Vilnius, Lithuania – a green metropolis you won’t forget

Vilnius – feedback from those who moved here

For 3 months now (at the time of writing this article in May 2015) I have been living in the beautiful and fabulous Vilnius.

I came to Lithuania alone, I didn’t know a single person here. I had only one suitcase with me and a firm belief that everything would be fine. I found an apartment within three hours after the plane landed. Within 7 months I had found a real friend and a man I loved. I met an incredible amount of wonderful and friendly people. I started my own business, applying my knowledge, experience and realizing my potential. Now I provide consulting services in marketing and PR to women entrepreneurs, as well as working on a training program in practical marketing. Most importantly, I have gained experience that is priceless – I can get what I dream of, I just need to take the first step and pay attention to the signs along the way. Trust yourself and your heart.

With love from Vilnius! Live in the flow.

Xenophobia and oppression of Russians in the Baltics

I want to warn you right away that I have not found xenophobia in Lithuania. I have lived here since 2004, and not once have I encountered any problems due to the fact that I am Russian, and what’s more, I came to Lithuania from Moscow.

A few sketches from life:

2004 год, я живу в Литве два месяца, ничего не знаю кроме Лаба диена и Ачу. Выхожу из подъезда, прямо на тротуаре стоит машина, несколько 20-22 летних парней, курят, кто то пьет пиво. Машина мешает проехать женщине с коляской. Я на русском языке говорю вежливо – «Переставьте машину, мешает прохожим», в ответ мне на очень плохом русском, подсказывая друг другу русские слова, объясняют, чтобы я шел дальше, а машина никому не мешает. Я же только что из Москвы, понты, сразу беру быка за рога, мат, «Если Вы из деревни приехали, то тут Вам столица, и Вы свои быдлопривычки забудьте» (В Москве я обычно употреблял вариант «С гор спустились alt=»Из Москвы в Вильнюс — история переезда» title=»Из Москвы в Вильнюс — история переезда» v: shapes=»_x0000_i1025″> “). In response, too, Russian mat with no accent, arguments are also in Russian, but with a strong accent, after which the car does not leave, but moves so that a woman with a stroller to pass freely. I leave, promising next time flat tires, followed by a bad Russian promising me the next time I will get p….. Can you imagine what would have happened in Moscow if an Azerbaijani man had come out and reprimanded teenagers in Azeri?

Advantages:

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Old buildings, history.

I just came back from Lithuania today. I stayed in a hotel in the capital city. I didn’t like the city or the country in general at all. What struck me most was that Europe, civilization, strict rules, fines for smoking, cleanliness. Nothing like that, many people break all these rules, it’s dirty. in principle, I can’t say that the city is beautiful. It reminded me of a village in Russia. I can’t say that Russia is a great country, but believe me, it’s better than Lithuania. Another thing that led me to a dead end – it is impossible to cross the road there, as many do not respect the rules of the road. If anyone who is thinking of going there (I mean girls) do not wear high heels. The road is made of stone in this country. In general, I was completely unhappy with my trip to this country. I would not advise to spend that kind of money.

Overall Impression: Did not like it at all.

Advantages:

European level of service, atmosphere of the old town…

The queue at the border.

I like Vilnius a lot and I visit it often. I have several reasons for that:

  1. Vilnius is where my good friends, hospitable and cheerful Lithuanians live). I would be glad to devote a review to them, but I’m afraid the moderators will not understand)
  2. Vilnius for Belarusians is the nearest and most accessible “abroad”, with the European level of service and shopping
  3. Vilnius is an ancient city with a special cozy atmosphere, which is especially felt in the “Old Town” in the center of Vilnius.
  4. Vilnius is all about shopping! Huge selection of goods, constant sales, and Tax Free refund!
  5. Vilnius is a low-cost airport, a starting point to Europe and not only…

General impression: for me it’s a city of romance and shopping…

About the normal job, without the language there will be problems. You can find a job as a helper in a store, a car mechanic, a loader, a programmer, but they probably won’t let you near people. Salaries are similar to those in Minsk. There is enough work for the “minimum”, but there is a queue where they are paid. The farther from the capital, the sharper are the problems. As it is with us.

