|Kaunas has been nominated for featuring on the main page as Destination of the Month. We may have failed to notice some minor glitches in the article. Please plunge forward and help improve it further before it hits the main page.|
Kaunas in the centre of Lithuania, is the country's second biggest city with approximately 288,000 inhabitants in the city proper and almost 100,000 more in the metropolitan area (as of 2018) . Between the world wars it acted as capital and as such benefited from investment and the status.
A visit in February is not everyone's idea of peak holiday time but it may add to the city's appeal. Yes it will be -15°C outside, and yes there is snow and ice and it takes 10 minutes to dress before venturing out and another 10 to undress when you go back inside but when else do most of us get to experience that? It's not like England where one snowflake brings the transport network to a halt. The people of Kaunas are used to it and life goes on with great efficiency. Museums have cloakrooms, buildings are well heated and draft proofed, supermarkets have lockers to leave your coats, hats, scarves, gloves, sledges and so on and nobody minds you sipping vodka from a 200 ml bottle to keep your insides warm. As well as the usual attractions, this time of year allows you to go sledging (sledges available in supermarkets) or across the bridge to the park on an island in the river to build snowmen, have snowball fights and drag huge chunks of ice up to the bridge to send crashing onto the frozen river below.
You will notice that some couples have attached padlocks to the bridge with their names scratched or painted on - a custom one may have observed in Riga, Cologne or Paris. The gist is pretty clear and the bridge to the park is an ideal location to continue. There is a locksmith who sells padlocks in a courtyard off the northern side of Laisves Aleja towards the eastern end - reasonably priced too. Go for the ones with the longest hasp (loop) as the bars of the bridge are really thick. Failing that, attach yours to one that is already there!
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The best time to visit Kaunas is between early May and late August. July has the highest mean temperature, 16.0°C (63.0°F). Most of Kaunas's annual events are held during spring and summer. The rainy season often starts July, yet at the same time rains are short in time. Winter can be sometimes stinging cold, with short daylight hours.
Kaunas has a milder climate than other major cities in Lithuania. Its gets fewer windy and rainy days than Klaipeda, and less freezing in winter than Vilnius.
Between the 4th and 5th century BC at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers the settlement was established. In the 14th century AD a castle was built here. Now it is considered to be the oldest in Lithuania.
Kaunas was first mentioned in written Teutonic Knights sources in 1361, who captured the town and destroyed the Kaunas Castle in 1362. It was rebuilt at the beginning of the 15th century.
In 1408 Kaunas was granted Magdeburg Rights by Vytautas the Great. While being located at the intersection of trade routes and a river port Kaunas has become one of the major trade centers in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and joined the Hanseatic League in 1441. By the 16th century, Kaunas was one of the best-formed towns in the whole country.
In 17th and 18th centuries Kaunas was attacked by armies of Russia and Sweden several times, some parts of the city was destroyed by fires. After the partition of the Polish-Lithuanian state in 1795, the city was taken over by the Russian Empire. During the French invasion of Russia in 1812, the Grand Army of Napoleon passed through Kaunas twice, devastating the city both times.
Kaunas was one of the centres of the two uprisings in 19th century. To suppress the local population, the Russian authorities placed a large military garrison with a formidable fortress, including many forts, artillery bastions, and fortifications. At the same time Kaunas grew as an important center of transport and industry. In 1862 a railway connecting the Russian Empire and Germany was constructed, making Kaunas a significant railway hub.
The Interim Capital
Kaunas played a central role in developing and consolidating Lithuania‘s statehood at the 1920s and 1930s. When the local red rebels took the Vilnius region at the beginning of January in 1919, the Lithuanian government moved from Vilnius to Kaunas. It de facto continued in the role of temporary capital until July, 1940. The transfer of the capital stimulated the development of the city of Kaunas. The new status transformed Kaunas into the state‘s political, administrative, and cultural center. The growth of large-scale architectural and urban development was paralleled by the extremely intensive social and cultural life. Kaunas was the only provisional capital in Europe during the interbellum.
At the period after Vilnius was occupied by the Russian Bolsheviks in 1919 and captured by Poland in 1920, the government of Lithuania established its main base in Kaunas. The city became the Temporary capital of Lithuania. Between the world wars Kaunas grew rapidly and was extensively modernised, a lot of buildings were built, representing neoclassicism, functionalism, and art deco. Kaunas become the largest city in Lithuania.
Up to the Second World War Kaunas had a significant Jewish population, who constituted about one-fourth of the city's total population. Jews were concentrated in the city's commercial, artisan, and professional sectors. Kaunas was also a center of Jewish learning.
In 1940 Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union. Following Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Soviet forces fled Kaunas. Immediately before and following the German occupation of the city, several thousand Jews were killed. The Nazis eventually established the Kaunas Ghetto, which by the end of the war would be nearly completely liquidated.
After World War II Kaunas became the main industrial city of Lithuania, at the same time citizenry of the city were under continuous oppression of Soviets. After the restoration of Independence in 1990, Kaunas became a center of logistics, transport, computer technologies, sports, and tourism of Lithuania.
The official contacts are:
- 1 Kaunas Region Tourism Information Center, Laisves aleja, 36, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. June–August: M-F 09:09-18:00, Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 10:00-15:00; September & May: M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa 10-15, October–April: M-Th 09:00-18:00, F 09:00-17:00.
- 2 Kaunas Old Town Tourist Office, Rotuses sq. 29., ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 09:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-18:00.
- 3 Kaunas International Airport, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1 hour 30 minutes before and after the company's "Ryanair" flight..
The following locations are unstaffed and only has information brochures:
- 4 Kaunas Train Station, M.K. Čiurlionio g. 16, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 09:10-17:30; Lunch break: 13:00-14:00.
- 5 Kaunas Bus Station, Vytauto av.24, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 08:00-19:00; Su 08:00-15:00.
- 6 Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, K. Donelaičio g. 27, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 18:00-09:00; Sa Su 24 hr.
- 1 Kaunas International Airport (KUN IATA) (It is 14 km (8 miles) or approximately a 25–30 minutes drive from downtown Kaunas and directly linked to the A6/E262 (Kaunas - Daugavpils) highway, which borders the airport's northern boundaries and meets up with A1/E85 motorway at the Murava junction about 7 km south of the airport.). can accommodate planes of practically all types. As of 2017, the airport is served by Ryanair, LOT Polish Airlines and Wizz Air. Ryanair destinations from Kaunas include Birmingham, Bristol, "Brussels"-South Charleroi, Dublin, Edinburgh, "Frankfurt"-Hahn, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, London-Gatwick, Luton and Stansted, "Stockholm"-Skavsta and Tampere. In the summer season there are also flights to the Greek islands Kos and Rhodes, Alicante and Mallorca in Spain, Pafos in Cyprus, and Malta.
There is a modern terminal for passengers that offers a restaurant, bars, duty-free shops, car rentals, at travel agency, currency exchange, and ATM services. The airport has three parking lots with about 1000 parking spaces offering short- and long-term parking.
From the airport a bus #29 - found right outside - takes you into the center of Kaunas, going by route: Kaunas Central Train Station - Central Bus Station - Savanoriu ave. - Kaunas Airport (tickets for €0.80 in 2017 are available from the driver). If you arrive on a late night flight, Kaunas City bus #29E leaves the airport for downtown only after the last flight has arrived. The last Ryanair flight usually arrives before 23:00 and the last 29 bus departs at 22:30 while 29E departs at 00:30.
Shuttle bus #120 goes by route: Kaunas Airport - Savanoriu Ave. - Kaunas Castle (in the Old Town) bus stop. There are also two regular routes by shuttle bus from Kaunas airport to Vilnius and Klaipeda.
There is a taxi stand in front of the airport. A taxi to the Old Town of Kaunas costs around €16. Some Kaunas' hotels offer a shuttle to/from the Kaunas airport.
Vilnius airport is 100 km away. The airlines that operate from there are Aer Lingus, AirBaltic, Czech Airlines, Ryanair, Estonian Air, Finnair, Lufthansa, Norwegian AirShuttle, Brussels Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and LOT.
Kaunas is served by a number of major Baltic freeways. The international road Via Baltica E67 (connecting Warsaw to Tallinn) crosses Kaunas after about 70 km (45 miles) from the Lithuanian-Poland border. It is the most important road connection between the Baltic states. Via Baltica also serves as the western bypass of Kaunas city.
There is a 210 km (130 miles) motorway A1/E85 connecting the western part of Lithuania, Klaipėda and Palanga (a resort by the Baltic sea) to Kaunas and Vilnius in the east. The major junction of the highways Via Baltica and Vilnius-Kaunas-Klaipėda is constructed in Sargėnai in the northeastern part of Kaunas City. Buses serve section Kaunas-Vilnius every 30 to 60 min.
Another important highway, A6/E262, links Kaunas with Jonava, Ukmerge, Utena, and Daugavpils, in Latvia. The modern four-lane motorways and highways are in a very good state. The speed-limit is 130 km/h on the motorways (110 km/h in winter), but just 100 km/h on the Vilnius-Kaunas sector.
At the Kaunas Central Train Station (M.K. Čiurlionio g. 16) there are lockers next to the ticket office, a tourist office, an ATM and a small café. There are many trains from Vilnius to Kaunas. If travelling from Klaipeda by train to Kaunas, you must make a stop at Kaišiadorys, and wait for another train running from Vilnius or travel from Siauliai on Fridays and Sundays to Kaunas directly. Some trains run from Vilnius to Šeštokai, and, Poland, through Kaunas. There is also an international rail route connecting Kaliningrad, Russia and Kharkiv, Ukraine, that crosses Kaunas. Czech-made double-deck electric trains, alongside with older ones, go from Vilnius to Kaunas, and vice versa. A renovated 1.3 km (0.8 miles) long Kaunas railway tunnel built between 1859 and 1861 near Kaunas central railway station is worth attention for tourists. It started operations earlier than the Underground of London. A restored steam engine stands at the western entrance of Kaunas railway tunnel.
There are some frequent bus routes that radiate from Kaunas and serve other countries. These particularly go to Riga in Latvia, Tallinn in Estonia, Minsk in Belarus, and Warsaw in Poland. Bus companies also serve other parts of Lithuania, such as tourist destinations Druskininkai, Palanga or Trakai. Buses depart to/from Vilnius every 10-15 minutes and priced at €6.50 to €7.00.
- Kautra - one of the major bus companies in Lithuania established in 1934, and based in Kaunas. One may book Kautra' electronic tickets through Internet.
Kaunas has well developed public transport system. There are 16 trolleybus routes and 47 bus routes inside of the city. Buses and trolleybuses tickets can be bought at press kiosks and in the transport. The Kaunas Public Transport site offers useful information and a downloadable map of the bus and trolleybus routes. Electronic monthly tickets are used for public transport in Kaunas. Tickets valid for single journey in Kaunas public buses and trolleybuses can be purchased from public transport drivers only. You must purchase a ticket immediately after boarding the vehicle. Each public transport stop in the downtown area is equipped with Kaunas public transport maps and electronic scoreboards. Price for one journey is €1.00 (2019) if ticket is bought in the bus or trolleybus. You must validate your ticket on entry in one of the machines. Tickets purchased from the driver are already time-stamped. Single journey (paper) tickets are valid for buses and trolleybuses. Electronic tickets for 3, 7 days, 1 or 3 months are valid for both public transport means as well. Activation of the 3 or 7-day e-tickets is done pressing validator's button No. 2 and approaching e-ticket card to the validator. If already purchased at the news stand, electronic ticket may be replenished at its website (only in Lithuanian). E-ticket for 3 or 7 days is valid from the moment of its activation using ticket punchers in the public transport.
Kaunas Tourist Card is an option for getting around Kaunas for less money. The card is valid for 7 days in Kaunas. It offers a public transport e-ticket for travelling in Kaunas and gives discounts up to 50% in Kaunas' museums, city tours, restaurants, and some hotels.
The bus network covers the whole city and is the widest public transportation system in Kaunas. Three guided routes by bus (bus tours) are for your convenience in Kaunas. A two-hour sightseeing tour starts and ends at the Town Hall square. It is possible to arrange Kaunas City Tour in English, German, Russian, Polish, French, Spanish, Italian or other languages upon request. Discounts are available for groups by making a call +370 686 72224 or at E. Ožeškienės g.4.
Kaunas trolleybuses service is very reliable. The fleet of trolleys is relatively new, represented by Polish Solaris and some of older Czech Skodas.
For travelling with taxi, it is advisable to order one by phone because halting a cab on the street is not a custom. In the evening and at night, the price will be higher. Reputable companies are:
- Žaibiškas greitis, ☎ , 1422 (Omnitel short no), 1441 (Bite short no). Established in 1992 and owned largest taxi fleet in Kaunas
- Taxi Kaunas, ☎ , . All taxi services available
- Smugis, ☎ .
- Einesa, ☎ .
- Greitasis taksi, ☎ .
Driving a car in Kaunas is easy, as long as you comply with traffic regulations. Admittedly, the central part of Kaunas city is heavily affected by intensive traffic flows. It is notable, that some main central streets, i.e. K. Donelaicio/Kestucio are the part of a one-way system. It facilitates a smoother flow of traffic through the Kaunas city centre grid. Drivers must have a valid driving license and vehicle registration document, insurance (green card is valid in Lithuania). Renting a car for at least 24 hours in Kaunas is effortless. There are some companies renting cars in Kaunas, including Rentacar.lt, Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Budget, AviaEuropa, NeoRent, Autonuoma Kaune and Carent. All of these companies have offices at Kaunas airport. The vehicles are provided with a full tank. The car must be returned with a full tank, otherwise, €1 per litre is charged. To rent a car without a driver a deposit must be paid. The speed limit in Kaunas is 50 km/h, except for some bigger streets which have a speed limit of 60, 70 or even 80 km/h.
Parking in central Kaunas, as well as in the Old Town area, is paid. Central Kaunas is divided into three zones with different parking fees - red (most expensive), blue and green (least expensive). All parking ticket machines are equipped with card readers for city chip cards, and some of them accept coins. Also one may pay for parking with a special 1 or 2 hour parking card or by sending special SMS to number 1332 if one has a local mobile provider - Omnitel, Bite or Tele2 card. A special sticker on the windscreen of the car to indicate that SMS payment can be used is required. The parking ticket or parking card must be clearly visible to be valid. Chip cards or parking cards are available in news-stands, in the Parking in Kaunas company office, Gedimino g.45, or at dressed in green parking controllers. Everyone is liable to an excess charge if they park beyond selected parking period. The excess period is 15 minutes.
There are more than 50 km (31 mi) of bicycle roads in Kaunas and the number of available roads is increasing each year. The Eurovelo international route goes through the city. Kaunas city bike routes chart is available here.
- 7 2RIDE, Laisves aleja, 36, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-18:00; Sa Su 10:00-18:90. The first bicycle rental in Kaunas. Another service point at the Old Town tourist office, Rotuses square 29. Helmets are available..
Regular water tourism routes: Kaunas - Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant - Kaunas (duration: 3 hours) and Kaunas - Rumšiškės - Kaunas (duration: 6 hours;) are available on Saturdays and Sundays from Kaunas Pažaislis pier. Each route start from Kaunas Reservoir pier at 11:00 Another water tourism route Kaunas - Zapyškis - Kulautuva small resort town (duration: 2 hours) starts from Kaunas Vytautas' church pier in the Old Town on Sundays at 12:00. Tickets are also available in advance at Kaunas region tourism information center, Laisves aleja, 36.
Kaunas has several districts and sites interesting for tourists. The Old Town was mostly built between the 14th and 17th centuries, resembling buildings in Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Open spaces, parks, and places of interest are in the compact New Town as well as some other locations. A walking tour is the best way to see the Old Town. Guided excursions are available at Kaunas region tourism information office. You can also get a free tour from a local guide (often a student). They take you on a three hour tour, showing you all the popular and also less known spots and telling loads of funny stories. Afterwards, you can give them a tip. More information on email@example.com. Kaunas boasts around 40 museums of art, nature, literature, history, science, and sports, as well as historical and memorial museums.
- 1 Kaunas Castle, Papilio g. 17. The castle was built in the middle of the 14th century and is the oldest building in Kaunas. Today the round tower houses an art gallery. The castle is open to tourism, and hosts occasional festivals. Nearby is the nice Santakos park, at the confluence of the two largest rivers of Lithuania - the Nemunas and Neris.
- 2 City Hall Square. The main square of the Old Town contains the City Hall and surrounding buildings, with lots of restaurants, bars, coffee houses, museums, art galleries, and hotels nearby.
- Wax Melting Furnace. The unique exposure of 15th century wax melting stove near the Tower entrance of the City Hall was opened in 2002. The furnace exposure shows wax melting process. Kaunas was an important center of wax trade in the Middle Ages. So called wax stones (each of which 16 kg/35 lb weight) were melted in 9 stoves of Kaunas and later stamped with a Coat of Arms of Kaunas for export to Western Europe.
- 3 Kaunas City Hall. Rotuses sq. 15. Built in the mid-16th century, at the time when Kaunas was flourishing city of merchants, City Hall is a nice example of renaissance architecture. Locals unofficially call it The White Swan. In 1836 it was reconstructed and the residence for Russian czars was made there. The Wedding Hall (marriage registration office) was opened on the ground and first floors in 1973. The cellars are used by a Kaunas Ceramics museum. The museum collection consists of archaeological findings from the Old Town and surroundings of Kaunas. The collection contains craftsmen-made crockery, tile stove ornaments, and roof tiles of impressive size. The exposition also reflects the lifestyle of the townsmen of the time. Open Tu-Su 11:00-17:00.
- 4 Communications History Museum, Rotuses sq. 19. W-Su 10:00-18:00. The museum houses the collection of unique and still working exhibits, and offers visitors to familiarize themselves with the history of development of post, as well as others means of communications. A visitor may test the operation of some telegraph devices or in the courtyard take a look at the remnants of an old bronze melting furnace. Museum is set in the 16th century two brick granaries to stack exported grain. In the 19th century buildings have been set up as horse postal station.
- 5 Maironis Museum of Lithuania Literature, Rotuses sq. 13. Tu-Sa 09:00-17:00. Located in Baroque palace. Has been arranged as a memorial home of famous Lithuanian poet and priest Maironis. The museum houses huge collection of books, manuscripts, art works, and memorial items. Adult €2, child €1, photo permit €3, English or Russian guided tour €2.90.
- 6 Kaunas Arch-cathedral Basilica, Vilniaus g. 1. Being 84 m long and 34 m wide is the largest Gothic (with Renaissance and Baroque elements inside) church in Lithuania. It was first mentioned in writing sources in 1413. The tomb of poet Maironis was constructed in the southern wall of the cathedral in 1930s.
- 7 Kaunas Medicine and Pharmacy Museum, Rotuses sq. 28. Tu-Sa 10:00-19:00. Houses a huge collection of skulls, herbs, medicine articles, and other items of older times. Tickets: Adult €2, child €1, tours in English €9.
- 8 St. Francis Xavier Church, Rotuses sq. 9. The construction of late baroque Jesuit church was begun in the second half of the 17th century but finished only in 1720. At the same time Jesuits' residence served as the central school of the Kaunas region. Famous Lithuanian and Polish poet Adomas Mickevičius (Adam Mickiewicz) worked as a teacher there between 1819 and 1823. The church was transferred to the Orthodox Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral in 1843. The church and school were returned to Jesuits in 1923. The church was closed during the Soviet occupation and reopened in 1990. Sacral music concerts are organised in the church.
- 9 [dead link] Vytautas' Church (The Church of Taking Holy Virgin Mary into the Heaven), Aleksoto g.3. This church is the oldest one in Kaunas and is one of the first Gothic brick buildings built in 1400 in Kaunas on the bank of the Nemunas river. The church belonged to Franciscan monks. During the Napoleonic Wars it was turned into a war ammunition warehouse.
- 10 Vytautas' Bridge. Connects the Old Town and Aleksotas district. The original bridge on wooden poles was built in 1812. It was used by Napoleon’s Army fleeing from Russia. At the beginning of the 19th century, Aleksotas district belonged to Poland, while other parts of Kaunas on the right bank of Nemunas river was then part of the Russian Northwestern region where different calendars were used. Jokingly, the bridge was called the longest bridge in the world: the Slavic (Julian) calendar was used in the province of Kaunas, whereas Aleksotas region used the Catholic (Gregorian) calendar; therefore, it took 13 days to cross the bridge (the old calendar was 13 days behind the new one).
- 11 Evangelic Lutheran Church, Karaliaus Mindaugo av. 3. A small church located on the right bank of the Nemunas river in so-called Germans quarter of the Old Town is in Baroque and Romanticism styles. The church was built in 1682-83.
- 12 St. Gertrude Church, Laisves aleja 101A. The church was built in the late 15th century. It is a small sacral building in the outskirts of the Old Town in one of the courtyards, a national architectural monument of Gothic style.
- 13 Napoleon's House, Muitines g. 8. This 16th century brick building is famous for the fact that in June 1812 the Emperor of France Napoleon resided there. Later the building was named after its distinguished guest. The restored eastern annexe of the Napoleon house has a beautiful staircase, an example of Fachverk, an architectural style rare in Lithuania. It is thought that this rare staircase is the heritage of the Germans who significantly contributed to the formation of the area. Nowadays Napoleon‘s house, as well as a former Renaissance consistory of a Lutheran church, and other buildings of the area near the Nemunas river, houses Vilnius University Kaunas Faculty of Humanities.
- 14 Church of Holy Trinity, Rotuses sq. 22. The Bernardine convent's church was built in 1624-1634. It is of late Renaissance style with a Gothic tradition. It is now used for needs of Kaunas Priest Seminary.
- 15 St. George Church and Bernardine Monastery, Papilio g. 7. Near Kaunas Castle, the church's Gothic walls have survived despite frequent fires. The church and a monastery built in the 15th century are a Gothic monument with unique façades. The interior features a number of valuable Renaissance and Gothic elements. The complex is being renovated.
- 16 Perkunas' House, Aleksoto g. 6. One of the most beautiful secular so called "flaming" Gothic building (House of Thunder) in Lithuania. The building belongs to the Jesuit order, and a small museum of Lithuanian and Polish poet Adomas Mickevicius (Adam Mickewicz) is opened inside.
- 17 St. Michael Church and Benedictine Convent, Benediktiniu g. 8. The church is a fine example of 15th-century Gothic sacral building that is only with asymmetric layout in Lithuania. The church and convent complex are on Benediktiniu g. at the north-east part of Kaunas Old Town. It is reachable on foot by crossing busy Saukliu g. from Kaunas castle side.
- 18 Jewellery (Gemmology) Museum, L. Zamenhofo g./Kurpių g. 13, ☎ . M-F 10:00-18:00; Sa 10:00-16:00. Located between the Nemunas river and the main - Vilniaus street of the Old Town, small private museum attracts visitors with rare minerals, precious stones exposition from different locations of the world. Quality certificates of precious stones and gems are issued there. free.
- 19 Historical Presidential Palace, Vilniaus g. 33. Tu–Su 11:00-17:00. The Former Palace houses objects, which relate to presidential institution of the First Republic of Lithuania (1918–1940). Representational portraits, art works from the interiors of Presidential Palace are exhibited here, also – the presents received by presidents, authentic furniture. In the garden of the Palace, 3 the Interbellum period Presidents of Lithuania face to the visitors. €12, €1 for ISIC card holders.
Kaunas downtown area is compact so everyone is able to stroll around on foot and take some photos. Be prepared for great variety of sculptuary on display in the public areas of Kaunas. Kaunas Old Town ends at the remnants of the former Kaunas City wall near the garden of the Musical Theatre.
- 20 Laisvės alėja. Kaunas' most famous walking street is fully pedestrianised and runs from the Old Town for almost 2 km to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. Two lines of Linden trees, seating and flower beds run the length of the avenue. There is a good assortment of shops, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, a cinema, casinos, nightclubs, museums, tourist information office, places to stay and a central post office. It would be possible to spend your entire stay on Laisves Aleja and not get bored. It is kept clean and snow free (in the winter) with great efficiency and is a great place to spend time. In the late morning and afternoon various stalls selling foods, souvenirs hats, etc. appear and are worth a look.
A high school student, Romas Kalanta is well known for his public first self-immolation protesting Soviet occupation of Lithuania. He was religious, and at the same time attended an evening school while working at the factory. His sympathies with the hippie movement were later exploited by the Soviets to discredit R. Kalanta among the population. On May 14, 1972, he poured 3 liters of gasoline on himself and set himself on fire in the square adjoining the Laisvės Alėja in front of the Kaunas Musical Theatre. R. Kalanta' death provoked the largest post-war riots in Lithuania. On May 18 and 19, 1972 the gathered high school students and young workers broke into a politically-charged riot and marched along the Laisvės Alėja, which was forcibly dispersed by the KGB. Demonstrations spread to other cities reacted as well. R. Kalanta became a symbol of the Lithuanian resistance throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
- 21 The Field of Victims. The memorial in Laisvės alėja near the garden of the Musical theatre was unveiled on 14 May 2002. It was dedicated to Romas Kalanta, who self-immolated himself protesting the Soviet oppression on 14 May 1972.
- 22 Vytautas' Monument. 24 hours daily. Located on Laisvės alėja, near the Kaunas city municipality building. The monument to Vytautas the Great - the most famous ruler of medieval Lithuania was erected in 1930. It was demolished by the Soviets and then re-erected in 1990.
- 23 The Synagogue, E. Ožeskienes g. 13. Kaunas Choral Synagogue, located near the western end of Laisvės aleja, is one of two remaining Jewish houses of prayer in Lithuania. It was built in 1872 in reformist decorative style of synagogues of that time. The façade of the synagogue is reminiscent of a neobaroque church. Its dome was rebuilt some years ago. There is an exposition of rabbis' paintings on the second floor of the Synagogue.
- 24 Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum, Laisves aleja, 106. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Houses a collection of thousands of stuffed and preserved animals. In winter make use of the cloakroom to the left of the main hall on the ground floor as the museum is well heated. Arranged over several floors the collection ranges from full grown giraffes and wisents to butterflies and is well worth an hour or two of your time. Adult €3, child €1, English tour €20.
- 25 The Catacombs. Enter the Church of St. Michael the Archangel (the beautiful domed building at the eastern end of Laisves Aleja) sand the entrance to the catacombs (katakombos) is on your right. Ask at the sacristy (right of the main altar) and they will let you in for free. You descend a spiral staircase into total darkness then begin a journey using your remaining senses which takes you through an underground assault course. When you make it through you ascend a similar spiral staircase on the opposite side of the church entrance. Not for the fainthearted, small children or anyone with difficulty moving around. They appreciate a donation to the church afterwards in one of the boxes scattered around.
- 26 Kaunas Officers' Club, A. Mickevičiaus g. 19. One of the finest examples of Kaunas Interbellum architecture (Karininkų Ramovė in Lithuanian), especially from the inside, built in 1937. The main façade is adorned by the granite sculpture Three Giants that became a symbol of the Club. On the main - second floor of the building the Grand Hall, as well as Hall of Vytautas, so called Hall of Dukes, and Hall of the President are located. Each hall is decorated in different styles (Gothic, classic, and national style respectively) with unique chandeliers, paintings, frescoes, furniture, and stained glass. Good quality cuisine pizzeria is situated on the first floor of the club.
- 27 Vytautas the Great War Museum, K. Donelaicio g. 64. Tu-Su 11:00-17:00. An interactive exposition of history of Kaunas from prehistoric times to the present day. It houses an immense collection of weapons through the ages from medieval arbalests and suits of armor to guns of World War II. The highlight is the complete, but tragic, remains of the plane Lituanica in which S. Darius and S. Girenas crossed the Atlantic in 1933 (see the 10 Litas note) are displayed. The crypt For Those Who Died for the Freedom of Lithuania is available to visit beneath the floor of the museum. Adult €2, child or student €1.
- 28 The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Eternal flame. Both in the square in front of Vytautas the Great Museum with the statues of Lithuanian national renaissance figures where they are located. It was the main square where Lithuanian national holidays were celebrated during the period when Kaunas had been the Temporary capital of Lithuania.
- 29 The Carillion. Kaunas 35 bell Carillon in the tower of Vytautas the Great War Museum was completed in Belgium in 1935. The bell music from the tower started to ring in 1937. Kaunas carillon was restored by Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry in Netherlands in 2006. After the restoration, Kaunas carillon now has 49 bells and a new keyboard. Everyday the Lithuanian folk melody of wartime is being played automatically in the middle of the day. Carillon concerts are performed every Saturday and Sunday at 16:00 in the Garden of Vytautas the Great Military Museum.
- 30 The Bank of Lithuania, Maironio g.25. The branch of Lithuania National Bank in Kaunas. It was built in 1928 as a new Central Bank building. There is a small exhibition of Lithuanian banknotes and coins of the First Republic time inside. Very impressive architecture of neoclassicism style. One may purchase Lithuanian collector coins there.
- 31 M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum, V. Putvinskio g. 55. Tu–Su 11:00-17:00 (Th until 19:00), closed holidays. Museum collects, keeps, investigates and popularizes the creative works of Lithuania's most famous artist and composers, M.K. Čiurlionis' (1875–1911), and the cultural heritage of Lithuania and the world. Some art critics call M.K. Ciurlionis the pioneer of abstract art. His creations combine symbolism, secessio, abstractionism and romanticism. €4.
- 32 Devils' Museum, V. Putvinskio g.64, ☎ . Tu-Su 11:00-17:00 (Th until 19:00). Contains the Lithuanian artist' A. Zmuidzinavicius collection of sculptures and carvings of devils, and a unique collection of devils from the whole world. €3.
- 33 Kaunas Picture Gallery, K. Donelaicio g.16, ☎ . Tu-Su 11:00-17:00 (Th until 19:00). Gallery houses 20th century Lithuanian and Lithuanian émigrés art, and a collection of North American Indian art donated by Juozas Kaributas (the USA). There is also Jurgis Mačiūnas FLUXUS cabinet and Art Collection of prof. Algimantas Miskinis. €2.
- 34 Žaliakalnis Funicular, V. Putvinskio street. M-F 07:00-19:00; Sa Su 09:00-19:00.. Is an electrically operated funicular railway. The oldest funicular in Lithuania and one of the oldest in Europe. It was constructed by AEG and began operating on 5 August 1931. The funicular has wood panelled coachwork and is serviced by an English speaking operator in uniform. It climbs the 75 m up from behind the Vytautas the Great War Museum to the Church of the Resurrection for some of the best views in Kaunas. €0.50-0.58.
- 35 Aleksotas Funicular (near Aleksotas (or Vytautas) bridge). 07:00-11:00, 12:00-16:00; Sa Su 09:00-13:00, 14:00-18:00. Built in 1935, connects the Old Town with Aleksotas district, takes people up to Aleksotas hill. From here is probably the best view of Kaunas downtown.
- 36 The Nemunas Island Park (Nemunos salos parkas). Accessed across a footbridge at the southern end of S. Daukanto pedestrian street. A huge open space minutes from the bustle of Laisvės Alėja. A great place to sledge when there is snow and of course the place to leave your padlocks. The largest indoor arena in the Baltic states, Žalgirio Arena (see separate listing in the "Do" section), is on the eastern part of the island. Since its opening in August 2011, it has hosted numerous sports events and concerts.
- 37 Kaunas M. Žilinskas Picture Gallery, Nepriklausomybes sq.12. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00 (Th until 19:00). Contemporary building at the eastern end of Laisves Aleja, near the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. Gallery houses collection of fine and applied art from around the globe. One exposition is dedicated to Man and Woman. There are Ancient Egyptian amulets, Roman glassware, Ming vases, old tapestries, 17th-20th century European Works of Applied Art donated by collector Mykolas Žilinskas. The gallery houses the Contemporary Art Information Center, and the best movies are shown on a large screen at the Galerijos Kinas. Right outside the gallery stands a statue of naked man - a place for youth meetings and artistic performances. €3.
- 38 Kaunas Orthodox Cathedral, Vytauto av. 38. The Orthodox the Annunciation Cathedral as well as smaller Orthodox church located nearby, forms unanimous complex in the southern part of Ramybes park near Vytauto avenue. The new Orthodox Cathedral was built in 1935 and represents the variety of consequences of traditional forms of Russian Orthodox churches. Smaller - Holy Resurrection Orthodox church was constructed in 1862 on the area of the local Orthodox cemetery and since 1923 till 1935 acted as Lithuanian Orthodox Cathedral. free.
- 39 The Mosque, Totoriu g.3. The only style building and in Lithuania Eastern, a mosque of bricks located in the northern corner of the Ramybes park of Kaunas downtown. It was rebuilt in bricks in 1930, in commemoration of Vytautas the Great 500th anniversary of his death.
- 40 Museum of Deportation and Resistance, Vytauto av. 46, ☎ . Tu-F 10:00-16:00. The museum is sacred to the memory of victims of Soviet regime and Forest Brothers who fought for Freedom of Lithuania. Museum is set on the western part of Ramybes park. Entrance and excursion guide are free of charge..
- 41 Church of the Resurrection. Follow V. Putvinskio street from the Devil Museum or walk up behind the War Museum and turn right to find the Žaliakalnis Funicular Railway. This takes you up to the Church of the Resurrection. The door on the right hand side of the church (as you face it) takes you in and from 12:00 you can climb the stairs or take the lift to the terrace at the top. One of the attendants at least will insist on selling you only the stairs tickets but then let you use the lift! Spectacular views of Kaunas and beyond. The church is also open to visitors. If you arrive too early and the terrace is not open then carry on north-west along Žemaičiu street and at the junction you'll find an IKI supermarket that has a coffee bar/restaurant upstairs.
- 42 The House of Sugihara, Vaizganto g. 30. The memorial exhibition located in quiet residential area of Žaliakalnis is functioning in the building where before World War II, The Japanese consulate's vice-concul Chiune Sugihara resided. In 1940 he handed out Japanese transit visas to Jews from Lithuania, Poland and other countries. It saved about 6,000 people from Holocaust.
- 43 Ažuolynas Park. Named after the old Oak-wood tree park, it is in Žaliakalnis residential district easily reachable from the downtown area by some staircases or buses #6,10,21,37 (from K. Donelaičio g.) or #38, 43 (from Vytauto av.). The park is one of the most popular places among locals to stroll and athletes to run. At the western part of the Ažuolynas park, the monument to famous Lithuanian aviators S. Darius and S. Girenas stands. They made a significant flight in the history of the world aviation on July 15, 1933. Their research aircraft that crossed the Atlantic, crashed under mysterious circumstances close to its destination, Kaunas. At the eastern part of the park, Kaunas Zoo entrance is set.
- 44 Lithuanian Zoo Park. 09:00-17:00. The only zoo garden in Lithuania was established in an Ažuolynas park, in which grow hundred year old oaks near the city center in 1938. It is made up of 11 sections and offers 6 classes of animals. Children may ride a pony, a donkey, or take a ride in a horse drawn carriage. Adult €5, child €3.
- 45 Lithuania's Museum of Aviation, Veiveriu g. 132 (Museum is reachable from the city central bus or railway station by taxi, bus #6 or minibus #51, 68, 105). M-Sa 9:00-17:00. Museum is in Aleksotas district, at the former S. Darius and S. Girėnas international airport of Kaunas. It is the oldest still functioning for air sports and rescue reasons airport in Lithuania, established in 1915. The exposition explores the development of Lithuanian aviation, some flying apparatus, and the aviation signs of various countries. Visitors may test a real aviation simulator. Tickets: adult €1.60, child €0.80; flight simulator 15 min €1.20; guided excursion €6.00.
- 46 Kaunas Botanical Garden, Z. E. Zilibero g. 6. The garden is one of the most beautiful sites of nature in Kaunas comprises the area of 62.5 hectares with greenhouses founded in 1923. The labyrinthes, little zoo, mythological track, and car parking are also attainable at the garden.
- 47 Stumbras Museum, K. Bugos g. 7. M-F 12:00-16:00. The largest producer of strong drinks in Lithuania Stumbras (Wisent) at the end of 2009 have opened a museum at the premise of the factory that introduces company's history and development of consumption in Lithuania. Only prearranged guided tours are available, please call +370 686 94388 to register. Guided tours in English, Russian and Lithuanian are available. Groups from 5 to 23 people are accepted. Visitors must be older than 18 years.
- 48 Napoleon's Hill. Actually the Jiesia river hill, located on the left bank of the Nemunas river, between the Panemune residential neighborhood and so-called Green Railway bridge. Since the early 19th century it has been nicknamed Napoleon's Hill. It is believed that from this hill in June 1812 Emperor of France Napoleon I watched his Grand Army crossing the Nemunas. The hill is accessible from the Kaunas castle by bus #25 or taxi.
- 49 Kaunas Fortress. Built between 1882 and 1915, it was designated a "first-class" fortress in Russian Empire in 1887. The fortress was battle-tested in 1915 when Germany attacked the Russian Empire, and withstood eleven days of assault before capture. The Ninth Fort of the Fortress houses a museum and memorial devoted to the victims of World War II mass executions.
- 50 9th Fort Museum, Žemaičių av. 73. W-Su 10:00-16:00. In the western outskirts of Kaunas, museum offers expositions of Soviet terror and deportation of Lithuanians to Soviet camps and Siberia, Kaunas' Stronghold and 9th Fort, Massacre of Jewish people in Lithuania in 1941–1944, Prison-breaking of 64 prisoners from 9th Fort, and others. Dungeon and defense wall (about 1 km long), guns and ammunition of 1st and 2nd World Wars of 9th Fort are a separate itinerary of an excursion. The memorial of 105 feet (32 meters) high to the victims of fascism at the Ninth Fort was erected in 1984. Adult €3, students and seniors €1.5, children free.
- 51 Pažaislis Monastery and Church. Tu-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-16:00. Pažaislis monastery complex was built by Italian architects, whereas sculptors from Lombardy took care of the frescos and plaster casts. They form the largest monastery and church complex in Lithuania, and is one of the most magnificent examples of Italian baroque architecture in Eastern Europe. Pažaislis camaldolese monastery is on the bank of Kaunas Reservoir. Adult €4, student or senior €2, child free.
- 52 Kaunas reservoir. The Pažaislis monastery is on the peninsula of Kaunas Reservoir - the largest Lithuanian artificial lake, created in 1959 by damming the Nemunas river near Kaunas and Rumšiškės town. Kaunas Reservoir supports the operations of the Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant. The reservoir also supports the operations of large Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant, which is near confluence of Kaunas Reservoir with small Strėva river, at distance of about 25 km east from Kaunas.
Lovers of nightlife may enjoy Kaunas’s theatres, nightclubs, cafes and bars, offering a wide range of entertainment, including casinos, striptease, local and foreign DJs, or, for instance, basketball/football games translations on large screens.
Kaunas is home to a variety of festivals, including famous summer time Pažaislis Music festival, Kaunas Jazz festival (at the end of April/ beginning of May) and International Modern Dance Festival (at the beginning of October). All year round in Kaunas one will have an opportunity to see some annual cultural events like Kaziukas Fair (at the beginning of March), Days of Kaunas city (in the middle of May), National Brass Band Festival Let's pipe for Kaunas in the squares of the city (on May 21), International auto-moto fan fiesta Bike Show Millenium attracts huge amount of bikers and their bikes in the middle of June, Operetta in Kaunas Castle (at the end of June and the beginning of July) or traditional folk music competition Play, Jurgelis (in November). Kaunas is proud of being the only city in Lithuania that belongs to the international towns' union The New Hansa. Every year, Kaunas presents itself at the annual event of the union International Hansa Days by introducing the heritage of cuisine, folk art, medieval music and theatre; Hansa Kaunas [dead link] festival is usually held in the last decade of August. The shopping festival Akropolis Kaunas Grand Shopping Festival is held in the first decade of July at Kaunas Akropolis shopping center. During the festival, the great discounts apply to all goods in all stores of the shopping center.
Kaunas has many theatres showing plays of different kinds:
- 1 Kauno Musical Theatre, Laisves aleja 91. Variety of classical opera and operetta plays in original language. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
- 2 Kaunas State Drama Theatre, Laisvės alėja, 71. Shows drama performances.
- 3 Kaunas Pantomime Theatre, M. Dauksos g. 34. The only theatre in Lithuania of that kind.
- 4 Kaunas Chamber Theater, Kestucio g. 74A. Near Musical theatre, it is small, but yet well known drama theatre.
- 5 Kaunas Modern Dance Theatre Aura, M. Dauksos g. 30A. In the Old Town. The only theatre of Contemporary art of dance in whole country.
- 6 [dead link] Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, L. Sapiegos g. 5. Orchestra plays concerts at Kaunas Philharmonic which is set at the premise of former Lithuanian Parliament House.
- 7 Vytautas Magnus University Grand Hall, S. Daukanto g.28. Near the Laisves aleja and Vienybes Sq. in the center of the city, it is home for various events, for instance, Kaunas Jazz festival.
- 8 Kaunas Puppet Theater, Laisves aleja, 87A. Cosy theatre, plays for children with small museum of puppets inside. Located near Musical theatre.
There are two multiplex cinema complexes in Kaunas. Both multiplexes - Cinamon and Forum cinemas are located in shopping centers Mega and Akropolis, respectively. Other option is the oldest movie theatre in Lithuania named Romuva (at Laisves aleja, 54) available on rare events, such as Kaunas International film festival only.
Kaunas‘ sports and leisure centres are scattered throughout Kaunas offering swimming pools, sports courts, fields and exercise equipment.
- 9 Dariaus ir Girėno Sports Complex, Perkuno g. 5 (sports complex is accessible by from city center by bus #6,10,21,37 (from K. Donelaicio g.) or #38,43 (from Vytauto av.) or by taxi (be aware, there is a shortage of parking lots near the Dariaus ir Girėno sports center)), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Home of FBK Kaunas F.C. and the only large athletics stadium in Lithuania. FBK Kaunas is the most successful football club having won 8 Lithuanian national football championships, 3 Lithuanian Football Cup titles after the restoration independence of Lithuania in 1990. Dariaus and Girėno stadium, near the Ažuolynas park, is also used as AAF Accredited Training Centre in Kaunas. Stadium capacity is up to 10,000 seats. Sports complex also includes adjacent Kaunas Sports Hall, which had been the city's largest arena for sports and events before the 2011 opening of Žalgirio Arena (see below). Built in 1939, it was Europe's first arena built specifically for basketball. Capacity is 5,000. Nearby is the Lithuania's only institution devoted to higher education in physical education - Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education.
- 10 Žalgirio Arena, Karaliaus Mindaugo pr. 50, ☎ (tickets), e-mail: email@example.com. The largest indoor arena in the Baltics, with a capacity of over 15,500 for basketball and up to 20,000 for concerts. Since its opening, it has been home to BC Žalgiris, one of Europe's most storied basketball clubs.
- 11 Ąžuolynas, Sporto g. 3, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Neighbouring the Dariaus ir Girėno sports center, there is a privately owned "Ąžuolynas“ sport center with 8 tennis courts, SPA procedures and a gym available to the public.
- Elnias Golf Club. Set at Didziosios Lapes settlement, the first golf club in Lithuania, opened in 2000, is famous as sports activity, and also as a place where hundreds of deers are kept. Golf club is reachable if going by regional route #232 on the left side of Neris river from Kaunas' Vilijampole district to Zeimiai town.
- 12 Žalgiris Sports Club, A. ir J. Gravrogku g. 4 (near the shopping center Molas), ☎ , . M-F 08:00-22:00, Sa Su 08:00-20:00. 7 tennis courts (including 4 of them under roof), training sessions for fans of yoga, aerobics, basketball and karate. Massage, sauna, and coffee-bar are available.
- 13 Kaunas Air Club. Flights with small planes or gliders, parachute jumping are available at Kaunas Darius and Girenas airport, accessible from the city central bus or railway station by taxi, bus #6 or minibus #51, 68, 105.
- 14 Linija, Taikos av. 44A. M-F 07:00-22:00, Sa Su 09:00-21:00. One of the oldest wellness center in Kaunas offers swimming zone with pools and saunas, 3 floors of gyms, as well as 2 halls of group exercises. Additional services are available.
- 15 Marvele Stud Farm, Marveles g. 199, ☎ . Tu-Su 10:00-20:00. Near the western bypass of Kaunas Marveles žirgynas is a good choice for fans of horse-riding. To get the stud farm, from the city center, take a bus #18 or taxi.
- 16 Notas Tennis Club, Veiveriu g. 151. In Aleksotas, near Darius and Girenas airport, tennis club tenders 6 tennis courts.
- 17 Kart Racing Sports Center, Raudondvario g. 105, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 14:00-20:00. In the western part of Kaunas, Vilijampole district, Kart Center offers to the public small, open, four-wheeled karts fo leisure as well as for kart racing. Standard price for 10 min. of leisure Tony kart Viper limited to speeds of 60 km/h (37 mph). For kart racing center there is a kart school open on Sundays.
- 18 Kaunas Yacht Club, M. Gimbutienes g.35. Set on the shore of Kaunas Reservoir, near the beautiful Pazaislis park, club offers to rent everything for active water sports leisure - boats, yachts or pedalo; tennis courts, sauna, and conference hall are available. Nearby the comfortable motel Baltosios bures is established.
- 19 Legionas Paintball Club, Europos av.34-62, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Club offers to play, for women and men, the paintball - game in which players fight to eliminate opponents by hitting them with pellets containing paint. The club also tender to spend leisure time by playing an airsoft. Both games are played in Kaunas Reservoir Regional Park, in the territory of Kaunas Fortress' 5th fort.
There are some beaches on the banks of Nemunas river, shores of Lampedziai lake and Kaunas Reservoir. Beaches are open in summer time.
- 20 Panemunes Park Beach. Is in the loop of Nemunas river on the shore of the brilliant Panemune Park. The beach is easily reachable on foot if start from shopping center "Molas" (K. Barsausko g.), you should go by A. ir J. Gravrogku g. and then by pedestrian bridge across the Nemunas river or by car or taxi from the city center. It‘s a popular place to visit.
- 21 Lampedžiai Lake Beach. Is set in the western part of Kaunas. It is a small lake surrounded by Lampedziai park that attract a lot of locals in summer time. Beach is reachable by car, taxi, or buses #48 (runs from Kaunas castle bus stop) or #9 (runs from Silainiai residential district).
- 22 Kaunas Reservoir Beach. Is situated on the shore of Pažaislis park near Pažaislis church and monastery ensemble. The water is almost the purest of all Kaunas beaches. Beach is reachable by car, taxi, or trolleybuses #9 or 12 (summer time only). Kaunas Reservoir is the largest Lithuanian artificial lake, created in 1959 by damming the Nemunas river near Kaunas and Rumsiskės. The reservoir supports the operations of the Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant. The reservoir also supports the operations of Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant, which is situated near confluence of Reservoir with small Strėva river, at distance of about 25 kilometers east from Kaunas.
Kaunas is known as a city of students. Some of Kaunas' universities, listed below, attract students from abroad for good quality, yet inexpensive studies.
- Vytautas Magnus University. Founded in 1922 as a national university, it is named after Vytautas the Great, the most famous XVth century Lithuanian ruler. University is one of the leading universities of Lithuania - K. Donelaičio g. 58.
- Kaunas University of Technology - the largest technical university in the Baltic States - K. Donelaičio g. 73. (central administration).
- Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education – the only institution of tertiary physical education in Lithuania - Sporto g. 6.
- Kaunas University of Medicine - A. Mickeviciaus g. 9.
- Kaunas Art Institute - Muitines g. 4.
The best known grocery stores are: Maxima, IKI, Rimi, Norfa, Šilas, Samsonas and Senukai (household goods). There are also a lot of well known Western brand stores, stylish boutiques usually set at the central streets of Kaunas or shopping malls. Also one may choose to stroll around in the areas of some Kaunas outdoor markets.
What to buy
- Hand made bone china table sets, cups, mugs and other souvenirs. Available at the ImDeco store in Akropolis shopping mall (or directly from producer JSC Jiesia at Chemijos g. 29, at the eastern part of Kaunas).
- Šakotis - popular traditional Lithuanian poundcake grilled layer by layer. Its name means branched, and that describes its distinctive shape, usually dressed-up for a wedding ceremony.
- Vodka (Degtiné) - a whole range of flavoured vodkas. Try cherry, cranberry, lemon, blackcurrant, raspberry and of course classic. The pepper was an acquired taste - but got easier the more you drank.
- Flax (linas) products - high quality and old traditions.
- Mead (midus) - original national beverage made of vodka, some herbs and with honey flavour and taste. Not to be confused with medus, which is honey in Lithuanian.
- Cottage cheese - lots of variations.
- Amber (gintaras), so called "Lithuanian gold", decorations.
- Linen or wooden dolls - for children.
Where to buy
Within Kaunas there are several malls which are usually open from 08:09 until 24:00. Most shopping centers have dozens or more stores, a food court, restaurants, multiplexes, branches of commercial banks, ATMs, bowling alleys and even may have a skating rink. Shopping lovers should visit the cozy craft shops in the Old Town for Lithuanian souvenirs as well.
- 1 Mega, Islandijos pl. 32. A huge shopping complex just outside the city centre with shops, 4D multiscreen cinema, Q-zar laser space, a bowling and pool club, restaurants and a spectacular aquarium in the main entrance stocked with tropical fish including some sharks. Stairs and an escalator take you up beside it for a better view. You can even watch them feed the fish (twice a day in the week, once at weekends). Served by bus #38 and #21 from the city centre (journey time about 20 minutes).
- 2 Akropolis. Shopping mall built in 2007 and located in a 4-storey building in the centre of the city. There are lots of retailers, restaurants and cafés, entertainment providers. The shopping centre also comes with a huge multi-level parking lot (free of charge), an ice skating arena surrounded by a food court, a bowling alley, a casino and a multiplex cinema.
- 3 Urmas, Pramonės pr. 16. “Urmas” shopping area located at the eastern part of the city, comprises more than 65,000 m², and, is equipped with specialized meat, fruit & vegetable and fish markets. The business area is divided into separate units: Yellow, Green, Grey, Western and Eastern galleries and the Red passage. Area is decorated by antique passenger train from the beginning of the XX century. The train is adapted to trading activities & catering services. Urmas center features a 2.500 parking lot which surrounds all galleries. Urmas shopping area is reachable from the city center by taxi, minibus #99 or troleybuses #15,16.
- 4 Molas, K. Baršausko g. 66A. A department store Maxima, around 50 groceries, bookstores, opticians, some restaurants, pizzerias, branches of commercial banks, a bowling alley, tables of snooker and pool.
- 5 Savas, Savanoriu av. 346. A lot of stores, including huge RimiHypermarket, service center, coffee-house, pizzerias, and more.
- 6 Hyper Maxima, Savanoriu av. 255. Some restaurants, including self-service Delano restaurant with decorative windmill on the outside, more than 40 other shops and services available.
Lithuanian dishes aren't that easy to find around the world so why not try some of them now when you have the opportunity? Of course, European, Oriental, French, Italian, Russian and other cuisines are available at Kaunas' restaurants.
- 1 Spurginė, Laisvės aleja, 84. One of the last traditional places in central Kaunas, where you can buy the standard Lithuanian doughnut, known as a spurga.
- 2 Sushi Express, Laisves aleja, 12A. Japanese fast food restaurant offers more than 30 sushi, maki, sashimi dishes, vegetarians as well.
- 3 Radharanė, Laisvės aleja, 40. Restaurant in the city centre, offering vegetarian Indian food at very reasonable prices.
- 4 Arena Pizza, Savanoriu av. 363. Offers a huge range of pizzas and side dishes at good prices.
- Hesburger, Laisves aleja 48; also at Mega shopping mall, Vilniaus g.43, and Pramones avenue, 6A; (the last one - with Drive-in).. Finnish chain with several outlets, a bit like McDonald's.
- 5 Arbatinė (Vilties vaistinės Arbatinė), Laisves aleja, 99A. M-F 08:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-18:00. Vegan cafe in front of Vytautas monument.
- 6 Kavos Kerai, Vilniaus str 60. Very good ice coffee, many different kinds of coffee and tea, nice and welcoming coffee house, tasty traditional Lithuanian dishes. Right next there is President garden - famous and warm place to go after a cup of coffee in Kavos Kerai!
- 7 Bernelių Užeiga, M. Valančiaus g. 9. Traditional Lithuanian fare, soup in bowls made of bread and home brewed beer. Cosy and atmospheric and very convenient for Old Town. Another branch at K. Donelaičio g. 11.
- Alkava, A. Mickeviciaus g.40, Varniu g. 24 and other outlets in shopping malls.. Chain confectioneries with wide arrangement of patisserie and coffee.
- 8 Miesto Sodas (City Garden), Laisves aleja, 93. Su-Tu 11:00-22:00, W Th 11:00-23:00, Sa Su 11:00-00:00. Good restaurant offering European cuisine.
- 9 Al Diwan, Girstupio g. 9-12. F Sa 12:00-02:00; Su-Th 12:00-24:00. Middle East cuisine restaurant. Belly-dance and the hookah are available in 2 halls.
- 10 Bella Italia (formerly Bella Toscana), S. Daukanto g.14, Vilniaus g. 74. Su-Th 09:00-00:00, F Sa 09:00-01:00. A cup of nice latte, pizzas and pasta.
- 11 Milano, A. Mickeviciaus g. 19. Quality Italian pizzeria close to Laisves aleja.
- 55°, Laisves alėja, 79 (within Hotel Kaunas, see Sleep). M-F 11:00-23:00, Sa Su 11:00-23:00. 55° refers to the proof spirit of samane - moonshine vodka. The restaurant walls illustrate the process, but it doesn't look like any illicit distilling is going on, as reviewers use terms like "quiet" and "good for kids". Good selection of local and European cuisine.
- 12 Yakata, M. Valanciaus g. 14. Opened in 2003. Japanese restaurant that also offers vegetarian dishes and European cuisine.
- 13 Chocolaterie CH, Rotuses sq. 26. M-Th 08:00-21:00, F Sa 08:00-23:00, Su 10:00-22:00. Chocolate restaurant that offers marvelous snacks, nice coffee, and a beautiful atmosphere in the heart of Old Town.
- Pas Stanley, Vilniaus g. 24. Excellent service provided in a family run restaurant combined with warm atmosphere of the 1960s. M-Th Su 09:00-24:00, F Sa 09:00-04:00.
- 14 Moksha, Vasario 16-osios g. 6, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 11:00-22:00, Sa 12:00-22:00, Su 12:00-20:00. Small cozy Indian cafe. Fresh food, great service. €8-15.
- 15 Bokštas (Bajorkiemis City), Kestucio g. 86 (corner of Kanto). Su-Tu 10:00-22:00, W-F 10:00-00:00, Sa 11:00-01:00. "Bokštas" means tower, ie on the city wall; it's near the Musical Theatre. European cuisine.
- 16 Gralis, Trumpoji g. 10. Restaurant is close to Old Town, just get about 300 metres up the hill from Benediktiniu g. and turn left on Trumpoji stret. There are 4 banqueting halls inside on 2 floors. Luxury European cuisine, and Italian dishes have a very special place. There is also a small guesthouse alongside. In the summertime, one may enjoy unique views of nature from the terrace.
- 17 Medžiotojų užeiga, Rotuses sq.10. 11:00-24:00. Restaurant offers dishes made not only from deer. High quality Lithuanian and European cuisine in 4 halls.
- 18 Pompėja, V. Putvinskio g. 38. Named after the Roman city of Pompeii, this restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine for formal business lunch or for romantic dinner at the very heart of Kaunas' downtown.
- 19 Senieji rūsiai, Vilniaus g. 34. Daily 11:00-02:00. Very high quality restaurant offers three chambers and the only specially equipped Hall of Cigars in the cellars in the middle of the Old Town. Restaurant offers live music on weekends, abundant assortment of dishes, desserts and more than 120 sorts of wine.
Beer (Alus in Lithuanian). Utenos, Švyturys and Horn are brands worth trying. Expect to pay around €1.50 per 0.5 l in tourist bars and restaurants, or around €1 in local bars.
- 1 rePUBlic, Laisves av. 57 (Near the center fountain in Laisves av.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th 11:00-02:00, F Sa 11:00-05:00. RePUBlic is an analogue of the old English style modern London pub located in Kaunas. More than 20 varieties of beer on tap and more than 40 varieties of bottled beer from Lithuania and entire Europe are offered here. A unique hand-made oak bar adorned with more than 30 varieties of long matured whiskey and various Lithuanian alcoholic beverages.
- 2 rePUBlic No.2, Vilniaus g. 13, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 11:00-01:00. RePUBlic No.2 is a smaller brother of the first pub. An analogue of the old English style modern London pub located in Kaunas old town. More than 10 varieties of beer on tap from Lithuania and entire Europe are offered here. A unique hand-made oak bar adorned with more than 30 varieties of long matured whiskey and various Lithuanian alcoholic beverages
- 3 Avilys, Vilniaus g. 34. A great place to get a beer - all home brewed - but does not allow children in. The restaurant is famous for serving beer-based dishes such as soups and desserts and is proving to be a great attraction for guests and beer-lovers alike.
- 4 B.O. (Blue Orange), Muitines g. 9. Very popular bar among local students. Tender friendly atmosphere, good beer, and rock music on 2 floors in 8 halls.
- 5 Kauno alus, Savanoriu av.7. 09:00-21:00. Branded pub of local brewery. Very fresh stock.
- 6 Buon giorno, Vilniaus g.34 / L. Zamenhofo g. 13. Very fresh high quality winery at the heart of Kaunas Old Town.
- 7 W 1640, Kurpiu g.29 (corner of Birštono g). Th 19:00-02:00, F Sa 19:00-05:00. Whisky bar and shop with more than 150 varieties from 60 distilleries.
- 8 Dzem'pub, Laisvės aleja, 59 (5th floor). Great for lovers of live alternative and rock music.
- 9 Žemyn upe, M. Valanciaus g. 24. F Sa 11:00-04:00, Th 11:00-03:00, Su-W 11:00-01:00. In the outskirts of the Old Town, nightclub welcomes fans of disco and pop music; European cuisine restaurant with homelike service is on the spot, as well as bathhouse, pool, and billiard room.
- 10 Nautilus, Savanoriu av. 124. Quality events on two floors.
The number of places to stay grows every year. Also the choice of distinct types of accommodation increases as well. Despite that, in the summer it's recommended to book in advance.
- 1 Kaunas City Camping, Jonavos g. 51A, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Kaunas City Camping is located just off the Vilnius-Klaipėda motorway north of downtown on the right bank of the Neris river. Kaunas camping offers places for 50 motor homes and an area to pitch tents. Electricity, washing facilities are available. Kaunas Old Town is reachable from camping by bus #20. Camping €5 per adult, €2 per child, €4.5 per pet; €19 for a cottage that sleeps up to 5 people.
- 2 The Monks Bunk, Laisvės al. 48, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Cheap and very cosy hostel in central Kaunas. You feel at home immediately. Very friendly host. No breakfast or meals included, but you can cook in a fully equipped kitchen. From €10.
- 3 Baltosios Bures, M. Gimbutienes g. 35, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheap, yet cosy motel beside Kaunas Yacht Club at the shore of Kaunas Reservoir in Pazaislis. Motel offers 35 double rooms with TV, Wi-Fi and showers. From €25.
- 4 Kaunas City Hotel, Laisvės al. 90, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Very fresh tourist class 2 star hotel offers 44 large rooms, a cafe, grocery store, wireless Internet connection, 24-hour reception, and other facilities. From €29.
- 5 Guesthouse LT, Savanoriu av. 122A, ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Comfortable, family run guesthouse with outstanding value for money also offers breakfast. 4 rooms. From €22.
- 6 Musu Dvaras, Jonavos g.43B, ☎ , , fax: . A very fresh guesthouse offers 6 rooms for 12 persons, a restaurant, cosy banquet hall, and conference hall. Check in advance for price, it's negotiable..
- 7 Apple Economy Hotel, M. Valančiaus g. 19, fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Hotel is set in Kaunas' Old Town area and has 14 double rooms. Breakfast is not included in room price. bed – €40.
- 8 Metropolis Hotel, S. Daukanto g. 21, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The location of the oldest city's hotel is in the very heart of the downtown. Buffet breakfast is served. 74 rooms. From €32.
- 9 Kaunas Archdiocese' Guesthouse, Rotuses sq.21, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. At the heart of the Old Town, the guesthouse offers 21 clean and modern room with Internet access. From €23.
- 10 Solo B&B, Dysnos 10, ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Solo B&B provides excellent lodging facilities. It offers 2 homelike and modernly designed (27 m²) rooms with the separate entrances and outside terraces that lead to the spacious private garden.
- 11 Babilonas Hotel, Žalioji g. 38A, ☎ , , e-mail: email@example.com. Hotel is in a quiet district of Kaunas, named Žaliakalnis. Renovated hotel offers 24 modern arranged rooms, a conference hall and a restaurant. From €49.
- 12 Regina Hotel, Plunges g. 10/A. Strazdo g.62, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Small hotel located in quiet residential district of Vilijampole offers 10 comfortable rooms. From €43.
- 13 Sandija motel, Jonavos g. 45, ☎ , , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Offers 26 modern rooms with wireless internet access and a lot of amenities. Motel is just off the Vilnius-Klaipėda motorway. From €55 (ask for discounts in winter time).
- 14 Hotel Magnus, Vytauto pr. 25, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A 3-star hotel in the centre of Kaunas, near Central railway station of Kaunas. 82 rooms. Hotel has parking space for 30 cars and at least 3 buses. From €70.
- 15 The Ibis Kaunas Centre Hotel, Vytauto pr. 28, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Belonging to the international Accor chain, it offers 125 air-conditioned rooms with free Internet access, conference facilities and a restaurant. From €49.
- 16 [dead link] Pažaislis park Hotel, T.Masiulio g. 18E, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel is in the service and entertainment park, Pažaislis Park, consisting of the Svarstyklės European and Chinese restaurant. 10 rooms. From €58.
- 17 Centre Hotel Nuova, Savanoriu pr. 66/Zemaiciu g. 31, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. It is a new three-star hotel situated in the very heart of Kaunas city. Located in the quiet surroundings on the green slope of Žaliakalnis hill the hotel yet is very close to the city’s main artery — Savanoriu Avenue. 28 rooms. From €45.
- 18 Nakties Magija Hotel, Skroblu g. 3, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The hotel is in Žaliakalnis district, near Azuolynas park. It offers 10 modern rooms. From €63.
- 19 Perkūno Namai Hotel, Perkuno av. 61, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. The hotel was the first private hotel in Kaunas. It is in a residential district named Žaliakalnis adjacent to the old oak forest. Hotel offers 29 modern rooms. From €64.
- 20 Kaunas Hotel, Laisves Avenue 79, ☎ , fax: . It offers comfortable rooms with views directly onto the avenue, has an elevator and provides breakfast in its cellar restaurant. 85 rooms. From €74.
- 21 Europa Royale Kaunas Hotel, Misko g. 11, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A very fresh 4-star hotel of 91 spacious rooms is situated in the centre of the city and near the shopping mall with lots of shops and restaurants. Free parking lot for cars and buses (60 parking spaces) in the back yard of the hotel and another one in front of the hotel. From €75.
- 22 Best Western Santaka Hotel, J. Gruodžio g. 21, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Hotel is in the heart of Kaunas center, and, offers 92 stylish and well-equipped rooms with air conditioning systems. In the Hotel’s enclosed back yard there is a free parking lot and garages. Nightclub and restaurant Europa is adjacent to the hotel. From €105.
- 23 Best Baltic Hotel (Daniela), A. Mickevičiaus g. 28 (central, near corner of Kestucio), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Central 4-star hotel with 39 standard, 24 superior, 7 suites and 2 junior suites, 2 apartments and 1 VIP apartment. With Daniela Restaurant. B&B double from €70.
- 24 Park Inn by Radisson, K. Donelaicio g. 27, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Kaunas’ largest hotel in very central location with largest conference and event centre in Kaunas. 4-star hotel has 208 air-conditioned rooms in Northern European style.
- 25 Daugirdas Hotel, T.Daugirdo g. 4, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. New business class four stars hotel and restaurant "Daugirdas" is situated in the very Old Town of Kaunas, in a restored 16th-19th century building, 50 m from the Town Hall, in the confluence of the biggest Lithuanian rivers. 48 rooms. From €75.
- 26 Amberton Cozy Hotel, Rotušes sq. 5 / V. Kuzmos g. 8, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. 4-star hotel in the Old Town, and surrounded by architectural monuments – Kaunas Castle, Cathedral Basilica, Vytautas Church, Town Hall, St. Francis Xavier Church, and Perkūnas House. 28 rooms. From €86.
- 27 Hermis Hotel, Savanoriu av. 404, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 4-star hotel at the main entrance to the city from Vilnius direction, offers 13 modern rooms with Italian cuisine restaurant Portofino, wellness center and conference hall. From €73.
Kaunas usually is a safe place but everyone should take some precautions against pickpockets and baggage theft, especially in public transport and at stations.
Opposite of the central train station there is a "Station‘ market“ - a rough area, especially on evenings. The baggage lockers in Kaunas railway station are a cheap and secure place to store bags and other items.
Free Wi-Fi hotspots all over the city, especially in restaurants. There is free Wi-Fi available on all Laisves aleja.
Kaunas' hospitals offer generally high quality services at a small price if compare to the cost of a Western hospital. Probably the best-regarded is:
- 8 Kaunas University of Medicine Hospital, Eivieniu g. 2, ☎ , fax: . The largest medical institution in Lithuania. It was established in 1939 as major hospital complex built near the 7 th fort. The hospital was designed by the French architects Urbain Cassan and Elie Ouchanoff.
- Take some time and make a short trip to Birštonas - one of the oldest balneology resorts in Lithuania. Birštonas is located about 30 km (19 miles) south from Kaunas among the beautiful forests in the Great Loops of the Nemunas river. Buses #52 leave often from Kaunas central bus station, cost a few Litas and take about 40 minutes. Birštonas tourism information center is in the heart of the town.
- The Open Air Museum of Lithuania, 18 km (11 miles) east of Kaunas near the Kaunas-Vilnius motorway in Rumšiškės is one of the largest open-air ethnographic museums in Europe. It displays the heritage of Lithuanian rural life in authentic re-erected buildings buildings from the 18th–19th centuries. Rumšiškės also belongs to the Kaunas Reservoir Regional Park. The museum is easily reachable by bus, taxi, or in summertime by boat from Kaunas Pažaislis pier.
- A few hours is enough to make a visit to Zapyškis, 17 km (10 miles) west from Kaunas on the left bank of the Nemunas River. Zapyškis small town community is proud of St. John Baptist Church built in a gothic style in 1578. From the beginning of 20th century not used for cult. Sacral mucic concerts, cultural events are held here in summer time.
- Adventure park Lokes peda (A Bear Foot) was opened in 2005 in Jonava region 35 km (22 miles) northeast from Kaunas. The park for lovers of active leisure is accessible by car or taxi going by highway #A6.
- Druskininkai town has a sanative resort tradition for more than 200 years. Regular buses from Kaunas are the best way of getting here. Buses take approximately 2.5 hours and depart every 1–2 hours between 05:30 and 19:00.