Panevėžys is an industrial city in the Aukštaitija region of Lithuania. It's the country's fifth largest city, with a population of 89,100 in 2021 and another 30,000 or so in the city district. It's about midway along the highway between Vilnius the capital and Riga the Latvian capital.
"Panevėžys" means by the River Nevėžis, which here makes a loop in its westward course. The area has been inhabited since prehistory but the town is first documented in 1503. It has shared the turmoils and horrors of the rest of Lithuania, with prolonged peace from independence in 1990. It's long been industrial, major trades being concrete, metal works and mechanical engineering, ceramics, glass, and flax processing; the sugar refining business has fallen on hard times. Town centre has been smashed and rebuilt many times and much of it nowadays dates from the 1960s / 70s: drab architecture but functional, and leavened by broad squares and parks along the riverside.
Four trains daily from Šiauliai (starting from Mažeikiai) take 90 min to Panevežys.
1 Panevežys railway station off S Kerbedžio g is modern.
Eurolines run once a day from Riga airport via Riga city to Panevėžys, 2 hr 15 min, continuing to Kaunas. Another bus calls here on the way to Warsaw, and a third for Minsk. From further west (eg Berlin) change in Warsaw; from further east (eg Tallinn) change in Riga.
Buses from Vilnius and from Kaunas run hourly and take two hours, continuing to Biržai or Šiauliai or Joniškis. From Klaipėda you usually have to back-track via Vilnius or Kaunas. Bus lines include Vlasava, Kautra and Toks.
2 Panevėžys bus station is just a drab open square, no shelter or anything. But it's central, close to amenities.
From Vilnius take A7 north, a fast dual carriageway (no toll) that bypasses Ukmergė and Panevežys and continues across the border to Riga.
From Berlin and Warsaw make for Kaunas, and from Kaunas take A8 north. This is badged as E67 or Via Baltica, the highway from Prague to Helsinki. It's an undivided highway across Lithuania, and much of the route's grand strategic concept remains aspirational.
Most sights are within walking distance of the centre. Stops-Lt displays city bus routes: Bus 6A runs hourly from Janonio g and the railway station downtown then east out to Dembava.
Taxis can be booked with the eTAKSI app for smartphones, similar to Uber/Lyft.
- 1 Regional History Museum (Krastotyros muziejus), Vasario 16 / Osios g 23, ☏ . Tu-F 10:00-18:00, Sa 11:00-16:00. Museum of natural history, city history and culture, founded in 1925 and on its present site in the Moigių mansion since 1985. Adult €4, child or conc €2.
- Museum of the Soviet Occupation is an annexe of the History Museum 100 m southeast at Respublikos g 17. It's closed in 2023.
- 2 Civic Art Gallery (Miesto dailės galerija), Respublikos g 3, ☏ . Tu-Sa 11:00-18:00. Galleries of modern art and ceramics, with some outside exhibits plus photography at the annex at Vasario 16th g 11. Adult €2.50, child or conc €1.25.
- 3 Holy Trinity Church (Švč Trejybės bažnyčia), Nepriklausomybės a 12, ☏ . 24 hours. This Roman Catholic church was built in 1803 by the Piarists, more snappily known as Ordo Clericorum Regularium pauperum Matris Dei Scholarum Piarum. This Order is dedicated to children's education, and needed a stone church, monastery and school when their old wooden facilities burned down. It was bashed in wartime and trashed by the Soviets, but re-consecrated in 1989. Free.
- 4 Panevėžys Cathedral (Kristaus Karaliaus katedra), Katedros a 1, ☏ . Planned from 1860 but with construction delayed by war and hostile authorities, this Roman Catholic cathedral was eventually consecrated in 1933. The style is a mix of Baroque and Neoclassical.
- 5 Evangelical Lutheran Church (Evangelikų liuteronų bažnyčia), Ukmergės g 29. This was completed in 1885 but looks older, a traditional Gothic wooden church in light paint.
- 6 St Peter and Paul Church (Šv apaštalų Petro ir Povilo bažnyčia), Smėlynės g 10, ☏ . M-F 07:00-09:00, 17:00-19:00, Sa 07:00-12:00, 17:00-19:00, Su 06:30-13:30, 17:00-19:00. Roman Catholic church completed in 1885, in Neo-Renaissance red brick. Free.
- 7 Christ the King Cathedral Cemetery (Ramygalos gatvės kapinėmis, Ramygalos Street Cemetery), Laisvės a 20, ☏ . 24 hrs. This was intended as the site of a cathedral, never needed for that, so it opened as a cemetery in 1914. The First World War rapidly filled its plots but it's still in use, a bosky resting place for the city's great and good. One monument commemorates Jurgis Tilvytis (1880-1931) the poet, scholar and rector of the cathedral, who was giving a funeral sermon here for a deceased monk when he upped and died himself.
- 8 Flax Museum (Linų muziejus), Stultiškiai, ☏ . Closed. Museum within a wooden windmill. The interior is closed for restoration but the mill makes a scenic picnic spot.
- Music Theatre is opposite Holy Trinity Church on Nepriklausomybės Square, Box Office +370 45 584675.
- Theatre: Juozo Miltinio dramos teatras is at Laisvės a 5, Box Office +370 45 584599.
- 1 Senvagė, A Jakšto g 18. The most central park, west bank of the river with an ornamental lake.
- 2 Skaistakalnis Park, J Biliūno g 3. Larger wooded park east of the river loop. 24 hours.
- Ekrano Lake 500 m east of Skaistakalnis Park has picnic areas, fishing and water sports.
- Football: FK Panevėžys play soccer in A Lyga, the top tier. Their home ground Aukštaitija Stadium (capacity 6600) is 500 m south of the railway station. The playing season is March-Nov.
- 3 Kalnapilio Arena (formerly Cido Arena), Parko g, ☏ . Built in 2008, this hosts basketball team Lietkabelis Panevėžys, concerts, and indoor cycling.
- 4 Culture and Leisure Park, Parko g. 24 hours. This stretches west of town along the south river bank, with cycling trails and fishing spots. Dogs welcome.
- 5 Aukštaitija narrow gauge railway (Aukštaitijos siaurasis geležinkelis), Geležinkelio g 23, ☏ . M-F 08:00-16:30. This 750 mm (2 ft 5 1⁄2 in) gauge railway was built from 1891 and transported passengers, coal and agricultural produce. It ran southeast for 68.4 km to Anykščiai and Rubikiai. In 1916 the German army added two Heeresfeldbahn extensions - light prefab tramways that could be speedily assembled then dismantled, as those were. The original route has been preserved but regular summer trains only run along the last section from Anykščiai to Rubikiai - an occasional festive excursion starts from Panevėžys. There's an old station here with locomotives and rolling stock.
- 6 Idėjų Parkas Bunkeris, Likpetrių (13 km northeast of city), ☏ . M-F 17:00-20:00, Sa Su 12:00-20:00. This 1960s Soviet military base has been turned into an outdoor amusement park with picnic areas, sculpture park and scary bunkers. Adult €10.
- Maxima is the most central supermarket, at Ukmergės g 23 by the Lutheran church, open daily 07:00-22:00.
- Babilonas is a shopping and entertainment mall 5 km west on the Klaipėda highway, open daily 08:00-22:00.
- Bisas at Laisvės a 6 is reliable for budget food, open Su-Th 10:00-21:00, F Sa 10:00-22:00.
- Galerija XX, Laisvės a 7 (100 m west of bus station), ☏ . Daily 10:00-23:00. A better place for inexpensive meals in city centre.
- Etno Dvaras, Ukmergės g 18 (50 m east of bus station), ☏ . Daily 10:00-23:00. Chain restaurant serving hearty trad Lithuanian fare.
- Jack House, Kranto g 4 (south end of Senvage park), ☏ . M-F 16:00-23:00, Sa 11:00-01:00, Su 11:00-23:00. Good place for grills and beer.
- Bars cluster along the streets near the museum. Choose from Mėsmalė, Drunken Horse, Seklyčia prie uosio, Lazy Monkey and Garsiakalbis.
- Špunka Old Barrel Pub is at the bus station, open Th 16:00-23:00, F Sa 16:00-02:00.
- 1 Romantic Hotel, Kranto g 24, ☏ , email@example.com. In a historic old mill in town centre, this is a smart clean hotel with a good restaurant. B&B double €110.
- 2 Convivia Hotel, Laisvės a 16, ☏ . Friendly clean place south of the centre on Laisvės square. B&B double €70.
- 3 Smėlynė Hotel, Smėlynės g 3, ☏ . Clean budget hotel with large rooms near the hospital. B&B double €90.
- 4 Verslo Klasė, Smėlynės g 104, ☏ . Budget hotel near the railway station, access by door code. B&B double €50.
Panevėžys and its approach highways have 4G from all three national carriers. As of Feb 2023, 5G has not rolled out in Lithuania.
- Panevėžys is fairly central in Lithuania, so most other towns are within a two hour drive.
- Šiauliai to the west is best known for the Hill of Crosses.
- The road west continues to Palanga beach resort and Klaipėda city.
- Kaunas is mostly modern, but with an old centre and wartime fortifications.
- Vilnius has a charming town centre in Baroque style.
- Riga the capital of Latvia has a great mix of ancient, Soviet and modern.