Gediminas Castle Tower
This tower, considered one of the symbols of Vilnius, is in the very heart of the city and virtually impossible to miss while walking around the Old Town. So, it is no surprise that many visitors start exploring the city by visiting Gediminas Castle Tower.
As you climb the hill, you’ll see part of the Old Town skyline, as well as the remains of the Vilnius Upper Castle. Gediminas Tower is the best-preserved part of the castle ensemble that dates to the 13th and 14th centuries. The Gediminas Tower viewing terrace offers the most beautiful views – red rooftops, church spires, the bend of the Neris River and the narrow Old Town streets. Take your time to let these views soak in.
Worth knowing: to prevent leg fatigue, there is a funicular that goes up and down the hill (look for it behind the Old Arsenal of the Lithuanian National Museum).
Vilnius Cathedral Bell Tower
The Bell Tower, which rises in the square next to Vilnius Cathedral Basilica, is one of the tallest towers in Vilnius at 52 metres (57 metres if you include the cross). From the top floor (45 m) of the Bell Tower, you can see a panorama of the Old Town and Gediminas Avenue, and can take a closer look at the sculptures decorating the roof of the cathedral.
In the Bell Tower, you’ll find an exhibition of bells and the town’s old clock, and if you’re lucky enough you may be able to try ringing the bells. An interesting fact is that the Cathedral Bell Tower only started serving its current purpose in the 16th century – before that, the tower was part of the defensive wall surrounding the centre of Vilnius.
Hill of Three Crosses
Another famous landmark in Vilnius is the Hill of Three Crosses, which becomes particularly remarkable at nightfall when the three illuminated crosses majestically standing on its top are highlighted. Historians say that a wooden castle stood on the hill and a settlement was built in the area in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The hill got its name from a sad event: the martyrdom of seven Franciscan friars, who were tied to crosses and thrown down the hill into the river. Three wooden crosses were soon erected to commemorate this event and have been constantly renovated since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Today, the Hill of Three Crosses is home to a 12-metre-high monument that was built in 1916. As you climb the hill, you can take in a spectacular panorama of Vilnius Old Town, together with Gediminas Castle Tower.
Vilnius Television Tower
The city’s viewing platform that is closest to the sky is the Vilnius Television Tower, the tallest building in Lithuania. This 326.5-metre-high television tower is the eighth-tallest in Europe and the 26th-tallest in the world.
The 19th floor of the tower houses a rotating restaurant where you can see Vilnius and up to 50 km of its outskirts on a clear day from 165 metres above the ground. While you enjoy your coffee or lunch, you’ll also be able to take in the entire Vilnius skyline, as the restaurant’s circular floor rotates 360 degrees every 55 minutes.
Skybar is the only city bar in Vilnius located that high up – it’s on the 22nd floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva and offers a great view of the city at night. On weekends, you can enjoy good music as well as cocktails and snacks.
Swedbank, located next to the Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva, has a terrace that’s open to the public. It overlooks the meadow by the White Bridge and the banks of the Neris River. It’s especially worth visiting in spring, when 200 Japanese Sakura trees burst into bloom in the nearby Chiune Sugihara Sakura Park. The terrace offers comfortable seating and a small picnic area, which is a favourite spot for young people and office workers from the surrounding area, both at lunchtime and in the evenings.
Subačiaus Street Viewing Terrace
Another popular spot to get a great view of Vilnius Old Town’s skyline is the Subačiaus Street viewing terrace, located near the intersection of Subačiaus and Markučių streets. The terrace also has an information board indicating which cultural, historical or architectural objects in the Old Town can be seen from one or another perspective.
According to visitors, the Subačiaus Street viewing site offers the most beautiful panorama of Užupis. Moreover, a café is open during the warmer months.
Another interesting place in Vilnius is Barbakanas Hill, which offers a spectacular panorama of the Old Town. It’s also worth visiting the bastion of the nearby Vilnius defensive wall, where you can meet Vilnius’ legendary basilisk, a mythical rooster with a lizard’s tail.
According to legend, the basilisk’s deadly gaze used to kill careless residents of Vilnius passing by the remains of the Barbakanas walls or arranging romantic rendezvous near them. One legend recounts the story of a brave young man who defeated the Vilnius basilisk by showing him a mirror – the monster could not withstand its own image. Today, the sculpture of the basilisk, created by the famous Vilnius architect Eimantas Ludavičius, attracts adults and children alike, as it is said to make wishes come true.
St. John’s Church Bell Tower
Located in the very heart of the Old Town, St. John’s Church is part of the Vilnius University ensemble and offers a spectacular panorama opening up from the bell tower of the church. Rising to a height of 45 metres, either by lift or the 193 authentic wooden stairs, you can get a bird’s-eye view of Vilnius’ rooftops. However, the bell tower is only open to visitors from spring to autumn.
At 65 metres, this is the highest and most impressive outcrop in Lithuania. The outcrop offers a panoramic view of Vilnius’ surroundings – the bends of the Vilnia River, the hills and forests of the Pavilniai Regional Park, the Pūčkoriai Manor, and the remains of a former cannon foundry.
The unique geological site, designated as a natural monument, is open to all visitors. A well-maintained Pūčkoriai Outcrop viewing path was opened in 2013, and features wide staircases, wooden walking paths and terraces for strolling.
Don't miss the opportunity to see the outcrop from both above and below – after descending towards the Vilnia River, you will find the Pūčkoriai Hiking Trail.