Kaunas Travel Guide: Top 20 Things to Do, See and Eat in Kaunas

Ready to discover the heart and soul of Lithuania? Let’s dive into Kaunas. A city where history and modernity dance in the streets, and every corner has a story to tell. Nestled at the confluence of the Neris and Nemunas rivers, Kaunas is a city of vibrant culture, groundbreaking art, and architectural marvels that span centuries. From the cobbled streets of the Old Town to the avant-garde flair of its contemporary spaces, Kaunas invites you on an unforgettable journey. Whether you’re a history buff, an art aficionado, or someone who loves to immerse themselves in new cultures, Kaunas has something just for you. Let’s explore what makes this city a must-visit destination on your Lithuanian adventure.

Kaunas scenic sunset amidst gorgeous nature

A Stroll Through History

A Tale of Two Cities: In Kaunas, history isn’t just kept in museums; it’s etched into the city’s fabric. The Old Town, with its medieval layout and Gothic architecture, tells stories of ancient grandeur, while the interwar spirit lives on in the New Town’s modernist architecture. Don’t miss the Kaunas Castle, a medieval fortress with tales of battles and bravery.

The Heartbeat of Lithuanian Culture

Cultural Melting Pot: Kaunas is a city that thrives on its cultural richness. From the thundering sounds of the Pažaislis Music Festival to the quiet corners of its countless museums and galleries, the city is a canvas for creativity. The M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art and the vibrant street art give insights into Lithuania’s soul.

Culinary Delights

A Feast for the Senses: Lithuanian cuisine is a hearty celebration of flavors, and Kaunas is at the forefront of this culinary journey. From traditional dishes like cepelinai (potato dumplings) in cozy taverns to innovative cuisine in chic urban eateries, your taste buds are in for a treat. And let’s not forget the local breweries crafting unique Lithuanian ales.

Green Spaces and River Views

Nature’s Embrace: The confluence of two rivers gifts Kaunas with breathtaking natural beauty. Take a leisurely stroll along the Nemunas River, unwind in the lush expanse of the Kaunas Reservoir, or explore the city’s numerous parks. Nature in Kaunas provides a serene backdrop to its urban charm.

Kaunas is a vibrant city teeming with life, history, and art. Ready for an adventure? Kaunas awaits.

Kaunas Travel Guide: Things to do for visitors to Kaunas, Lithuania with views of the city from a high vantage point

Kaunas City Guide: A Brief History Of Kaunas, Lithuania

Hey, history lovers! Ready to peel back the layers of time and dive into the rich tapestry of Kaunas? From its medieval roots to its stint as a temporary capital, every cobblestone, facade, and alley in Kaunas tells a story. Let’s journey through time and explore the historical milestones that have shaped this fascinating Lithuanian city.

From Castle to Capital

Medieval Might: It all began with Kaunas Castle, a fortress born out of necessity in the 14th century, standing defiantly at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers. Though besieged and battered over the centuries, the castle’s remains are a testament to Kaunas’s strategic importance and resilience.

A Temporary Capital: Fast forward to the 20th century, and Kaunas finds itself in the spotlight as the interim capital of Lithuania between the World Wars. This era left an indelible mark on the city’s architecture and identity, propelling it into a period of cultural and intellectual renaissance.

A City of Resistance and Renaissance

War and Peace: Kaunas’s history is a rollercoaster of occupation and resistance. From the dark days of World War II and Soviet rule to the spirited defiance of the singing revolution, the city’s spirit of resilience shines through. The Ninth Fort Museum stands as a poignant reminder of these struggles, honoring those who fought and suffered.

Cultural Flourishing: Amidst its tumultuous history, Kaunas has always been a beacon of Lithuanian culture and intellect. The interwar period, in particular, saw a blossoming of art, literature, and architecture, with the city playing host to a vibrant community of artists and thinkers, including the renowned Lithuanian painter and composer M. K. Čiurlionis.

Modern Kaunas: A City Reimagined

European Capital of Culture 2022: Today, Kaunas is embracing its past while boldly stepping into the future. Designated as the European Capital of Culture for 2022, the city is a canvas for contemporary art, innovative festivals, and forward-thinking initiatives that celebrate its rich heritage and dynamic present.

A Living Legacy: The streets of Kaunas are alive with the legacy of its storied past, from the medieval Old Town to the modernist marvels of the New Town. It’s a city where history is not just remembered; it’s palpable in the air, the architecture, and the stories of its people.

Kaunas invites you on a journey through time. So, lace up your walking shoes. And let’s uncover the layers of history that make Kaunas truly remarkable.

Kaunas on a map of Lithuania

Kaunas Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Lithuania

Start your time in the Kaunas area with a trip to the Lithuanian Folk Museum. This picturesque attraction boasts over a hundred authentic buildings transported from across the Lithuanian countryside. One was even moved here from Siberia, in honour of Lithuanians who spent time in Soviet-era gulags.

That particular structure is an earthen dwelling. However, the others show off the wood-frame buildings Lithuania is famous for. Arranged to resemble a centuries-old Lithuanian village, visitors will get a sense for what life was like then.

Do try to time your visit so you arrive during one of several festivals. While it might not be the most comfortable to witness, Uzgavenes is by far the most famous. Held before Ash Wednesday, attendees celebrate the beginning of winter’s end by burning it in effigy.

