Kaunas Travel Guide

Kaunas travel guide

Kaunas has a rich history visible throughout the city and modern European culture, mixed with Roman Catholic traditions. There is a beautiful blend of historical town roofs, outstanding modernist buildings of the interwar period, and later modern structures. Together with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg, Kaunas will be the 2022 European Capital of Culture.

Located at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers, Kaunas is Lithuania's second-largest city, after Vilnius. The chronicle keepers first mentioned the village, which later grew into the City of Kaunas, in the middle of the 14th century. It was already one of the most developed cities in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania two hundred years later, with a school, a state hospital, and a pharmacy. From 1920 to 1939, when Poland controlled Vilnius, it served as the country's interim capital. Today, Kaunas is the most student-centered city in Lithuania, also known as the capital of Lithuanian basketball.


During the summers when I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time in Kaunas. My favorite place to visit in the city was the zoological garden, Lithuania's only zoo at that time. Of course, with delicious plombir ice cream! I like Kaunas because it is quieter, simpler, and less expensive than Vilnius. It's nice to be sitting comfortably on the second floor of a train, admiring the beautiful scenery and getting to Kaunas in just a little over an hour.

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Kaunas Map


How to Get to Kaunas


By Plane


Nearly 20 European airports provide direct flights to Kaunas. From the airport, you can take bus 29 to the city center. There is a 45-minute transfer time, and the bus schedule is in sync with the airline flight schedule. For those who want a faster transfer, a taxi service is available. Outside the terminal building is a taxi stand where you can hire a taxi.


By Bus


Biacomex (Poland), Ecolines (Latvia), Eurolines (Belgium), LuxExpress (Estonia), and TOKS (Lithuania) offer international bus services to and from Kaunas. The bus station working hours: 6:00 am to 11:00 pm daily.


By Plane


It is easy to get to Kaunas by train, whether you come from both Lithuanian and foreign cities, such as Bialystok (Poland), Daugavpils (Latvia), or Minsk (Belarus). Kaunas train station working hours: 4:00 am to 11:00 pm daily.


Kaunas Public Transportation

Green trolleybus
A trolleybus on Nemuno Street

Buses and trolleybuses serve Kaunas from 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. It is possible to hail a taxi on the street or to book one over the phone.


Renting a Car in Kaunas


DiscoverCars.com is the best website for renting a car in Kaunas. They compare car rental prices from many providers so you can find the best deal for you.


Top 10 Attractions in Kaunas


1. Kaunas Castle

Kaunas
Northern view of the castle's tower and bastion

The Kaunas Castle at the confluence of the Neminas and Neris rivers was built in the 14th century to defend against Teutonic Order attacks. The castle was Lithuania's first stone fortification and the only one with two defensive walls. In the 16th century, it was a prison, and ghosts of prisoners still roam here at night. Today, the castle is home to a branch of the Kaunas City Museum, and annual cultural events occur in and around it. The 7-meter (23-foot) tall bronze sculpture Freedom Warrior stands near the Kaunas Castle.

Address: Pilies g. 17, Kaunas 44275, Lithuania
Website: Kaunas Castle


2. Liberty Avenue

Kaunas
Liberty Avenue with the Neo-Byzantine Church of St. Michael the Archangel in the background

Liberty Avenue is a 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) long pedestrian-only boulevard. In Lithuania, it is one of a kind. Directed to the East and the West, the boulevard connects the Old Town to the New Town. Liberty Avenue is divided into two walkways by a median strip lined with linden trees and is home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and cozy boutiques. Young artists perform here all year round. Walking along the boulevard, you have a unique opportunity to see the city's exceptional interwar modernist architecture. Kaunas is, perhaps, the only city in the world where so many modernist buildings in the Bauhaus style were built and preserved until today: Lithuanian Post, Kaunas State Musical Theater, Bank of Lithuania, and many others.


3. Kaunas Archcathedral Basilica

The gorgeous interior of Kaunas Cathedral
The Kaunas Basilica's gorgeous interior

The Archcathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Kaunas is the largest Gothic building of sacral nature and the only Gothic cathedral basilica in Lithuania. Founded by Lithuanian Duke Vytautas the Great in the 15th century and later rebuilt several times, the church acquired Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism, Neo-Gothic, and Neo-Baroque architecture features. The only interior elements reminiscent of Gothic times are the Presbytery mesh vault, built in the 15th century, and a 16th-century peculiar crystal vault covering the ceiling of a two-story sacristy.

Address: Vilnius g. 1, Kaunas 44281, Lithuania
Website: Kauno Arkikatedra


4. Aleksotas Historical Funicular

Historic funicular
The historical funicular of Aleksotas

Lithuania has three funiculars, two of which are historical, located in Kaunas' Žaliakalnis and Aleksotas neighborhoods, and one that is modern, located in Vilnius' Old Town. A Swiss company built the Aleksotas funicular in 1935. It has an 18-degree tilt angle and a length of nearly 133 meters (436 feet). Wagons are made of wood and can seat up to 25 people. The funicular was designated a cultural monument in 2003. Located at the Aleksotas Bridge, it connects the Old Town with Aleksotas Hill. There is an observation deck on the hill overlooking the beautiful panorama of historic Kaunas. 

Address: Amerikos Lietuvių g. 6, Kaunas 46251, Lithuania
Website: Aleksoto funikulierius


5. Town Hall

Kaunas Travel
The Town Hall's main façade

Kaunas Town Hall, built between the 16th and 18th centuries and later restored several times, features Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classicism architectural elements. The White Swan is the name given to the stunning building with its 53-meter / 174-feet high tower. It is the most famous landmark of the entire Old Town. The large square with various buildings – St. Francis Xavier (Jesuit) Church, Zabieliai Palace, Siručiai Palace, horse-post station, Priest Seminary Rectorate Palace, and St. Trinity (Seminary) Church – surround the structure. The role of the Town Hall has changed over the centuries. Previously, the building housed city markets, fairs, courts, a prison, and warehouses. Now, it hosts ceremonies and formal events and houses a branch of Kaunas City Museum. Near the entry, there is a unique 15th-century wax melting furnace.

Address: Rotušės a. 15, Kaunas 44279, Lithuania
Website: Kaunas Town Hall


6. Santaka Park

Kaunas Travel
The Gothic Church of St. George as seen from Kaunas Castle

Santaka Park is where the Neris and Nemunas rivers meet. Both locals and tourists enjoy strolling around the picturesque area. Pope Hill, the 15th century Church of St. George, and Kaunas Castle are only a few of the park's historical sites, including the altar that pagans once used for their rituals.


7. St. Gertrude Church

Kaunas Travel Guide
Northern view of St. Gertrude Church

Build-in the 15th century, the Gothic Church of St. Gertrude is one of the oldest churches in Lithuania. The Marianites – a Catholic male clerical religious order founded in the 17th century in Poland – have owned the church and a nearby monastery since 1921. The church is a one-nave, almost square building with a narrower presbytery having a dissymmetric three-walled apse. Created in the 18th century and characterized by a combination of architectural forms of Classicism with the predominant features of Late Baroque, its ensemble of altars, pulpits, and the choir is a valuable object of cultural heritage.

Address: Laisvės al. 101a, Kaunas 44291, Lithuania
Website: Gertrūdos bažnyčia



8. Thunder House

Gothic Kaunas
Southern view of Thunder House

Thunder House is one of the most unique and beautiful Gothic buildings in Kaunas's Old Town. The name comes from a figurine of the God of Thunder discovered in the wall. The 15th-century stone building with an ornate pediment and a spacious basement is the Hanseatic merchants' only trade place in Lithuania. Today, Thunder House is part of a Jesuit gymnasium and houses an exhibition by Adam Mickiewicz, a famous Polish-Lithuanian Romantic poet who once lived in Kaunas.

Address: Aleksoto g. 6, Kaunas 44280, Lithuania
Website: Perkūno namas


9. Kaunas Mosque

White Mosque
Eastern view of Kaunas Mosque

Lithuania has only four mosques, and all belong to the Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group. Build-in the 20th century, Kaunas Mosque is the country's only stone mosque. The building with historical forms and oriental motives has an elliptical dome and slender minaret.

Address: Totorių g. 6, Kaunas 44236, Lithuania
Website: Islamas visiems


10. Ant, Grasshopper, and Beetle

Ant, Grasshopper, and Beetle
Ant, Grasshopper, and Beetle

To honor the memory of puppet animation pioneer Władysław Starewicz, often called the European Walt Disney, three bug sculptures portray the director's three primary puppet characters: a stag-beetle, an ant, and a grasshopper. Starewicz began his moviemaking career in Kaunas in 1910, creating 3-d stop motion animation movies (puppet movies, as he called them). Although most of his intriguing movies last less than 15 minutes, they are technically astonishing even by today's standards. You can easily find these interesting sculptures opposite the Town Hall in the Old Town.


Best Tours in Lithuania



Where to Eat in Kaunas

Vegetarian restaurant in Kaunas
Interior of Radharanė vegetarian restaurant

Kaunas has many fine places to eat for everyone, whether you are a student or a businessman, a vegetarian, or a fan of exotic cuisine. When visiting the city, you might want to taste traditional Lithuanian dishes, such as fried black bread, cold beetroot soup Šaltibarščiai, potato dumplings Cepelinai, chocolate dessert Tinginys, and spit cake Šakotis. There are several excellent Lithuanian cuisine restaurants in Kaunas:

At Piccola Italia, you can taste genuine Italian dishes prepared with fresh and high-quality ingredients, together with wines from the famous areas of Italy.

There are six Talutti restaurants in the city where you can sample American cuisine: huge burgers, sandwiches, substantial morning meals like omelets and pancakes, potato dishes, as well as delicious milkshakes and ice cream.

Vegans and vegetarians can also find delicious and nutritious dishes in Kaunas' cozy vegetarian restaurants, such as Radharanė (Laisvės al. 40; Daukšos g. 28), Vilties vaistinės Arbatinė (Laisvės al. 100-1), or Ridikas (M.K. Čiurlionio g. 16 P).

Check out the most popular restaurants in Kaunas at meniu.lt/catalogue/kaunas.


Shopping

Kaunas Akropolis
Interior of Akropolis Kaunas

Lithuanians love shopping. Attractive shopping malls, boutiques, flea markets, and designer fashion festivals are excellent destinations to shop in Kaunas. In the city's major shopping malls, you may lose track of time. There are well-known Lithuanian and international brands, as well as high-end shops. After you have finished your shopping, you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal at one of the charming cafés or restaurants, or watch a movie at the cinema.



Lithuanian Currency


Lithuania joined the euro area in 2015, so visiting Kaunas and traveling around Lithuania and two nearby Baltic states – Latvia and Estonia – is pretty convenient.


Safety


Kaunas is a relatively safe city to visit, with a low crime rate. Pickpockets, thieves, and other criminals exist in every nation. Therefore, follow the same guidelines as you would at home and do not leave any valuables unattended. If you need to contact the police, ambulance service, or fire department, call 112.


Wi-Fi


Lithuania has one of the world's fastest internet connections. There are numerous free Wi-Fi spots in Kaunas, so if you are here, you do not have to sit at your computer or cell phone in hotels as you can easily access free public internet in places like cafés or the city's main streets.

Free Wi-Fi spots in Kaunas:

  • Kaunas Airport 
  • Laisvės alėja (Liberty Avenue)
  • Vilnius Street 
  • Town Hall Square
  • Kaunas bus station
  • Kaunas train station
  • Shopping malls: Akropolis, Mega, Molas

Lithuanian Language


Lithuanian, a Baltic language closely related only to Latvian, is the official language of the country and the language you will hear the most in Kaunas. English is the leading foreign language to study here, and thirty percent of the city dwellers speak it, including eighty percent of the young people.

Polite Expressions

Lithuanian Pronounce English
- - -
Labas lah-bahs Hi
Sveiki svy-kee Hello
Labas rytas lah-bahs ree-tahs Good morning
Laba diena lah-bah dyah-nah Good afternoon
Labas vakaras lah-bahs vah-kah-rahs Good evening
Labanakt lah-bah-nahkt Good night
Iki ikhi Bye
Viso gero vee-saw gheh-raw Goodbye
Prašau prah-shaoo Please
Ačiū ah-choo Thanks
Taip tape Yes
Gerai geh-rai OK
Ne neh No
Atsiprašau ah-tsih-prah-shaoo Sorry
Atleiskite ah-tlais-kee-tah Excuse me (begging pardon)
Į sveikatą Ee sweh-kata Cheers

Where to Stay in Kaunas


On Booking.com, you can book almost 300 homes, apartments, and other unique places to stay in Kaunas.

Booking.com


According to this online travel agency for lodging reservations, Moxy Kaunas Center, Algiro Hotel, and Very Bad Hotel are some of the favorite hotels in Lithuania's second-largest city.

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