Tree line at Laisves Aleja

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A scrappy little sister compared to debonair Vilnius, Kaunas (kow-nas) sprawls out from its dainty Old Town and 14th-century fort. Strategically wedged at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris Rivers, Kaunas gained a taste for the limelight during a brief spell as Lithuania's capital in the interwar period; the town owes some of its most attractive architecture to this era.

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Go from dreaming to planning with trip planning options made to help you craft your ideal itinerary.

Attractions

Must-see attractions for your itinerary.

Ninth Fort

Lithuania's dark 20th-century history is poignantly told here, 7km north of Kaunas. Begin in the sombre, church-like gallery with striking stained glass…

MK Čiurlionis National Museum of Art

MK Čiurlionis National Museum of Art

One of Lithuania's oldest and grandest galleries, Kaunas' leading art museum (founded 1921) is the place to acquaint yourself with the dreamlike paintings…

Sugihara House

Sugihara House

Kaunas-based Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara (1900–86) saved around 6000 Jewish lives between 1939 and 1940, issuing transit visas to stranded Polish…

Museum of Devils

Museum of Devils

This museum is devoted to the Devil, Lucifer, Satan, the fallen angel, the seducer, the cajoler, with over 3000 statuettes, carvings, masks and other…

Kiemo Galerija

Kiemo Galerija

Artist Vytenis Jakas moved into this courtyard over a decade ago and turned it into an ever-evolving art project, creating murals and transferring onto…

Choral Synagogue

Choral Synagogue

Built in 1871, the only functioning synagogue of those that survived since 1941, and one of the few remnants of Kaunas' once-strong Jewish community, this…

Pažaislis Monastery

Pažaislis Monastery

Built by Camaldolese monks in the 17th century, this striking baroque monastery lies 9km east of central Kaunas, on a promontory jutting into the Kauno…

House of Perkūnas

House of Perkūnas

With ornate arches and turrets rippling from its brick facade, this late-15th-century mansion is a treasure of Kaunas' late-Gothic architecture. Built by…

Latest stories from Kaunas

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May 13, 2019 • 6 min read

When medieval Lithuania was a Grand Duchy, it faced an aggressive threat from Christians in the west. Those who came to the pagan country's aid were…

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19 Reasons To Visit Kaunas, Lithuania

Visit Kaunas Lithuania: Things to do and see ,the Old Town, Kaunas Castle, architecture, street art, museums and much more.

  • Post date July 7, 2019
  • Post categories In Cultural Travel , Destinations , Europe , Kaunas , Lithuania

Kaunas City Guide

Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city, holds many surprises even for experienced travellers.

Get an offline map of this guide to Kaunas

If you’re looking for a new destination to discover in Europe , put Kaunas on your list.

Kaunas has unique museums, fascinating architecture, excellent street art and a bright future as the 2022 European Capital of Culture.

After visiting Estonia and Latvia a couple of years ago, I had one more Baltic country left to see.

Lithuania looked gorgeous in all the tourism brochures and I decided to spend the better part of a month in the country.

Kaunas was my first stop and Vilnius, the capital, was the second ( read about Vilnius here ).

How to get to kaunas

Flights to kaunas.

You can fly to Kaunas International Airport from many other European airports. Search Omio to find flights to Kaunas.

Getting from the Airport to the City:

  • By public bus #29: The bus stop is right outside the terminal and the ride takes about 40 minutes
  • By taxi: Use the BOLT app for an affordable taxi ride which takes about 20 minutes.
  • By private transfer: You can book your private transfer from the airport here .

Trains and buses to kaunas

You can reach Kaunas very easily from Vilnius and other cities in Lithuania.

There are international train connections with Riga, Minsk and Kiev as well.

You can take a bus to Kaunas from nearby European cities, including Riga, Tallinn, Minsk, Kiev, Warsaw and Białystok.

The available routes change from time to time, so search Omio to find the best routes by either bus or train.

Visiting kaunas as a day trip from Vilnius

You can also visit Kaunas as a day trip from Vilnius.

This is a good option if you’re short on time, but don’t want to miss Kaunas.

You can take a guided tour from Vilnius that covers Kaunas, Trakai and Paneriai Forest .

Where to stay in kaunas

Kaunas is not too large and a it’s a walkable city, so you’ll be able to see most of its attractions on foot. That’s very convenient.

stay in the old town of kaunas

I chose to stay in the Old Town when I first arrived in Kaunas. It’s close to many of the main attractions and it’s so pretty over there.

If you want to stay close to the Town Hall and the Castle, look for a places to stay in the old town.

stay on the main avenue in the new town of kaunas

Freedom Avenue (Laisvės alėja) is the main street in the centre of Kaunas.

Staying there, you’ll be close to many attractions in the new town. As the city is walkable, the Old Town is just a short walk from there.

Hof Hotel is a top-rated hotel around Freedom Avenue.

First impressions of kaunas

#kaunas

My first impression was that the city was pretty and quiet.

Even the main street in the Old Town on a Friday evening, where the cafes and restaurants were full of people, just felt lively, but not crowded.

That was very refreshing.

There’s an authentic feeling in Kaunas that I liked a lot.

It seems that in a couple of years tourists will be flocking to Kaunas. As one of the 2022 European Capitals of Culture, the city is going to grow in popularity very soon.

It’s nice to discover a city while it’s still an “off the beaten path” destination, and just before it becomes touristy.

How long to stay in kaunas

Kaunas is ideal as a European city break destination.

You can see it in about 3 days. That’s enough for essential sightseeing in Kaunas.

I’ve heard from other tourists I met that they only came for one day. I think that’s not quite enough to enjoy the place, though it’s doable with a tight itinerary.

If you have time and prefer slow travel like me, you can stay a bit longer, get to know the place and see the different sides of the city.

I chose to stay longer, took guided tours and went on some day trips from Kaunas as well.

There are many reasons to visit Kaunas. Here are the highlights and the most interesting things to do and see in Kaunas:

Walk around the old town of kaunas

I think the best place to start your visit to Kaunas is in its pretty Old Town.

Kaunas Old Town

With its cobblestone streets, galleries, cafes and old, colourful houses, the Old Town certainly has its charm.

During the day, you can visit the City Museum in the Town Hall, the Kaunas Castle, various churches and many small galleries and design shops.

Kaunas Lithuania Old Town

In the evening the main street of the Old Town, Vilniaus Gatve, is really lively with plenty of bars and restaurants and a great vibe.

Visit kaunas castle

On the sightseeing list in any visit to Kaunas, the 14th century castle by the river played an important historical role in defending Lithuania from the Crusaders.

These days, only part of the original castle is left and has been restored.

Kaunas Castle

It has a museum with permanent and temporary exhibitions you can visit to get a taste of the history of the place.

Be prepared to meet a knight when you go downstairs. Also, you just might meet a ghost, or so I’ve been told 😉

Appreciate the modernist architecture of kaunas

One of the things Kaunas is known for is its architecture.

Between the first and second world wars, for almost two decades, Kaunas was the temporary capital of Lithuania.

Vilnius, the official capital, was under Polish rule during that time.

This new status meant that the small town needed to grow and transform itself quickly.

It needed a lot of new buildings, both public and residential, and those were in the styles that were trendy in Europe at the time.

That’s how Kaunas became an open air museum of modernist architecture. It is one of UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Design and its modernist architecture may be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in future.

When you walk around Kaunas these days, you’ll see that some of these modernist buildings have been renovated or at least re-painted and they look wonderful.

Others are yet to be renovated, but are still interesting to look at.

Architecture in Kaunas

The unique architecture you can find in Kaunas was one of the reasons I decided to visit it.

Kaunas Tourism kindly assigned to me a tour guide who’s a specialist in the history of architecture in the city (amongst other things).

My guide, Dalia Leonavičienė, took me to see some of the most prominent modernist buildings in Kaunas.

Kaunas Architecture

V. Putvinskio street in the city centre, not far from the main street, Freedom Avenue, is where we spotted an impressive number of interesting buildings.

