Vilnius Segway Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
Special Medical Restriction
Until you've gone mobile on a Segway, you don't have a clue how fantastic they are for covering more sights, more easily. And in Vilnius, that matters – since we're talking about lots of sights.
Like other European capitals with Stone Age roots, this town hit its prime in the Middle Ages, and its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But this one's a whopper – well over a square mile, with more than 1,500 buildings of historical significance. That's a lot of significance to absorb. And that's before venturing anywhere outside Old Town – where a whole other batch of landmarks begs discovery.
Heck, there are 65 churches alone in Vilnius, a spiritual heritage that led Napoleon to call this the "Jerusalem of the North." Many of them are showstoppers, too, like St. Anne's Church – a 14th-century Flamboyant Gothic fantasy of red brick, gargoyles, and buttresses that particularly impressed the emperor, inspiring him to say he wished he could bring it home to Paris in the palm of his hand.
There's no shortage of palaces either. The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was one of Europe's most renowned during the 15th to 17th centuries, but was demolished as the 19th century began. Fortunately, the Vilnians saw fit to rebuild it in painstaking detail.
The Presidential Palace housed Vilnius' top clergy until 1795, when the Russians swooped in and took it over for their imperial governors. Then Napoleon marched in and booted them out during his ill-fated 1812 push into Moscow, a regrettable venture redeemed only by his brief sightseeing interlude. And on and on it went: a long game of musical chairs, as various conquerors vied to occupy the palace's government chambers and private quarters. Since 1990, when Lithuania at last regained independence, it's a freely elected president who sleeps there.
Another not-so-little and frequently fought-over landmark is Vilnius University – first opened in 1579 and built up over the centuries to sprawl across 13 arcaded courtyards. Run at various times by Jesuits, Lithuanians, Russians, Poles, Nazis, and Soviets, it's now back in local hands – and its 23,000 students add a college-town vibe to street life there.
And by the way: Green-minded, former mayor Arturas Zuokas has been known to cruise Vilnius on a Segway himself. But he's also known for crushing an illegally parked Benz with a tank in 2011, to demonstrate his commitment to solving the city's chronic parking problem. People took the hint, taking to bikes and Segways in growing numbers and leaving their cars at home – out of the path of any tank-commanding meter maids.
The Soviet years were not kind to Vilnius' churches, including some you'll see on this tour. The three prominent saint statues adorning the roof of Vilnius Cathedral are remakes of originals trashed in 1950, when this magnificent neoclassical landmark was used as a Soviet mechanic's garage. The Church of the Ascension served as a war hospital and insane asylum. Evangelical Lutheran Church was turned into a basketball court; Reformed Evangelical Church, a cinema; St. Bartholomew's, a sculptor's workshop.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.