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Alytus to Vilnius: Road Tripping Through Europe's Hidden Gems Exploring Alytus, Lithuania's Southern Treasure Ever feel like you’ve seen it all in Europe? You’ve done London, Paris, Rome.
You’ve gondola’d in Venice and scarfed gelato in Florence.
But there’s a secret Europe waiting to be discovered off the beaten path.
A Europe filled with fairytale towns, dramatic castles, and landscapes so stunning you’ll wonder why more people don’t know about them.
Pack your bags—you’re going on a road trip to uncover some of Europe’s best hidden gems.
First stop on this adventure? A journey from Alytus to Vilnius, the gateway to the Baltic.
Winding roads will lead you through thick forests and rolling hills.
Medieval castles will emerge from the mist.
And in Vilnius, a UNESCO-listed Baroque old town awaits, filled with cozy cafes, craft beer bars, and a buzzing food scene.
This is the Europe you’ve been looking for—now go find it.
The Scenic Drive From Alytus to Vilnius Exploring Alytus, Lithuania's Southern Treasure Once in Alytus, head straight for Dainava Forest.
This lush, green escape on the banks of the Nemunas River is perfect for cycling, hiking or just enjoying a picnic in nature.
The 770-hectare park has walking trails, playgrounds, and areas for sports and recreation.
Rent a bike to explore it all at your own pace.
Alytus is also home to one of Lithuania's most stunning churches.
The Alytus Church of St.
Francis Xavier features twin spires that rise 65 meters high.
Climb the church tower for panoramic views of the city.
Don't miss the organ inside – with over 2,000 pipes, it's one of the largest in Europe.
Afterwards, stroll through the Old Town, with its cobblestone streets and historic architecture.
Check out the Alytus Cultural Centre, housed in a former Franciscan monastery.
It showcases works by famous Lithuanian artists.
Or visit the Alytus Museum, dedicated to the region's history, ethnography, and resistance movement during Soviet occupation.
When night falls, head to Baras or Medea for craft cocktails in a stylish space.
Or catch a show at Alytus Puppet or Drama Theatres, two of the oldest in Lithuania.
There's more natural beauty to uncover just outside the city too.
Take a boat tour of Lake Alytus, with scenic beaches and a birdwatching island preserve.
Or see the grand, neo-Renaissance Alytus Manor House, set on 34 hectares of English-style gardens.
Alytus has something for everyone.
Delve into its culture, nature and history – you'll soon discover why this southern gem shouldn't be missed.
Must-See Sights in Vilnius, Lithuania's Historic Capital The drive from Alytus to Vilnius is a picturesque 80 km (50 miles) that showcases the beautiful Lithuanian countryside.
Rolling green hills, thick forests, and quaint villages dot the route, with plenty of places to stop along the way.
Trakai Historical National Park About halfway through the drive, you'll find Trakai Historical National Park, home to the stunning Trakai Island Castle.
The red-brick Gothic castle sits on an island in Lake Galvė, and its dramatic towers are reflected in the still, blue waters.
Walk the castle ramparts, tour the museum inside, or just enjoy a drink at one of the lakeside cafes.
Paneriai Memorial A sobering but important stop is the Paneriai Memorial, a monument and museum at the site of the Paneriai massacre during World War II.
Thousands of Lithuanian Jews and Poles were executed here by the Nazis.
The memorial and mass graves serve as a reminder of this tragic history.
Vilijampolė district As you enter Vilnius, stop by the Vilijampolė district to see traditional wooden houses, art galleries, and the historic St.
Nicholas Church.
It's a hip, up-and-coming area with cafes featuring locally-sourced, organic fare and craft breweries in converted warehouses.
The drive from Alytus to Vilnius may be short, but there are more than enough attractions, natural beauty, and culinary delights to keep you exploring for days.
Meander at your own pace and soak in the charm of this undiscovered region.
The scenic back roads and welcoming Lithuanian spirit are sure to captivate you.
Indulging in Vilnius' Cafe Culture Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital city, is filled with historical attractions and stunning architecture.
As you explore the old town, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Some must-see sights include: Gediminas Castle Tower No trip to Vilnius is complete without visiting the Gediminas Castle Tower.
Climb the winding stone staircase to the top of the tower, which offers panoramic views of the city.
The tower is all that remains of the Upper Castle that Grand Duke Gediminas built in the 14th century.
Cathedral Square At the heart of the old town is Cathedral Square, a picturesque public space surrounded by cafes, restaurants and notable landmarks.
The square gets its name from Vilnius Cathedral, a neoclassical church that houses the remains of Saint Casimir.
You’ll also spot the 56-meter belfry and St.
Nicholas Church.
Grab a drink at one of the al fresco cafes, soak in the atmosphere and watch the world go by.
Gates of Dawn For over 500 years, the Gates of Dawn have stood as an important symbol of Vilnius.
The gates contain the Chapel of the Gate of Dawn, housing an icon of the Virgin Mary.
Legend says that when the city was attacked, the gates held fast and attackers fled after seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.
The gates are one of the only parts of the original city wall still standing.
Užupis District Just across the river from the old town lies the quirky Užupis district.
Once a run-down area, Užupis was revitalized by local artists and declared an independent republic.
Explore its winding cobblestone streets, lined with art galleries, studios, and cafes.
Don’t miss the Užupis Angel, a sculpture that serves as a symbol of the district.
Užupis is a glimpse into Vilnius’ vibrant contemporary art scene.
Vilnius overflows with historical charm, yet has a youthful, creative energy.
Spend a few days exploring all it has to offer.
This Baltic gem may just capture your heart.
Continuing Your Road Trip: Where to Go From Vilnius Vilnius is a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its charming Old Town, Baroque architecture, and vibrant cafe culture.
After exploring the cobblestone streets, you’ll want to rest your weary feet at one of the city’s cozy coffee shops.
Vilnius’ cafe culture reflects its location at the crossroads of Eastern and Western civilization.
Aroma Cafe For a quintessential Vilnius cafe experience, head to Aroma Cafe.
Open since 1993, Aroma Cafe helped launch Vilnius’ cafe culture.
It features an eclectic mix of shabby-chic decor, comfy couches, and outdoor patio seating.
They offer over 40 types of coffee and tea, as well as homemade cakes, tarts, and light meals.
It’s the perfect spot to people watch and soak in the ambiance.
Mint Vinetu If you prefer a hipster vibe, check out Mint Vinetu.
This cafe-meets-bar in the heart of the Old Town has an artsy, retro-chic interior with minimalist decor.
They serve specialty coffee drinks, craft cocktails, and gourmet street food like truffle fries and pork belly buns.
Grab a seat at their long marble bar or lounge on one of the plush velvet couches.
Mint Vinetu is ideal for a morning espresso or evening glass of wine.
Other noteworthy cafes include Sugamour, with pastel decor and macarons; Mano Cafe for flat whites and avocado toast; and Senoji Troika for coffee, cake, and stunning panoramic views of the Old Town.
Whether you prefer a traditional coffeehouse, hipster cafe or rooftop bar, Vilnius has you covered.
Fuel up on caffeine and cake as you soak in the city’s Baroque beauty.

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