A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Tartu vs. Vilnius for Nightlife, Old Town, Backpackers, and Food

Should you visit Tartu or Vilnius?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Tartu and Vilnius can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Tartu

Tartu is a historical, lively, and intellectual university town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the nightlife.

Vilnius

Vilnius is a undiscovered, authentic, and historic city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Tartu and Vilnius: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for students


Is there more to do in Tartu or Vilnius?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Vilnius than Tartu, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Tartu is popular for its vibrant student population and long running university. Vilnius is popular for its authentic old town and long running history. It is also home to Gediminas Castle Tower.

How is Tartu different from Vilnius?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Vilnius and Tartu. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Tartu or Vilnius?

Tartu
Vilnius

Vilnius is a city with good options for its historical sights. However, Tartu does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Vilnius. The city has fascinating museums relating to Soviet times. These include the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights and the Lithuanian Diaspora Art Museum. Other notable sights include the Three Crosses Monument and the St. Anne's and Bernardine Church Complex.

Tartu does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Tartu or Vilnius? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Tartu
Vilnius

Vilnius is a city with good options for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Tartu is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Vilnius is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The food is hearty with plenty of meat and potatoes. There are also soups and herring dishes as well as great desserts. Popular dishes in the area include cepelinai (meat filled potato dumplings), kibinai (a pastry), and potato pancakes.

Tartu offers some easy restaurants to choose from. The restaurant scene is surprisingly limited because of the large student population. Most students prefer saving their money for a night out drinking over a quiet meal at a restaurant. There are some cafes around town as well as pastry shops and a few good ethnic restaurants to choose between.

Is Tartu or Vilnius Better for Nightlife?

Tartu
Vilnius

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find very good options in both Tartu and Vilnius.

The nightlife in Tartu has something for everybody. With its huge student population, there is plenty of activity year round. The nightlife scene includes many bars, dance clubs, and pubs that are popular with students and visitors alike. You'll find large parties and music festivals throughout the year that bring crowds to the city.

Vilnius offers plenty to do in the evening. The large student population is at the heart of the city's nightlife scene. You'll find most of the activity centered around three streets - Vilniaus, Islandijos and Vokiečių. These areas have a number of bars and clubs, and they draw the biggest crowds.

Is Tartu or Vilnius Better for its Old Town?

Tartu
Vilnius

Both Tartu and Vilnius have very good historic old towns worth visiting.

Tartu is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. The old town is where you'll find one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe. There is also Town Hall Square and St. John’s Quarter with many historic buildings and beautiful architecture.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Vilnius. The old town is filled with history, architecture, and churches. It's also where you'll find Vilnius University. At the heart of the area is Pilies Gatve (Castle Street), which has shopping, cafes, and restaurants.


Is the Shopping Better in Tartu or Vilnius?

Tartu
Vilnius

Vilnius is a city with good options for its shopping areas. However, Tartu is not known for shopping.

Vilnius has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. For quaint shops, head to old town, particularly around Pilies Gatve. The city also has an open air market, Kalvarijų Turgus, that is popular on Saturdays. There are also a few shopping malls around town.

Tartu is a good destination for shopping. While most people don't visit to go shopping, there is an active art scene in town so you can find some creative pieces that are worth checking out.

Is Tartu or Vilnius Better for Families?

Tartu
Vilnius

Both Tartu and Vilnius are good to visit with kids.

Tartu offers lots of family activities. Many of the kid-friendly activities are outdoors, so summer visits are better if you're traveling with children. There are adventure parks, animal parks, and educational museums that you can choose from.

Vilnius is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has a number of historic sights, but once your kids have had their fill, you can head to one of the outdoor or indoor play areas in the city center. There's also a toy museum and an Energy and Technology Museum that kids will enjoy. After a busy day, make sure you grab some ice cream to lift everyone's spirits.

Is Tartu or Vilnius Better for Couples?

Tartu
Vilnius

Vilnius is a city with good options for couples. However, Tartu is not known for romance.

Vilnius is a good city for couples to visit. The city is filled with viewpoints, from hill tops to towers, where you can enjoy romantic views over the landscape. You can also dine in a local restaurant or enjoy a picnic in one of the outdoor settings.

Tartu is not the best destination for a couple to visit. The city has a young population, so you'll find many activities center around a more youthful vibe. There are some great museums that couples will enjoy, as well as a lively nightlife scene. Outside of old town, couples will enjoy wandering through the Karlova and Supilinn districts.


Is Tartu or Vilnius Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Tartu
Vilnius

For backpackers, both Tartu and Vilnius are very good places to visit.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Tartu. With it's young population and budget friendly entertainment options, there are many things that backpackers will enjoy. It's not nearly as popular with backpackers as some other cities, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot to offer.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Vilnius. For backpackers who want to escape the crowds, this off-the-beaten path European capital is a great option. It has history, charm, and an authenticity that is hard to find in a more touristy area. It's also an affordable city, with hostels and plenty of cheap places to eat.