Other Attractions

When planning your visit, remember that this site is enormous. It spans over 175 hectares – it is entirely possible to spend the entire day. At a minimum, give yourself three hours to appreciate this historic site.

Lovers of visual art will not want to miss a visit to M. K. Ciurlionis National Art Museum. It boasts pieces from the namesake artist, and from international, making it a highlight of Kaunas. Upon arriving, its exterior will command attention, as it boasts Art Deco features.

Inside, the focus, apart from M. K. Ciurlionis’ collection, is on Lithuanian art. As you walk through its galleries, you’ll find examples of folk, applied, and fine art from Lithuanian artists. To fill out its collection (355,000 pieces in all), you’ll find items from other cultures around the world.

Upon check-in, pick up the accompanying audio guide. Not only will it aid comprehension, but you’ll also get to hear the music that M. K. Ciurlionis composed.

While Kaunas escaped the widespread damage suffered elsewhere during WWII, it did not emerge unscathed. Learn about the horrors of that conflict and life under Soviet occupation at the Ninth Fort. It was initially part of a massive fortress built by the Russian Empire in the late 19th century. However, the notorious history of this complex unfolded in the 20th century.

More Attractions

After the Red Revolution of 1918, it went from defending the frontier to housing political prisoners. Dissidents spent a short time here before being sent off to forced labour camps in Siberia. As horrible as that was, the Ninth Fort became a cog in Nazi Germany’s death machine during WWII.

While Auschwitz was their most notorious death camp, the Ninth Fort was home to horrors of its own. On one day alone (October 29, 1941), Nazis executed as many as 50,000 Lithuanian Jews. On top of this, thousands of Jews and other prisoners were brought here to meet their end.

In 1984, a Lithuanian sculptor completed a poignant memorial to those killed. It is a chilling reminder of the damage hate can do when it is left unopposed. You’ll find this attraction on the outskirts of Kaunas. If you don’t have a car, take bus route 23 from the central bus station in town.

Not all of the local Jewish population met an ugly end during the Second World War. Before the Nazi occupation, scores lined up outside Sugihara House, looking for a way out of Europe. This residence served as the Japanese consulate at the time.

Thanks to the local consul general, thousands of Jews were able to transit through Russia. For his actions, Chiune Sugihara attained recognition from Yad Vashem, or the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre. Be sure to check out the short film, which explains his story in further detail.

Kaunas architectural details in Lithuania

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas is bursting with culture – if you have time, make a trip out to the Pazaislis Monastery. A Lithuanian noble founded this Catholic institution in the 17th century. It was the largest of its kind in Lithuania and became known for its Italian Baroque architecture.

Its colourful history will astound you. Over the centuries, it didn’t just serve as a religious institution. It was a horse stable for Napoleon’s army, a WWI war hospital, and an art gallery under the Soviets. In addition to being an attraction in its own right, it also hosts music events. Everything from orchestras to ABBA has played here – don’t miss this place.

If you’re looking for a kooky museum to hit up, check out the Devils’ Museum. As the name suggests, it shows off artistic interpretations of the devil from around the globe. In all, you’ll find 3,000 pieces featuring Satan and other occult objects.

End your visit to Kaunas by spending a lively day exploring Old Town Kaunas. Unlike Vilnius, its old core escaped bombardment. Spend hours admiring its centuries-old building as you walk along cobblestone streets. Then, grab a meal, coffee, or beer at a sidewalk restaurant, and watch the world go by!

source: Atlasito on YouTube

Top 20 Things To Do in Kaunas, Lithuania For Visitors

Here are the top 20 things to do in Kaunas:

1. Visit Kaunas Castle

Kaunas Castle, dating back to the 14th century, is one of Lithuania’s oldest castles and offers a glimpse into the country’s medieval past. Located at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers, the castle has a museum showcasing archaeological finds and historical exhibits. Visitors can explore the castle’s towers, enjoy panoramic views, and learn about Kaunas’s defensive history. The castle’s grounds host various cultural events and medieval festivals throughout the year.

2. Stroll Around the Old Town

Kaunas Old Town is a charming area filled with cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and picturesque squares. Highlights include the Town Hall Square, known as the “White Swan” for its elegant architecture, and the House of Perkūnas, one of the best-preserved Gothic residential buildings in Lithuania. The Old Town is also home to cozy cafes, art galleries, and boutique shops. Visitors can explore various churches, including the Kaunas Cathedral Basilica, the largest Gothic church in Lithuania.

3. Explore the Ninth Fort

The Ninth Fort is a historic fortress and museum that serves as a memorial to those lost during World War II and the Soviet era. The museum offers insights into Lithuania’s military history, while the outdoor memorial pays tribute to Holocaust victims and others who suffered under Soviet oppression. Guided tours are available, providing a deeper understanding of the site’s significance. The Ninth Fort’s imposing architecture and poignant exhibitions make it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

4. Discover the Pažaislis Monastery and Church

The Pažaislis Monastery and Church, part of a larger Baroque complex, is renowned for its stunning architecture and art. Located on the shores of the Kaunas Reservoir, the monastery is a peaceful retreat with beautifully landscaped grounds. Visitors can admire the intricate frescoes and stuccowork inside the church. The complex also hosts the annual Pažaislis Music Festival, featuring classical music performances.