The styles range from Art Nouveau to Art Deco and Bauhaus, but are all very clearly the local version of these styles.

Many buildings were built in the functional Art Deco style, with a focus on practical buildings rather than overly decorated ones.

You’ll see a lot of clean, vertical line, alongside curved balconies and here and there some hints of floral decorations.

You’ll notice many buildings around Kaunas with the European Heritage Label on them. These are buildings with some historic and cultural significance.

Kaunas Modernist Architecture

Find out more about architecture in kaunas

Kaunas Tourism produces a beautiful illustrated map called  Modernist’s Guide  that you can pick up at the tourist information centres in Kaunas.

For those who want to dig deeper: The transformation of Kaunas into an elegant European capital was documented in a book called Architecture of Optimism: The Kaunas Phenomenon 1918-1940 .

Be astounded by the resurrection church

Resurrection Church Kaunas

It is unlike any other church I’ve ever seen.

A prime example of modernist architecture, this beautiful Art Deco church has a unique design and an interesting history.

The bright white building with the clean vertical lines are very impressive to look at and you can see the church from many parts of Kaunas.

As you get closer, you notice more details and you can go inside to view the interior which retains the same style down to the painted glass windows.

The story of this church is fascinating.

During the Nazi occupation, the authorities used the building as a storeroom.

Later , the Soviets forced its architect to convert the interior into a TV and radio factory.

In the post-Soviet era, from the 1990s up until today, the rehabilitation project of the church has been going on gradually and steadily.

visit.kaunas

Take the elevator to the roof for a panoramic view of Kaunas. You can see both the new town and the old town from there. It will also give you a sense of how green the city is.

Enjoy the brilliant street art in kaunas

There’s a lot of brilliant street art in Kaunas 🙂

Kaunas seems to be one of the cities that have learnt to recognise the value of street art, like  Zagreb , Madrid and Tel Aviv .

The wise old man

The Wise Old Man - Street Art in Kaunas

The famous mural of artist Jurgis Mačiūnas, a surreal painting of him with a pipe, is one of the more famous pierces of street art in Kaunas.

Jurgis Mačiūnas was a Lithuanian artist who founded the experimental art movement Fluxus in the 1960s.

The mural is on 3 Janovas Street and you’ll see it clearly above a parking lot when you exit Kaunas Castle.

The yard gallery

visit.kaunas

An initiative by artist Vytenis Jakas turned a residential courtyard in the centre of Kaunas into a street art heaven.

When you walk around the yard, you’ll find creative art pieces in every corner an on every wall.

Take your time exploring this place, but do bear in mind that people actually live there, so be considerate.

The pink elephant

The Pink Elephant - Kaunas Street Art

This massive, Instagrammable pink elephant is a piece of street art you cannot miss on E. Ožeškienės street, not far from the Yard Gallery.

It is very unlikely to pass by it without stopping and smiling.

Then of course you’ll have to wait your turn to take a selfie with it, because it’s a petty popular spot for selfies..

You’ll find more street art in the beautiful  illustrated map  produced by Kaunas Tourism and check out my post about street art in Kaunas .

See the town hall and kaunas city museum

In a large square in the Old Town, which used to be the market square, stands a tall, white building. This is the historic Town Hall.

Kaunas Town Hall

It’s been preserved over the years and today serves as both the city hall and a museum that’s worth a visit.

The Kaunas City Museum is the place to learn about the history of Kaunas through photos, films, maps, archaeological findings and more.

Go down the very narrow stairs four metres underground to see the temporary exhibition and a creepy room that used to be the city’s prison cell.

The tourist information centre in the town hall

Just before you leave the Town Hall, make sure you visit the Tourist Information Centre located near the entrance.

They have a wonderful series of  illustrated maps  that are really well done and made me wish every city would have maps like that.

The maps cover every interesting aspect of the city with the right amount of detail and are super useful.

They all have English and Lithuanian versions and some have versions in more languages.

Discover the 2022 european capital of culture

In 2022 Kaunas is going to host no less than 300 international art events.

It was selected to be the 2022 European Capital of Culture and the preparations for 2022 are already underway with a variety of projects.

They focus on many different areas, from collecting residents’ memories to integrating the international community in the city.

I got to meet with some members of the team who are in charge of the preparations.

My feeling was that they are very keen on involving the public in the artistic and cultural projects.

It means that the projects are mostly created by and with the participation of the local community.

That gives them a feeling of authenticity. I think it’s ideal for a city that isn’t too big, but isn’t small either.

These initiatives have met with a positive attitude from residents, who are happy to collaborate.

You can see the full 2022 program here . Here are two examples of projects that I found very interesting:

The memory office

One of the most impressive projects is the  Memory Office . Everyone is invited to share their memories from Kaunas and those are collected, mapped and presented online and in a series of postcards.

I did a self guided audiovisual walk based on a route created as part of this project, called The Spirit’s Guide to the Old City.

It’s a very interesting concept where you  download the guide  and let the spirit of a person who lived in Kaunas take you around the old town.

In a soft and only slightly creepy voice, she tells you stories about the streets, the houses and the people who lived in them.

It takes just over an hour to listen to the entire recording, but completing the tour took me longer.

That’s because it encourages you to stop and look around, explore and contemplate and can be quite thought provoking.

It makes you look at the streets and buildings in a new way.

The mythical beast of kaunas

This brilliant story-telling project took me by surprise: It invites everyone to make up fictional stories, fairy tails and legends about the city.

These stories will be used in many different ways.

They’ll be used to publish a children’s book, to invite artists to make art based on stories and even to create an augmented reality tourist route around Kaunas .

Find out more about it here .

Freak Out at the Devil’s Museum in Kaunas

This museum is peculiar, verging on bizarre, and it is just fascinating!

No surprise it’s a very popular place to visit in Kaunas.

True to its name, this is an entire museum about the devil. It features a huge collection of devils from around the world spread over three floors.

The first two floors display the devil in Lithuania. Texts in English give you essential context about Lithuanian folklore, beliefs, stories and legends and more.

That’s how I found out that the devil invented vodka 😉

The devil appears in many forms and on anything from sculptures, pictures and masks to coffee sets, mugs and pipes.

On the top floor you can learn about devils in different countries and cultures around the world, their myths and fairy tales. The range of styles is pretty amazing.

Make some noise at the folk music museum

I really love musical instrument exhibitions. I’ve already been to a few of them, in Málaga, London and  Brussels , so it was a joy to find one in Kaunas too.

The Museum of Lithuanian Folk Instruments in the Old Town is one of the Kaunas attractions that you shouldn’t miss, especially if you love culture and entertainment.

It’s an interactive museum, where you can play many of the instruments yourself and listen to recordings.

 The Museum of Lithuanian Folk Instruments

A large part of the exhibition is dedicated to the kanklés, a traditional Lithuanian string instrument with a bright, clear sound.

You can see how it’s developed over the years and play it yourself.

Another room on the second floor of the museum has folk wind instruments from Lithuania, from clay whistles to ancient trumpets.

Experience riding the kaunas funiculars

The two old funiculars in Kaunas are still in use and I recommend you ride both of them for the unique experience.

The first one is Žaliakalnis Funicular which takes you up to the Resurrection Basilica.

Žaliakalnis Funicular in Kaunas, Lithuania

You enter a carriage that looks a bit like it was taken from an old movie, and it starts running mysteriously without a driver.

When one carriage goes up, another one goes down.

When you reach the top, you’ll see the man who’s in charge of operating the carriages from a small control room.

The second funicular is Aleksotas Funicular. It goes up a green hill by the river.

When you reach the top you’ll see the river and the whole Old Town from above.

Kaunas from above - Aleksotas Funicular

It’s a beautiful view with all the red roof tops, the water and the trees.

These funiculars are two of the oldest in the world that are still running.

Thanks to the high quality of these Swiss built funiculars, the original mechanics of both are still in use since the 1930 (!)

Discover sugihara house in kaunas

This private museum is dedicated to the unbelievable story of Chiune Sugihara.

Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat who single-handedly, by bending some rules, managed to save about 6,000 Jews during WWII.

