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Living in Vilnius

Making a Move to the Lithuanian Capital

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Vilnius Old Town Hall

Vilnius Old Town Hall

Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Have you found yourself in the position to live in Vilnius for any length of time, whether as a student, as a part of your profession, or for some other reason? You might be a little trepidatious about this move to the Lithuanian capital. Get acclimated to the idea of living in Vilnius by preparing yourself with some valuable information prior to your departure.

Basic Information

Many people describe Vilnius as a city with a small-town feel. Most of the action occurs in Old Town Vilnius, which means that even those who live outside of this large historic district congregate here for both work and play. Infinitely walkable, well-lit, and lively even into the hours of the morning, Old Town is never boring: the music culture in Vilnius is accessible and affordable, free or inexpensive exhibits regularly come to galleries and museums, and holiday events provide a never-ending flow of alternative activities from markets to performances to parades.

Apartments in Vilnius

Unless you plan to move to Vilnius permanently, you will probably seek out a furnished flat for your stay. Furnished apartments are readily available in Vilnius, and their price depends upon the level of comfort they provide and their location. Flats in Old Town command the steepest prices, though you may find affordable living quarters here if you are used to a Western cost of living. Many foreigners choose to stay in Old Town for easy access to work or nightlife, but opting for a flat on the outskirts of the historic core will save money and, if you don’t mind commuting, won’t prove too inconvenient.

One of the best ways to find a flat that you know you can live with is to first enter into a short-term rental agreement and use the time to ask the advice of friends and colleagues and shop around on your own. You will be able to get a feel for distances in Vilnius, what type of dwellings are available, and what is most important to you during your stay—location, cost, amenities, or something else.

Transportation in Vilnius

As has been stated, Old Town Vilnius is extremely walkable. For getting around other parts of Vilnius, a majority of the population uses an extensive network of buses and trolleybuses to traverse the city. Taxis are also plentiful, though it is recommended to have a list of taxi numbers on hand at all times to order a ride when you need it—hopping into an idle taxi will cost approximately four times what an ordered taxi costs.

Many people do have cars in Vilnius. If you have children or live a distance from the center, having a car may make sense. However, driving in the city isn’t always pleasant due to traffic or the devil-may-care attitudes of other drivers. In addition,Vilnius’ often severe winter weather makes the seasonal changing of tires a legal issue rather than a matter of preference. Having a car may be especially nice if you plan to travel to other parts of Lithuania or Europe, but planes, trains, and buses connect to almost any destination you can think of.

Expats in Vilnius

Vilnius has a lively an interesting community of expats that are happy to welcome you, share advice, and connect you with others who may be of help. If you work with an international organization or study at a university, meeting these people won’t be difficult. If you are in Vilnius on your own, breaking into this community may take more time, but once you meet a handful of others like yourself, the snowball effect of networking will lead you to business or social relationships that will ease the threat of loneliness and help you enjoy the city to its fullest potential.
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