5. Enjoy the Žalgiris Arena Events

Žalgiris Arena, situated on the Nemunas River Island, is the largest indoor arena in the Baltic states and hosts a variety of events, including sports games, concerts, and exhibitions. It’s the home of the Žalgiris Kaunas basketball team, and attending a game is a great way to experience Lithuanian sports culture. The arena also offers tours, a sports museum, and panoramic views of Kaunas from its observation deck. Dining and entertainment facilities are available on-site, making it a lively place to spend an evening.

6. Relax in Vienybės Square

Vienybės Square is a newly renovated public space in the heart of Kaunas, designed to be a modern urban area for relaxation and events. The square features innovative landscaping, water elements, and interactive installations. It’s a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, hosting various cultural events and activities. The square is surrounded by significant architectural landmarks, including the Kaunas County Public Library.

7. Visit the M.K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art

The M.K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art is dedicated to the works of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Lithuania’s most famous artist and composer. The museum houses the largest collection of Čiurlionis’s paintings, drawings, and musical scores, offering insight into his artistic and musical genius. Temporary exhibitions feature other Lithuanian and international artists. The museum’s serene atmosphere makes it a perfect place for art lovers to explore.

8. Walk Across the Kaunas Pedestrian Bridge

The Kaunas Pedestrian Bridge, connecting the city center with the Aleksotas district, offers scenic views of the Nemunas River and the city skyline. The bridge is a favorite spot for leisurely walks, cycling, and watching sunsets. It’s especially beautiful in the evening when illuminated. The bridge also leads to the Aleksotas Hill viewpoint, providing panoramic views of Kaunas.

9. Explore the Devil’s Museum

The Devil’s Museum is a unique institution that houses a collection of more than 3,000 sculptures, carvings, and artworks depicting devils from Lithuanian folklore and cultures around the world. The collection includes humorous and satirical pieces, as well as more traditional folk art. It’s one of the most unusual museums in Lithuania, offering a fascinating glimpse into different cultural perceptions of devils. The museum is both entertaining and educational for visitors of all ages.

10. Enjoy Nature at Kaunas Reservoir Regional Park

Kaunas Reservoir Regional Park, surrounding Lithuania’s largest artificial lake, offers a variety of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, and hiking. The park’s landscapes are diverse, featuring forests, meadows, and wetlands. Visitors can explore the park’s nature trails, relax on its beaches, or enjoy water sports on the reservoir. The park is also a popular spot for bird watching, with several observation towers.

11. Take a Break at Laisvės Alėja

Laisvės Alėja (Liberty Boulevard) is the main pedestrian thoroughfare in Kaunas, lined with trees, shops, cafes, and historical buildings. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, people-watching, or enjoying a coffee at one of the many outdoor terraces. The boulevard hosts various festivals and open-air events throughout the year. Notable landmarks along Laisvės Alėja include the Kaunas State Musical Theatre and the Church of St. Michael the Archangel.

12. Discover the Kaunas Jewish History at the Sugihara House

The Sugihara House, once the Japanese consulate, is now a museum dedicated to Chiune Sugihara, the “Japanese Schindler” who saved thousands of Jews during World War II by issuing transit visas. The museum tells the story of Sugihara’s life and the lives of those he saved. It’s a poignant reminder of humanity and courage in the face of adversity. The museum also explores the broader history of the Jewish community in Kaunas.

13. Experience the Kaunas Street Art

Kaunas is home to an impressive collection of street art, with murals and installations scattered throughout the city. The artworks range from large-scale paintings to smaller, whimsical pieces, adding color and creativity to the urban landscape. A self-guided walking tour of Kaunas’s street art is a great way to explore the city’s artistic side. The works often reflect social, political, and cultural themes, offering insight into contemporary Lithuanian society.

14. Visit the Vytautas the Great War Museum

The Vytautas the Great War Museum is dedicated to Lithuania’s military history, from medieval times to the present. The museum’s exhibits include weapons, uniforms, and artifacts related to Lithuania’s battles for independence. The museum’s courtyard features the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial to those who have fallen in battle. The museum also oversees the adjacent Freedom Monument, a symbol of Lithuania’s struggle for independence.

15. Shop at Akropolis Shopping and Entertainment Center

Akropolis is one of the largest shopping and entertainment centers in Lithuania, offering a wide range of stores, a multiplex cinema, ice skating rink, and numerous dining options. It’s a one-stop destination for shopping, entertainment, and leisure. The center hosts events and performances, making it a lively place to visit any day of the week. Akropolis is also a convenient spot to find gifts, fashion, and local specialties.

16. Learn at the Lithuanian Aviation Museum

The Lithuanian Aviation Museum showcases the history of aviation in Lithuania and the Baltic region. Exhibits include aircraft, engines, and aviation equipment, as well as models and photographs. The museum offers a fascinating look at the development of aviation technology and the role of Lithuanians in aerospace exploration. It’s a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs.

17. Relax at Kaunas Botanical Garden

The Kaunas Botanical Garden, part of Vytautas Magnus University, is a peaceful oasis featuring plant collections from around the world, thematic gardens, and a beautiful greenhouse. The garden is an ideal place for leisurely walks, picnics, and nature observation. Seasonal events, such as flower shows and concerts, add to the garden’s attractions. It’s a great spot for families, couples, and anyone looking to enjoy nature’s beauty.

18. Attend a Performance at the Kaunas State Musical Theatre

The Kaunas State Musical Theatre is one of Lithuania’s premier venues for musical performances, including operettas, musicals, and ballets. The theatre’s productions feature talented Lithuanian and international artists. The building itself, with its elegant architecture, is a landmark in Kaunas. Attending a performance here is a cultural highlight and an opportunity to experience the vibrant performing arts scene in Lithuania.

19. Explore the Historical Presidential Palace

The Historical Presidential Palace in Kaunas served as the office for the President of Lithuania during the interwar period when Kaunas was the temporary capital. The museum inside the palace provides insights into this significant era in Lithuanian history, showcasing presidential artifacts, documents, and personal items of the presidents. The beautifully preserved interiors offer a glimpse into the lives of Lithuania’s early leaders. The palace’s gardens are a tranquil spot for a walk.

20. Visit the Kaunas Fortress

The Kaunas Fortress, a complex of fortifications built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, played a significant role in European military history. Visitors can explore several of the fortress’s surviving structures, including forts, bunkers, and artillery batteries. The fortress is a testament to the strategic importance of Kaunas and its resilience throughout history. Guided tours offer insights into the fortress’s construction, its role in various conflicts, and the lives of soldiers stationed there.

Cepelinai is Lithuanian food to try in Kaunas, Lithuania

What To Eat and Drink in Kaunas, Lithuania

From hearty Lithuanian classics to contemporary cuisine that pushes the envelope, eating and drinking in Kaunas is an adventure all its own. Let’s dive into the dishes and drinks that define the culinary landscape of this vibrant city.

Traditional Lithuanian Fare

1. Cepelinai (Zeppelins): No culinary journey in Kaunas would be complete without trying cepelinai, Lithuania’s national dish. These hefty potato dumplings are stuffed with meat, cheese, or mushrooms and often served with a dollop of sour cream and crispy pork rinds. They’re a hearty homage to Lithuania’s rustic roots.

2. Šaltibarščiai (Cold Beet Soup): This bright pink soup might just be the most refreshing thing you’ll taste in Kaunas, especially during the summer. Made from beetroots, kefir, cucumbers, and dill, it’s usually served with a side of hot boiled potatoes.

3. Kibinai: Originating from the Karaim community in Trakai, just a stone’s throw from Kaunas, kibinai are delicious pastries filled with minced meat, vegetables, or sweet fillings. They’re perfect for a snack on the go as you explore the city.

Modern Twists and International Flavors

4. Modern Lithuanian Cuisine: Kaunas’s culinary scene isn’t stuck in the past. Many restaurants in the city are reimagining traditional Lithuanian dishes with a modern twist, using local, seasonal ingredients to create something entirely new and exciting.

5. Global Tastes: Craving something different? Kaunas delivers with a range of international restaurants. From authentic Italian pizzas and pastas to exotic Asian flavors, the city caters to all tastes.

Brews and Spirits

6. Craft Beer: Lithuania has a burgeoning craft beer scene, and Kaunas is right at its heart. Local breweries and pubs offer a variety of beers, from traditional Lithuanian farmhouse ales to innovative craft creations.

7. Midus (Mead): As one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world, Lithuanian mead, or midus, is a sweet, potent drink made from honey. Sampling this ancient drink is like tasting history.

Coffee Culture

8. Specialty Coffee: The coffee culture in Kaunas is alive and buzzing. Cozy cafes dot the city, serving up expertly brewed specialty coffee alongside delicious pastries and cakes.

Sweet Treats

9. Šakotis (Tree Cake): This traditional Lithuanian cake, with its distinctive spiky branches, is a work of art. Made from layers of batter cooked on a rotating spit, it’s as fun to eat as it is to look at.

10. Lithuanian Chocolate: Don’t leave Kaunas without trying some Lithuanian chocolate. Local chocolatiers craft everything from rich dark chocolate to unique flavors inspired by Lithuanian herbs and berries.

source: Aplins in the Alps on YouTube

Top Restaurants In Kaunas, Lithuania

Here’s a roundup of top restaurants in Kaunas, each promising a unique flavor of the city’s rich gastronomic landscape.

1. Uoksas

A pioneer of the modern Lithuanian cuisine movement in Kaunas, Uoksas focuses on innovative dishes crafted from local, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant’s chic, minimalist decor complements its creative menu, making it a must-visit for foodies seeking a contemporary dining experience.

2. Monte Pacis

Housed in a historic monastery complex in Pažaislis, Monte Pacis offers a dining experience that blends gastronomy with history. The menu, inspired by monastic recipes and local traditions, is paired beautifully with the restaurant’s serene setting, offering a taste of Lithuania’s culinary heritage.

3. Agave

For those craving flavors beyond Lithuanian borders, Agave serves up authentic Mexican cuisine in the heart of Kaunas. From freshly made guacamole to sizzling fajitas and potent margaritas, Agave is a vibrant spot for a lively dinner.

4. Avilys

Avilys is not only known for its cozy, cellar-like atmosphere but also for brewing its own beer on site. The menu offers hearty Lithuanian and European dishes perfectly complemented by their selection of homemade beers, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

5. Bernelių Užeiga

Offering a traditional Lithuanian dining experience, Bernelių Užeiga is famed for its rustic interior and generous portions. Here, you can savor classics like cepelinai and šaltibarščiai in an ambiance that feels like a step back in time.

6. Skliautas

Set in a beautifully restored medieval vault, Skliautas charms its guests with an atmosphere that’s both historic and welcoming. The menu features a mix of Lithuanian and international dishes, with an emphasis on quality and flavor.

7. HopDoc Gastropub

Blending the casual vibe of a pub with the culinary aspirations of a gastro-bistro, HopDoc is the go-to place for craft beer enthusiasts and foodies. Their ever-changing menu of innovative dishes and extensive beer selection make it a hub of gastronomic experimentation.

8. Green Cafe

A haven for vegetarians and health-conscious diners, Green Cafe offers a delightful array of plant-based dishes, fresh juices, and smoothies. Its bright, modern interior and commitment to sustainable eating make it a refreshing dining spot.

9. Džem’pub

Famous for its cozy ambiance and live music nights, Džem’pub serves a variety of international dishes and a wide selection of beers and cocktails. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring Kaunas.

10. Siesta

A quaint restaurant located near the Kaunas Castle, Siesta offers a menu that combines Lithuanian culinary traditions with modern European flavors. Its warm, inviting atmosphere and picturesque location make it an ideal spot for a leisurely meal.

Kaunas riverside views in Lithuania

Tours For Visitors To Kaunas, Lithuania

Here’s a comprehensive list of tours for visitors to Kaunas, designed to enhance your exploration of this dynamic city.

1. Kaunas Old Town Walking Tour

Discover the heart of Kaunas by wandering through its Old Town. This guided walking tour will take you through cobbled streets, past Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, and into the stories that built the city. Highlights include Kaunas Castle, the Town Hall Square, and the House of Perkūnas.

2. Modernist Architecture Tour

Kaunas is renowned for its concentration of interwar modernist architecture, making it a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status. Explore these architectural gems that tell the story of Kaunas as the temporary capital of Lithuania in the interwar period, including the iconic Christ’s Resurrection Church and the Central Post Office.

3. Lithuanian Cuisine and Market Tour

Taste your way through Kaunas with a culinary tour that introduces you to the flavors of Lithuania. Visit local markets to sample traditional foods, learn about the ingredients and dishes that form the backbone of Lithuanian cuisine, and perhaps even try your hand at making some local specialties.

4. Street Art and Contemporary Culture Tour

Kaunas’s streets are a canvas for local and international artists, boasting an impressive collection of street art. This tour not only guides you through vibrant murals and installations but also delves into Kaunas’s contemporary cultural scene, visiting galleries and cultural spaces that are shaping the city’s artistic identity.

5. M.K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art Tour

Dedicated to the most famous Lithuanian artist and composer, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, this museum houses the largest collection of his works. A guided tour will enrich your visit with insights into Čiurlionis’s life, his contributions to art and music, and his impact on Lithuanian culture.

6. Kaunas Jewish Heritage Tour

Explore the significant yet somber aspects of Kaunas’s history by learning about the city’s Jewish community, their contributions, and the tragic events of the Holocaust. Visit important sites like the Ninth Fort, the Kaunas Choral Synagogue, and the “Children of the Ghetto” monument to pay respects and understand this vital part of Kaunas’s history.

7. Pažaislis Monastery and Kaunas Reservoir Tour

Venture just outside Kaunas to visit the stunning Pažaislis Monastery, an example of Italian Baroque architecture, set beside the tranquil Kaunas Reservoir. This tour often includes a leisurely boat trip on the reservoir, offering picturesque views and a serene escape from the city.

8. Sugihara House Tour

Dive into the remarkable story of Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Kaunas who saved thousands of Jewish lives during World War II by issuing transit visas. The former consulate, now a museum, offers guided tours that shed light on Sugihara’s courageous acts and the broader context of the time.

9. Kaunas Fortress Tour

Explore the remnants of the Kaunas Fortress, once one of the largest military fortifications in Europe. This tour takes you through various forts and bunkers, explaining their strategic significance and the role they played in both World Wars.

10. Beer Tasting Tour

Lithuania has a rich brewing tradition, and Kaunas is no exception. Embark on a beer tasting tour to sample a variety of local brews, from traditional farmhouse ales to contemporary craft beers, and learn about the brewing process and history from local brewers.

Kaunas Castle At Night in Lithuania

Kaunas Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

Here’s a comprehensive travel guide to staying in Kaunas, ensuring a comfortable base as you delve into the heart of Lithuania.

Luxury and Boutique Hotels

1. Hotel Kaunas: Located right in the heart of the city, this hotel combines convenience with comfort. It offers spacious, modern rooms and amenities such as a fitness center, indoor pool, and an on-site restaurant serving exquisite local and international cuisine.

2. Hof Hotel: This boutique hotel is a stone’s throw away from the Old Town and provides a perfect blend of modern amenities in a historic setting. Each room is uniquely designed, offering a luxurious and intimate stay experience.

