Where are you from? I’ve heard and answered this question hundreds of thousands of times while traveling and living abroad. Although there was a fair number of geographically savvy people, most querists considered Lithuania or Lufthansa pretty much the same mysterious location.
In fact, it is not. While Lufthansa is excellent at showering its young business class passengers traveling long-haul flights with gifts, it’s just an airline. Lithuania, on the other hand, with its capital Vilnius, is a must-visit country.
In Europe, in case you were wondering.
Another question that I am frequently asked:
Is Lithuania a safe country for tourists?
Absolutely. Vilnius and Lithuania, in general, is a safe destination to travel to with or without kids. There are no earthquakes, tornadoes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis, poisonous plants, or deadly animals. Even mosquitos don’t carry dengue fever, malaria, or another disease that they enjoy spreading in so many parts of the world. (However, there are many of them, and if you plan to spend time outdoors in summer, ensure you’ve got mosquito repellent).
The crime rate is low. If you don’t hang out in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere with drunk and intoxicated people, you will be just fine.
Is Vilnius a good city break destination for families with young kids?
Absolutely. Vilnius is incredibly family-friendly. Moreover, it has a gorgeous Old Town. There are so many beautiful houses of prayer that whichever window you look from in the Old Town, you will see spires of at least three churches. You don’t need to be religious to admire them.
In fact, some, like the church of St. Catherine, are no longer used for mass. Instead, it’s a charming place for musical concerts. If you have enough time, I recommend this experience.
There are plenty of indoor and outdoor attractions and activities for kids of all ages and energy levels. I will share all the best places to go with the kids below. All of them are approved by my daughter and me. We recommend these places because we like them and think your family will love them. Vilnius certainly is a perfect city-break destination, whether you travel alone, with kids, tweens, or teens.
When is the best time to visit Vilnius, Lithuania?
It can get pretty cold in winter. I understand that the word cold can be somewhat misleading here. When we lived in Singapore, I used to call +21C chilly.
If you want to experience the feeling of your eyelashes frosting and the content of your nose freezing, go to Lithuania in February. This tends to be the coldest month, with temperatures dropping to -30C (-22 F).
However, if you are traveling as a family with young children and plan to spend time outdoors, come anytime in mid/late spring, summer, and early/mid autumn. You will have a brilliant time there.
What can you see and do in the Old Town of Vilnius with kids?
The good news for visitors is that most places you want to see are in the Old Town. This means walking distance. There are many guided or self-guided tours available that you can opt in. You can also take a map and explore yourself, but guides with their tales and city secrets add that special touch.
For example, have you ever seen a fresco of Jesus Christ seemingly wearing jeans? How about a stunningly preserved gothic church that Napoleon fell in love with and wanted to take with him back to France? Or a bullet hole in the sleeve of the Blessed Virgin Mary?
The Old Town is a charming must-see place for a city break in Vilnius, with or without kids. If you go with kids, stop by the Toy Museum. This museum/workshop/exploration space for kids is just across the street from Cathedral Square. I highly recommend visiting it. I promise the kids will have a blast while this experience takes you down a sweet memory lane.
If you head further towards the Town Hall, visit the Museum of Illusions. It is located on Vokieciu (German) street, the very heart of the Old Town. We’ve been to many museums of illusions in many countries, and so far, this one is Thea’s favorite.
Actually, I’ve written a blog post with more information about fun places for kids, and you can read it HERE.
Where to eat with kids during your city break in Vilnius?
Restaurants all over Vilnius offer cuisines from all corners of the planet. Thea and I handpicked family-friendly restaurants and cafes that offer kids more than just IKEA highchairs and pizza Margherita. You can read the full article below.
Now, when you’re in the Old Town of Vilnius with hungry kids, here’s what we recommend:
Casa La Familia in Rudininku Street 18. Lovely vegetarian pizzeria with vegan and vegetarian options. If you are vegan, I recommend the pizza with jackfruit! Thea loves their hummus. The best thing about it, however, is its private indoor playground! How about climbing a wooden castle while waiting for your pizza to be baked in a gorgeous oven?
