Happy Wednesday everyone! I’m back with the next installment from my Baltics road trip back in May, and finishing off my Lithuanian leg of the journey. Kaunas is Lithuania’s second city, and a perfect day trip from the country’s capital – Vilnius. I adored Kaunas, it had such a nice feel, beautiful architecture, and it was so completely off the tourist trail that we weren’t aware of any non-Lithuanians all day. If you’re visiting Lithuania, it’s a must visit.
How to get to Kaunas
Getting to Kaunas is simple from Vilnius and the easiest mode of transport is a train. The train takes 1hr 15 mins from Vilnius and from Kaunas station it’s a 30 minute walk to the centre. The trains in Lithuania are amazing – big, clean, efficient and really cheap. Our journey to Kaunas cost us 5 Euros each.
Alternatively, you could drive, and it would take around 1hr. There is plenty of parking in the city.
What to do in Kaunas
There’s lots to do in this beautiful city and as it’s quite compact it’s easy to fit in to only a day long visit.
1. Kaunas Castle
This castle was built in the 1300s to defend against invasion from the Crusaders who were aiming to spread Christianity across Europe (with a lot of pillaging and destruction on the way). It sits where two rivers meet and on a hill, giving it a great vantage point. Today it’s lovely to visit, and sits in a nice open park area where there are markets, food trucks and things to do.
2. Town Hall Square
The hub of Kaunas is its Town Hall and square. Inside the Town Hall is a small museum on Kaunas, although it was being refurbished at the time of our visit so we couldn’t go in. I also loved the beautiful pink church.
3. Old Town
Kaunas’ Old Town is really well cared for and is clean, tidy and picturesque. This year, in 2022, Kaunas was voted as the European Capital of Culture meaning it was filled with fun sculptures, art work and historic stalls to explore.
We also thought the food in the old town was just incredible. We had some authentic Lithuanian treats from a street market, cocktails as we strolled along and an absolutely delicious Mexican meal at a restaurant called Agave. I could have spent the entire day eating to be honest.
4. Church of St Michael the Archangel
One of the prettiest churches in Kaunas is the Church of St Michael the Archangel. It sits at the top of the main street in the city (number 8 below) and is well worth popping in to.
5. The Great War Museum
The Great War Museum is just outside of the centre, but easily walkable. It tells the story of Lithuania during war-time from pre-historic to modern times. There are galleries on Lithuanian wars with Russia as early as the 1600s, and then through to WW1 and WW2. It’s really interesting, and the highlight was an exhibition on the current situation in Ukraine. The Museum set up the exhibit years ago in relation to Russia’s activity in East Ukraine, and then recently expanded it following current events. You can read a bit more about the impact of the current political climate on the region in my post HERE.
6. Blessed Virgin Mary Church
Another beautiful building in Kaunas is the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, built in the 1400s and funded by Vytautus the Great. Inside it’s also beautiful and has a crypt which you can visit.
7. Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace in Kaunas is where the President lived in the inter-war years when the capital was moved from Vilnius to Kaunas. Today it’s an art museum which makes for a nice way to spend 30 minutes or so.
8. Vilniaus Gatve
The main street in Kaunas is just beautiful. It’s a rally long avenue lined with trees and lively with cafes, bars, eateries and flowers everywhere. I loved the beds of tulips planted all over the place, just stunning.
So, what do you think of Kaunas? I thought it was a beautiful day trip and I’m very glad to have visited. Stay safe and happy travelling as always.