True Lithuania

Shopping in Vilnius

The Vilnius's oldest and largest shopping mall is Akropolis (Šeškinė borough, over 100 000 sq. m), well known not only to the people all over Lithuania but also in Belarus. In weekends and Christmas period Akropolis may get heavily overcrowded which leads to a lack of parking.

Other large shopping malls are not far away. Ozas mall, with its extensive food court, suffers from having opened during the financial crisis of 2009 but is more spacious and convenient. Panorama mall near Žvėrynas is lagging behind Akropolis and Ozas, while the mid-sized Europa mall in Šnipiškės caters to the upscale market.

Ozas mall (Vilnius), a new competitor to the successful Akropolis chain. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

High streets of Vilnius emptied out to some extent with the advent of the shopping malls. However, there are still many upmarket shops in Gedimino Avenue (New Town), especially in its GO 9 shopping mall. Unfortunately, parking is expensive there (by Lithuanian standards).

If you want to shop the "old style" there are several bazaar-like open markets. In the suburban Gariūnai next to Vilnius many of today's businessmen started their business in the early 1990s. Just don't forget to negotiate. Kalvarijų market is a smaller marketplace close to the city center (in Šnipiškės), while the Halės marketplace is an even smaller historic one in the center itself. Today there are also a few modern markets mostly aimed at ecological food.

For groceries, supermarkets are the best option. They are located in every district of Vilnius.

The main supermarkets have working hours from ~08:00 until 22:00 or 23:00 and are open 7 days a week. Other shops may close down earlier. Marketplaces are only open in the first half of the day.

For souvenir shopping, there is the ordinary selection of t-shirts, cups, and magnets at the places most popular among tourists: Pilies street and Aušros Vartų street in the Old Town. A viable alternative is to buy your souvenirs at a supermarket - the larger ones among them have a dedicated shelf.

If you prefer regional souvenirs, there is amber (likely to be imported from Kaliningrad but turned into jewelry by the local artisans). In Pilies street you can also buy paintings by the local artists. Don't expect Michelangelo there, but the prices will be much lower than in the West (if you negotiate well enough).

Arts and crafts are also available there but if you want some real shopping, come during one of the fairs (St. Casimir, St. Baltrameaus). Many Old Town streets become large outdoor craft markets during these days.

Paintings for sale in Pilies street. Some of them depict the medieval streets of Vilnius but other topics are popular as well. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Given the stories of miracles in Vilnius, you may want to buy yourself religious goods. Christian religious paintings, including replicas of the famous Divine Mercy painting and the Our Lady of Vilnius paiting, are sold on the southern side of the Gate of Dawn.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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