06.12.2012 - 10.12.2012 -6 °C
Last week I took some days off from work so I could visit my sister in Vilnius. While there are no direct flights to Vilnius from Lisbon and Lithuania is on the opposite side of Europe, it still was quite easy to travel there. I traveled by Lufthansa and arrived at Vilnius airport near midnight (with a quite long stop at Frankfurt).
The temperature in Northern Europe around winter months is usually below 0 °C, which was the case. It was snowing and a bit chilly, although I had come prepared for this scenario.
Vilnius is a lovely city, often below the radar for Portuguese tourists (probably because of lack of advertisement). The old city's architecture reminds me of Prague and it has plenty of churches, so it is a must for those who like to visit them. But Lithuania's great food, and people's sympathy give Vilnius an even more enjoyable place.
The city's center is easily walkable, so that's what I did on the next day. It was snowing for most of the day, but fortunately it wasn't too windy. I went up to Gediminas castle, from where I could enjoying a panoramic view of the city.
Next day, I woke up early, to get on the bus to Trakai, a very touristic place, that was once the capital of Lithuania. Trakai is known for its castle, which was rebuild in the 20th century, from the ruins of the previous one. It stands in a island in the middle of a lake, making it a very picturesque monument. As it started to get dark, I rode the train back to Vilnius, which is only 30 km from Trakai.
For the nightlife fans, Vilnius also has something to offer. Vilnius is a young city, with many students, making it quite lively at night. As drinking is not allowed on the streets, you will find bars filled with people.
My visit to Lithuania was quite nice, but short, giving me a reason to come back there. I had my flight back canceled due to bad weather in Germany, but Lufthansa managed to get me on the next morning's flight to Lisbon, with a quick stop-over in Warsaw.