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Vilnius Christmas Market (+2023 Dates) & What It’s Like to Visit Vilnius in December

Vilnius Christmas Market (+2023 Dates) & What It’s Like to Visit Vilnius in December

Are you looking for a somewhat lesser-known European Christmas market that’s not overrun by huge crowds and wondering where to go? Or maybe you’ve already decided to visit the Vilnius Christmas market and are wondering what to expect and how it is to visit Lithuania in December? This article should answer all your questions and, hopefully, also inspire you to visit. Find out!

This guide should give you a good idea of what to expect when visiting Vilnius Christmas market. You can also find some practical information and pictures that will give you an even better idea of what Vilnius Christmas market is like. I’ve also included some additional tips for your visit to Vilnius in December.

Lithuania is my home country, but I have lived abroad for so many years that I sometimes feel like a tourist when I visit… This gives me a unique opportunity to write about it as a tourist, but at the same time, offer you some local insights and insider tips. I hope that this guide/ review will help you enjoy the Vilnius Christmas market even more. Read on!

* Disclaimer – prices and opening hours are correct at the time of writing, and are only meant for your reference.

READ ALSO: Best Lesser-Known Christmas Markets in Europe

Vilnius Christmas market and the Cathedral Square in winter 2018

When is Vilnius Christmas Market Open

Vilnius Christmas market is normally open from the last weekend of November/first weekend of December until the first weekend of January.

This winter, the Vilnius Christmas Market will be open from December 1, 2023, to January 1, 2024. The Christmas Tree on the Cathedral Square stays until January 7, 2024.

Vilnius Christmas Train runs during the entire duration of the Christmas market.

The ice skating rink in Vilnius is usually open the entire winter, from the beginning of December to the beginning of March. So if you’re looking for something fun to do in Vilnius in winter, don’t miss it! Especially if you’re visiting with kids.

It’s good to know that there are quite some other winter events in Vilnius, in addition to the Christmas market. Most of them also happen in the same period – in December and through the first week of January. For example, the annual Vilnius Christmas Run always takes place on a Sunday, in mid-December, and a 3D Christmas fairy tale/ light show is scheduled between Christmas and New Year.

There are many more events in Vilnius in winter; too many to list here, but they are usually advertised throughout the city, or you can check the winter event calendar here (the info is usually available shortly before the Christmas Market opens).

Market stalls at the Vilnius Christmas market
Market stalls at the Vilnius Christmas market

Where Does the Vilnius Christmas Market Take Place?

The Christmas market in Vilnius is not really big and is spread out over several smaller cozy areas in the city center. It is set on two main squares in the old town – the Cathedral Square (Katedros aikštė) and the Town Hall Square (Rotušės aikštė).

There are also some market stalls on Vincas Kudirka Square (Vinco Kudirkos aikštė), along the main shopping street in Vilnius, Gediminas Avenue (Gedimino prospektas).

The Vilnius ice skating rink is located on Lukiškės Square (Lukiškių aikštė), which is also located along the main shopping street, Gediminas Av., just a bit further west.

Christmas market on the Town Hall Square in Vilnius
Christmas Market on the Town Hall Square in Vilnius

Vilnius Christmas Market – What to Expect

Christmas market tradition is rather new in Lithuania. When I was little, Lithuania had no Christmas markets like the ones in Western Europe… However, it’s becoming more and more popular and Vilnius has been holding Christmas markets for quite a few years now.

That being said, the Vilnius Christmas market can’t really be compared to those in the bigger cities in Germany, Austria, or Belgium… And that’s a good thing! It’s smaller and cozier and you can still find a true Christmas spirit here. That’s why I like it so much and I truly hope it remains this way.

You can expect to find similar market stalls just like other European Christmas markets, just not as many. You will find mulled wine, local delicacies, crafts, and other products typically sold at the Christmas markets.

What you won’t find are the crowds of thousands of tourists brushing shoulders trying to make their way through the market. Instead, it’s a nice mix of tourists and local families enjoying the cozy winter atmosphere without having to worry about pickpockets or losing your kids in the crowd.