3. Daugirdas Hotel: Situated in a 16th-century building, this hotel beautifully merges historical charm with contemporary luxury. It’s just a short walk from the main attractions in the Old Town and features a restaurant that serves traditional Lithuanian dishes with a modern twist.

Mid-Range Options

4. Algiro Hotel: Offering great value, Algiro Hotel is known for its clean, comfortable rooms and friendly service. It’s a bit further from the city center but provides easy access to public transport.

5. Magnus Hotel: Located near the Kaunas Railway Station, Magnus Hotel offers modern accommodations with fantastic city views, especially from its rooftop terrace. It’s an excellent choice for travelers looking for comfort and convenience.

Budget-Friendly Hostels and Guesthouses

6. The Monk’s Bunk Kaunas: A favorite among backpackers, this hostel is known for its social atmosphere, making it easy to meet fellow travelers. It offers dormitory-style accommodations, private rooms, and a communal kitchen.

7. R Hostel: Situated close to the heart of Kaunas, R Hostel provides a cozy and welcoming environment for its guests. With both dorms and private rooms, it caters to a range of travelers looking for budget-friendly options.

8. Guest House LT: Offering the privacy and comfort of a guesthouse with the affordability of a hostel, Guest House LT is ideal for those looking for a quiet, homely place to stay. It’s conveniently located within walking distance of the Old Town and the Nemunas River.

Unique and Thematic Stays

9. Moxy Kaunas Center: Moxy offers a vibrant, contemporary design paired with playful elements, catering especially to the younger crowd or the young at heart. It’s centrally located and features chic social spaces for guests to mingle.

10. Apple Economy Hotel: Nestled in the Old Town, this hotel offers a unique apple-themed decor. It’s a charming and affordable option for travelers who appreciate creativity and attention to detail.

Nature and Scenic Stays

11. Monte Pacis: Located within the Pažaislis Monastery complex by the Kaunas Lagoon, Monte Pacis offers a serene stay in a historically and architecturally significant setting. The hotel’s restaurant is a culinary destination itself, serving dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.

Practical Stays

12. Park Inn by Radisson Kaunas: This reliable chain hotel offers comfortable, practical accommodations with all the expected amenities, including a fitness center, restaurant, and bar. Its location makes it convenient for exploring both the New Town and Old Town.

Trakai Castle At Night aerial views in the winter in Lithuania

Day Trips From Kaunas, Lithuania

Here’s an exhaustive list of day trips from Kaunas, promising diverse and memorable adventures.

1. Trakai

Just over an hour’s drive from Kaunas, Trakai is famous for its picturesque island castle set in the middle of Lake Galvė. The town’s history is deeply intertwined with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the castle itself now serves as a museum. Trakai is also known for its Karaite community, so be sure to try kibinai, a traditional Karaite pastry. Boat tours on the lake offer a unique perspective of the castle and surrounding landscapes.

2. Vilnius

Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is a must-visit, with its UNESCO-listed Old Town, vibrant street art, and numerous museums and galleries. Less than 1.5 hours by train or car from Kaunas, it’s perfect for a day trip. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the Gediminas Tower, Vilnius Cathedral, and Užupis, the city’s bohemian quarter. Vilnius offers a blend of historical sites and modern cultural experiences, making it a comprehensive day out.

3. Kernavė

Considered the cradle of Lithuania, Kernavė is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an archaeological treasure about an hour and a half from Kaunas. It features several medieval hill forts, a museum, and beautiful natural surroundings. The site offers insights into prehistoric and medieval Baltic cultures. Kernavė’s tranquil landscape also makes for a perfect outdoor escape, with hiking trails and scenic viewpoints.

4. Žemaitija National Park

Located about two hours northwest of Kaunas, Žemaitija National Park is a haven for nature lovers, featuring dense forests, serene lakes, and walking trails. The park also hosts Plateliai Lake, one of the largest and deepest lakes in Lithuania, ideal for boating and fishing. Don’t miss the Cold War Museum, located in a former Soviet missile base. This park offers a blend of natural beauty and intriguing history.

5. Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses, about an hour and a half from Kaunas, is a powerful symbol of Lithuanian Catholic faith and resistance against oppression. Thousands of crosses of every size cover a small hill, creating a mesmerizing sight. The site is open to the public year-round and is particularly moving during sunrise or sunset. It’s a testament to the nation’s endurance and spirituality.

6. Klaipėda and the Curonian Spit

Drive west from Kaunas to reach Klaipėda, Lithuania’s primary seaport, which serves as the gateway to the Curonian Spit. The Curonian Spit is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its sandy dunes, quaint fishing villages, and the unique Curonian Lagoon. In Klaipėda, explore the Old Town and maritime museum. The ferry from Klaipėda to the Curonian Spit offers easy access to this stunning natural wonder.

7. Rumsiskes Open-Air Museum

Just a 30-minute drive from Kaunas, the Rumsiskes Open-Air Museum offers a glimpse into 18th-19th century Lithuanian life. It’s one of the largest open-air ethnographic museums in Europe, showcasing traditional Lithuanian homes, farms, and workshops across various regions. Seasonal festivals and workshops provide interactive experiences. The museum’s picturesque setting by Kaunas Reservoir adds to its charm.

