Concerts by world-renowned stars, international sports competitions, city festivals, and top-level conferences – just take you pick!
Mushroom gathering (or rather hunting) can claim to be a Lithuanian national sport, second only to basketball. And as with any sport, there has to be a championship. Every autumn, the Mushroom Festival turns Varėna (rightfully called the Mushroom Capital of Lithuania) into one big theme party. The theme – you guessed it – is mushrooms.
Sirenos Theatre Festival
It’s no secret that sirens are hard to resist – they call you, invite you, tempt you. In its second decade of offering challenging contemporary European and world theatre, Vilnius’ international Sirenos (“Sirens”) Theatre Festival also has an easy time netting in fans of original stage. The new theatre presents a different approach. Sometimes it surprises you, and sometimes it makes you want to object – or even just slam the door. However, theatre is theatre, and the more arousing it is, the more viewers flock to performances. And one thing is for sure – Sirenos has no problem getting an audience, so make sure to get your tickets in advance.
Vilnius Jazz Festival
Founded in 1987, Vilnius Jazz is the oldest annual jazz festival held in Vilnius. It is an exceptional event in Lithuania, providing a broad perspective on contemporary trends in jazz from all over the world, alongside the best of Lithuanian talent.
European Film Forum SCANORAMA is the largest and most prominent international cultural film event. It brings to Lithuania the best, most valued films that have earned recognition around Europe.
Užgavėnės (Fat Tuesday)
It’s not you we want to scare off. We’re scaring off winter. For many years, we have been driving it away in February, shouting: “Winter, winter, get out of the yard!” Of course, winter doesn’t always surrender, holding out against the people in fancy dress who have gorged on pancakes and the children that go from door to door, asking for treats. Užgavėnės is a traditional celebration that is in our blood and lets adults feel like children again. Who will recognise you behind a mask? You can celebrate Užgavėnės in Rumšiškės – the traditions here never change. If you’re in Samogitia, stop by Lake Plateliai, where you’ll also find some winter fun. Come and burn your misery along with Morė, the symbol of evil and all misfortune.
Kino Pavasaris: Vilnius International Film Festival
The largest and most important film event in Lithuania will be inviting viewers to cinemas in 2019 for the 24th time. Over the course of two weeks, the festival presents more than 200 short and feature-length films, including both strong debuts and the work of recognised masters. The country’s most important film premieres also take place at the festival every year.
Kino Pavasaris is a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the latest trends in the cinema world, to see the most popular films, to interact with recognised film-makers, and to meet and exchange experiences with like-minded people.
Open House Vilnius
Open House Vilnius is a weekend event that gives everyone the opportunity to take an interest in architecture and learn more about it. During the weekend, participants are given access to unique buildings in Vilnius that are not usually open to the public. The programme includes tours of the buildings which are given by volunteer guides as well as the architects of the buildings and the people who live or work there.
Street Music Day
Let’s meet on the third weekend of May. When our cities ring of music. Everyone who knows how to make music grabs an instrument and goes out into the streets. Children and adults, professionals and aspiring artists, with microphones or without, with drums, violins, harps, double bass, or DJ controllers. Classic and jazz, the rumble of African drums and the barely audible echo of a flute, electronic music and folklore, rock and sutartinės. The music draws you in, inviting you to submit yourself to the rhythm, to sing and dance, to join in an improvised percussion parade, or to sit on the cobblestone of the Old Town so you can close your eyes and dream. Originally held in Vilnius, Street Music Day has moved not only to other Lithuanian cities and towns, but to Lithuanian communities abroad as well. And Riga, Minsk, Tbilisi and Dublin have followed Lithuania’s example.
Contemporary Art Fair ArtVilnius
Include this event in your must-attend list and you will find yourself in the real art hurricane that lasts four days. The international contemporary art fair ArtVilnius, held in the capital city in early June, is the biggest art fair in the Baltic states. It is the place that builds art bridges, rallies the community of artists and art critics, brings the latest art market ideas to Lithuania and organises educational programmes and tours. This fair is a good opportunity to meet the artists face to face and acquire a piece of work directly from the artist’s hands.
Have you heard the sound of a choir of 20,000 singers? Have you ever seen a single dance performed by more than 9,000 dancers? Song festivals are an old tradition of ours that delight and amaze with their magnificence. They serve as proof of how we preserve our traditions and our language, and how musical we are. Old and new generation songs and dances, traditional crafts, wild flowers and new acquaintances – in summer, Vilnius sings with the voices of all of Lithuania. The festivals take place every four years, with the next one coming up in 2022 – don’t miss it!