Vilnius, Lithuania Report of what it's like to live there - 12/25/22
Personal Experiences from Vilnius, Lithuania
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Yes, this is my first post, though I have travelled extensively in Europe.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Washington, DC. Trip is about 14-16 hours each way. Connections via Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, and Munich. Travel is easy. Don't skimp on business class.
3. What years did you live here?
4. How long have you lived here?
5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is spacious, particularly for singles. I am alone and have two floors, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a large kitchen. Commute varies from a 10 minute walk to a 40 minute drive. Be specific about commute time in questionnaire. Most housing is close to Old Town.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Groceries are getting more expensive with inflation and in my opinion, the COLA is not helpful. That said, you can find most everything here, except canned pumpkin.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Bolt/Wolt are great food delivery services, similar to Door Dash.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Average pay about 10 EUR/hour.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Gyms are small but have everything you need. They can range from 300-360 EUR/year. Embassy gym is small and inadequate.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Yes. You don't need cash. ATMs are fine.
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
None, everyone under 35 speaks English, but everyone over 35 speaks Russian, not English. Local language classes available at Embassy.
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Very affordable. Only fear is tuberculosis, but Bolt taxis are so cheap, no one uses public transport.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
I don't have a car, because I live close to Embassy; everything is walkable and taxis are cheap.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Take an unlocked phone and use a local SIM.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
Very few EFM jobs at the Embassy. Most telework but time zones make it tough. Local salary stinks.
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
Soup kitchen, but that is all I know of.
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Professional at work, business casual everywhere else. No sports clothes. Formal dress for balls.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Mental health. In my opinion, this community has very low morale with no motivation to change it. Local health unit provides basic needs, but hospitals have everything you could want. No medevacs really required.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
Winter blues can certainly happen. Just find something to keep yourself busy.
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Cold!! Very cold from Nov-Apr, but the snow starts to melt away in May. Then it has been HOT in September. June-Aug is mild.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
AISV is the best school in the city.
2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
soccer, gymnastics, choir...anything
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
1K maybe? Morale is good when you get out and meet people, but you gotta motivate yourself in the cold.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Drinking....really that's about it unfortunately. There are some book clubs, but other clubs require Lithuanian language. There is also a running group on Monday nights.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Good for families. Singles may find it harder. Couples without kids will find it very tough.
4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
Once Lithuanians warm up, they are ok.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
Yes, seems fine locally, though same-sex marriage is not recognized legally.
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Travelling around Europe, the winter light season is very beautiful, I hear the beach is nice (four hour drive)
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
This is not a food city. Local cuisine is not good; that being said, any cuisine you desire is here!
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
No, not really. Baltic Amber is available but that's about it.
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Short commute, everything is walkable, easy to meet locals if you are not shy.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
Don't bring the car. Get social!
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
4. But don't forget your:
cold winter clothes!
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?