Vilnius, Lithuania's capital city, isn't exactly a shopping mecca, but plenty of tourists find that shopping in the old town is pleasurable and interesting. While many of the large shopping centers outside of town are the most popular spots for shopping, Old Town Vilnius is replete with boutiques, souvenir shops, clothing sellers, bookstores, and more.
Gediminas Prospect is one of the best areas of the Old Town for heavy-duty shopping. High-end shops, department stores, and boutiques can be found on this main drag, and souvenir shops, wine shops, bookstores, and eateries round out the opportunities for consumption. Clothing stores such as Zara, Mango, and United Colors of Benetton make their home here. Marks & Spencer and Gedimino 22 offer a variety of brand names. For cosmetics, try the upscale Kristi Anna, which sells names such as Dior and Chanel and stocks a wide range of designer perfumes, or L’Occitane at number 33. You can also wander into many of the boutiques selling specific items, including amber jewelry and Lithuanian-made products.
Pilies Street (named for Gediminas Castle, or Pilis) is one of the best sources for souvenirs from Lithuania, including wooden crafts, amber jewelry, linen, and ceramics. Lelija, a Lithuanian clothing store, also maintains an outlet here. You can also browse any of the many stalls that set up shop along Pilies; you’ll find rough-cut amber nuggets, hand-knitted accessories, woolen socks, and paintings.
“The Big Street,” home of the Town Hall, is also a major shopping thoroughfare. Designer boutiques attract the wealthiest visitors, their leather goods and expensive outerwear displayed in pristine windows. Walk towards the Gate of Dawn, where the street turns into Ausros Vartu Gatve and you’ll find still more souvenirs shops. Of particular interest is Aušros Vartų Meno Galerija at number 12, where original and interesting handmade souvenirs are arranged on shelves in an interesting display. All along this long central city vein, restaurants, cafes, wine bars, and pubs offer opportunities for cozy relaxation. If you’re looking for culture, pop into one of the many art galleries or museums.
Traku Gatve, or Trakai Street, is interesting for its single-item boutiques. Here, you’ll find a sock store, a glove shop, a couple of ladies’ underwear shops, interior design boutiques, retailers selling different types of teas and oils, and jewelry shops. Two of the most popular stores on this street are the Humana outlet—one of the many second-hand Humana outlets in the city—and designer shoe outlets, which sell good European shoe brands at discount prices. Both are always crowded with bargain hunters. Find the archway labeled “Skonis ir Kvapis” and pop into the tea shop or café. Follow Traku until it turns into Dominikonu Gatve or turn off onto Vokieciu Street for more options.
Vokieciu Gatve and Vilniaus Gatve
Vokieciu Gatve, a wide boulevard connecting to Traku Gatve, is lined with restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops, including those selling lingerie, clothing, jewelry, and accessories. You can follow Vokieciu into Vilniaus Street, another prominent artery, which runs directly into Gediminas Prospect for more clothing shops, wine shops, specialty boutiques, and of course more restaurants and cafes.
One of the best aspects of shopping in Old Town Vilnius is the opportunity to see the city. Along the way, you will see plenty of sights, be tempted by alluring side-streets, and find yourself marveling at the architecture and medieval charm that Vilnius is able to maintain even while its modern shops and cafes attract everyday visitors.
Commercial Shopping Centers
If you can’t find what you’re looking for at any of the above locations, Vilnius’ shopping centers are another option for fashion, food, and gifts. The larger ones require public transportation to reach, but locals, visitors, and students all recommend them for their entertainment venues, eateries, and the variety of shops. Akropolis wins hands-down in the contest for the most popular shopping center, located about 20 minutes outside of the Old Town by car (or 40 minutes by bus). But more modest malls such as Europa and Panorama can be worthwhile, too.