Kaunas Travel Guide

Kaunas travel guide

Kaunas has a rich past, evident throughout the city, and a contemporary European culture mixed with Roman Catholic traditions. Its historic town roofs, outstanding interwar modernism, and latter-day buildings all blend beautifully. In 2022, Kaunas, together with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg, will be the European Capital of Culture. 

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After Vilnius, Kaunas is Lithuania's second-largest city. When Poland controlled Vilnius from 1920 until 1939, it functioned as the country's temporary capital. Today Kaunas is the most student-centered city in Lithuania, also known as the capital of Lithuanian basketball.

The chronicle keepers first mentioned the village, which later grew into the City of Kaunas, in the middle of the 14th century. Two hundred years afterward, it was already one of the most developed cities in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since it had a school, a state hospital, and a pharmacy.

Kaunas is surrounded by the two largest rivers in Lithuania – the Nemunas and the Neris – in the central part of the country. The city's climate is continental. The coldest month is January, the warmest – July.

10.6% of the total Lithuanian population lives in Kaunas. Lithuanians make up 93 percent of the city's residents, followed by Russians at 4 percent, as well as 3 percent of other nationalities: Ukrainians, Poles, Belarusians, Jews, Germans, Romani, Latvians, Tatars, Armenians, and others.

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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. As soon as you board the vehicle, you need to purchase a ticket from the driver. Be sure to pay the exact amount: €1. You can use bus 29G to Kaunas if you arrive late at night. 

For individuals who want a faster transfer, a taxi service is available. €20 to €25 is the approximate cost to go to the city center. There is a taxi stand outside the terminal building where you may hire a taxicab.

Kaunas international airport has bus connections to Vilnius, Riga (Latvia), and Minsk (Belarus).

By Bus

Biacomex (Poland), Ecolines (Latvia), Eurolines (Belgium), LuxExpress (Estonia), and TOKS (Lithuania) offer international bus services to and from Kaunas.

Kaunas bus station working hours: 6:00 am to 11:00 pm daily.

By Train

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 Solaris Trollino IV 12 Medcom trolleybus on Nemuno Street

Kaunas public transportation consists of buses and trolleybuses. They run from 4:30 am until 10:45 pm. Kaunas public transportation consists of buses and trolleybuses, which run from 4:30 am until 10:30 pm. A single paper bus or trolleybus ticket costs 1 Euro. The drivers are the only ones who can sell you these tickets. The price of a single electronic one-way ticket is €0.70.

In Kaunas, hailing a taxi on the street or booking it on the phone is possible. The average cab fare for a kilometer is €0.70.

Renting a Car in Kaunas

DiscoverCars.com – a leader in online car rental reservations – is the best site to book a car in Kaunas. They compare car rental deals from many companies so you can choose what works best for you.

Top 10 Kaunas Attractions

1. Kaunas Castle

Kaunas
Northern view of the castle's tower and bastion

Kaunas Castle at the confluence of the Neminas and the Neris rivers was built in the 14th century to fend off Teutonic Order attacks. It was Lithuania's first stone fortification and the only one with two defensive walls. In the 16th century, it was home to a prison, and the ghosts of the captives still haunt the castle at night.

The castle now houses a branch of the Kaunas City Museum, and annual cultural events occur in and around it. Freedom Warrior, a 7-meter / 23-feet-tall bronze sculpture, stands near the castle.

Address: 
Pilies g. 17, Kaunas 44275

Public Transportation:
Bus (lines 20, 21, 22, 24, 31A, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49): Kauno pilis

2. Liberty Avenue

Kaunas
Liberty Avenue with Neo-Byzantine St. Michael the Archangel's Church 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 with the New Town.

Walking along Liberty Avenue, 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.

Liberty Avenue, full of restaurants, cafes, cozy boutiques, is separated into two walkways by a median strip lined with linden trees. Young artists perform here all year round.

3. Kaunas Cathedral

Cathedral interior
The gorgeous interior of Kaunas Cathedral

The Cathedral 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

Public Transportation:
Bus (lines 20, 21, 22, 24, 31A, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49): Kauno pilis

4. Aleksotas Historical Funicular

Historic funicular
Aleksotas historical funicular

Lithuania has three funiculars: two historical ones in Kaunas' Zaliakalnis and Aleksotas neighborhoods and a modern one in Vilnius' Old Town.

The Aleksotas funicular was built in 1935 by a Swiss company. Its tilt angle is 18 °, road length is almost 133 meters / 436 feet. Wagons are wooden, can accommodate 25 passengers. In 2003 the funicular was declared a cultural monument.

Located at the Aleksotas Bridge, the funicular connects the Old Town with Aleksotas Hill. There is an observation deck on the hill overlooking the beautiful panorama of historic Kaunas.

The funicular operates daily from 7 to 12 am and from 1 to 7 pm.

Address: 
Amerikos Lietuvių g. 6, Kaunas 46251

Public Transportation:
Bus (lines 6, 6A, 20, 26, 31, 31A, 42): Vytauto Didžiojo tiltas

5. Town Hall

Kaunas Travel
The main façade of the Town Hall

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.

The Town Hall 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

Public Transportation:
Bus (lines 6, 6A, 18, 20, 22, 26, 31, 31A, 42): Karaliaus Mindaugo pr.

6. Santaka Park

Kaunas Travel
View of Gothic St. George's Church from Kaunas Castle

The Neris River and the Nemunas River meet in Santaka Park. 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.

St. Gertrude 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, the ensemble of altars, pulpits, and choir of the church is a valuable object of cultural heritage.

Near the church is a candle shrine where donators can light candles that will burn for seven days.

Address: 
Laisvės al. 101a, Kaunas 44291

Public Transportation:
Bus (lines 6, 6A, 18, 23, 27G, 35, 35A, 37, 39, 40, 42, 46, 47, 56G): Ožeškienės gatvė
Trolleybus (lines 1, 5, 7, 13, 16): Ožeškienės gatvė

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. Its name comes from a figurine of the God of Thunder discovered in the building's wall. The 15th-century stone building with an ornate pediment and a spacious basement is the Hanseatic merchants' only trade place in Lithuania. 

In the 17th century, Jesuit monks bought the building and constructed a chapel within. In the middle of the 19th century, the first Kaunas Drama Theatre opened its doors here. Today, Thunder House is part of a Jesuit gymnasium and contains an exhibition by Adam Mickiewicz, a famous Polish-Lithuanian Romantic poet who once lived in Kaunas.

Address:
Aleksoto g. 6, Kaunas 44280

Public Transportation:
Bus (lines 6, 6A, 18, 20, 22, 26, 31, 31A, 42): Karaliaus Mindaugo pr.

9. Kaunas Mosque

White Mosque
Eastern view of Kaunas Mosque

Lithuania has only four mosques, and all of them belong to the Tatars. Build-in the 20th century, Kaunas Mosque is the only stone mosque in the Baltic states. The building with historical forms and oriental motives has an elliptical dome and slender minaret.

The Tatars

There are currently more than 10 million Tatars in the world; about 3,000 Tatars live in Lithuania. Most of them are Sunni Muslims.

The first Tartar settlers settled in Lithuania in the 13th–14th centuries. The construction of mosques in the country began in the 15th century. The Tatars most often used wood to build mosques. There were about 60 Lithuanian Tartar mosques in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

During World War Two, Soviet Russia occupied Lithuania and destroyed much of the Lithuanian Tatar culture, mosques, graveyards, and other sites during the 50 years of occupation.

Address:
Totorių g. 6, Kaunas 44236

Public Transportation:
Bus (lines 3, 6A, 6G, 18, 23, 27G, 29G, 34G, 35, 35A, 38, 39, 42, 43, 46, 47, 56G, 67): Griunvaldo g.
Trolleybus (lines 1, 4, 5, 7, 13, 16): Griunvaldo g.

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.

The 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.


Currency

Lithuania joined the Eurozone by adopting the euro in 2015, so visiting Kaunas and traveling around Lithuania and two nearby Baltic states – Latvia and Estonia – will be truly convenient for you.

Safety

With a low crime rate, Kaunas is a generally safe city to visit. 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.

In an emergency, dial 112 to contact the police, ambulance service, or fire department.

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

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 most favorite hotels in Lithuania's second-largest city.


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Kaunas



5 comments

  1. I've never been to Kaunas, but I'd love to go and enjoy all the beautiful architecture. The interior of Kaunas Cathedral is stunning! I bet taking the funicular to see the city from above would be just gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kaunus certainly looks like a lovely city to explore. We often miss going inside of churches but would not want to miss the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul. We do love when we find funiculars to get us up and down. Definitely adding some spots to plan for a visit to Lithuania. Linda (LD Holland)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very interesting. After having visited Latvia and Estonia, Lithuania is still missing - and I'm putting Kaunas next to Vilnius on my list. I'd love especially the funicular - so fun! - and also the town hall looks very alluring. Yup, Lithuania, here I come.

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow! I have never heard of Kaunas before, but after seeing those pictures of the Cathedral I really want to visit! I love how there seems to be so much to do while visiting so you definitely are going to stay busy. Might need to tell my family we are planning a trip here soon!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are right, Kaunas is lovely!!! Looks like they really care about their culture.

    ReplyDelete