The main problem will be the language. The second problem is that you will always be a stranger to them, and their friends will stay in Belarus. The standard of living is similar to that in Minsk. There are pluses and minuses. If you can, you should go and stay for a couple of months and take a closer look. In general, all young people from Lithuania move further to Europe. It is better there. So maybe you should go straight there.

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ZSY.And they have bikes are crazy money.

I want to tell you about my experience of moving to Vilnius. I myself have been reading the community for a long time, and such posts seem to me the most interesting.

Background: I am 29 years old, by profession I am a programmer (.net, 6 years of experience, middle level, if someone needs these details). I wanted to move to Europe, the main criterion: the country is not very far from Russia, because I have parents in St. Petersburg, who are not planning to move so far.

… Originally I wanted to go by car. But after looking at car prices in Lithuania, I decided to sell my car and buy it locally, it is much more profitable, despite the exchange rate. For now, I ride a bicycle, which I rented, and walk on foot, I think that I will buy a car in the fall.

Vilnius is a very beautiful city, with all sorts of events going on all the time. Since my arrival I have already been to several festivals, this weekend was Music Day, when different musicians played on the street and in different cafes. I made friends with three colleagues: one guy who moved from Moscow, and two Lithuanians, a guy and a girl. Everyone’s attitude is very friendly. Very clean air, clean city, stores speak Russian or English, very good food. I don’t see any disadvantages so far, except for the fact that my parents stayed in St. Petersburg, but I plan to move them in a year or two.

I can say one thing: my godmother lived most of her life in Vilnius, and now it’s a big problem to find a normal job there. For example, my godmother works in England, her son and her husband in Norway and her daughter somewhere else… The apartment in Vilnius is rented, so that’s the situation…

As for the language – they speak Russian there without any problems…

Quite a decent green city. People are mostly quiet, polite. It is clean, quiet and nice.

Attitude to foreigners

To the Russians – normal. To the rest – I don’t know.

The impression of the local population.

People are soft, unobtrusive.

It is neither cold, nor hot. There is no place to bathe. Something in between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Education (kindergartens, schools, universities, conferences).

There is a university, there is IT and mathematics. I have not dug in detail.

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There are schools, including Russian-language schools. There are problems with kindergartens.

Quality of medicine (quality and cost).

Free medicine – not good. It is necessary to call an ambulance only if you die, or heart problems. However, you can call a doctor, go to a free clinic, and encourage the doctor to work, if persistent enough.

Paid clinics are quite decent, they do not play Dr. House.

Language (learning the local language and communicating with locals)

The local language is Lithuanian, people over 30 know Russian, the rest know at least English. In short, you can’t get lost, you can shop. There is almost certainly a volunteer interpreter in the store.

Transport (accessibility, quality of roads, driving level, gasoline costs, public transport).

Gasoline in the euro area. Roads are decent (a bad road here is considered good in our country). It is not a problem to buy a car in any category, though now the car thieves are kind of tightened up. Buses and trolleybuses are available. One trip is euros, but with the travel card is cheaper.

Work (difficulty of finding, the level of wages)

It took me 2 months (July-August) to look for a job. In September I got a dozen of offers.

The contract should be negotiated more thoroughly than in Russia. Medical insurance is by no means a compulsory bonus, vacations are not listed in the “default contract” either.

Salaries in IT are quite decent. Beginners-testers start at 400 euros, analysts go up to 1500 (after all taxes). Programmers – from 600 june to 1200 middles.

For 1000 euros a family of 2 can rent an apartment, have decent food and clothes, go to concerts, theaters, basketball.

Housing (cost, availability, rent, purchase)

Quite a decent one and a half (bedroom and living room with kitchen) in 15 minutes from the center rented for 400 euros, including everything. Prices start at 200, end high. Buy 2 rooms and hall-kitchen near the center: 100-120 euros. Mortgage in a few percent.

The economy is regional. There are vacancies almost everywhere. I have seen stores under construction, no factories under construction.

Since I moved to Vilnius, I literally became a citizen of the world. Multilingual loyal environment: I mastered Lithuanian at a minimum comfortable level for six months, I became fluent in two years, and almost everyone understands Russian – adaptation is perfect. Affordable cheap flights to anywhere in Europe: in the first 4-5 years of living in Vilnius, I must have flown in 20 countries. Many international connections, a completely different type of thinking and mentality. The way of life has changed completely.

