Soviet Stories from Vilnius

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Soviet Stories from Vilnius
from AUD $76.13
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Get a look at life behind the Iron Curtain on this Vilnius time travelling tour that digs deep into the city’s Soviet past. Learn about ‘homo sovieticus’ and all the incredible and funny stories that shouldn’t be forgotten. Visit a local market, taste Soviet-era dishes, see the Soviet blocks that still stand, find out what life was like for the “happiest people in the world,” and learn why the entire Soviet empire collapsed.
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In Brief

Location:
Vilnius, Lithuania
Country:
Lithuania
Duration:
3 hours
Operates:
Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat
Overview
Important InfoInfo
Pricing
Reviews
Exploring the Soviet past in Vilnius means diving into its quirks and absurdities, the funny and sad stories, and the harsh realities about life in ‘the best country in the world.’ On this Vilnius tour, you’ll learn about Stalin’s horrors, as well as the struggles, resistance, and drive for freedom that destroyed the Soviet empire.

We’ll meet for our Vilnius walking tour at the Town Hall, then walk toward the Jewish quarter and visit the local market, where not many things have changed, except the prices. Here we will try a Lithuanian specialty: salted and smoked bacon and “black bread,” which helped people to survive through both good and bad times. Then we’ll walk toward the former railway workers’ union house a unique place that’s now converted into a nightclub and skating park, and decorated with modern art. You’ll learn why workers needed a palace and why some factories had no address, only a mailbox.

We'll head to the Soviet block apartment district. We’ll talk about what life was like in those apartments and what it felt like to be a citizen during that era. What was it like to live in the "best country in the world"? We’ll discuss all the details and rituals of daily life, like what locals ate for breakfast, and find out why good friends were more important than money.  Next up on this Vilnius tour, it’s time to explore cuisine à la Soviet! Find out why kitchens in Soviet blocks were limited to nine square metres in size, and why canned green peas and mayonnaise were top products at that time. We’ll then pop into a Soviet-inspired restaurant to taste very special ‘delicacies’ from Soviet times. Don’t be afraid they’re actually surprisingly tasty! We’re talking about deep-fried pastry with minced meat and onion filling, which would only be prepared for special occasions. We’ll also try some Lithuanian soup, because Lithuanians can’t imagine lunch without it! And a glass of beer too, of course.

We’ll then do as the locals do and hop aboard public transit to the wedding palace, where we’ll tell you all about wedding traditions from Soviet times. We’ll also walk to a trade unions’ palace, built on a cemetery, where there are other Soviet secrets to share. We’ll hear about the importance of connections and the meaning of a Soviet saying, “It is better to have 100 friends than 100 rubles.”

From here, we’ll take in the sweeping view including spying the legendary TV tower and the most popular pub in Soviet Lithuania. It is said that beer flew through the pipes here directly from the brewery, and people could talk freely here, as it was too noisy for the KGB to spy on them.

Our final stop will be where the Soviet era both started and ended: the former KGB headquarters, now a famous museum. It used to be said that one could see Siberia from there. Across the street, there used to be the biggest monument to Lenin in Lithuania and here you will find out what happened to him when the Soviet era ended.

Inclusions

  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Food tasting and snack
  • Glass of beer

Exclusions

  • Additional food and drinks (beer, mead and wine are available)
  • Entrance to the KGB museum (EUR 4 per person)
  • Public transport ticket (EUR 1 per person)
  • Tips/gratuities for your guide

Departure Time

2:00 PM

Departure Point

Didžioji g. 31, Vilnius 01128, Lithuania

Returns To

Lukiškių gatvė, Lukiškių g., Vilnius, Lithuania

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
  • Travelers under 12 years of age are not permitted on this tour.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Most travelers can participate
  • As part of the tour, you have lunch in a decades-old, family run canteen, servicing and supporting lower-income members of the community.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund

Booking Information

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Cancellation Terms

This trip is fully refundable up to 96 hours prior to the commencement of your trip.

Booking Terms and Conditions

When you book this trip, you need to read and accept the terms and conditions for booking our day trips in excursions.

Scoring an average traveller rating of 5 out of 5 based on the last 4 recent reviews

We were the only 2 on this tour, so it was great. Our tour guide was amazing, she was so knowledgable and informative
• Submitted 08 Nov 2019
This was an extraordinary tour. Vilija was an outstanding guide, providing insights into Soviet life in Vilnius that only someone who had experienced it personally could provide. She took me to out of the way places that I would never have found on my own. She answered every question I had in a thorough and perceptive way. I highly recommend this tour.
• Submitted 18 Feb 2018
Vilija was my tour guide and she did not disappoint! I went on the tour in late September and ended up being the only one who signed up that day. Vilija tailored the tour just for me to make sure I got the best, most interesting experience. She showed me all of the main Soviet remains of Vilnius, explained their historical significance, and told interesting stories about her own personal experiences related to Soviet life. These stories were meaningful and allowed me to better understand Vilnius' Soviet history. The restaurant we visited was a taste literally! of how people in Vilnius ate during the Soviet era, which was one of my favorite parts of the tour. The food and drinks were absolutely amazing. Afterward, I was shown everything from the buildings people got married and divorced in during Soviet times to a lovely panoramic view of Vilnius. The famous TV tower, an old Soviet sock factory that still makes and sells socks in adjacent shop, and monuments were among other highlights. I highly recommend this tour to anyone interested in the Soviet history of a country who has withstood repeated occupations.
• Submitted 02 Oct 2017
This was a fantastic walk back into time with two great guides, one of which lived through the experience. Vilnius was the last stop on a college graduation gift trip for my son and this tour was the highlight. After reading many books on the Cold War and Eastern Europe it was great to actually see and experience a former Soviet Republic in person. Vilija and Aina were personable, knowledgeable, and very informative. We also enjoyed the Soviet snacks and beer! I highly recommend this to anyone traveling to Vilnius, it was a tour not to be missed.
• Submitted 15 Jun 2017

In Brief

Location:
Vilnius, Lithuania
Country:
Lithuania
Duration:
3 hours
Operates:
Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat