The settlement grew up at a ford in the river Neris; south of the river was the manor house of Skarulių, enlarged into a palace in 1740. The landowner named the settlement Jonas for his son, and this morphed into Jonava. The town was industrial and 80-90% of its population were Jewish, until 1941 when they were wiped out by the Nazis and Lithuanian anti-Soviet forces.
The modern town is mostly north of the river. The south bank has a huge chemical plant run by Achema AB, who mostly make ammonia fertiliser. In March 1989 the site suffered a leak of 7500 tonnes of ammonia from a ruptured tank, followed by fires, to create a toxic cloud 7 km wide by 50 km long; seven people died. But production continues and the site is a heavy user of gas for energy, accounting for half of Lithuania's consumption. The gas was traditionally from Russia but this supply was lost in 2022, and production was curtailed. In 2023 gas supplies were secured from North Sea countries and full production resumed.
1 is 500 m north of town centre on Turgaus g, corner of J Janonio g.
One train per day is direct from Kaunas, taking 40 min via Palemonas and continuing to Siauliai, otherwise travel via Vilnius.
2 is 2.5 km north of town centre. It's just a platform halt with no facilities, buy your ticket on the train.
Bus 7 runs hourly from the railway station to the bus station (7 min) then meanders around town.
Taxi operators are Nijamita (+370 349 73777) and Vilkai (+370 349 50000).
Modesta do car hire.
- Town centre is nondescript modern low-rise, but here and there on side streets are 18th-19th century traditional buildings.
- 1 Church of St James (Jonavos Šv. apaštalo Jokūbo bažnyčia), Vilniaus g 13, ☏ . This Roman Catholic church was built in 1793 in neoclassical style.
- 2 (Jonavos krašto muziejus), J Basanavičiaus g 3, ☏ . M-Th 08:00-17:00, F 08:00-15:30. Small museum of local history.
- 3 Church of St Anne (Sv Onos baznycia) is in Skaruliu industrial district 2 km east of town centre.
- Barborlaukio Dvaras is a 19th century wooden villa 3 km south of town. It's nowadays an events venue and isn't open for tours.
- Jonava Culture Centre at Žeimių g 15 has live music and other events.
- Football: FK Jonava were relegated in 2022 and play soccer in I Lyga, Lithuania's second tier. Their home ground Central Stadium (capacity 1000) is 500 m north of town centre; they plan to extend it to a capacity of 3000. The playing season is March-Oct.
- The lake northwest of the centre has a small beach and is suitable for swimming.
- Rimi supermarket at Vasario 16-osios 4 is open M-Sa 08:00-22:00, Su 08:00-21:00.
- Maxima supermarket is at Plento g 3 south end of the river bridge, open daily 08:00-22:00.
- Sushi Lounge Sakura at Vasario 16-osios 1 is scheduled to open on 5 Dec 2023.
- Hesburger is a Lithuanian burger chain. It's at Vasario 16-osios 11, open daily 09:00-22:00.
- Svaja serves trad Lithuanian fare such as Chebureki. It's at Vasario 16-osios 14, open daily 10:00-21:00.
- Geltonas Baras, J Basanavičiaus g 6 (within Iki shopping centre.), ☏ . Su-F 10:00-00:00, Sa 10:00-00:00.. Bar and grill getting poor reviews.
- Požiūris is a pizzeria at J Basanavičiaus g 4 opposite the museum, open M-Th 10:00-22:00, F Sa 10:00-23:00, Su 11:00-22:00.
- 1 Thakara, Chemikų g 1A, Jonava, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-20:00. Georgian restaurant, mostly for takeaway but one small table within.
- , Kauno g 17, ☏ . Su-Th 10:30-22:00, F Sa 10:30-00:00. Decent food, nothing special. Cash only.
- Pavėsis, Plento g 13 (south of river by Maxima supermarket), ☏ . Daily 10:00-00:00. Simple canteen, filling portions.
The restaurants serve alcohol.
- 1 Hotel Jonapolis, Sodų g 19, ☏ . Great reviews for comfort, cleanliness and service.
- Guesthouses by Neris river bridge are Jonus at J Ralio g 2a and Pirtis Prie Neries at Trumpoji g 23.
Jonava and its approach highways have 4G from all Lithuanian carriers. As of Nov 2023, 5G has not reached this area.