Lithuania's biggest cities prove to be all the more suitable travel destinations for a quick getaway. While Vilnius—the capital of Lithuania— is known for its historical monuments, UNESCO-listed medieval Old Town, and lush green zones, it also stands out for its unique gastronomic experiences, vibrant art scene, and quirky boutique shops.
We have compiled a guide to the alternative Vilnius known for its bizarre cafés and restaurants, outlandish street art, cozy vintage shops, and more. Below are 5 out of many spots that reveal the alternative side of Lithuania’s capital.
1. RoseHip Vegan Bistro. “The future is vegan,” spells the bright neon sign greeting both the plant-based enthusiasts and the vegan-curious visitors as they walk into the RoseHip Vegan Bistro. The name of the restaurant is inspired by the local superfood berry and perfectly reflects its atmosphere which is pink and hip. With the menu changing on a seasonal basis, the restaurant offers delicious buddha bowls, a variety of plant-based burgers—including portobello mushroom and pulled jackfruit patty options—and more.
Address: B. Radvilaitės g. 7 and Pylimo g. 22D, Vilnius
2. Black Lodge Cafe Speakeasy. Offering a private movie-like experience for a maximum of three people at a time, this Twin-Peaks-inspired café looks just like the mysterious red room from the cult TV series by the legendary film director David Lynch. With one song looping in the background, visitors can enjoy the somewhat eerie yet surprisingly cozy atmosphere. All things considered, the menu here is pretty limited as the visitors are offered nothing but cherry pie and “damn good” coffee—the favorite combination of the series’ protagonist Dale Cooper.
Address: Užupio g. 13, Vilnius
3. Užupis. Known as the “self-declared republic”, Užupis is like a separate state within a city, with its own government, anthem, traditions, and even constitution. With a strong emphasis on individual freedom, openness, and tolerance, the Constitution of the Republic of Užupis contains 41 articles, including ones such as “Everyone has the right to be happy” or “A dog has the right to be a dog” which perfectly reflect the free-spirited vibe of the district. Full of bizarre street art, sculptures and pop-up installations, the bohemian atmosphere in Užupis is present all around the clock.
4. Peronas. Located just by the train tracks in Vilnius, the industrial “raw” bar Peronas is situated in the old train station building that was originally constructed in 1950 and mainly served as an intermediary point for passengers traveling from Saint Petersburg to Warsaw. A social gathering spot, an occasional art gallery, and home to the locally famous statue of the iconic Tony Soprano sculpted by Donatas Jankauskas, today PERONAS is beloved by tourists and locals alike.
Address: Geležinkelio g. 6, Vilnius
5. Baltic Shamans. Located at the very heart of Užupis, Baltic Shamans is a cozy art gallery and shop that focuses on traditional Lithuanian pagan arts and crafts. The selection of goods includes natural stone accessories, authentic Lithuanian music instruments, traditional beeswax candles and more. Opened just a few years ago, it has become one of the most popular souvenir shops for those looking for something particularly unique and authentic from Lithuania.
Address: Užupio g. 2, Vilnius