His position as vice consul allowed him to grant transit visas to Japan.

He used it generously when thousands of Jews lined up outside his house asking him to help them escape from Europe.

Once in Japan, they moved on to different places where they could find shelter.

Though Sugihara was not officially allowed to issue so many visas, he ignored the rules, wishing to save as many people as possible.

This defiance later cost him his job and he became a “persona non grata” in Japan. A movie by that name was made about him.

The museum has a short documentary film that introduces you to this remarkable story.

After watching the film, you can view the impressive collection of photos and documents, all with clear explanations in English.

You can also visit more places around the city that have a connection to Sugihara, using  this illustrated map .

Enjoy santaka park

Right next to Kaunas Castle is a large green park that’s perfect for some relaxation time.

Santaka means confluence, and the park is right next to the confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris rivers.

This special location turned it into a pagan place of worship.

Lithuania was pagan in the days before Christianity and many of the old traditions remained in place, even after the country became Catholic.

Today you can still see the altar of the pagan rituals.

See the kaunas photography gallery

A lovely photography gallery in the Old Town, close to the Town Hall that’s well worth a visit.

It runs temporary exhibitions is a spacious white hall and also has a small bookshop with some interesting titles.

Visit the design shops in kaunas

The Old Town of Kaunas is full of local design shops that I really enjoyed exploring.

Local crafts, such as ceramics, are popular there, as well as linen clothing and accessories and amber jewellery.

Kaunas Design Shops

The souvenir shops of the Old Town have a lot of hand made items on display, which makes them much more interesting than standard souvenir shops.

I recommend you go to M. Valančiaus Street in the Old Town, a small street close to the Town Hall, for some fancy fashion boutiques and galleries.

Explore the m. k. Čiurlionis national museum of art

M. K. Čiurlionis is a was a multi-talented artist, known primarily as a painter and musician.

 M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art - the building

If you like late 19th century art, I recommend you see the permanent exhibition of paintings by Čiurlionis.

His work mixes the various artistic styles of that era in an original and innovative way.

The museum is housed in a beautiful Art Deco building, another example of the unique interwar architecture in Kaunas.

The museum has permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as a concert hall and a nice museum gift shop.

Visit kaunas lagoon and pazaislis monastery

A short drive from the city centre, Kaunas has its own lagoon – a beautiful artificial lake, ideal for a relaxed boat trip.

We took a boat trip with Party Cruiser around the Kaunas Reservoir.

We got off the boat where you can do a 1.6km trail in the woods.

The lagoon is close to Pažaislis Monastery. It was closed when we visited unfortunately, so we could only see it from the water.

If you visit when it’s open, you’ll get to see some Italian Baroque architecture and frescoes at this cultural monument.

Explore the Open Air Museum in Rumšiškės

Just outside of the city there’s a massive ethnographic open air museum.

It’s so large you can easily spend half a day or more there.

A museum of this size requires some guidance. We took a tour with our guide, Linas Daubaras, who drove us from Kaunas to the museum.

We entered the museum with the car, because it was a hot day.

You can also walk, but due to the size of the place and the distances, I think it’s easier to drive into the museum.

This way you can stop the car wherever you like and get off to have a look at interesting houses.

Houses and buildings from different parts of the county were brought to this huge park to demonstrate how people used to live in previous centuries.

visit.kaunas

You can enter some of the houses and see the interior, which was fascinating.

Our guide explained what each room was used for and gave us the some context that was essential to understand what we were looking at.

So for instance, we saw a model of what used to be a typical Jewish house, and we saw the difference between how rich and poor people used to live.

You can take a full day tour covering Kaunas, Rumsiskes & Pazaislis Monastery .

Relax at the birštonas resort

Very close to Kaunas there’s a charming little spa town called Birštonas.

It is known for its healing mineral water and it’s a great place to visit during your trip to Kaunas.

I spent a weekend there and had a wonderful time. Read all about it here .

Take a walk along the rivers in kaunas

As Kaunas is at the confluence of two rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris, there are plenty of places where you can take a leisurely walk or bicycle ride by the water.

 Walk Along the Rivers in Kaunas

During my visit there was a heatwave and it was really nice to take a stroll by the river and cool down.

How to find out more about kaunas

  • The Kaunas tourism board has a  comprehensive, user-friendly website . They also produce a series of beautiful  illustrated maps  covering different themes, from street art to Jewish heritage. You can pick up the maps and guides at the tourist information centre in the Town Hall, at Kaunas Airport or at the central bus station.
  • Read my other posts about Kaunas and Lithuania here.
  • Find more tours, activities and day trips from Kaunas .

save this kaunas city guide on pinterest

Kaunas Lithuania - European City Break Travel Guide

I’d like to thank Kaunas Tourism for inviting me to explore the city. All opinions are my own.

  • Tags City Guides , Day Trips , History , Hotels , Museums and Galleries , Street Art , Tours , Urban Nature , Vacation Rentals

20 Comments

Lithuania is beautiful! Thanks for the opportunity to see great photos. I’m impressed! I want to visit this place!

Wow, I didn’t realise Kaunas was such a centre for art deco architecture! The Resurrection Church is utterly incredible, and I’m so glad it’s being restored. Thanks for highlighting Lithuania, I think I need to go!

Well this came at the right time! We were checking out Lithuania for travel this year. Do you recommend going there in October?

Well, I went in June during a heat wave…. October should be a little cold, so dress well.

Kaunas seems like a very nice place. Love the street art especially 🙂

Yes, the street art scene there is pretty unique 🙂

Lithuania is such a darling country. I only went to Vilnius, but I definitely want to explore more of this country. Your Airbnbs look so lovely and cute!

Vilnius is great too! And Kaunas is a short bus ride away. I was so happy about those Airbnbs 🙂

Lithuania deserves to be known more – a beautiful country with friendly people and amazing design artworks. Thank you for sharing about Kaunas and Lithuania with the world!

If you want some vegan food, raw deserts, kombucha and much more visit Mokslo kavine, E. Ozeskienes 7, Kaunas. https://www.facebook.com/mokslo.kavine/

Thanks, I’ve reviewed it and other vegan places in Kaunas in my Vegan Kaunas Guide here: https://brightnomad.net/vegan-kaunas-restaurants-guide/

A nice blog to read. Thanks for the share. cheers!!

Wow, amazing blog!! This is really interesting.

Great post! I found it extremely helpful. 🙂

Great post. Interesting. Thanks.

על העיר כבר שמעתי קודם, כמו גם על אזורי העיצוב והגרפיטי או הסיפור המרשים על הדיפלומט היפני, אבל את קנית אותי בתיאור של הארכיטקטורה הנהדרת. זאת סיבה נהדרת לבקר שם.

Interesting post. I was impressed that this town was preserved as an example of old Europe … very beautiful.

יופי של סיור והמלצות. הצלחת בהחלט לעורר את סקרנותי ואת הרצון לבקר שם. תודה.

נראה כי סקרת את קובנה בצורה מקיפה ביותר. הכי אהבתי כמובן את אומנות הרחוב, ועוד יותר את הציור ברצפת/תקרת המרפסת.

looks like really interesting city, Maybe will manage to visit one day

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Kaunas – the coolest city in Lithuania

Lithuania must be one of the least known countries in Europe. And when someone eventually visits it most likely it is Vilnius – the beautiful capital (that’s especially the case of Polish people).

But how many of you have actually heard of Kaunas , second biggest and probably the coolest city in Lithuania ?

Visit Kaunas Lithuania

Table of Contents

My first visit to Kaunas

While I’ve been to Vilnius many times that’s where my knowledge of Lithuania ends.

Technically I did visit Kaunas before too but I was only at the New Year’s Eve party at my friend’s brother’s place in the suburbs and we went for a quick walk around the Town Hall Square the next day.

I only remember an original Christmas tree made of plastic from back then.

I felt that Kaunas have a big potential and I wanted to return ever since.

Years have passed when I finally found a really good offer on buses, with the timing perfect for a weekend trip! Needless to say, I’ve bought the ticket right away!

I thought that the end of March will be already a good moment to visit Kaunas, with the spring knocking on the door but well, I was so very wrong!

Visit Kaunas Lithuania

Tricky March weather

As soon as I arrived in Kaunas it started snowing. Like, really snowing!

The center was full of people attending some sort of market – kudos to them for enjoying being outside in such terrible weather.

There was no way I could look around to see what Kaunas is about as the snow was all over my face.

I quickly headed to my accommodation and after small troubles with finding it I finally checked in and called it a day.

It was snowing all evening long, I didn’t even go out to get some food and just stayed inside catching up on tv shows . I was slightly angry and disappointed but that’s the risk you take when traveling in March.

Visit Kaunas Lithuania

Kaunas castle – the oldest in the city

Fortunately the next morning the weather was much better, even if grayish, and I was ready to have the most of the rest of my visit to Kaunas.

As it quickly turned out Kaunas is so much more interesting than I’ve ever expected and I was even afraid the day I have might not be enough to see all that Kaunas has to offer!

Most of the tourist attractions are located within a walking distance which makes Kaunas sightseeing so much easier.

I started in the Old Town, as that’s where my accommodation was located anyway and it was just convenient to move onwards from the confluence of Nemunas and Neris – two largest rivers in Lithuania that happen to meet in the heart of Kaunas.

That’s also where the castle is located – the oldest building in the city and the first stone castle in Lithuania. It dates back to the 14th century and at some point, it could have been an impressive structure but not anymore.

Only a small part remained to our times, now it hosts the city gallery and is often the venue for cultural events.

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The heart of Old Town Kaunas

From the castle, it’s only a few steps to the City Hall Square with the City Hall itself standing proudly in the middle.

Locals call it The White Swan for its tall and slim structure and it really is a gem of the renaissance architecture.

The square is surrounded by small pastel houses and – on the contrary – massive churches.

Altogether the place looks really nice and I can only imagine how great it must be there in the spring or summer time when you can chill out at the outdoor cafes during long, warm evenings.

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Best view of Kaunas

The best view of the Old Town and its numerous church towers can be seen from the Aleksotas Hill.

You just have to cross the bridge over Nemunas river and you are at the lower station of the funicular, opened in 1935 (Kaunas is the only city in Lithuania that has funiculars, even two of them!).

Unfortunately, during my visit, this railway was not operating but the hill isn’t that high so going up there wasn’t so much of the deal.

And the view from there was really amazing, worth all the effort. Everything was covered with a thin layer of snow which even added up to the atmosphere.

The interesting fact is that until the year 1918 Kaunas was a border city and this very part already belonged to the Kingdom of Poland !

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The edgy side of the Kaunas Old Town

I returned to the Old Town and joined the crowds on Vilniaus – the main pedestrian street. It got the name after the capital of Lithuania as it used to be the beginning of the long way from Kaunas to Vilnius .

The street is packed with interesting architecture but since it was also packed with people very quickly I started just wandering in the backstreets. They were often not so pretty anymore but they definitely had this cool, edgy vibe around.

The layer of paint was often scratched to unveil bare bricks. The place was also full of street art in the most unexpected places!

This was when I started really falling for Kaunas and the more I explored, the stronger my affection was!

Kaunas street art

Cool, alternative Kaunas

The Old Town very smoothly changes into the Center. That’s where you can see one of the greatest murals I’ve ever seen – a girl on the pony that looks like it’s painted with crayons! So beautiful!

But the center of Kaunas hides numerous cool, alternative and quirky spots, I was over the moon when I was trying to chase them all and randomly kept finding even more hidden attractions.

Like the courtyard on Ozeskienes street, close to the synagogue.

At first there you see just a Charlie Chaplin painted on the wall but when you go further you find so many little quirks you don’t know where to look!

But the weirdest of all must be the Devils’ Museum . Unfortunately, it was closed on Sunday but just the sound of it seems crazy enough for me and the museum itself is the reason why I know I will return to Kaunas soon!

Kaunas street art

Kaunas modernism

Did you know that Kaunas has one of the greatest collection of interwar architecture – modernism ?

After the WW1 Kaunas was temporary the capital of Lithuania, that’s when the city grew and the new buildings appeared especially in the center.

It was a way to create a new look of the place, the architecture was based on the national identity, emphasizing the importance of Kaunas.

The Zaliakalnis Funicular, even older than Aleksotas one, can take you to the Christ’s Resurrection Church – the most spectacular modernist building in the whole Lithuania if not all of the Baltic countries.

And it really is impressive, you can see it from more or less everywhere in the city and well, taking a picture of this church isn’t such an easy task.

It is very likely that Kaunas modernism will be rewarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site title and I support these efforts as the place definitely deserves this award!

Make sure to give yourself some time when you visit Kaunas, to discover Kaunas modernism – it’s definitely worth it!

Kaunas modernism

Laisvės alėja – the salon of Kaunas

The core of the center is 2kms long Laisvės alėja running from the Old Town all the way to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel and the nearby park (with the small mosque!).

It’s all pedestrian, very neat and some of the fancy shops, cafes, restaurants, and most important institutions.

Laisvės alėja is like the runway of the city, it’s worth to be seen there and you go there to see others.

It’s the best to do some people watching from one of the cozy cafes here, that’s what I did when I was done with exploring Kaunas. And it was the perfect ending of my weekend there!

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Is it worth to visit Kaunas?

I went to visit Kaunas totally unprepared, I literally knew nothing about the city.

Even if the weather wasn’t really on my side on this weekend Kaunas still managed to intrigue me and made me itch for more.

I thought that 2 days will be more than enough there yet I’ve left with a feeling there are still so many places I need to see in Kaunas!

I’ve been a huge fan of Vilnius as it is this alternative, quirky capital but now I can see it has strong competition. I can’t decide which city is actually cooler and I slightly lean towards Kaunas, to be honest.

So whenever I have a chance I will head back to visit Kaunas to fall for it even more!

Visit Kaunas Lithuania

Travel Resources

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking . They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Kaunas

Never travel without travel insurance , you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Lithuania here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here .

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34 Comments

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stacjabalkany

Powiem Ci, że ja także od jakiegoś czasu zamierzam wybrać się na Litwę, a ponieważ nie lubię stolic to chodzi mi po głowie właśnie Kowno i myślę że jak będzie ciepło to musi ono faktycznie być piękne:)

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Do Wilna też trzeba obowiązkowo jechać! Niby stolica, ale zupełnie nie sprawia takiego wrażenia, bardzo kameralnie tam jest. A Kowno w ciepłym sezonie musi być fantastyczne, polecam bardzo!!

Kurde tylko kiedy na to czas:)? Już mam kalendarz zapełniony praktycznie do sierpnia…a kiedy jeszcze bloga pisać?

a to blog jest priorytetem ;) ? świat się nie zawali jak będziesz miał opóźnienie w pisaniu, ja o Kownie po roku w końcu napisałam. U mnie nawet lepiej, cały rok mam już praktycznie zaplanowany ;)

no właśnie masz chyba rację:) priorytetem ma być moje własne chyba szczęście z podróżowania a nie brak zaległości na bogu:)

każdy priorytety ustawia sobie sam, ale chyba jednak nie blog powinien być najważniejszy ;)

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I think the most interesting thing about Kaunas is its amazing amount of Art Decco. The city really needs to start helping protect more of it. Its a shame that Vilnius sucks up all the Oxygen, because Kaunas needs the love.

Yes! I need to return there for a proper art deco and modernism exploration! This city is such a gem!

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I didn’t know Kaunas, thank you for sharing. Some of these streets with snow falling and people taking a stroll are enough to prove it is worth a visit!

It’s definitely worth it! The city was a huge surprise to me, I’m already thinking of returning!

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Patrząc na tytuł spodziewałem się wpisu o atrakcjach życia nocnego w Kownie. ;) Zręczna gra słów.

przypadkiem wyszło ;)

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I’d love to go to Lithaua some day! Seems very nice.

It is lovely! I hope you will have a chance to visit it soon!

