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!

One-stop Travel information centre

The creation of a one-stop Travel information centre located at the lobby entrance of Hotel Riga. The Centre provides Hotel Riga clients and off-the-street visitors with current information and a live tour booking service to ensure that their visit to Riga is a truly memorable one.

Read more