Sweets for sale at the Christmas market in Vilnius Lithuania
Sweets for sale at the Christmas market in Vilnius

Usually, the market stalls on Cathedral Square are more traditional-type, i.e. wooden chalets. Whereas, the Christmas market at the Town Hall is more modern. There are no traditional market stalls here; instead, you’ll find glass igloos, each with a different theme. Some igloos serve as small cafes, while some others sell crafts and presents… However, this changes every year.

Vilnius city center is quite walkable and you can visit all the places where the Christmas markets are being held on foot. If you don’t want to walk, however, you can also hop on the Vilnius Christmas train that runs through the old town every holiday season. This little train is a must-do if you are visiting Vilnius Christmas markets with kids!

Every year, there is a Nativity scene on Cathedral Square. This year, it was quite special with camels, a bison, and some sheep. Fun to see, but quite an unusual choice for Lithuania.

Christmas Nativity scene on Cathedral Square in Vilnius Lithuania
Christmas Nativity scene on the Cathedral Square in Vilnius

As already mentioned, there is usually an ice skating rink on Lukiškės Square. There is also a fountain on the same square that’s often lit/decorated for the holiday season. It’s always an incredible creation of water, light, and glass.

In addition to the market areas, the whole city center is nicely decorated for the holidays. Many shops, restaurants, hotels, and most streets in the old town have Christmas lights and decorations.

Don’t miss the Presidential Palace – it’s always beautifully lit during the holiday season. This year, there is also a big linkėjimai – greetings sign in front of the palace.

Presidential Palace in Vilnius Lithuania with Christmas decorations
‘Greetings’ sign in front of the Presidential Palace in Vilnius

Vilnius Christmas Tree

Vilnius Christmas trees deserve a separate mention. Every year again they are very special and unique.

There are usually two big Christmas trees in Vilnius. If you’re looking for a more traditional Christmas tree, you’ll find it on Town Hall Square. Whereas the main, biggest, most impressive, and most creative Vilnius Christmas tree can be found on Cathedral Square.

Below you can see some pictures of Vilnius Christmas trees from past years – some from the Town Hall Square and others – from Cathedral Square. As you can see, no two trees are the same or even similar to each other. One thing is guaranteed every year – Vilnius Christmas tree will definitely surprise you.

Vilnius Christmas tree 2014
Vilnius Christmas tree 2014 – In honor of the 140th birthday of a Lithuanian composer M.K. Čiurlionis
Vilnius Christmas tree 2015
Vilnius Christmas tree 2015 – A fairytale house
Vilnius Christmas tree 2016
Vilnius Christmas tree 2016
Vilnius Christmas tree 2017
Vilnius Christmas tree 2017
Vilnius Christmas tree 2018
Vilnius Christmas tree 2018 – A dial of a clock
Christmas tree at the Town Hall Square (Rotuses aikste) in Vilnius Lithuania
Christmas tree at the Town Hall Square in Vilnius – 2019
Vilnius Christmas tree 2019
Vilnius Christmas tree 2019 – Chess Queen surrounded by chess figures
Vilnius Christmas Tree 2022
Vilnius Christmas Tree 2022 – in the shape of a birthday cake to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the city. Photo micheleursi/

Vilnius Christmas Train

A small decorated Vilnius Christmas train has become a yearly tradition. It runs in the old town, between Cathedral Square and Town Hall Square, passing the picturesque Pilies Street.

There are just two stops – the two main Christmas market locations – and you can get on and off the train at both of them.

At the moment, this little tourist train runs during the entire duration of the Vilnius Christmas market. It runs daily from approx. noon to 8 – 10 PM, depending on which day of the week it is. There are departures every 30 minutes.

You can get tickets from the driver. The ride is free for kids under 90cm (+-3 years old).

Vilnius Christmas market and Christmas train - winter celebrations in Lithuania
Vilnius Christmas train at the Cathedral Square

Is Vilnius Christmas Market Expensive?

While prices in Lithuania, in general, are quite a bit lower than those in Western Europe, I found that food and drink prices at the Vilnius Christmas market are quite comparable to those at the Belgian Christmas markets. Expect to pay 3-4 EUR for a warm non-alcoholic drink and around 5 EUR for mulled wine or a warm snack.

Where you’ll notice the biggest difference is in the pricing of crafts and souvenirs, and mostly – attractions. For example, ice skating or a Christmas train are much cheaper than in other places in Europe.

