Named after the Vilnia River, which runs through the city and converges with the Neris River, Vilnius is the largest as well as the capital city of Lithuania. Roughly half a million people live in the city center and approximately a further 300,000 in the wider district. The city is also the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and district municipality, and the capital of Vilnius County.
Some say that Vilnius is the geographical center of Europe, making it a great base for expatriates who travel around Europe. In the past, Vilnius has been a city home to a vast number of different cultures, ethnicities, and religions, and today’s situation reflects this history. It is estimated that there are over 120 different ethnic groups represented in the capital, making it one of the most diverse in Europe.
Vilnius is also well known for its Old Town which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. This pretty area is one of the largest medieval towns in Northern Europe, with 74 quarters featuring gothic, renaissance, baroque, and neoclassical architectural styles.
The climate in Vilnius is classed as humid continental, meaning the weather is warm in the summer, with occasional heat waves, and very cold in the winter, with temperatures rarely getting above freezing. This leads to an al fresco lifestyle in the summer, with expatriates able to enjoy outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes. During the freezing winter months, the many lakes and main rivers that run through the city freeze over, and expats who’ve moved to Vilnius can then try their hand at the challenging hobby of ice-fishing.
At the time of writing in early 2015, there were 78 nations whose citizens do not require a visa to visit Lithuania, including the United Kingdom, the rest of the European Union, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
EU nationals can stay in Lithuania indefinitely, but must register with their local authorities after three months. Non-EU nationals can apply for a residence permit if staying beyond their 90 day visiting visa. For expatriates who do need a visa, there are two types of visa available. A so-called Schengen Visa allows for either an airport transit (Schengen type A) or stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day-period (Schengen type C). The latter is typically valid for travel within most of Europe.
For longer stays, non-EU expatriates moving to Vilnius will have to apply for a National Visa in connection with a work and residence permit. You can find more information on this topic on the website of the Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior.