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Vilnius County

Culture & history

Our most recommended Vilnius County Culture & History

Vilnius: 3-Hour Jewish Heritage Tour

1. Vilnius: 3-Hour Jewish Heritage Tour

Explore Vilnius by air-conditioned minibus, with an English-speaking guide, and discover the history of the Jews in the city as you travel through the former ghettos along Žemaitijos Street, discover the Vilnius Choral Synagogue, and go to the Jewish cemetery. The story can be traced back to the 13th century. In folklore Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews) were known for their love of education, no-nonsense straight-talk, and sardonic wit. They first settled in Vilna, as the capital was and still is known in Jewish culture, from around the time of its founding in 1323. By the 18th century, Vilna had become the world capital of traditional religious (Talmudic) learning, and was often referred to as the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Towering over the many great Jewish figures the city has produced is the Talmudic leader, Gaon of Vilna. Some 94 percent of the Litvaks perished in the Holocaust, the highest percentage of genocide in Europe. Today, a small community of around 5,000 Litvaks make bold efforts to maintain their heritage.

Vilnius: Then and Now Old Town Tour

2. Vilnius: Then and Now Old Town Tour

Vilnius is a beautiful city, renowned for it's green spaces and Baroque architecture. It is also a very old city with lots of history, which nuances are best presented by a local Lithuanian. We recommend starting your tour where the history of the city began 10,000 years ago at the Cathedral Square. Other meeting points in the Old town would also work, however this one is recommended. Walking through important buildings, streets and other objects you will find out how Lithuania emerged from the swamps to become a self-sufficient country, how it came to its fall, what was the situation during the Soviet occupation and what the situation is now.

Vilnius: Half-Day Sightseeing Tour to Trakai

3. Vilnius: Half-Day Sightseeing Tour to Trakai

Enjoy an amazing half-day tour of Trakai, traveling by air-conditioned minibus from the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, with an English-speaking guide. Located just 17 miles (28 kilometers) from Vilnius, the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is situated in a picturesque lakeside area, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. Upon arrival, explore the historic town and well preserved ruins of the Peninsula Castle, set on its own island in Lake Galvė. Constructed in the 14th century, the castle was once of extreme strategic importance, falling into disrepair in the 17th century. Reconstructed according to its 15th century plan after World War 2, it’s now a major landmark of Lithuania. Learn about the small ethnic Karaites group who settled in Trakai, along with Tartars, Russians, Jews, and Poles, and get panoramic views of Lake Galvė, the deepest of the region’s 200 lakes.

Vilnius: Private Paneriai Park, Trakai Castle, Kernavė Tour

4. Vilnius: Private Paneriai Park, Trakai Castle, Kernavė Tour

After pick-up from accommodation in Vilnius start the tour with Paneriai memorial park, where thousands of Lithuanian Jews were killed. Learn about the Paneriai or Ponary massacre where up to 100,000 people were murdered by German SD, SS and Lithuanian Nazi collaborators during World War II. After the tour of the park visit Trakai castle, once a major centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and where today you can see one of Europe's most beautiful castles on the island in the lake. Here you will have the chance to have lunch in a traditional Karaim restaurant or enjoy a boat trip around the lake. After Trakai visit the first capital of Lithuania, Kernavė. Kernavė is highly significant in Lithuanian history and boasts five hill forts and historic churches. A Lithuanian state cultural reserve was established in Kernavė in 1989 and it was in 2004 that Kernavė Archaeological Site was included into the UNESCO world heritage list. After enjoying this site you will be returned to your accomodation in Vilnius.

The Hill of Crosses: Full-Day Tour from Vilnius

5. The Hill of Crosses: Full-Day Tour from Vilnius

This full-day tour starts at 09.00 AM when you’re picked up at your centrally located Vilnius Hotel. After about an hour’s drive you’ll reach the Ukmergė District, stopping at a park established to remember those who fought against the Soviet regime. You’ll see crosses dedicated to the partisans, to the most important dates of Lithuanian history and to famous individuals, such as Pope John Paul II and US President Ronald Reagan. Learn about the symbolism of the cross in Lithuanian culture and history. Continue to the Siauliai area, where you’ll visit the Hill of Crosses, one of the most popular sightseeing attractions in Lithuania. Enjoy lunch at local restaurant and taste traditional Lithuanian dishes. After lunch you’ll head back to Vilnius arriving at around 5:00-6:00 PM.

Vilnius: 2.5-Hour Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

6. Vilnius: 2.5-Hour Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Meet your guide on the stairs of Vilnius town hall and be introduced to the Jewish history of Vilnius. After getting to know your walking tour group and having a short overview of Jewish history in the city, the guide will take you through the narrow winding streets of the former Jewish Quarter to talk about Jewish life in Vilnius before World War II. Gaze at photos of the past, depicting what was once a vibrant Jewish community in Vilnius. After this, you will go to see the site of the Great Synagogue of Vilna and the area where Vilna Gaon used to live. Learn how during World War II the Jewish quarter was divided into two ghettos. Visit both ghettos and learn about Nazi rule in Vilnius. After this, learn about the fate of the Vilnius Jewish community during the communist era and after the independence of Lithuania. If it's open, have the chance to visit the Vilnius Choral Synagogue. Afterwards, your guide will take you back to the area of the Big Ghetto to finish your tour near the Jewish Cultural and Information Centre for further exploration or bring you back to the starting point of the tour.