Good to know: If you visit Vilnius in winter, you’ll find that prices for hotels are really affordable. So if you want to treat yourself to a nice stay at a 4-5* hotel, it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. You can find our suggestions for the best hotels to stay in further below.

Mulled wine and hot cranberry drink for sale at a Christmas market in Vilnius in Lithuania
Mulled wine and hot cranberry jelly drink for sale at a Christmas market in Vilnius

Is Vilnius Christmas Market Worth It?

As mentioned, Vilnius Christmas market is quite small, so if you decide to visit Vilnius in December just for its Christmas market, you’ll probably be disappointed. However, there is so much more to see and do in and around Vilnius that the Christmas market is just the cherry on the cake.

If the weather is good, you can explore the city on foot and go ice skating (or even skiing – in Liepkalnis, just on the outskirts of Vilnius). If it’s colder, you can visit museums, go shopping, or just hang around at one of the many cozy cafes or restaurants…

The Christmas market itself is probably nicest in the evening when all the lights make it look truly magical. It gets dark quite early (at around 4-4.30 PM in December), so the evenings are long, and going to a Christmas market is a nice way to fill them.

If you are looking for a really nice European city break in winter, a place that has a lot to offer, but is not yet overrun by tourists, then you’ll love Vilnius in winter. The good thing is that Vilnius is still much more affordable than most other European capital cities, so you can truly enjoy your visit without having to break the bank.

Christmas decorations in Vilnius old town, Lithuania
Christmas decorations in Vilnius Old Town

What is the Weather Like in Vilnius in December

In the past, Lithuania used to have really cold winters, but it’s not the case anymore. Weather in Vilnius in December is nowadays quite mild, most likely you’ll experience temperatures between -5°C and 10°C (23-50 F).

Vilnius does get snow in December, but there is more chance you’ll get rain rather than snow. If you’re lucky, you might experience a white Christmas in Lithuania, but you can’t count on that anymore…

Also, don’t let the temperatures scare you. 0°C in Vilnius feels warmer than 5°C in Belgium. I have no idea why; maybe because of humidity…

Good to know: While located quite far up North, Lithuania has plenty of daylight in winter. In December, it’s light from around 8-8.30 AM till 4-4.30 PM. The shortest days around Christmas still have more than 7 hours of daylight.

Vilnius Christmas tree and Xmas market at the Cathedral Square
It was 2-8°C with an occasional shower when I visited Vilnius mid-December

Tips for Visiting Vilnius in December

Dress warmly. A winter jacket, warm socks, warm shoes, gloves, a hat, and a shawl are a must.

Stay in the city center. There are many really good hotels in Vilnius city center and, in winter, they’re a bargain. Staying in the old town means that you can walk everywhere and experience the great Christmas atmosphere every time you leave your hotel. Further below, you can find our recommendations on where exactly to stay in Vilnius.

Bring some cash (Lithuania uses euros). While all the shops and restaurants accept credit cards, you’ll need some cash at the Christmas market.

Reserve restaurants for Christmas/ New Year in advance. If you are visiting Vilnius for Christmas or New Year, make sure to reserve a restaurant for dinner in advance. It’s not necessary on other days, but I’d definitely make reservations for December 24, 25, and 31.

Warm pastry market stall at the Vilnius Christmas market in Lithuania
Warm pastry at the Christmas market in Vilnius

Try some local food and drinks at the Christmas market. While you can get mulled wine and waffles at the Vilnius Christmas market, I recommend that you try some local specialties as well.

We love kisielius – it’s a non-alcoholic warm jelly drink, usually made of cranberries (spanguolių kisielius). Also, make sure to try šližikai/ kūčiukai – it’s a traditional pastry that every Lithuanian eats on Christmas Eve. Another delicacy you’ll find at the Vilnius Christmas market is meduoliai – a sort of gingerbread that comes in all shapes and forms.

Try local food at the restaurants. There are many traditional Lithuanian dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, but the most famous ones are probably our potato dishes. Traditional Lithuanian food tends to be much cheaper than meat or fish dishes.

If you try just one Lithuanian dish, make it cepelinai, sort of oversized potato dumplings with meat or curd filling. Other favorites include kugelis, bulviniai blynai, vėdarai, and koldūnai.