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David Amando Trombetta

I loved Kaunas, it was my favorite city in Lithuania! Vilnius was very European and too modern for me and Kaunas is a great mix and has a bit from everything that’s why I liked it more! –

Kami and the rest of the world

I always loved Vilnius but then I visited Kaunas and I’m not that sure about Vilnius anymore ;)

Jamie Polivka

I need to go to Kaunas!! Get well soon!

Thank you! Kaunas is really great!

Katarzyna Koźlikowska

No właśnie coś słyszałam o jakimś wirusie… Zdrowiej! A Kowno zrobiło na mnie bardzo pozytywne wrażenie – byłam kiedyś pod koniec czerwca. I bardzo przyjemnie jedzie się stamtąd do Wilna. ;)

dzięki, już jest zdecydowanie lepiej, ale jeszcze mam godzine żeby zdecydować co robię ;) A Kowno naprawdę wielkie zaskoczenie, bardzo fajne miasto!

Lecebochce.pl - blog podróżniczy

Kowno zawsze kojarzyło nam się z miastem, w którym nic nie ma (byliśmy dwa razy przejazdem). Będzie trzeba to zweryfikować:)

to jak można uważać, że nic nie ma skoro się tylko przejazdem było :) ? Zdecydowanie trzeba to zweryfikować!

Kami and the rest of the world Zawsze się ma jakieś wyobrażenie:)

Evi Mielczarek

Zawsze można znaleźć coś ciekawego, choć akurat w Kownie o to nie trudno! Cudowne miasteczko, idealne na weekend!

Mark Davies

Loved Kaunas, we stayed at R hostel for 4 nights and really enjoyed. Went to the open air museum of the countryside which is a couple of buses away but worth it

I didn’t know about the museum! Thank you for telling me, I will do my best to check it next time I’m there!

There is a great project – Nykoka (the website – nykoka.lt – has a map with most of the Kaunas murals). Also Kiemo galerija – it’s near Laisvės al., you will see Chaplin’s mural beside the entrance. A lot of little streetart projects are done all over city centre. If you need specific addresses – drop me a PM, will mark it on map ;)

I’m so sorry for my late answer, I swear I already wrote back so something must have gone wrong… Anyway, thank you for the tip about the street art map! I’m actually hoping to go back to Kaunas next month so it will be very useful! I’ve discovered Kiemo galerija by accident but loved it! If you have time I’d love you to mark some of the best spots in Kaunas for my next trip there. Thank you so much!!

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Thank you for the information! How many days would you recommend between Kaunas and Vilnius?

I think 2 days in each city should be enough to see the best attractions. And in Vilnius make sure to go for at least half a day to Trakai, it’s so interesting!

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Stan Pleskunas

Thanks for the information. Going to Lithuania for the 1st time in September 2019. As a Lithuanian-American, I am looking forward to using your suggestions to plan our trip.

I’m sure you will have a great time Stan! Enjoy Lithuania!

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Jaiven's Travel Blog

You captured Kaunas very well. I had a similar experience too – jumping in without expecting much, being so surprised by its many murals and edgy hipster vibe. Well worth a visit. #Kaunas ! :)

Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed Kaunas too, it’s such a great city!

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The Top 10 Things to See and Do in Kaunas, Lithuania

Panorama of Kaunas from Aleksotas hill, Lithuania

No trip to Lithuania would be complete without visiting Kaunas, the country’s second largest city and former temporary capital. Kaunas boasts some beautiful architecture, kooky museums, and historically important sites, making any trip worthwhile. Visitors can easily reach Kaunas from Vilnius via a quick an inexpensive train ride, making it an easy, educational, and fun day trip.

Laisves aleja (freedom avenue).

The main shopping avenue in Kaunas, Laisves al., is a lovely tree-lined pedestrian street flanked by shops, cafés, and restaurants. Visitors will find some of the best cafés and restaurants along this street including Green Cafe and Spurgine . Additionally along Laisves pr., visitors will note the large St. Michael the Archangel Church, which is a Russian Orthodox Church formerly used by the Soviet army, located in a small square.

Green Cafe, Laisvės al. 46, Kaunas, Lithuania , +370 612 44335

Spurgine, Laisvės al. 84, Kaunas 44250, Lithuania , +370 37 200355

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Kaunas’ stunning medieval old town holds rather different architecture than what can be found in Vilnius’ old town . Historically, Kaunas was important as a trade center during the times of the Hanseatic League, thus many buildings in the old town have touches of German architectural influence. Additionally, Kaunas faced less destruction during Soviet times, so more of the old architecture is original, especially when compared with Vilnius. The most beautiful street in the old town is Vilniaus gatve. To reach the old town from Laisves pr. and the new part of the city, visitors will need to use an underground passage, which is quite difficult to access with strollers.

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1. Town Hall Square

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Kauno Rotuse | © Creative / Wikimedia Commons

2. Santakos Park

Santakos Parkas

3. Ninth Fort

Memorial, Museum

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9th Fort | © mantas j photography / Flickr

4. Devil's Museum

Devils Museum, Kaunas

5. Kaunas Castle

Park, Ruins

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Kaunas Castle | © Wojsyl / Wikimedia Commons

6. Pazaislis Monastery

Church, Monastery

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Pazaislis Monastery, Kaunas | © DAVID ILIFF / Wikimedia Commons

7. Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul

Interior of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul

8. Vytautas the Great Church

View of Vytautas the Great Church

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23 Amazing Things to Do in Kaunas Lithuania (2024) – The Ultimate Bucket List!

By: Author Sophie Pearce

Posted on Last updated: January 1, 2024

Categories KAUNAS , LITHUANIA

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

The city of Kaunas really surprised me on my travels through Lithuania. It was quirky, bohemian, historical and somewhere unlike anywhere else! 

It was truly unique and there is so much more to it than what meets the eye. Every street corner had a different story to tell.

So, if you’re looking for unusual things to do in Kaunas, I think you’re going to be spoiled for choice here. 

From breathtaking street art, the cobbled streets of the old town, ancient castles and even a Devil museum (yep!); make sure you schedule enough time to enjoy what Kaunas has to offer.

Here is the ultimate Kaunas bucket list!

The Quaint Kaunas Old Town

Is Kaunas worth visiting?

100% YES! I have to admit that I was on the fence at first. I wasn’t sure if a day trip to Kaunas was worth it with my limited time in Lithuania.

But, I’m SO happy I made the decision to go. The city was friendly, vibrant and just singular. 

Plus, there is loads of things to do in Kaunas too which is always a winner for me. 

So, if you are on the fence. I would say have a look at this list and if anything inspires you, GO! It’s only 90 minutes from Vilnius by train, so it’s easily doable on a self guided day trip. 

Rainbow Cabin Kaunas | Street Art In Kaunas

How to get from Vilnius to Kaunas

If you don’t have a car, there are some great and efficient public transport services that can get you around Lithuania. It’s a small country so many of the large cities and attractions are never more than a few hours travel away. 

Kaunas is Lithuania’s second-largest city and can be accessed in around 90 minutes if you’re travelling from Vilnius. Making it a great choice for a day trip;

Vilnius to Kaunas by train

I loved the train service in Lithuania. The official railway booking site was in English, easy to use and I had my online tickets with a QR code in minutes. The conductor just scans it on his way through the carriage. 

Plus, the trains were really fancy. My train to Kaunas was a double-decker (we don’t have these in the UK so I was really excited) and I paid the 1 Euro extra for the upper class, bargain! 

My ticket to Kaunas cost around 5.40 Euros each way. Paying extra for the upper class is so worth it for more space, peace and quiet, plug sockets, and FREE WiFi!

Click here to book train tickets, or check railway times and prices.

Vilnius to Kaunas Train in Lithuania

Vilnius to Kaunas by bus 

I didn’t go by bus as this was going to take around 2 hours and I had limited time in the city. 

It was also double the price of a train ticket and cost around 9 Euros each way. This didn’t make a lot of sense when I could go quicker on first class on the train. 

The Vilnius central train and bus station are inches away from each other. So, if the train is full or you missed one, just hop on a bus! 

