 December
The number-one destination for people who want to buy products made by Lithuanian designers. Open for six days at Vinco Kudirkos Square, this market is loved by both locals and visitors alike, and offers excellent bargains on thoughtful Christmas gifts.
The Commune Art Christmas Market, 15-16 December
For two days, Vilnius’ old Palace of Trade Unions on V. Mykolaičio-Putino Street 5 will come alive with Christmas lights and large crowds of visitors and vendors offering gifts from all corners of Lithuania. Drop by if you’re someone who loves knowing how the products you buy are made – the vendors will be happy to explain and may even invite you to one of their workshops.
Christmas Pop Up Market, 15-16 December
For two days, Club Kablys, known among locals for its quality parties, will host their annual Pop-Up Christmas Market. It’ll bring together over 70 well-known Lithuanian brands that sell fashion items, accessories, cosmetics and food. Drop by even if just out of curiosity – the address is Kauno Street 5.
Uptown Christmas, 21-23 December
The town’s favourite event space – Loftas, on Švitrigailos Street 29 – will host this last-minute Christmas market to lend a hand to anuone who’s a gift or two short. Alongside local designers and craftspeople, it will also offer street food and a good soundtrack that’s free of the usual Christmas clichés.
Starting this winter, Vilnius will be easily accessible to visitors from five new cities, with direct flights from Lviv and Kiev (Ukraine), Amman (Jordan), Treviso (Italy), and Tel Aviv (Israel).
Flights for passengers from Munich, Berlin, and Paris will become even more accessible, as airBaltic is switching to bigger aircrafts on those routes. Moreover, getting to Vilnius from Stockholm will be easier, as Norwegian has started offering flights more frequently.