Visitor’s Guide to Vilnius

 

Lithuania never ceases to impress. The land of fields and forests has much more to offer than just agriculture and natural beauties. Its capital, Vilnius, is boasting a long and exciting history that makes this a perfect city to visit!

Lithuanian landscape

This second largest Baltic city was the home to Grand Dukes of Lithuania already in the 14th century and in the following decades it really established its multicultural character by accommodating Lithuanian, Jewish, Polish, Russian and many other ethnic groups. The city never lost its initial importance and despite having many troubles to overcome this is now a flourishing capital of Lithuania. The country joined European Union in 2004 and held EU presidency in the second half of 2013 with most important events being held in Vilnius.

Best way to see the city is by truly submerging yourself in the best experiences each location has to offer. Everybody can take a map and go around, but what really stays with you is the unusual, different and exciting adventures.

Start your day hopping on a hot air balloon and see the city from the bird’s perspective! Try to spot Gedminias’ tower, St Anne’s Church, Užupis Republic and the Jewish quarter from your balloon. Be sure to wear warm clothes as it might get pretty chilly up there.

Vilnius

Tick off the must-see sights of Vilnius with a 3-hour guided tour that will take you all around the city on foot and by bus. Sometimes it’s nice to hear the story behind the building or a sight, especially if you’re visiting Užupis Republic or Literatu Gatve. We heard the mayor himself comes for a beer to Užupio kavine on his segway! Finish your night in style – dine on the top of Vilnius’ TV Tower with views on the city night panorama. If you want to be more down-to-Earth (pun intended) then try a popular Busi trečias (“Be third” in Lithuanian) with their selection of flavoured beer. Caramel beer? Might sound weird but it’s delicious!

Užupis Art Zone

Literatu gatve

Climb the Three Crosses Hill for more panorama. Sit in for lunch at popular gastropub Kitchen. Visit Adam Mickiewicz’s house. Go to the flea market across the river. Admire amber, the gold of the Baltics! Excitement is around every corner!

Despite its romantic character and colourful streets Vilnius still has some reminders of the Soviet times and a definite tourist favourite is KGB museum. This will give you a  chilling insight into the lives of Soviet prisoners as the cells remain unaltered from Soviet times. For a lighter museum tour try Lithuania’s Open Air Museum. It is located near Kaunas and it offers an abundance of artifacts – buildings, beehives, furniture, wells, household items, etc. Artifacts come from different regions of Lithuania and if the weather permits this should be a wonderful beginner’s guide to Lithuanian culture. Combine this with a detour to Pažaislis monastery or maybe a full-on visit to Kaunas.

Pažaislis Monastery near Kaunas

In this second Lithuanian capital walk down Laisves aleja until you reach the old town. Don’t miss the Kaunas castle, confluence of Nemunas and Neris river and a tiny little church just behind Laisves aleja that houses a room of candles. In the winter you can ice skate in the old town and visit the unusual Devils Museum and more traditional Historical Presidential palace. Also highly recommened is a stop in Berneliu Užiega restaurant that serves traditional Lithuanian dishes at an affordable price.

Don’t leave Lithuania without a day trip tour to Trakai castle, which was home to many Lithuanian dukes and what is now certainly a breathtaking sight in itself. You can spend a whole day there as Trakai offers a wide range of activities – biking, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding and the list goes on.

Trakai castle near Vilnius

These are only a few ideas on how to spend your time in Vilnius. In addition to the above we suggest you to consider also a beer bike tour, canoe polo, clay pigeon shooting, laser tag game, paintball, golfing, spa and many more. Get inspired and create a trip to remember!

If you have any great ideas on what to do in Vilnius and surroundings or need help with designing your perfect stay in Lithuania, write us a comment or use Twitter and we’ll be glad to help!

WHY ARE INCENTIVES GOOD?

There’s an ongoing debate around corporate travel and incentives trips. Do we need them? Why are they good? Is it even appropriate to spend money on such things? Fortunately the trend is shifting back to companies investing in their employees by providing incentive travels and exciting team-building trips.

There are several reasons why incentives are not a waste of money:

– Motivating your employees and acknowledging their hard work leads to higher productivity. A happy employee is a good employee.

– It is also showing that the company cares about its employees, increases company loyalty and diminishes the risk of losing key employees.

Investing in your employees pays off. You will end up with a dedicated, educated and content workforce.

– Shared experiences tie people closer together. Getting your employees share an exciting incentive trip together will make them a better team. It’s like being caught in an elevator for a few hours, but much more fun and educational!

– Team-building activities are perfect to incorporate in incentive trips as they improve communication within a team, they motivate for further success and make people work towards a common goal. They also expose strengths and weaknesses of a team and improve productivity, creativity and teamwork.