You can see the official Lithuanian bus website here.

Bus from Vilnius to Trakai

23 amazing things to do in Kaunas 

Like I said, if you’re here on a day trip, you will truly be spoiled for choice. There are just SO many things to do in Kaunas, you may need more than one day to look around. 

But, I found I could see quite a lot with just one day if I left early enough from Vilnius and planned my time right.

I also visited in winter with limited daylight, so if you went in the spring or summer months you could experience even more (with better weather lol)! 

#Kaunas Sign Outside Kaunas Castle

1. Go on a Kaunas FREE walking tour 

As if by fate, I had planned my day trip to Kaunas on a Saturday. I was recommended to book a free walking tour of Kaunas with Vilnius by Locals that only happens there once a week!

As I only had one day in the city, this was the perfect introduction and it didn’t disappoint. 

Despite it being one of the windiest and coldest days in winter, our guide was funny, professional and so knowledgeable about the city and its attractions. 

Kaunas Free Walking Tour Vilnius with Locals

What was meant to be a 2-hour walking tour turned into 4 with a coffee break to defrost! We had a great group and we really got to cover a lot of ground in the city learning all the stories behind the buildings, history, and street art as we went!

I couldn’t recommend this walking tour enough so if you do find yourself here on a weekend, make sure you book onto it.

Like with any ‘free’ walking tour, donations are expected at the end to tip the guide on what you thought the tour was worth. I promise you, you won’t regret a thing. It’s excellent. 

Click here to book a FREE walking tour of Kaunas

Kaunas Free Walking Tour | Things to do in Kaunas

2. Admire Kaunas Castle 

Having been to Trakai Castle in Lithuania, I have to admit, Kaunas castle didn’t impress me as much as all that. But, it is still a beautiful building that you can visit in the Old Town.

This medieval castle was built in the 14th century and is one of the first brick castles in Lithuania. It was unique in the way it had two defense walls to protect against crusaders.

However, people still aren’t completely sure who ordered the construction. In 1408, it lost its status when the city was granted Magdeburg rights, and the town moved the infrastructure to the Town Hall Square.

Kaunas Castle | Things to do in Kaunas

In the 16th century, Kaunas castle became a prison and supposedly the souls of those prisoners still haunt this castle by night. So, watch out if you’re visiting after dark! If ghosts are your thing there’s an awesome Kaunas Ghost Walk you can book .

It has a small museum and art gallery inside where you can learn more about Kaunas in medieval times.

While you’re here check out “the Soldier of Freedom” sculpture and Santaka Park which is nicknamed the ‘heart of Kaunas’. This park has many attractions including a Pagan sacrifice monument and a Bernardine Monastery.

Check the official Kaunas Castle site for prices and opening times as they vary throughout the year.

The Soldier of Freedom statue Kaunas Castle

3. Visit the Ninth Fort of Kaunas Fortress

Although a little way out of the main city of Kaunas, The Ninth Fort is something I would encourage every tourist to visit.

It tells a dark story, about the Russian Empire and Lithuanians being forced into hard labour camps.

It’s also the location of the massacre of 50,000 Jewish nationals during World War II.

The museum is split into two sections. The first goes through the history of the fort and how it played a role in the occupation of Lithuania by the Russians, Soviet and Nazi’s. 

The Ninth Fort of Kaunas Fortress

Then the hardest part is walking through the Ninth Fort of Kaunas itself. It really gave me the chills and was quite difficult to process the tragedies that took place inside the walls of the fort. At many points I was in tears, it broke my heart. 

Although it is painful, it’s also necessary to learn about these atrocities so they don’t repeat themselves. So, I found it a very powerful and enlightening museum. 

It will take around an hour by bus to reach the fort from Kaunas city, so I got a Bolt taxi which took 20 minutes from the train station. 

Tickets 3 Euros for a self-guided tour and you’ll need at least 2 hours to read all the exhibits. Check the official website for opening times and guided tours.

Ninth Fort of Kaunas Fortress

4. Pop inside St Michael’s the Archangel Church

If you’re staying in Vilnius, you will have already experienced the fact that churches seem to be on every street corner. 

Although Kaunas doesn’t have as many churches, the ones they do have are incredible! If you’re starting your Old Town Kaunas journey, I would recommend visiting this gorgeous building at the top of Freedom Avenue. 

We started our free walking tour there, so we learned a lot about the fact that it was built in 1891 in the Neo-Byzantine style as an Orthodox Church. It was originally built by the Russian Empire for use by the Garrison of Kaunas Fortress. 

During the Soviet Union, this church was transformed into an art gallery and, after the Lithuanian independence, became a Roman Catholic Church. Locals call it Soboras.

You’ll notice how they didn’t change the architecture from an Orthodox Church but simply changed the crucifixes to Catholic ones. I guess it saved money and time!

If you have time, I would recommend popping your head in to have a look. It’s really beautiful and peaceful inside.  

St. Michael the Archangel Church, Kaunas | Things to do in Kaunas

5. Take a stroll through Kaunas Old Town 

I loved the Old Towns in Lithuania. They were colourful, quaint, have lots of character and Kaunas is no exception for that. 

The first thing you may notice about Kaunas Old Town is the way that most buildings are quite short. Well, the reason why is that there was a rule years ago that the town could not build more than two floors per building! 

The cobbled streets in the area will lead you straight to the Town Hall and Kaunas Castle. During this time you’ll pass adorable boutiques, inviting cafés and restaurants dotted along the strip.

Have a lookout for the interesting architecture here. There are lots of different historical styles and church spires. Plus, some interesting statues that tell a story (more on that below). You could spend hours getting lost! 

Kaunas Old Town | Things to do in Kaunas

6. Kaunas Town Hall Square

As I was visiting Kaunas at Christmas, I chose a pretty special time of year to visit. The Town Hall had the most fantastic Christmas tree right in the middle of the square with festive market stalls surrounding it. 

Apparently, the main cities of Lithuania try to have a little competition with each other of who can have the best Christmas tree. I hate to say it Vilnius, but Kaunas killed it!

They concentrated their tree this year on sustainability and so all the decorations on the tree were from recycled materials. As well as the tree, there were egg chairs and all sorts of photo-worthy spots. Even Santa was there to greet everyone. 

Kaunas in Winter | Kaunas at Christmas

Of course, during the rest of the year, the Kaunas Town Hall is also a highlight of any visit. The gleaming white building makes a statement in the square and even looks like a church when you first see it!

The peachy-pink church at the back is the Church of Francis Xavier and was built in the 17th century by the Jesuits. 

If you’re feeling like you need a break this is a good spot as there are many cafés and restaurants in this area, if a little overpriced for the location.

Kaunas Christmas Tree | Christmas in Kaunas

7.  Kaunas Cathedral Basilica of St Peter & St Paul 

Just beyond the Town Hall Square is the Kaunas Cathedral Basilica. It doesn’t look so impressive from the outside (almost severe in fact) but when you go inside you’ll see what the fuss is all about. 

Despite the fact that it was nighttime and it was under construction when I visited, it still took my breath away!

This Gothic church was built sometime in the 15th century although the exact date is unknown. Many pilgrims visit this church today to catch a glimpse of the 16th-century painting of Our Lady of Sorrows. 

The entry to the church is FREE but donations are accepted. When I popped in they were practicing with an organ for performance and the acoustics were epic. It really gave the place an atmosphere.

8. Visit Kiemo Galerija – The Courtyard Gallery 

Kaunas has a plethora of Street Art and even its own street art festival. But, if you’re on limited time and just want to get a flavour then stop by the Kiemo Galerija or the Court Yard Gallery.

This Street Art Yard was one of my favourite places in the whole city and really defies the concept of a traditional gallery or reality itself!

It was originally set up by Vytenis Jakas when he moved into the area and was annoyed about the lack of community spirit. 

He felt that modernisation is alienating neighbourhoods and so asked his neighbours for their stories and photos of residents who used to live there.

Kiemo Galerija | Street Art in Kaunas

Then, Kiemo Galerija was born! Not only does it have quirky, colourful, and thought-provoking artwork, it also has exhibits you can get involved in too. 