8. Alytus

Explore the southern city of Alytus, nestled on the banks of the Nemunas River, about an hour’s drive from Kaunas. It’s known for its large parks, the Alytus Ethnographic Museum, and the Angel of Freedom statue, symbolizing Lithuania’s struggle for independence. The city also serves as a good starting point for exploring the Dzūkija National Park. Alytus is perfect for those interested in modern Lithuanian history and nature.

9. Panevėžys

Head north to Panevėžys, one of Lithuania’s larger cities, known for its cultural institutions like the Panevėžys Drama Theater and the unique Senvagė, a natural water feature running through the city. It’s roughly an hour and a half from Kaunas by car. The city’s museums and galleries offer insights into local art and history. Panevėžys serves as a cultural hub in the region, with various festivals and events throughout the year.

10. Anykščiai

An hour and a half northeast of Kaunas, Anykščiai charms visitors with its literary heritage, scenic railway, and the treetop walking path, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding forests. The town is associated with several famous Lithuanian poets and authors. The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum and rides on the historic train are a delight for all ages. Anykščiai is ideal for families and those looking to immerse themselves in Lithuania’s natural beauty and cultural history.

Kaunas scenic views from the rocks in Lithuania

Kaunas Transportation Guide

Here’s a complete travel guide to getting around Kaunas.

By Public Transportation

1. Buses and Trolleys: Kaunas boasts an extensive network of buses and trolleybuses that cover the city comprehensively, including routes to the airport and major suburbs. Tickets can be purchased from kiosks, directly from the driver, or via mobile apps like Trafi. Remember to validate your ticket upon boarding.

2. Mobile Apps: For ease of use, consider downloading the Trafi app, which provides real-time schedules, route planning, and mobile ticket purchasing options for public transportation in Kaunas.

By Bike

3. City Bike Share: Cyclocity, Kaunas’s bike-sharing program, offers a convenient way to explore the city, especially during the warmer months. Stations are located throughout the city, including the Old Town and along the Nemunas River. Register online or at a station kiosk to access the bikes.

4. Bike Paths: Kaunas is equipped with a growing network of bike paths, making it safe and enjoyable to explore the city on two wheels. The paths along the Nemunas River are particularly scenic and offer a pleasant route for cyclists.

On Foot

5. Walking: Many of Kaunas’s attractions, particularly in the Old Town and New Town areas, are easily accessible on foot. Walking is the best way to appreciate the city’s architecture and vibrant street life. Pedestrian zones in the city center provide a safe and leisurely experience.

By Car

6. Car Rentals: For more flexibility, consider renting a car, especially if you plan on taking day trips outside of Kaunas. Numerous car rental agencies operate in the city and at Kaunas Airport. Remember that parking in the city center can be scarce and is mostly paid.

7. Ride-Sharing and Taxis: Ride-sharing services and traditional taxis are readily available in Kaunas. These can be a convenient option for direct travel, especially late at night when public transportation is less frequent. Apps like Bolt provide easy booking and transparent pricing.

By Train

8. Trains: While Kaunas’s train station is not centrally located, trains can be a convenient option for traveling to other major Lithuanian cities or exploring the wider region. Direct routes connect Kaunas with Vilnius, the capital, offering an alternative to bus travel.

Special Transportation

9. Kaunas Airport Transfers: Kaunas International Airport is well connected to the city center by direct bus lines, offering an efficient and cost-effective way to travel to and from the airport. Private transfers and taxis are also available for a more personalized service.

10. Funiculars: Don’t miss a ride on one of Kaunas’s historic funiculars. The Žaliakalnis and Aleksotas Funiculars not only provide a convenient way to climb the city’s hills but also offer a unique historical experience and scenic views.

Curonian Spit dunes is place to visit after spending time in Kaunas, Lithuania

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Kaunas?

Here’s a list of places to visit after your trip to Kaunas, ensuring your journey through this beautiful region continues to inspire and amaze.

1. Vilnius

Lithuania’s capital is a treasure trove of historical sites, with its UNESCO-listed Old Town, vibrant art scene, and lively cafes. Just over an hour from Kaunas by train or car, Vilnius is home to the stunning Gediminas’ Tower, the bohemian Užupis district, and the KGB Museum, offering insights into Soviet history. Vilnius seamlessly blends centuries of history with a youthful energy, making it a must-visit.

2. Trakai

Located just outside Vilnius, Trakai is famous for its picturesque island castle set amidst Lake Galvė. This historic city offers a glimpse into Lithuania’s grand past, with opportunities for kayaking around the castle or exploring the town’s Karaite heritage. Trakai’s tranquil setting and rich history make it a perfect day trip. Don’t miss trying kibinai, a traditional Karaite pastry, during your visit.

3. Klaipėda

As Lithuania’s primary seaport, Klaipėda boasts a unique blend of German and Lithuanian architecture, sandy beaches, and an inviting seaside atmosphere. Explore the Curonian Spit from here, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its towering sand dunes and quaint fishing villages. Klaipėda’s annual Sea Festival is a highlight, celebrating the city’s maritime heritage. The city serves as a gateway to the Baltic Sea’s beauty.

