Holidays in Vilnius
Poland and Lithuania are historically linked by very strong ties. The countries built a common history from 1325, when the young Prince Kazimierz, later known as the Great, married Princess Aldona Anna, daughter of the Grand Duke of Lithuania – Gediminas. The long-term Polish-Lithuanian Union bound our countries for good, and the National Epic “Pan Tadeusz” by Adam Mickiewicz begins with the words “Lithuania, my homeland”. However, this is only an excuse to spend the weekend in Vilnius, because the city has a lot to offer to tourists. Vilnius is also the seat of the Lithuanian car rental company PANEK Rent a Car.
The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, situated in the southern part of the country, 165 km from the border with Poland in Ogrodniki. As the city is only 480 kilometers from Warsaw, the car becomes the best choice of transport. We especially recommend modern and safe models from PANEK Rent a Car. From the capital of Poland, you can get here in about 6 hours along the S8 route to Białystok and then along the road no. Roads in Lithuania are free for passenger cars up to 3.5 tons, including motorways, which, unfortunately, are not too many in the country. The first is the 300 km long A1 from Vilnius to Klaipeda, the second is the 130 km long A2 from Vilnius to the north. When planning a trip to Lithuania, it should be noted that the other roads marked with a capital A and a number are single-lane roads, but of good quality.
It may come as a surprise to Poles and Western Europeans that dirt roads are not a rarity in Lithuania at all and the limit is 70 km / h. In addition, there are speed bumps on the roads to keep drivers who like speed in check. When traveling around Lithuania, you should also be vigilant, because Lithuanians with a certain degree of nonchalance follow traffic regulations and can turn back in forbidden places or perform an unexpected maneuver. In cities, green arrows to turn right are still in force, but they are permanently placed, so with extreme caution and, for example, using the STOP sign, we can maneuver into the traffic without having to wait for traffic lights.
Sightseeing of the city
Situated on the hills, Vilnius is often called “Little Rome”. Narrow streets and many sacred buildings bring to mind the “Eternal City”. There are plenty of little restaurants, cozy boutiques and amber shops here. In 1994, the city was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can start your tour of the city from the famous Gothic Gate of Dawn, erected in the years 1503 – 1514, which is part of the former city walls. Its greatest attraction is the miraculous painting of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, to which Catholics from all over the world make pilgrimages.
Another sacred building worth visiting is the Church of St. Anna, funded by King Kazimierz Jagiellończyk, which is today one of the most beautiful monuments of Vilnius. Legend has it that the church was built using 33 types of bricks and then painted red. The building is said to have delighted Napoleon Bonaparte so much that he wanted to move the church to Paris. We cannot forget about the Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Władysław, which is the most important Christian building in Lithuania, as well as the Monastery of St. Spirit, an Orthodox church in which there are relics of three martyrs: Antoni, John and Eustachy, who lost their lives after being baptized.
Certainly worth seeing is the Vilnius University, founded in 1579 by King Stefan Batory as the Vilnius Academy and University of the Society of Jesus. It is one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe and the second, after Kraków, in our part of the continent.
While visiting the city, you should definitely not miss the Adam Mickiewicz Museum located in the place where the poet lived, and the Writers’ Corner, a place commemorating the work of artists associated with Lithuania. History lovers will love the Gediminas Mountain with the ruins of the western tower of the former seat of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, the Lower Castle, which is the seat of Lithuanian princes and kings, and the charming and colorful Jewish district.
Lithuanian cuisine is rich in dishes based on flour and meat. The culinary hit is Cepeliny, large, oblong noodles somewhat reminiscent of Polish dumplings, filled with meat or fish stuffing. Another item that should appear on the table is Potato Pancake with onion and cracklings, served with cream or sour milk, but you cannot leave Vilnius without trying Pancakes, i.e. thick potato pancakes served with a filling of mushrooms and meat. The next chapter on the culinary list is Chłodnik Litewski, made of beets, cucumbers, eggs, dill and sour cream, and Kibina (a type of shortbread dumplings) that comes from the Tatar tradition.
All snacks consumed in bars served with alcohol have also become a legend. The best known is, of course, Kindziuk, an aromatic, dried sausage, and the biggest surprise may be pig ears prepared in many types, which are said to taste best with Lithuanian beer. Since Lithuanian cuisine is not the most fit, it would be a good idea to try the local tinctures to aid digestion.
At this point we would like to remind you that allowed maximum blood alcohol level is 0,4 per mille, however, drivers who have had a driving license for less than 2 years are absolutely prohibited from driving after consuming even the smallest dose of alcohol.
It is natural that Vilnius as the capital of the country attracts the largest number of tourists, but Lithuania has much more to offer, so when renting a car at PANEK Rent a Car, it is worth considering a longer trip to our eastern neighbors and visiting Kaunas, Klaipeda, Trakai Castle, Kibiny, or rest in the idyllic scenery of Lake Dusia, which is part of the Meteliai nature reserve.