My favourite piece was the cat on the window sill, who keeps an eye on everyone and makes sure they don’t litter! 

The Street Art Yard is FREE to visit and open to the public 24 hours a day. If you would like to read a whole guide about how to find it and what to expect, click here

Cat in Kiemo Galerija Kaunas Street Art Yard, Best street Art in Kaunas

9. Or…check out the plethora of quirky Kaunas Street Art 

Ever since it was illegal in the Soviet Era, Kaunas has spoken in their unique voice with street art. But, now since the NYKOKA Street Art Festival, it has taken over the city!

You can almost find captivating street art on every corner of Kaunas which is what makes the city so unique. 

I loved the fact that Kaunas made a lot of these pieces legal and celebrates street artists in the city. Some of the pieces are loved so much, people refuse to let them be taken down!

Street Art in Kaunas | Wise Old Man (Master)

If you’re up for a bit of an adventure, make sure you pick up their “Wallographer Notes” Map in the Kaunas Visitor Centre. Or, download a copy online here.

Not only does this give you a tourist-friendly map of where to find the most famous work, it also gives you a little backstory and the artist’s name. A revelation that usually I don’t see in most cities.

From Pink Elephants, Unicorns, Princesses on Horses, Old men smoking pipes, even Polar bears and cats – you will find endless artwork. 

If you loved any of the pieces in the city, you can buy souvenirs of your favourites from the visitor centre or online too . Such a cool idea! I loved the Kaunas Cat so I bought a pin badge as a keepsake. 

Read more: Where to find the best street art in Kaunas

Contemporary Ladies Street Art Kaunas

10. Be amazed by the world’s only Devil Museum 

As soon as I heard that there was a Devil Museum in Kaunas, I was in. I mean it’s not every day that you get to visit a museum to learn about lucifer!

In fact, it’s unique as it’s the worlds only Devil museum that has over 3,000 artefacts of Satan.

The collections are mainly attributed to Antanas Žmuidzinavičius (1876–1966) who was a famous Lithuanian painter, professor and public speaker. As part of the museum you can see his paintings and a reconstruction of his workshop too. 

The museum covers a few floors and has some interesting displays from all over the world. I found it fascinating to learn about the legends and superstitions that different countries have about the Devil too. 

This museum also has a tradition in the way you can gift your own devil to them! So, if you did happen to have your own Devil statue, t-shirt, or trinket. Bring it over and you may see it on display.

I bought my own little wooden devil from the museum for 1 Euro. It was so cute! See the official website for opening days and times.

Read more reasons to visit the Devil Museum in my guide here

Things to do in Kaunas | Kaunas Devil Museum

11. Feel like you’re in Hogwarts at the House of Perkunas (Thunder House)

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you may like to visit the House of Perkunas on Aleksoto gatve. Of course, it wasn’t actually used in the movies but it did remind me of a building in Hogwarts!

The house is named after the Perkunas, the Pagan God of Thunder. There is a legend surrounding the naming of the building that when they were demolishing a wall they found a statue of Perkunas during the renovations. 

The brass statue fell from the wall onto the ground and they decided to rename the building entirely after that. 

But, research suggests this was built by the Hanseatic League in the 15th century for commercial trade. Then was sold off to the Jesuits and a chapel was established there.

Not so romantic as the Thunder God, but I guess we can still imagine! 

They do run guided tours of the house for 3 Euro’s. See the official website for details.

House of Perkunas Kaunas

12. Check out the awesome statues around Kaunas 

As well as amazing street art walls, there are also a number of interesting statues dotted around Kaunas each with their own story. 

These statues and objects can also be found on the “Wallographers” Notes map from the Visitor Centre.

There are hundreds of statues, but these are some of my favourites;

Boy on a Bike

This statue looks sweet on the surface but also comes with an important story. Years ago, Vilnius street in Kaunas used to lead straight to the capital.

But, with urban development the street changed and buildings were built over the original road. So, the dog is trying to warn the boy about the change.

Will the boy see the wall before it’s too late? I guess that’s for you to decide.

Boy on a Bike Statue Kaunas

Star Seeder

This was originally an illegal piece of artwork, made on a statue outside of the Kaunas War Museum. But, it won a competition and was loved so much it was revived!

Star Seeder sees the statue of a man sowing seeds also become a star seeder by night. You have to check it out after the sun goes down. 

Star Seeder Kaunas

This little guy in a rabbit suit may be hard to notice as you go under the subway into the Old Town. But, he’s here with an important message.

Many people go about their day rushing, worrying, and stressing.

Zen Rabbit is here to remind us to be in the present moment, take it slow, and enjoy where we are. 

Zen Rabbit Kaunas Statue

13. Learn some history at the Vytautas the Great War Museum

This Art Deco and Functionalist building was originally established in 1921. But, it moved to a larger location for the 500th anniversary of Vytautas the Great in 1930, hence the name. 

It’s a huge museum that has exhibits covering the history of Lithuania from pre-historic times through to today. 

The history of Lithuania is an endless tale of occupation, war, and control, so you can find some exhibitions about the many battles of the country too.

If you didn’t fancy going inside, I would still recommend visiting the outside of the museum in the Square of Unity. 

Here you can find many interesting statues (including the Star Seeder) and an eternal flame in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with carved crosses in memory.

Vytautas the Great War Museum | Things to do in Kaunas

14. Try some Lithuanian Cuisine at Etno Dravas 

If you’re looking for somewhere that sells traditional Lithuanian food in Kaunas, Etno Dravas is a good bet. There is one in the Town Hall square. 

It’s famous for its Cepelinai or Lithuanian Potato Dumplings and has an extensive choice. Warning the are HUGE, almost the size of jacket potato. I ordered one as a starter and regretted it haha.

As well as that, they serve up Beetroot soup (Saltibarsciai), potato pancakes (bulviniai blynai), herring, steak dishes, and more traditional foods to try.

Another recommended restaurant was Berneliu Uzeiga but it was completely reserved for the evening. I also found the waitress incredibly abrupt, but that’s common in Lithuanian hospitality!

Etno Dravas Dumplings | Where to eat in Vilnius

15. Ride to Žaliakalnis Hill in Lithuania’s oldest Funicular 

Did you know that Kaunas is home to Lithuanias first Funicular?! Built in 1931 for pilgrims who couldn’t walk to Christ’s Resurrection Church on a green hill. Or, didn’t want to in the cold!

It costs 1 Euro each way and the yellow cars will climb up the hill around 140 metres up the hill.  When you reach the top, the views from the top of Žaliakalnis Hill or “Green Hill” are spectacular. 

From here you can visit the Kaunas Ressurection Church (more below).

If you’re hungry for another viewpoint you may be interested to know there are actually two funiculars in the city. Aleksotas Funicular opened up in 1935 and runs from Vytautas the Great Bridge to Aleksotas hill. 

The panorama from up there gives some spectacular views of the Old Town. So, if you have time for both, it’s worth it for photo opportunities. 

Žaliakalnis Funicular Kaunas | Things to do in Kaunas

16. Visit Christ’s Resurrection Church

Once you reach the top of Žaliakalnis Hill on the Funicular, you must head on over to the Resurrection church. 

Or, if you’re feeling like some exercise you can climb up here the traditional way by the steep stairs. 

This Roman Catholic Church is the largest Basilica church in the Baltics. As well as its architecture the church has a colourful story. 

The construction started in 1934 and was declared a masterpiece of modern architecture. Approximately 1 million litas were spent to build the church.

Unfortunately, in the Soviet Era it was confiscated by the government. Stalin decreed that it would be used as a factory and the crucifix and any religious parts of this building were taken down. 

It was then used as a radio factory until Lithuanian independence. Once the awakening happened it then switched hands back to a church. 

Funding was brought in to reconstruct it to its original glory and it was then consecrated in 2004. As well as being a religious house today, it’s used for community gatherings. 

On your visit, you can climb up its 70 metre high observation tower and get some spectacular views of the whole city!