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Food, of course, is more expensive, especially after the introduction of the euro in 2015. But they are also of higher quality, I must say. Short-term rental housing is slightly more expensive than in Minsk. I think you can hardly find anything decent for less than 40 euros a day. But the long-term rental is often paradoxically cheaper. For example, I rent a studio in the very center (though it’s quite small, about 18 square metres) for 120 euros a month. In our center, however, you can hardly find anything cheaper than 250 euros.

The police in Vilna is primarily characterized by the fact that it is not in your life, as long as you do not break the law, of course. No one will ever stop you anywhere for nothing, whether you are a pedestrian or a driver.

The mentality of the people living in Vilnius is completely European. Absolutely amazing driving culture. I think that only the Germans can compete with the Lithuanians in this respect.

Is it easy to get a job here? In my experience, despite the massive outflow of Lithuanians from the country (mainly to England, Ireland, and Norway), Lithuania is still very closed to immigrants. The legislation is unjustifiably strict. It is very difficult to obtain a residence permit. Without it, you cannot get a job. It’s a vicious circle. It is true that I managed to work for a long time without an official arrangement, but such schemes are very confidently disappearing.

Finally, my search is over, and I found a country that hasn’t stopped pleasing me for three months and hopefully will for a long time to come. During this time, it was possible to visit almost all large/interesting cities of Lithuania, except for Kaunas, but, as a good place to live, at the moment I like Vilnius most of all.

An average city by Russian standards, 550 thousand inhabitants, on the one hand modern enough to satisfy practically any demands which can arise at spoilt inhabitants of megalopolises, on the other hand – very cosy and green, practically all city districts are divided by small pieces of woods, and at successful choice of an apartment, it is possible to settle next to a pine wood, and it is rather pleasant option. By the way, there are practically no mosquitoes in the local forests, and in general there are few flying insects, which again is nice.

Because of the crisis two years ago there was a collapse in real estate prices, now they are slowly beginning to rise again…

Climate and ecology:

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A soft pleasant spring and a long warm autumn (now daytime +19 … +22), warm, but not hot summer (as a rule the temperature does not rise above +29 plus light cloudiness). For me personally it is just a dream climate. I haven’t lived here in winter yet, but I think it will be quite bearable.

The environment is great! The almost complete absence of industrial enterprises (and absolutely no “dirty” enterprises) gives excellent air purity, the water for the urban water system is supplied from artesian wells and is, if I’m not mistaken, the best quality water in Europe. The only serious source of pollution are cars, but thanks to the forests and parks, especially if you choose the right apartment/home away from the main highways, it is not so terrible.

With that (after the start of the crisis in 2009) things are sad. High unemployment, low wages, as a consequence of quite a mass migration of qualified specialists to the richer countries of the European Union. That is, do not hope that when you come here, you will be able to get a job. You can’t. Firstly, you do not know the Lithuanian language, and secondly, even if you know the language, you won’t find a job, or you will be offered a wage, for which you don’t want to work yourself. Also, it gets a little dreary when you see huge unfinished buildings that were planned to be built before the crisis…

In other words, if you move to Lithuania should have either a passive (such as rented apartments in Moscow), or a remote (eg, stock exchange, poker, or training, by the way, I continue to recruit students, and soon will record a VOD, with an example of training), a source of income.

Infrastructure and attractions:

There’s nothing wrong with that. A big and amazingly beautiful old town (it’s a pity that there aren’t too many purely pedestrian areas), lots of different street and stationary cafes for every taste and purse, delicious local and imported beer, old paving stones and modern tiles, medieval buildings, concerts, fairs, fireworks festival and balloons to ride on, concerts, exhibitions and nightclubs, huge modern shopping centers, pretty good road conditions … The impression of the city is spoiled a little by the tasteless graffiti painted on the walls of houses – the young people express themselves so talentlessly…

I haven’t seen such delicious and inexpensive food like in Lithuania anywhere else. It’s just a gastronomic paradise. A great selection of meat and dairy products, delicious baked goods, a great selection of inexpensive and fresh fruits and vegetables…

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