For travelers with a sweet tooth, we highly recommend Chaika. It serves some of the best vegan pies, cakes, muffins, and cupcakes! Plenty of coffee, latte, and tea options, including cappuccinos for kids. They also serve hot sandwiches, out of which the majority are vegan. The staff is always super welcoming. You just have a delicious and cozy time. In fact, you can find it in two locations.
The one I prefer is on Totoriu St. 7. Another one is on Pylimo St. 21 B. Just check the map, and depending on where you are, go to the one closest to your location. Chaika in Totoriu has toys, books, and dominoes that kids can play with while waiting. Thea and I usually play dominoes, or Thea pretends to call someone on this old-fashioned phone.
If you find yourself on or around Pylimo street, and cakes are not your jam, dine at Jurgis ir Drakonas (George and the Dragon on Pylimo St. 22). It is also kids, vegan, and vegetarian-friendly. What I like most is the kids’ menu, especially meatballs with mashed potatoes. I don’t eat meat, but even for me, it smells divine. That’s Thea’s favorite dish, which, together with playgrounds within the restaurants (there are several outlets within Vilnius), makes this restaurant one of her favorites.
Which museums in Vilnius are kids-friendly?
Most museums in Vilnius are family-friendly and great places to visit during your city break in Vilnius with kids. You will find something fun for children from the Museum of Toys to the National Museum of Lithuania.
For example, the Museum of Modern Art has dedicated play and exploration areas for kids. Sundays are family days at MO. This museum also organizes educational classes for children in multiple languages. They are tailored to pre-school children and 1st-12th grade students.
The National Museum of Lithuania certainly does not sound like loads of fun. However, did you know kids can climb an indoor hill, assemble the Gediminas Tower, and explore interactive exhibitions? Thea loved this museum, especially the educational game where you get to dress up Lithuanian knights with traditional armor.
Housed in a former power plant, the Energy and Technology museum is so kids friendly that it almost feels like an educational playground! Do you know your weight? Probably, yes. Do you know how much you would weigh if you happened to live on Saturn? Or maybe on Mars or Venus? You can get an answer in this museum!
I like that they teach kids (and adults) about recycling in a fun way that is easy to understand.
There are so many hands-on experiences, and we definitely recommend adding the Museum of Energy and Technology to your to-visit list. By the way, if you don’t feel like taking the stairs from the top to the ground floor, just use the giant slide.
It also measures how fast you slide and how many seconds it takes you to get to the ground floor. Currently its website is available in Lithuanian only. I’m linking to the contact page with the location and for you to check the pictures of exhibits.
Lithuanian Railway museum is worth stopping by, especially if you travel with train enthusiasts. Thea loves all things railway, so we did go. As one would expect, it is located in the Railway Station. The indoor exhibition was closed at the time of our visit, but we got to explore all the trains outdoors, which was as much fun for Thea.
There are multiple actual trains to explore outdoors. Of course, the most interesting to see were the ancient ones. You can visit the outdoor exhibition for free. We will be going back to check out the indoor exhibit the next time we visit Vilnius. If you did visit it already, please share your experience and any tips in the comments below! I’m linking to the Lithuanian version of the website. The English version displays an empty screen. While in the Lithuanian version, you will find the opening hours and address.
Now this one is a captivating museum for children who like animals. They are, sadly, dead animals. And you need a car to get there because it is located on Sauletekio Ave. 7. According to Google Maps, depending on the route you take, it is located approximately 7 km away from Cathedral Square. This may not be the best choice if you are in Vilnius just for a short city break, however if you have the time, the kids will love it.
Nevertheless, Thea loves this museum. I was impressed by the diversity of the exhibition. From tiny birds found in the forests in Lithuania to massive alligators and bears from lands far away, there were myriad animals on display! And we were alone in the entire museum, so it was calm and enjoyable.
However, if you want to see animals that are still alive, there is a Zoopark where you can do just that. No tigers or elephants, but a cozy area to pet and feed rabbits and chinchillas, an enclosure for parrots, and many other cute and not-so-cute, small to medium-sized creatures throughout several spacious halls. Zoopark Vilnius is located in Ogmios Miestas. Assuming you stay in or around the Old Town, you’ll also need a car to get there.