LEARN MORE: Lithuanian Food

Explore beyond Vilnius. If you have half a day to spare, take a tour to the nearby Trakai castle. if you have an extra day, you can take a train and visit Kaunas – the second largest city in Lithuania. It always competes with Vilnius for the nicest Christmas tree, so definitely worth checking out!

Alternatively, this private tour allows you to see Trakai and Kaunas in one day.

Meduoliai - Lithuanian gingerbread for sale at Vilnius Christmas market
Meduoliai – Lithuanian gingerbread for sale at Vilnius Christmas market

Where to Stay for Visiting Vilnius Christmas Market

There are many hotels in Vilnius center and it’s quite easy to find something for every budget. As already mentioned, hotels in Vilnius in winter are rather cheap.

There are also many privately rented apartments available in Vilnius, but if you ever wanted to stay at a very nice hotel and couldn’t justify the cost, this is your chance!

Below are some of the nicest hotels in Vilnius center for every budget. We only feature a few – the ones that have amazing reviews, great location, and excellent price/quality ratio. All of these hotels are well-located for sightseeing and for visiting Vilnius Christmas Market.

Luxury Narutis hotel in Vilnius old town with Christmas decorations
Luxury Narutis hotel in Vilnius old town

So, this is our guide/review of the Christmas market in Vilnius, Lithuania. I hope that it will give you a better idea of what to expect and inspire you to visit Vilnius in December – January. You’ll absolutely love Vilnius!

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Lithuania & Baltics Travel Itinerary

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What to expect when visiting Christmas market in Vilnius Lithuania

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Wednesday 1st of November 2023

It looks impossible to find a restaurant open for dinner on christmas eve 24.12. Unfortunately. Hopefulle something appears.


Saturday 4th of November 2023

Hi Jakob, 24/12 is really a family evening so most restaurants are closed (and this is the case pretty much everywhere in Europe). Your best bet is to try hotels that have restaurants - they are usually open every day. But it's also possible that they only allow reservations from hotel guests so be sure to double check. Good luck and enjoy Vilnius!


Monday 4th of September 2023

Where did you find that the 2023 market will begin on 2 December?


Monday 4th of September 2023

@Jurga, thank you for your reply! I was hoping it would open the last weekend of November haha but maybe not.


Monday 4th of September 2023

Ha ha, I have my sources (in Lithuanian) ;). I just checked again and now they say that the Christmas Market should be open from December 1 2023 to January 1 2024. The exact wording they use is that 'it's planned' on those days, and indeed, it normally always starts on the first weekend of December or the last weekend of November. Hope this helps.

Victoria Harper

Saturday 5th of November 2022

Any tips on what to do with a 3 year old when visiting in December?


Tuesday 8th of November 2022

Hi Victoria, there are lots of indoor activities for families in Vilnius. It really depends on your interests, your kid, and how 'local' you want to go. There is a small indoor zoo (Zoopark), a waterpark (Vichy Water Park), Toy Museum, Railway Museum, Museum of Illusions, etc. Lots of shopping centers too - some of them have small playgrounds and other activities. Have a great time in Vilnius!


Tuesday 13th of September 2022


The post is indeed very informative. Can I ask if there was no snow in Vilnius, is there a nearby place where one can spend a day with kids to play in snow?


Wednesday 14th of September 2022

Hi Bob, if there is no snow in Vilnius, it's unlikely you'll find snow nearby. It's one of the coldest regions in Lithuania. That being said, there is a small ski area - Liepkalnis - just outside the city. I'm not sure if they have artificial snow, but I know many locals who go skiing there with the kids every winter, so maybe check it out if that's of interest. And if there is snow and you just want to get to nature, there are many nice parks in and near the city.

Anne Cunningham

Friday 6th of November 2020

Thank you so much for your help I really hope to get going and there will be no more travel restrictions.. we would definitely prefer smaller crowds, Christmas markets is our yearly binge we try a different city each year. So I will google the old town hotels and ask them re accessibility do t mind cobble stones as most old towns have them . You have been very good thank you



Wednesday 11th of November 2020

Glad to help, Anne, and hope you can make it happen this year!

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