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.
As always love this series. The sketchiest hostel I almost stayed in was in the SOMA district of San Francisco. It was a flop house for local transients masquerading as a hostel. I’ve seen some stuff, but this took the cake.
haha Randy I don’t think I’ve had it that bad then and am quite happy to never experience it.
from what I’ve read, I think you’ve spent quite a lot of money and haven’t visited Vilnius 😉
Ieva, you know I completely agree with you. I never really felt like I saw anything there. Yes I got a tour around the Old Town and Uzupis, I saw a couple of museums and even sought out the Frank Zappa statue.
Still I just never got a feel for the city. Partly my fault and partly the horrible place I stayed in.
That hostel sounds so sad, almost like the creepy hostel in Hostel2 where the girls get kidnapped in Eastern Europe for some weird killing gang.
haha Ayngelina let’s not go that far but you are right it wasn’t a nice place. A shame as it put me off staying longer in Vilnius
DO NOT STAY AT THE AAA HOSTEL *noted*. Haha. Sounds like a bad place to be in. Especially if you have asthma. The budget is really well broken down 🙂 Great write!
haha Marcello. It’s the only hostel in all my travels I’d actually go out of my way to tell people to avoid. Others have been average but not to this extreme.
I’ve spent time in Estonia but not been to Lithuania. Since I last went to Estonia, I’ve not even thought much about Lithuania. Seems somewhat affordable compared to the rest of Europe. However, seems that cheap stay wasn’t a great experience. Sorry that ruined your experience in Vilnius!
Jeremy Estonia was certainly different to my stay in Lithuania. I do want to go back and give Vilnius a second look over though. Obviously booking a different hostel this time though 🙂
I agree with Ieva, you have spent a lot for 3 days and you haven’t seen Vilnius at all. So if you have an opportunity, then you should give Vilnius a second chance. You can visit few interesting historical places near Vilnius if that is the thing that you like. You might find Vilnius as a colourful and nice place to be, especially if you have some company 😉