When it comes to museums in Vilnius, The Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights (formerly known as the Museum of Genocide Victims) usually tops the list of must-see sights for tourists. However, I don’t recommend taking kids to the former KGB quarters. This was a place of torture and evil. You should definitely visit it but don’t take the kids along. It was a tragic period of history, and the museum showcases the brutality and incomprehensible human cruelty. It’s no place for very young children.
On a lighter note, Future Live, located just across the River Neris on Upes St. 9, is a delightful interactive virtual reality experience for the whole family. Plenty of fun activities for all family members. Everyone, young and young at heart, can enjoy themselves while fighting UFOs, renovating towns, dancing, and swinging over the mountains and pre-historic forests.
Entertainment for kids and kids at heart in Vilnius
The above are some of our favorite and very family-friendly museums and attractions. If you are looking for action, go to a waterpark, or bouldering gym, climb treetops, let your kids run wild in the outdoor and indoor playgrounds, jump on trampolines, and much more.
Read the below article for more ideas on what to do with active kids in Vilnius:
Is Vilnius dog-friendly?
Yes, Vilnius is dog-friendly, with plenty of coffee places and restaurants welcoming them inside and bringing a bowl of water and sometimes a snack.
Our favorite dog-friendly coffee places with friendly staff are Rastine in Basanavciaus st. 2 and Kavos Reikalai in Sermuksniu st. 1.
I love matcha latte with almond milk in Rastine, which also happens to be a beautiful stationery store. If you are looking for high-quality gifts, books, and games for kids, check it out.
Kavos Reikalai is a lovely coffee shop in Central Vilnius. They make a nice chai latte with oats milk and sell various coffee-related things. Dogs are very welcome there as well.
People have a friendly attitude toward dogs. You will notice passers-by smile at your dog and often ask to pet it. That’s especially common if your four-legged friend is a labrador, a golden retriever, or another innocent-looking breed.
Do visit a dog-friendly Vingis park during your city break in Vilnius. It’s a place for adventures for the entire family, with multiple playgrounds designed for kids of various ages. From having picnics to renting means of transportation I don’t know the names of, there are plenty of options to move around and relax.
Please note that Vilnius is a clean city. You will not see any rubbish or garbage on the streets and parks. You are expected to pick up and throw away the dog-doo of your furry friend. I don’t think you’d get a fine or something if you didn’t, but let’s keep the city clean.
Where to stay during your city break with kids in Vilnius?
When it comes to accommodation in Vilnius, you are spoilt with choice. From cozy Airbnb apartments to luxury five-star hotels, there is something to suit every need and budget. My advice is to stay in or around the Old Town. Check out AGODA here for that perfect stay that doesn’t cost an arm. They guarantee the lowest price.
Is Trakai Island Castle worth visiting during the city break in Vilnius?
If you are visiting Vilnius, I definitely recommend taking a trip to Trakai town to see the castle on the island in the middle of a gorgeous lake. It’s just a 30-minute drive away from Vilnius.
Whether you want to join a tour or explore the castle by yourself, it’s a charming experience. Thea swears she saw a ghost in one of the castle’s windows. If you are into ghosts and spooky stories, you should check it out.
In addition to walking around the castle, there is a must-do thing in Trakai. Eat kibinai. Trakai is known for this delicious pastry with a variety of fillings. I like the restaurant on the shore of the lake overlooking the castle. Although there is no specific play area for kids, Thea received coloring sheets with markers. They also have a kids’ menu; however, don’t expect healthy meals.
When looking for tours and activities, we recommend GetYourGuide. It’s the largest platform for buying tickets to attractions, booking tours, and organized activities. Their prices are either the same as everywhere else or even lower. From one-of-a-kind tours to Rainbow Mountain in Peru to whale-watching cruises in New Zealand, you will find millions of choices on GetYourGuide. There are multiple activities in Lithuania to choose from too!
I hope that you found this travel guide useful. Please let us know if you have any questions or need advice for your Vilnius city break with kids. Happy travels!