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A short stay in Vilnius

Lithuania is an up and coming destination for travel within Europe, with more and more luxurious hotels cropping around the country. Mainly focusing around the capital and largest city, Vilnius, a thriving tourism market is developing and you can really pack a lot of great sights and activities into a short break in the city, as we found out! Read on for a  few of our favourites. Trakai About a 30 minute drive from Vilnius, this is one of the most impressive constructions you’ll find in the area. A huge castle, famously used as part of the set of many movies, built right in the middle of a lake with a series of bridges leading up to it. For much of the year this lake is completely frozen and you can walk across the ice to reach it, but do this at your own risk! Inside is a large museum looking at the military history of the castle and region. Views across the lake from here are quite spectacular. Trakai Cathedral and catacombs As one of the few predominantly catholic countries in Eastern Europe, Vilnius has a huge number of churches and cathedrals. One of the largest is in the main square and is certainly an impressive sight from the outside with its bright white cladding and golden domes. Beneath this, however, lie the catacombs which have now been entirely excavated and turned into an impressive little museum. Well worth seeing. Vilnius church A walk around the Old Town Vilnius, although only the second biggest city in the Baltics (after Riga in Latvia) has the largest old town. A tightly weaved network of ancient buildings, cobbled streets and quiet squares, this part of the city is a pleasure to walk around. In the summer it truly comes alive with cafes and bars spilling revellers out into the streets and the architecture of many of the churches here is truly stunning. Lithuanian Money Museum A surprisingly impressive museum, charting the history of Lithuanian and world money, from the earliest form of exchanging differently weighted pieces of precious metal all the way up to modern currency, as well an interesting exhibit about Lithuania joining the Euro at the beginning of next year. Some great interactive exhibits here too as you can “stamp” your own coin, find out how much you would be worth if you were made of gold, and even have your photo taken and put on your very own bank note! Lithuanian Money Museum Vilnius is a fantastic destination for a short break, with a lot to do in a relatively small area. With its stunning architecture, thriving bar scene and excellent museums there really is something for everyone here. Kristi Rorison is Director of Outgoing Business at IntoRussia.

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