4. Nida

Situated on the Curonian Spit, Nida is known for its stunning landscapes, including the Parnidis Dune and tranquil beaches. This small resort town offers a peaceful retreat with its colorful fishermen’s houses, amber galleries, and the Thomas Mann Museum. Nida is perfect for those seeking relaxation amidst nature’s beauty. Enjoy cycling along the spit’s paths for breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea and Curonian Lagoon.

5. Šiauliai and the Hill of Crosses

Šiauliai, the fourth largest city in Lithuania, is a short journey north from Kaunas and serves as the gateway to the Hill of Crosses, a powerful symbol of Lithuanian resilience and faith. The Hill of Crosses is an impressive sight, with thousands of crosses covering a small hill. Šiauliai itself offers museums and parks, making it worth exploring. The city’s Sundial Square is a notable landmark, showcasing modern Lithuanian design.

6. Druskininkai

Renowned for its mineral springs and spa resorts, Druskininkai is a haven for those seeking relaxation and wellness treatments. The Grūto Parkas, an open-air museum displaying Soviet-era statues, offers a unique historical perspective. Adventure seekers will enjoy the Snow Arena, one of the largest indoor ski slopes in Europe. Druskininkai’s tranquil parks and modern aqua park also provide ample entertainment and relaxation options.

7. Alytus

This charming town on the banks of the Nemunas River offers peaceful walks, biking trails, and a closer look at Lithuania’s natural beauty. Alytus serves as a perfect base for exploring the Dzūkija National Park, known for its pristine forests and traditional villages. The town’s history and culture can be explored through its museums and monuments. Alytus is ideal for those wishing to immerse themselves in Lithuania’s lush landscapes.

8. Panevėžys

Situated in the northern part of Lithuania, Panevėžys is known for its cultural institutions, including theaters and galleries. The city’s riverbank provides picturesque settings for leisurely walks. Panevėžys is also a starting point for exploring the nearby Anykščiai, with its treetop walking path and narrow-gauge railway. The city’s blend of cultural activities and green spaces offers a varied itinerary for visitors.

9. Biržai

Famous for its brewery traditions, Biržai is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts. The town’s fortress, dating back to the 16th century, provides insights into Lithuania’s defensive history. Biržai is also known for its sinkholes and karst formations, offering unique natural attractions. Enjoy a brewery tour to sample some of the best traditional Lithuanian beers.

10. Riga, Latvia

Just a few hours’ drive from Kaunas, Riga, the capital of Latvia, presents a beautiful blend of Gothic spires, Art Nouveau architecture, and a lively cultural scene. Riga’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, full of history and charm. The city’s markets, museums, and the beautiful Riga Bay coastline are not to be missed. Riga offers a seamless blend of history, culture, and modern amenities, making it an excellent next stop on your Baltic journey.

Kaunas winter scene with lots of snow on the ground overlooking a cathedral and the river in Lithuania

Kaunas Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

And just like that, our journey through the vibrant streets and hidden alleys of Kaunas comes to a close. From the architectural wonders of its interwar modernism to the medieval charm of the Old Town, Kaunas has a way of getting under your skin. Whether you’ve come for the history, the culture, the food, or simply the atmosphere, Kaunas delivers in spades. So, as we bid adieu, let’s reflect on what makes Kaunas a must-visit city in the heart of Lithuania.

A City That Tells a Story

Every Corner Has a Tale: Wandering through Kaunas is like flipping through the pages of a richly illustrated storybook. Each building, each street, and each square tells a part of Kaunas’s story – from its days as a medieval stronghold to its moment in the spotlight as the temporary capital of Lithuania.

A Culinary Journey

Flavors to Remember: If you came to Kaunas with an appetite, you’re leaving with your taste buds fully satiated. The city’s culinary landscape, with its traditional Lithuanian dishes, modern eateries, and everything in between, showcases the best of what the country has to offer. It’s a reminder that food is not just nourishment; it’s culture, history, and art.

The Heartbeat of Culture

Art, Music, and More: Kaunas doesn’t just embrace culture; it lives and breathes it. From the streets adorned with contemporary murals to the cozy jazz clubs and the grand stages of its theaters, culture in Kaunas is vibrant, dynamic, and utterly infectious.

Green Escapes

A Breath of Fresh Air: Amid the urban exploration, Kaunas offers green sanctuaries by the riverside, in its parks, and around the city. These natural respites provide a peaceful counterbalance to the lively city vibe, proving that Kaunas has mastered the art of harmony between urban and natural spaces.

Final Reflections

So, here’s to Kaunas, a city where history and modernity dance together in the streets, where the food is hearty, the culture is rich, and the welcome is warm.

Kaunas Priest Seminary at night blue hour

Ode To Kausnas

In the heart of Lithuania lies Kaunas,
A city that’s full of wonder and life.
Where the Old Town’s charm enchants us,
And the Nemunas River flows bright.

Its streets are lined with history and art,
A testament to times long past.
Where architecture steals our hearts,
And culture thrives, everlast.

With each step, a new discovery,
A treasure waiting to be found.
Where the people are warm and friendly,
And joy and laughter can be heard all around.

So come and explore this magical place,
Let its beauty leave you in awe.
For in Kaunas, a world of wonder awaits,
And memories that will forever enthrall.

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