The miniscule, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and effervescent Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius dazzles with its Baroque beauty. Making up in style for what it lacks in stature, the pocket-sized city buzzes with cosmopolitan street life and has shrugged off its years as a pawn between Germany and Russia, achieving independence from Russia and Communism in 1990. Modern Vilnius sprawls around the Neris and Vilnelė rivers, with the architectural marvel that is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town tucked southwest of the rivers' confluence. This is Europe’s biggest and most unspoiled medieval center, packed with ornate Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance buildings, fairytale churches, winding streets and pastel façades, with the Higher Castle sitting high above Old Town.
For a bird’s-eye view of the micro-city, take the elevator up to the viewing platform of the Television Tower, from where you’ll see Vilnius’s medieval heart, the contemporary towers of the fast-expanding business district and the concrete blocks of Soviet build stretching away to the north of the Neris. Back down on terra-firma, enjoy the edgy nightlife led by the vast student population, the hard-hitting historical museums reflecting Lithuania’s turbulent past, the burgeoning shopping district and the classy restaurants producing gourmet gastronomy.