– Interestingly enough money-based incentives proved not to be successful as they rarely boost productivity (http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/oyer/wp/luck.pdf). Therefore instead of wasting money on cash rewards try providing a memorable incentive travel that will instill a feeling of companionship and community. If you pay your employees more it doesn’t mean they will be more loyal to the company. If you take them on an incentive trip with team-oriented activities where they need to step out of their mental box and collaborate in a different way, they will surely change their way of thinking about your company.

Saying all this we believe every incentive or corporate travel needs to be unique, memorable and catered to your company needs. In order to make the most of your incentive, be sure to experience the best and most exciting activities each destination has to offer. Experience it to believe it and make your incentive something to remember!

HOW WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE

We at TOT are all about doing that little something to contribute to a better world. If we go that extra mile for making our clients happy and providing them with a great experience of the city, we can also go that extra mile to be better global citizens. It doesn’t cost us anything – actually it even costs us less! Making our business greener is saving us money, saving our planet and making us think a bit more creatively about how to do things.

And what exactly do we do? Simple things.

We’re an online experience agency. We rather use those megabytes than paper. We don’t have brochures, we put everything that matters on our website. Improving website does two things – it helps our clients find data quickly and efficiently by searching for specific keywords and diminishes our paper consumption. We barely know we have printer in our office!

 

Second thing that we’re all crazy about – Google docs. This wonderful discovery helped us save lots of paper and made our creative process easier. It is easy to use – sign in and start creating new documents, be it a document, presentation, chart or any other form. Google docs saves your progress automatically and it’s all online. No more unsaved disasters! And you can easily share those docs with your colleagues. Just add their e-mails to the sharing list and they can see all the brilliant ideas you came up with!

But for us it’s not just about cutting down our paper consumption. It’s about even smaller things. We use real mugs instead of plastic cups when we want our daily coffee. Each team member has his or her cup to use for those necessary refreshment breaks during our work! It’s also about cutting down our carbon footprint. We walk to work or take public transport. -14° in Riga? We call it a fresh morning! No worries about unfreezing your car and finding a parking spot. We just hop in the office with healthy red cheeks and get warm by drinking coffee from mugs (see above).

our mugs and glasses collection

Riga public transport card

 

Skype! Use the benefits of modern technology to a) get personal with people you work with and b) cutting down your carbon footprint by travelling less. We’ve got people working with us all over Europe, but we don’t waste our time, money and energy resources by flying over every month to check up on them. We simply skype our colleagues to discuss imminent issues, check how they’re doing and keep our business going at a distance!

You’ve got no more excuses not to try these simple tricks! It will cut down the unnecessary costs and improve your business environment by showing you care how things are run in your company. Being green is not just a fad. It’s about doing business better.

Make your own Winter Olympics!

The Winter Olympics is only two weeks away and impatient for it to start we at Travel Out There decided to put together our very own Winter Olympics – perfect for you and your friends or colleagues to challenge each other in!

Un-athletic as we are we have made it a bit easier than the original one, so this will suit you perfectly even if the closest thing to exercise you got the last year was walking to your car in the morning. And the best thing of all is that this activity is available in most of our destinations!

So without further ado, let us present:

 

Snowball Biathlon
Just like the real thing, but without riffles and skis!  Ok, so not really like the real thing – but we guarantee it’s a lot more fun! You get a set of snowballs, there are a bunch of targets set up within running distance from each other. Whoever finishes first and hits the most targets wins. Ready, set, GO!

 

Freestyle Sleighing and Sleigh Jumping
Put on your helmet and head out for some freestyle sleighing. Fly over jumps, try spinning around, see who can go the fastest or the furthest. Only your imagination, and our safety instructions, can stop you!

 

Speed Igloo building
Not a part of the original Winter Olympics program, but this sure is a skill that will always come in handy! Building an igloo is not that hard, but it does require good team work, creativity and technical thinking. Who will finish first and which one is the better built? Only time will tell!

 

Snowball fight
Although not a real Olympic Games sport, it ought to be! This is like the most fun thing you can do with snow. Split up in two teams, build your trench or protection wall and start! The team that manages to hit everyone in the other team first wins. Snowball fight!

 

Curling
Now this is the real thing! Curling was actually a part of the first Winter Olympics in 1924 already, but then disappeared and didn’t have a comeback until 1988. This highly addictive sport makes for a perfect team building activity, so get ready to swipe and slide your day away! No idea how to curl? No problem, you will get a tutorial and a curling professor to help you get the hang of it!

 

So what are you waiting for? Awake that inner child in you, that use to play in the snow for hours until his hands got red and numb and rediscover the magic of snow with Travel Out There. Click here to book it!

Meanwhile check out these crazy guys practicing their Extreme Sleighing: