Vilnius Cathedral (Arkikatedra Bazilika)
With a long and storied history dating back to the 13th century, the Vilnius Cathedral is a sacred landmark to the Lithuanian people and the heart of the country’s Catholic spiritual life. Having been burnt and rebuilt several times and surviving the Soviet occupation, the cathedral and belfry have undergone a thorough renovation since Lithuania’s independence in 1990.
The Vilnius Cathedral is one of the most important Catholic monuments in Lithuania, and is included in most walking and bike tours of Vilnius Old Town along with other top attractions like the Gediminas Castle Tower and the Presidential Palace.
Visitors are welcome to tour the church on their own when mass is not in session and guided tours are offered of the Crypts, where many Lithuanian and Polish kings and queens are buried. Climb to the top of the Bell Tower for fantastic views of Vilnius’ Old Town.
Things to know before you go
- The cathedral is a must-visit for first-time visitors to Vilnius.
- An admission fee is required to climb to the top of the Vilnius Cathedral Bell Tower.
- Don’t miss the Stebuklas Miracle Tile outside the church. According to local lore, if you spin around three times, jump, and then clap your hands, your wish will come true.
- Visit the Church Heritage Museum to learn more about Lithuanian religious culture.
- The Bell Tower is not wheelchair-accessible, but a virtual viewing platform is available so visitors unable to climb to the top can still enjoy the views from the tower.
How to get there
The Vilnius Cathedral is located in the historic Old Town of Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius. The cathedral is situated in the center of Cathedral Square within walking distance of the Gediminas Castle Tower and the City Park. Vilnius has an extensive public bus system and bus lines 10, 11, 33, and 89 stop near the square. Pay parking is available in Old Town and a bicycle rent program offers free short-term rentals in the city center.
When to get there
The Vilnius Cathedral can be visited year-round. Mass is held once in the morning and in the evening on weekdays with several services on Sundays and holidays. Tourist groups are permitted during Mass, but visitors are welcome to attend services. The Bell Tower is open Monday–Friday and closed on Sundays and holidays. Crypt Tours are offered in English on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons.
The Vilnius Cathedral Crypts
A tour of the crypts under the Vilnius Cathedral is a must-do for history lovers. The vaults contain the remains of Vytautas The Great, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and King Alexander of Poland as well as several mysterious artifacts and pieces of art. The crypts can only be visited with a guided tour and advance reservations are required.
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- Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (National Museum)
- Gediminas Castle Tower (Gedimino Pilies Bokstas)
- National Museum of Lithuania, New Arsenal
- Amber Museum-Gallery (Gintaro Muziejus-Galerija)
- Presidential Palace
- Bernardine Church (Bernardinu Parapija)
- St. Anne's Church
- Vilnius University (Vilniaus Universitetas)
- Money Museum (Pinigu Muziejaus)
- Subacius Hill
- Vilnil Museum of Illusions
- Gediminas Avenue (Gedimino Prospektas)
- Bastion of the Vilnius Defensive Wall (Vilniaus Gynybines Sienos Basteja)
- Church of the Holy Spirit (Sventosios Dvasios Baznycia)