Explore Vilnius' Booming Art Scene | The Wanderlist 2019
The city that calls itself "The G-Spot of Europe" is, naturally, one of our best holiday destinations of 2019
What? Explore your creativity in the self-proclaimed “G-spot of Europe.”
Where? Vilnius, Lithuania.
Why? Vilnius is well aware of its underdog status as one of Europe’s best travel destinations; so aware, in fact, that its tourist board has decided to play on it, launching a campaign calling it “the G-Spot of Europe” - the idea being that no-one knows where it is, but “when you find it, it’s amazing”.
While the cost of living continues to rise across much of the continent, this is one place where the maths is more likely to be in your favour. With the average Airbnb hovering at £39 per night, and pints clocking in at £2.70, you’ll be left with plenty of funds to explore the city’s burgeoning art community - or even create some pieces of your own.
Head to the Užupis neighbourhood which, in 1997, was declared an independent nation by a local artist - complete with four seasonal national flags, a 12-person army, and a constitution that includes lines like, “people have the right to be unhappy” and “a dog has the right to be a dog.” They also have a statue of Frank Zappa, because why the hell not?
Get your hands dirty by heading to the underground passage near the Panorama mall, where street artists (legally) cut their teeth with free wall space. Walk the streets looking for additional pieces, scattered generously across the city.
A piece titled “My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love” by Russian painter Dmitri Vrubel, featuring Trump and Putin locking lips, went viral in 2016 for very good reason. Alternatively, you could embrace the fairytale nature of the country in Europos Park just outside the city, where sculptor Gintaras Karosas has created a nature walk dotted with surreal sculptures.
Then join up with local artists at Fantomas, a bar, club, performance space, and gallery in Žvėrynas (a neighbourhood overlooked by many tourists), where you can enjoy performances, discussions, art exhibits, and Mexican food. You’ll know the venue by the bathtub on its roof and repurposed RV parked in the yard. (Naturally.)
When? You’re always going to have a Baltic breeze or two, so aim for May to August. Warmer temperatures will allow you to spend more time outdoors and take in their spate of summer festivals, including Art Vilnius, which is celebrating its tenth year in 2019.
How? As the largest city in the Baltics, it’s usually a fairly straightforward flight from anywhere in Western Europe or the UK. Trains and buses from throughout Eastern Europe will deposit you in the downtown area, where most areas of the city are a reasonable walk or cheap taxi ride away. Head to the city’s official tourist board site for more booking information.This has been selected for The Wanderlist - a list of the year’s 50 best travel destinations and experiences, curated by Amuse. If you want an unforgettable trip, this is where to go in 2019.