The palace was built in the 14th century as a home to Vilnius' first Catholic bishop, and was later occupied by such notables as Tsar Paul I and Louis XVIII. Napoleon Bonaparte stayed in the palace, as did Polish statesman Józef Piłsudski. The palace today is the residence of the Lituanian president: if the national flag is flying, the president is in town.
You can visit on most sightseeing and history tours—which typically stop at the palace and nearby Vilnius University—or visit independently to explore on your own. Stop by over the weekend for a free palace tour and a stroll through the well-tended gardens.
Things to know before you go
- Political history fans should visit the Centre for Civil Education, located in the Presidential Palace.
- Remember to bring your ID, which is required if you attend a tour.
- You should reserve a palace tour at least three days before you plan to visit.
How to get there
You can find the palace in the heart of Vilnius Old Town, situated on Universiteto Gatvė. If you're not visiting on a sightseeing tour, the most convenient way to reach the palace is by bus. Take the #89 bus to the nearby Vokiečių Street stop, or the #10, #11, or #33 busses to the Bernardinų Sodas stop. It's about a 10-minute walk to the palace.
When to get there
There's really no bad time to view the facade, though the building is particularly striking when lit at night. If you want to see the palace interior, then you should join for a complimentary tour on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The palace flag-changing takes place weekly on Sundays, and the ceremonial Changing of the Guard is held daily.
Understanding the Flag-Changing Ceremony
The flag-changing ceremony in Daukanto Square showcases a festive display featuring the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Opening with trumpet and drum accompaniment, soldiers in modern dress and medieval attire practice a drill formation. Flags are lowered and raised, and soldiers keep guard following the ceremony. If you're visiting on a Sunday, this weekly event is a standout.
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- Vilnius University (Vilniaus Universitetas)
- Money Museum (Pinigu Muziejaus)
- Amber Museum-Gallery (Gintaro Muziejus-Galerija)
- Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (National Museum)
- Vilnius Cathedral (Arkikatedra Bazilika)
- Bernardine Church (Bernardinu Parapija)
- St. Anne's Church
- Gediminas Castle Tower (Gedimino Pilies Bokstas)
- National Museum of Lithuania, New Arsenal
- Vilnil Museum of Illusions
- Subacius Hill
- Gediminas Avenue (Gedimino Prospektas)
- Bastion of the Vilnius Defensive Wall (Vilniaus Gynybines Sienos Basteja)
- Church of the Holy Spirit (Sventosios Dvasios Baznycia)