It’s no small task to write about the city you’ve spent your university years in. And despite these years Vilnius was a little surprise for me this time. The city with many local beer pubs, cozy wine-bars, fancy restaurants, and traditional Lithuanian cuisine cafes, has the other side too. Sustainable businesses are popping up. They reuse old books and antique furniture, they innovate soviet style kitchen utensils and decorations, and they bond with their customers. Great to know that sustainable mindset is slowly coming to town!
This is something very unique in the city! The combination of a small library, an antique bookshop and an internet cafe might be the reason why this place attracts so many people. Mint Vinetu is constantly buzzing with locals as well as internationals while tourists stop by for the city souvenirs you can’t find anywhere else. So for the menu you can have: preloved books in different languages to read or to buy, a cup of tea with some homemade pie, a free Wi-Fi and a piano to play. What else do you need for a good afternoon?
Winnetou (or Vinetu in Lithuanian) was a popular book about native American Indians read by the young Lithuanian generation at that time. So the book title represents the joy of reading for the owners, and, surely, this place is a paradise for book lovers. Mint is simply about tea and freshness.
A new place close to the main avenue of Gediminas opened in August 2013. Two friends teamed up for a common business idea of opening a cafe that serves not only nice tea blends, delicious coffee and homemade sandwiches, but also… sentiments! When you enter Chaika, you feel the spirit of Lithuania back in 70’s or 80’s. Red kitchen utensils with white dots, old magazines and books to read, old style armchairs and chairs next to colorful tables and a red lifebuoy made into a mirror on the wall. Things donated by people and found in the owners’ storerooms speak for themselves. Decorations there are simply fantastic!
Chaika, which by the way means a seagull, has this sentimental atmosphere with a great choice of teas and coffees. Locals will appreciate a chance to travel in time, while tourists will be warmly welcome for a different city experience.
Skonis ir kvapas (“A taste and a scent”)
Being one of the main tea and coffee chains, it is rather a classical tea house with a tea shop located in one of the busiest Old Town Trakų street. Nevertheless, my eye spotted all sorts of things from old tea pots to original past century paintings to books and lights all brought to a second life. It even feels somehow romantic because the place is in the cellar with a huge fireplace that will make you forget the time. A long satisfying menu of teas is like a cherry on top of your favorite cake!
I chose a cup of spiced Indian masala tea with honey to kick off my day. For a dessert I had cheesecake with Matcha green powder tea. Great place for a great start into the day.
So how about spending your next holiday in the capital of Lithuania?
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