Back in 2009, when Vilnius was honoured with the title of “European Cultural Capital” and the World was shaken by the financial crisis, three young students were looking for a summer job. A friend told them about an exciting new initiative called “Vilnius free tours”, so they decided to join in.
“Why free tours? Well, back then our parents were not too excited about us backpacking the world alone. So guiding free walking tours was a great way to “travel” without travelling.” Says Raminta - director of the company. “And I was hooked immediately! I was even skipping afternoon classes, just to meet another group of travelers.”
When the girls realised how much they loved this job, they agreed to become licensed full time tour guides in Vilnius. Being professionals gave them a different outlook to Vilnius history as well. The young guides noticed that it was too complicated to cover it in just 2 hours.
For many travelers beautiful streets of Vilnius Old Town and cute cafes were not enough. They also wanted to know more about Jewish heritage, Soviet era or how locals are actually living outside the city center. But there were no regular tours in English to explain those topics or show those places! The girls saw an opportunity here. They came up with new routes and established their own company - Vilnius with Locals.
At the moment the company consists of a group of 15 motivated licenced guides. They offer quite a number of different tours every day of the year. You can join regular walking tours (Soviet Vilnius, Jewish Vilnius, Alternative Vilnius, Vilnius Ghost tour, Vilnius Old Town & Uzupis tour), or sample Lithuanian food on Vilnius Food Tour. If any of this is not something for you, Vilnius with Locals can always organise a private city tour or an adventurous day trip to the countryside. Just contact them and let them know what you are looking for.
“As we are a small company of local guides, we really care about the content of our tours and we constantly try to improve them. That’s why we really pay attention to the feedback. Every review is important to us.” adds Raminta. And it really pays off! Vilnius with Locals is #1 tour company in Vilnius on Trip Advisor for a few years already.
Of course, none of this could have happened without amazing and passionate tour guides. “Vilnius with Locals is a team. We all have different stories about how we ended up as guides (some of us studied history, economy, journalism or law…). But what unites us is a shared passion for travelling, learning new things and meeting people. And we never stop smiling, which is quite unusual in Lithuania.” laughs Raminta.
So next time you are looking for a traveling destination - choose Lithuania and join Vilnius with Locals tours to check out if they really are as good as they claim.
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