Churches: Vilnius is a city of churches, which are free to enter and admire. Vilnius Cathedral, with its prominent place below Gediminas Castle Tower, is a main feature of Vilnius’ landscape, but numerous other churches will amaze and impress, including the Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit and St. Theresa’s Church, both near the Gate of Dawn, St. Anne’s and the Benedictine Church, and the Vilnius University church of Sts. John.
Castle Tower: Though the tower itself requires a small entry fee, the walk to the top of the hill is actually free. Great views of Old Town can be gotten from the top of the hill, and it’s well worth the climb. If you do decide to enter the tower museum, which permits access to the roof-top viewing area, the cost is a mere 5 litas.
Gate of Dawn: The Gate of Dawn, the only remaining gate from Vilnius’s former defensive wall, contains an icon of Holy Mary said to be bestowed with miraculous powers. As you approach the icon-side of the gate, enter the wooden door to your left and climb the flight of stairs to see this important symbol of Vilnius. Penitents used to climb the stairs on their knees, but their marble surface makes the thought painful today.
The Money Museum: This fun, interactive museum just off of Gediminas Prospect is a free attraction fun for kids and adults. The museum is dedicated to the history of currency and banking and offers information on both international and Lithuanian monetary history.
Hill of Three Crosses: Hike up to the hill, visible from various locations in Vilnius, to get a view from where three large, white crosses commemorate legendary martyrs. The Hill of Three Crosses is a part of a larger park area that preserves the historic wilderness of Lithuania. It’s a great spot for a picnic or to simply get away from exhaust and noise of the city streets. It’s especially beautiful in the autumn.
Uzupis: Uzupis is a district of Vilnius’ Old Town famous for its beautifully run-down architecture and artistic population. Take a stroll through Uzupis and see a unique part of the city that has, incidentally, declared itself an independent republic.
Street Fairs: Street fairs held on weekends, often on Gediminas Prospect, offer a wide range of entertainment, sights, and smells. Of course you can purchase food and souvenirs from vendors selling items for consumption, but it’s also possible to take in a free performance or simply observe what traditional crafts are on display.
Free Events: Vilnius offers numerous free events for anyone interested in culture. Church concerts, including organ concerts, choirs, and musical ensembles are the most popular types of free concerts, but free open-air folk concerts, exhibitions, and cultural and holiday events are also common. Also check out the flag raising ceremony at the presidential palace every Sunday at noon. The website Vilnius-events.lt is one of the best resources for information concerning free or paid events.
City Walk: You've got your map, your camera, and an entire UNESCO-protected old town to explore, which you can do even if you have only one day in Vilnius. Set out on foot and let your whims guide you. Enter courtyards, which often offer pleasant surprises, duck down side streets, and pop into churches. You’ll come to appreciate the city’s beauty, some of which is tucked into unexpected places. Often, historic buildings have plaques that tell of famous inhabitants. Even if you aren't in search of traceable history, Vilnius’ architectural diversity, well-preserved history, and endless surprises will delight and impress.