Initiation of antiviral and anti-tumour T cell responses is probably achieved mainly by dendritic cells (DC) transporting antigen from the periphery into organised lymphoid tissues. To develop T cell vaccines it is, therefore, important to understand the accessibility of the antigen to DC in vivo and whether DC are activated by vaccination. Here we have evaluated the immunogenicity of a liposomal vaccine formulation with antigenic peptides derived from the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Liposome-encapsulated peptides were highly immunogenic when administered intradermally and elicited protective antiviral immunity. After intradermal injection, liposomes formed antigen depots which facilitated long-lasting in vivo antigen loading of dendritic cells almost exclusively in the local draining lymph nodes. The immunogenicity of the liposomal peptide vaccine was further enhanced by incorporation of immunostimulatory oligonucleotides leading to activation of DC. This optimised liposomal peptide vaccine elicited also anti-tumour immunity and induced CTL responses comparable to adoptively transferred, peptide-presenting DC. Thus, our data show that liposomal formulations of peptide vaccines are highly effective at direct in vivo antigen loading and activation of DC leading to protective antiviral and anti-tumour immune responses.