Arriving in Vilnius I assumed it would be a similar story to Tallinn and Riga on my trip down through the Baltic States. As I wandered from the bus station down the streets to my hostel I got the distinct impression time was moving much slower here. Buildings appeared to show their age as cracks slithered up the walls like snakes while the hostel staff were so blase about booking me in I got the impression I was somehow getting in the way.
|Day||Transport||Hostel||Attractions||Breakfast||Lunch||Dinner||Misc||Total LTL||Total $AU|
The bus to Vilnius was just as comfortable as the one to Riga and cost almost exactly the same as it too (55 Litas). I also pre-purchased my overnight bus ride to Warsaw (105 Litas) because what was planned as a relaxing few days to catch up on rest turned into an I-need-to-escape-my-hostel situation. It’s a shame I ended up leaving Vilnius early but sometimes it’s just easier than dealing with the situation at hand.
Worst hostel I’ve ever stayed in and certainly not worth the 50 Litas a night it cost me. Luckily I was travelling with a friend from Riga or I’d have been worried about staying there. The only people booked in appeared to be middle age alcoholics and even then it was an empty shell of a place. Never had I seen a kitchen in a hostel empty at night time.
Add to all of that my room smelt like it had been locked up for months with a pile of dirty old socks left in the corner. Luckily it was located at the opposite end of the drinkers and had a window to try and suck the smell out (it didn’t work). Wifi was non-existant almost and overly complicated to use. My advice if you find yourself in Vilnius don’t book the AAA Hostel.
A free walking tour around the town including Uzupis was a great way to find out about this town I was in. It also highlighted just how much Vilnius seems to be behind its neighbours in terms of development in the old town (the high street however was as fancy as any in London).
I also stopped in at the University (5 Litas) to look around their courtyards but was left rather disappointed and also the Natural History Museum (5 Litas) which had a great display of clothing and artifacts if you are into that sort of thing.
I can say eating out in Vilnius was a treat. Mouth watering food and extremely cheap, I never even considered cooking in my hostel (not that I was game too). The feeling of sitting down in a relaxed restaurant like you would find in your local trendy locations and handing over just 70 Litas ($30 AUD) for a two course meal including drinks just can’t be denied.
Some extra drinks, a bottle opener for my collection and a stock up on toiletries was the majority of my spend here. The hostel was empty of life and having drank more than enough in Riga so my travelling friend and I took it nice and easy.
Total Cost for Vilnius
Vilnius failed to win me over and what was meant to be 4 days turned into 3 as I left on an overnight bus a day early just to escape. With a total cost of 539.40 Litas or $226.62 AUD (at an exchange rate of 2.38 Litas = 1 AUD) I managed to stick to an average of $75.54 AUD a day. As almost a third of my costs in Vilnius related to transport I can say things definitely worked out on the cheaper side.
Had I travelled to Lithuania now (November 2014) the total cost for the 3 days would have been $223.29 AUD.
My time in Vilnius was tainted by a bad hostel stay, I can’t deny that. Had there been others around to explore with and share a bit of fun I know it would have been a different story. I’d love to head back at some stage to have a second look around and make a real judgement but for now I just can’t find the desire like I have for other places around Europe.
I want to say more about my stay here but failing some good food and a few interesting sights (you can read about my stay in Vilnius starting with my Arriving in Vilnius post) I don’t have the fond memories like I do of places like Tallinn, Berlin or Paris.