Vilnius: Half-Day Private Tour to Trakai

7. Vilnius: Half-Day Private Tour to Trakai

Enjoy an amazing half-day tour of Trakai, traveling by air-conditioned private minibus from Vilnius, with your own personal English-speaking guide. Located just 17 miles (28 kilometers) from Vilnius, the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is set in a picturesque lakeside area, and is now one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. Your guide will pick you up at your Vilnius hotel for the short transfer. Upon arrival, explore the historic town and well-preserved ruins of the Peninsula Castle, set on its own island in Lake Galvė. Constructed in the 14th century, the castle was once of extreme strategic importance, falling into disrepair in the 17th century. Reconstructed according to its 15th century plan after World War II, it’s now a major landmark of Lithuania. Learn about the small ethnic Karaites group who settled in Trakai, along with Tartars, Russians, Jews, and Poles, and get panoramic views of Lake Galvė, the deepest of the region’s 200 lakes, before your return transfer to Vilnius.

From Vilnius: Kaunas, Trakai and Paneriai Forest

8. From Vilnius: Kaunas, Trakai and Paneriai Forest

During this private day tour you will be able to explore the most interesting sites in the surrounding areas of Vilnius. The tour will start from Paneriai memorial park, where thousands of Jews from Wilna were killed.  The Paneriai or Ponary massacre was the mass murder of up to 100,000 people by German SD, SS and Lithuanian Nazi collaborators, during World War II. The murders took place between July 1941 and August 1944 near the railway station of Ponary, now known as Paneriai, a suburb of what is today Vilnius, Lithuania. After the tour in the park, you will head to the second capital of Lithuania, where today you can see the most beautiful castle, on the island in the lake. Here, you have the possibility to enjoy lunch in traditional Karaim restaurant or take boat trip around the lake. After, the group will head to the temporal capital of Lithuania - Kaunas, which is second largest town in Lithuania today. You will also visit Pazaislis monastery. After this, you will head back to your accomodation in Vilnius.

Vilnius: City Bike Tour of Vilnius Highlights

9. Vilnius: City Bike Tour of Vilnius Highlights

Hop on a bike and explore the beautiful town of Vilnius with a guide. On this bike tour, learn about the history of Vilnius, ride down Gedimino Avenue from the Old Town to Zverynas District, and get that perfect photo from the Subaciaus observation deck. Meet your guide in the Old Town and pick up your helmet and bike. Follow the winding streets of Vilnius' Old Town, pausing to admire the many famous sights in this UNESCO World Heritage area. As you bike, learn about Vilnius' fascinating history, from its medieval era triumphs to the 20th-century occupations and its successful fight for independence. As you bike down Gedimino Avenue, the main street of Vilnius, you can see how the city has grown. Before arriving in the Zverynas district, enjoy a break on the Cathedral Square near the stunning Gedimino Tower. Continue to the Subaciaus observation deck, admire the Old Town's beautiful architecture, and snap the perfect picture of Paupys and Uzupis.

From Vilnius: Trakai Castle and Paneriai Memorial Tour

10. From Vilnius: Trakai Castle and Paneriai Memorial Tour

Following pick-up from your hotel or apartment in central Vilnius, drive to the Paneriai Memorial Park, built at the site of the Ponary massacre where up to 100,000 people were murdered by the Germans during World War II. Pay your respects to the fallen heroes and see historic photographs and documents that detail the tragedy.  Move on to the former medieval residence of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes at Trakai. Take a guided tour of the legendary castle and learn more about the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during its golden age. See historical artifacts inside the fortress, built on an island on beautiful Lake Galvė.  Enjoy up to an hour of free time to explore on your own and purchase souvenirs, or use the time to taste some traditional dishes from Lithuania and of the Jewish Karaite faith at your own expense. Drive back to Vilnius and get dropped off at your hotel or apartment on arrival.

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What people are saying about Vilnius County

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 156 reviews

When my guide learned I was interested in two specific regions, made I got to see them. He asked if there were books for the regions. We walked through old Kaunas and had a nice lunch, my treat. When he found out I needed a basketball shirt for a special friend, we detoured to a basketball shop at Akropolis.

A fantastic guide, who was well read about everything. Clear and spoke English easily. Waited for everyone in the group and everyone got to introduce themselves before we went on our tour it was a nice feature. The guide took time for our questions, no stress. Everything was very well thought out and nice.

In a short travel, I couldn't see the diversity in Vilnius if i didn't catch bike tour. The guide who Lituania guy is kindly explane a lot of things about history & geographical issue in nowadays. Very thanks to guide us. And highly recommand this tour.

In depth tour guide of Vilnius with most professional guide. Would totally recommend to everyone

Paul was an excellent driver and tour guide. We enjoyed the tour to Trakai very much