Is Tartu or Vilnius Better for Students?

Tartu
Vilnius

Tartu is an amazing university town to visit for students. Also, Vilnius is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

Tartu is a very popular place to visit for students. It is a university town and home to one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe. The student population is large here, with many activities, museums, and nightlife options to choose from. There always seems to be something going on in this vibrant city.

Plenty of students visit Vilnius. The city is small but charming with a number of places where international students can study. It's an affordable city with a lively atmosphere and an authenticate and genuine personality.

Is Tartu or Vilnius Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Tartu
Vilnius

Tartu and Vilnius both offer good public transit to get you around.

While Tartu offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There is a comprehensive bus system around the town.

Vilnius has a few public transit options. Bus and trolleybuses are available.


Is Tartu or Vilnius a more walkable city?

Tartu
Vilnius

Tartu is notable for its high level of walkability. Also, Vilnius is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its ease of walking around.

Tartu is a very walkable university town. The city is compact with most of its sights and restaurants close together along a couple of streets.

Vilnius is a somewhat walkable university town. The old town is the most walkable part of the city.

For even more information, also check out Is Tartu Worth Visiting? and Is Vilnius Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Vilnius or Tartu?

How long in Tartu or Vilnius?

It's fun to spend time in either Tartu or Vilnius. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Vilnius due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Tartu, and 1-4 days is enough time in Vilnius.

Families should spend more time in Vilnius than Tartu. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Vilnius, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Vilnius than Tartu. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Vilnius that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Vilnius than Tartu if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Vilnius.


  • How many days in Tartu or Vilnius? Ideal Length of Stay
    Tartu 1-3 
    Vilnius 1-4

One day in Tartu or Vilnius?

In Tartu, you'll find nightlife. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This university town offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

In Vilnius, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this surprising destination offers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

A weekend in Tartu or Vilnius?

In Tartu, you'll find nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Visiting the old town is also a must. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Tartu has to offer.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Vilnius. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Five days in Tartu or Vilnius?

Tartu is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Vilnius is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Vilnius. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Tartu or Vilnius?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Tartu. Many people enjoy the nightlife when visiting Tartu. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

You'll find food and shopping around the undiscovered destination of Vilnius. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Estonia, The Best Budget Tours to Estonia, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Vilnius, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Lithuania.


Which place is cheaper, Vilnius or Tartu?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Tartu is €105, while the average daily cost in Vilnius is €94. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Tartu and Vilnius in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tartu 47
    Vilnius 42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tartu 94
    Vilnius 84
Compare Hotels in Tartu and Vilnius

Looking for a hotel in Tartu or Vilnius? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Tartu


Hotels in Vilnius


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Tartu Hotel Prices and Vilnius Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tartu 27
    Vilnius 8.30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vilnius

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Vilnius:

  • Riga / Tallinn / Vilnius. Transfer Between Baltic States: $641
  • From Druskininkai & Grutas Park Tour with Transfer: $513
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride with Hotel Transfer: $214
  • Jewish Heritage Sites Private Tour with Transfer: $214
  • Vilnius Private 1-Way Airport Transfer: $53
  • Vilnius Airport Transfer: $51
  • Vilnius Airport (VNO): Bus Transfer to/from Gdansk: $51
  • Arrival Transfer from Vilnius VNO Airport to Vilnius by Minivan: $45
  • Vilnius Airport: Bus Transfer to/from Warsaw: $35
  • Private Vilnius Airport Arrival Transfer: $27
  • Vilnius Airport: Bus Transfer to/from Riga: $24
  • Riga: Bus Transfer to/from Vilnius: $20

Is it cheaper to fly into Tartu or Vilnius?

Prices for flights to both Vilnius and Tartu change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Tartu 37
    Vilnius 40
Typical Food Prices in Tartu

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Tartu:


  • Danishes
    0.76
  • Lunch for Two
    4.93
  • Ice Cream
    1.27
  • Cookies
    0.51
  • Coffee & Cake
    3.47

Typical Food Prices in Vilnius

Some typical examples of dining costs in Vilnius are as follows:


  • Dinner for Two
    13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Vilnius

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Vilnius.

  • Dinner in local family: $74
  • Cooking Class in Vilnius : $84
  • Cooking Class in Lithuanian House Surrounded by Nature: $109

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tartu 16
    Vilnius 9.72
Typical Entertainment Prices in Tartu

For Tartu, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Art Museum ticket
    0.95
  • Movie Ticket
    3.47

Tours and Activities in Tartu

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Tartu.

