The festive and creative winter decorations of Vilnius in 2021

'Best wishes!” in front of the Presidential palace (Photo by Lukas BARBIER)
'Best wishes!” in front of the Presidential palace (Photo by Lukas BARBIER)

Lithuania is probably one of the most well-hidden treasures of Europe at all times of the year. However, Vilnius during the month of December is filled with outstanding sightings and will strike even the most experienced travellers of the globe. Without a doubt, Lithuanians go all out with their Christmas decorations. As such, the streets of Vilnius display immense creativity, imagination and impressive artistic abilities.

The most famous attraction is Vilnius’ world-renown Christmas tree, often ranking among the most beautiful in the world every year. This year, even while the construction was a bit less grandiose due to Covid-19 restrictions and limitations, the 2021 tree still placed fifth in the Euronews rankings.

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The 2021 Vilnius Christmas tree on Cathedral square (Photo / Lukas BARBIER)

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Yet, the yearly Christmas tree isn’t the only decoration in the Old Town of Vilnius: streets, store-fronts and cafés are filled with ornaments too! 

‘Augustas & Barbora love story café’: A fantastical world 

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The fantastical facade of ‘Augustas & Barbora love story café’ on Stiklių street (Photo / Lukas BARBIER)

Seemingly taken straight from Alice in Wonderland, the display of the ‘Augustas & Barbora love story café’ is a very popular attraction with its giant mushrooms. The facade of the café in Stiklių street is overgrown with moss and fir trees which transport you straight into the fantastical world of Lewis Carroll.

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The café-front was designed by stylist, decorator and show-host Mantas Petruškevičius after being contacted by the owners.

Hotel PACAI: Arctic spikes

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The spiked entrance of Hotel PACAI on Didžioji street (Photo / Lukas BARBIER)

This year, owners went big, the ‘PACAI’ hotel wasn’t any different from ‘Augustas & Barbora love story café’. Also in collaboration with Mantas Petruškevičius, the entrance of the hotel welcomed giant sculptures of reflective ice spikes and fir trees. The hotel’s owners tried to achieve a more original look than going for a simple “natural” look with green festive trees.

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Ponių Laimė bakery: Santa’s workshop

The entrance of Ponių Laimė on Stiklių street (Photo / Lukas BARBIER)

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The bakery and café ‘Ponių Laimė’ (The Ladies’ Delight) opted for a design clearly inspired by traditional festive Christmas decorations, making it seem like an entrance to Santa’s workshop on Stiklių street.

However, the aroma-filled bakery is not decorated only for Christmas, but also the rest of the year with various themed designs.

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Balzac restaurant: The Art of the Hand-crafted

The facade of the ‘Balzac’ restaurant covered in hand-painted conifer cones on Savičiaus street  (Photo / Lukas BARIER)

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The classic French restaurant ‘Balzac’ on Savičiaus street was decorated with hand-painted conifer cones, giving it a colourful and homelike feeling. In essence, it pertains its French authenticity.

The Senator’s passage: A Hidden fairy-like yard

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The fully decorated yard of the ‘Senatorių Pasažas’ complex (Photo / Lukas BARBIER)

The ‘Senatorių Pasažas’ (Senator’s passage), an inside yard connecting Dominikonų street and Stiklių street, is covered in fairy lights, there you can find the restaurants Nineteen18 and 14Horses. Also, a luminous mesh reindeer resides next to a rather tall fir tree.

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A Modernised story told on the Cathedral: A Christmas Carol

The 3D mapping show of C.Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ on Vilnius Cathedral (Photo / Lukas BARBIER)

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During the last week of December, a 3D animated version of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ is projected on the side of Vilnius Cathedral, an emblematic site in Vilnius with its tower. It is also narrated in Lithuanian throughout the 15-minute-long projection.

“Each year, we try to make Christmas not only traditional, but also modern. The impressive festive and musical tale is a gift to our young residents. We hope that the story projected on the facade of the Cathedral will bring a lot of warmth and happiness to Vilnius,” the vice-mayor Edita Tamošiūnaitė told the Vilnius Center of Culture.

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—by Lukas BARBIER (lukas@lukasbarbier.com)

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