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VILNIUS

Bold, buzzing and reborn — there’s nothing like a winter weekend in Lithuania’s capital, especially if you’re brave enough for a banya.

bl@WORDS: Tamsin Wressell

“Vilnius is not a city. You can’t just go to it, walk around and tick it off your list”, says local musician Jurgis Didžiulis. “It’s the artists that spill onto the street; the people you stop and say hi to in the square; and it’s us sitting here now, soaking in the atmosphere. Not watching the clock but watching Vilnius.” We’re in Chaika, a small, wooden houselike cafe. Tables are road signs; cups are from Soviet times; and local artists break out into song in between sips of chilli latte and exotic elixirs, and forkfuls of chickpea cake. It’s not your average coffee house, but it’s very much a product of this reborn city. “No”, continues Jurgis, softly shaking his head, “it’s not about seeing anything in particular, or how you make your way through this city.”

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

This month, we ditch the jeep to discover Africa from a different perspective. Whether on foot, by boat or hot air balloon, we’re showcasing the continent’s wild side on an active safari across Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and more. We go north of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland; discover Japan’s Tohoku region; and spend a long weekend in Vilnius. Other highlights this issue include Lima, Fife, Budapest, San Francisco and Turin, while our photo story unearths the tradition of gold panning in Costa Rica.