  • European Capital of Culture 2024 - Cycling Tour: $11
  • Around Viljandi bike tour: $27
  • TARTU COUNTRY: SLED DOG TOUR & KENNEL VISIT: $75
  • Magical Tartu Romantic Walking Tour: $127
  • Charming Viljandi Walking Tour for Couples: $142
  • Spectacular Christmas Walking Tour in Viljandi: $200
  • Traditional Christmas Walking Tour in Tartu: $234

Typical Entertainment Prices in Vilnius

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Vilnius are as follows:


  • Walking Tour
    5.79

Tours and Activities in Vilnius

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Vilnius are as follows:

  • "Ghostly Tales of Vilnius" Walking Tour: $170
  • (Post) Soviet Vilnius Private Walking Tour: $107
  • 1-Day Pilgrim Tour from Vilnius: $428
  • 2 Hours Private Historical Walking Tour in Lithuania: $87
  • Automuseum Entry Ticket: $21
  • Automuseum Entry Ticket: $21
  • Bachelorette Party Adventure's Organization: $42
  • Bike Tour of Vilnius Highlights "Iconic Landmarks & Hidden Gems": $32
  • Day tour out of Paneriai holocaust park,Trakai castle, medieval Kernave: $207
  • Discover Vilnius Tour: $289
  • Discover Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Dzukija National Park and Grutas Park: Full-Day Tour: $214

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tartu 16
    Vilnius 6.38

Typical Alcohol Prices in Vilnius

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Vilnius from other travelers:


  • Beer
    4.34

Sample the Local Flavors in Vilnius

Also in Vilnius, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Vilnius Private Pub & Bar Crawl Tour & Hidden Gems: $46
  • Beer degustation at Bear & Boar Brewery Taproom: $53


When comparing the travel costs between Tartu and Vilnius, we can see that Tartu is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Tartu Expensive? and Is Vilnius Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Tartu or Vilnius?

Vilnius has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Tartu. When comparing the sizes of Tartu and Vilnius, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Tartu or Vilnius?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Tartu or Vilnius in the Summer?

Both Vilnius and Tartu during the summer are popular places to visit. The family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Tartu this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Vilnius for the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Tartu is generally around the same temperature as Vilnius. Daily temperatures in Tartu average around 17°C (62°F), and Vilnius fluctuates around 18°C (65°F).

In Vilnius, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Tartu. In the summer, Tartu often gets more sunshine than Vilnius. Tartu gets 265 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Vilnius receives 219 hours of full sun.

Tartu usually gets less rain in July than Vilnius. Tartu gets 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Vilnius receives 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Tartu 17°C (62°F) 
    Vilnius 18°C (65°F)

Should I visit Tartu or Vilnius in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Tartu and Vilnius. Many travelers come to Tartu for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, many visitors come to Vilnius in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area.

Tartu is cooler than Vilnius in the autumn. The daily temperature in Tartu averages around 6°C (43°F) in October, and Vilnius fluctuates around 8°C (46°F).

Tartu usually receives less sunshine than Vilnius during autumn. Tartu gets 86 hours of sunny skies, while Vilnius receives 94 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Tartu usually receives around the same amount of rain as Vilnius. Tartu gets 52 mm (2 in) of rain, while Vilnius receives 53 mm (2.1 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Tartu 6°C (43°F) 
    Vilnius 8°C (46°F)

Should I visit Tartu or Vilnius in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Tartu as well as Vilnius. Many visitors come to Tartu in the winter for the shopping scene and the cuisine. Additionally, most visitors come to Vilnius for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Vilnius can be very cold during winter. Tartu can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Tartu is cooler than Vilnius. Typically, the winter temperatures in Tartu in January average around -7°C (19°F), and Vilnius averages at about -5°C (23°F).

In the winter, Tartu often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Vilnius. Tartu gets 36 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Vilnius receives 36 hours of full sun.

Tartu usually gets less rain in January than Vilnius. Tartu gets 29 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while Vilnius receives 41 mm (1.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Tartu -7°C (19°F) 
    Vilnius -5°C (23°F)

Should I visit Tartu or Vilnius in the Spring?

Both Vilnius and Tartu are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Tartu for the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Vilnius because of the natural beauty.

Tartu can be very cold during spring. In April, Tartu is generally much colder than Vilnius. Daily temperatures in Tartu average around 5°C (41°F), and Vilnius fluctuates around 7°C (45°F).

Tartu usually receives more sunshine than Vilnius during spring. Tartu gets 180 hours of sunny skies, while Vilnius receives 164 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Tartu usually receives less rain than Vilnius. Tartu gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Vilnius receives 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Tartu 5°C (41°F) 
    Vilnius 7°C (45°F)

Typical Weather for Vilnius and Tartu

Tartu Vilnius
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -7°C (19°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) -5°C (23°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
Feb -6°C (20°F) 23 mm (0.9 in) -4°C (26°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Mar -2°C (29°F) 26 mm (1 in) 1°C (33°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Apr 5°C (41°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) 7°C (45°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)
May 11°C (53°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 14°C (57°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Jun 15°C (59°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Jul 17°C (62°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 18°C (65°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Aug 16°C (61°F) 86 mm (3.4 in) 18°C (64°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 11°C (52°F) 64 mm (2.5 in) 13°C (56°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
Oct 6°C (43°F) 52 mm (2 in) 8°C (46°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Nov 1°C (33°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 2°C (36°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Dec -4°C (25°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) -2°C (29°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)