17. M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum

Another functionalist building, this Art Gallery was founded in 1921 and is one of the oldest in Lithuania. It sits directly behind the Vytautas the Great War Museum and opposite the Devil Museum.

M K stands for Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, who is a famous Lithuanian artist, writer and composer. So, the museum is mostly about showcasing his work. But, it does house over 355,000 items from Lithuanian and artists from around the globe.

As well as highlighting M K, they also have international art exhibits, workshops, concerts, lectures and activities for children too. 

Tickets are 5 Euros, see the official website for opening times.

National M K Art Gallery Kaunas

18. Take a bus to the Pažaislis Monastery

I was gutted that I didn’t have enough time to see the Pažaislis Monastery. But, it closed early on a Saturday and it was going to take me another 45 minutes to reach there by bus! So, I put it on the list for next time. 

The famous Pažaislis Monastery is the largest monastery complex in Lithuania and was originally founded in 1662. It is also one of the finest examples of Italian Baroque architecture in the country. 

It was originally built as a Roman Catholic church for the Order of the Camaldolese Hermits by Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac who was a nobleman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. 

Later it was taken over by the Russians and converted to an Orthodox Church in 1832. After World War I, in 1920, the sisters of the Lithuanian convent of St. Casimir restored it back to a Roman Catholic temple. 

Pažaislis Monastery welcomes visitors at all times of the year and is home to the annual Pažaislis Music Festival that lasts for three months in the summer. 

The inside of this church is why I wanted to visit and is meant to be spectacular! So, try and fit it in if you have time. 

You can also get a Bolt taxi over there instead of the local buses which will be quicker. 

Or, book onto a Pažaislis Monastery day tour here.

19. Visit the hidden Church of St. Gertrude

As you’re wandering through the Old Town, you may stumble across the Church of St. Gertrude. It can be found through a gate on Laisves aleja.

The style of this church reminded me of the Church of St Anne in Vilnius as it was built in the same Gothic brickwork style. I later found out it is one of the oldest Brick Gothic churches in Europe. 

The exact date of the church is unknown but historians believe it was built in the early 15th century and it was decreed by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander to be the parish church of Kaunas. 

Many people visit to look upon the ancient The crucifix, one of the most valuable monuments in the city. It’s a little bit hard to locate but when you do find it, it’s spectacular!  

Church of St Gertrude, Things to do in Kaunas

20. Marvel at Kaunas’ Historical Presidential Palace

During the interwar years, when Vilnius was taken over by Poland, Kaunas became the temporary capital of the country. 

So, this Russian imperial building that sat in the Old Town changed face and became the Presidents official office.

It stayed that way until Lithuania lost its independence in 1940 and the ‘last meeting of the government’ was held here before the impending Soviet Rule. 

In 1989, the ownership was transferred to the Vytautas the Great War Museum. Today, the palace acts as a branch of the M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum.

Outside of the palace is a small garden, with some statues of the president during the interwar period and photos of the city during that time. 

Another reason why I loved this little courtyard was the fact in winter they decorated all the trees with colourful lights.

The palace and statues were also lit up in all different colours of the rainbow and it brightened up a rainy winters night!

Historical Presidential Palace

21. Visit the Oldest Church in Kaunas 

Sitting close to the Neman River is the incredible Vytautas the Great Church of the Assumption which is Kaunas’ oldest church. It was built by Vytautas the Great in 1400, for Franciscans monks and foreign traders. 

Vytautas was so convinced that the Blessed Mother Mary saved his life in the battle Vorskla River, he promised to build her a church on the banks of the river. So, he funded it himself. 

As it was so close to the river, there used to be a dock where merchants could sail into and access the church. 

Unfortunately, due to it being so close to the river, it has suffered major flooding over time. It’s also been burned by French troops, closed down by the Russians, served as a military bank, a warehouse, and finally a Roman Catholic Church again.

Vytautas the Great Church | Things to do in Kaunas

22. Go shopping on Freedom Avenue

“Laisvė” in Lithuanian means freedom and you’ll often hear many locals say “let’s meet on freedom” in the city.

During the occupation in Lithuania, the people of Kaunas lost their freedom to talk, to act freely, to live in some cases and this street was once upon a time Tsar Nicholas Avenue or ‘Stalin’s Avenue’. 

So, once Lithuania was granted its independence it was aptly named Freedom Avenue. 

Freedom Avenue Kaunas

Along here you can find the St Michael’s Church and light installations like the one to honour Jan Zwartendijk called “Visas for Life”.

He helped many Jewish people flee the country by securing their visas and passports. In fact, each light in the installation represents one passport of a Jewish family that he saved.

As well as installations, there are plenty of shops and restaurants along this street. So, if you would like to do some shopping or souvenirs then Freedom Avenue is a great choice for that!

Freedom Avenue Kaunas | things to do in Kaunas

23. Sugihara House

Sugihara House is the home of the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who secured transit visa permits for Jews fleeing Lithuania before the Nazi period. 

He collaborated with Jan Zwartendijk and defied orders by issuing permits without a final destination. He did all this before 1940 and is said to have written over 2,000 transit visas by hand, some say he may have written over 10,000. 

Nazi Germany occupied Lithuania the following year and Chiune was thrown from his post. It is thought that during the holocaust over 90% of Jewish people living in Lithuania were murdered.

So, Chiune and Zwartendijk’s efforts and their “visas for life” saved thousands of people who would have otherwise perished. 

He was the only Japanese official to be included in the Righteous Among the Nations (people who risked their lives to help Jewish citizens in World War II) and you can learn about his incredible story at this museum.

Sugihara House is located on Vaižgatvo gatvė and costs 4 Euros to enter. See here for opening times.

Day trips from Kaunas

So, that’s all the things to do in Kaunas but if you’re sticking around for a few days, you may want to organise a day trip from the city to see something new. 

Lithuania is quite a small country, so many of these places are easily accessible in one to two hours;

Rumsiskes Open Air Museum / Folk Museum

Rumsiskes is a traditional Lithuanian Town around 12 miles East of Kaunas. The ethnographic museum here is one of the largest in all of Europe.

In this living museum, you can find traditional houses from the 18th – 20th century, wildlife, and learn about the history of the countryside in Lithuania. See here for more details . 

Or, book a day trip to Rumsiskes here.

Hill of Crosses

One of the most famous attractions in Lithuania is the Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai in the North.

Here, there are thought to be over 250,000 crucifixes which were planted in memory of those deported from Lithuania during the occupation. The monument is meant to be a place of love and hope.

It’s easier to drive there and it will take 2 hours. But, there is an option of a bus to Šiauliai then a taxi. I went with Vilnius City Tours and loved my visit. 

No visit to Lithuania can be complete without the capital. So, if you’ve based yourself in Kaunas, why not pop along for a day trip to Vilnius.

The journey will take around 90 minutes by train and the city has a lot to offer!

See my ULTIMATE Vilnius travel guide here or the top photo spots for more information.

Hill of Crosses Lithuania

How to get around Kaunas 

As I took a free walking tour, I covered most of the city streets on foot.

Everything is easily signposted and the Kaunas Visitor Centre has tourist maps with helpful directions. But, if you need more help, download Google Maps or Maps.Me to your phone.

Uber is not available in Kaunas yet but the competing app Bolt is available. Although, less competition means higher prices, unfortunately! 

There are also trams and buses that run around the city and go to all the attractions on this list and you can look up directions and times on the Trafi App which is popular with locals. 

Kaunas Cat | Street Art In Kaunas

Where to stay in Kaunas 

If you fancy basing yourself in Kaunas for a few days, here are my top picks of hotels to stay at in the area;

  • Budget –  Sports Hostel
  • Midrange –  Ibis Kaunas city centre
  • Luxury –  Europa Royale Kaunas

Insects of Ladislas Starevich Kaunas

Looking for more inspiration for Lithuania? 

I spent a week in Vilnius with Tinggly in their Blogger House and during that time I was able to cover a lot of ground. 

So, I made some detailed guides about Vilnius, Trakai, and even the Hill of Crosses to help you out;

40+ places to visit in Vilnius

A photo guide to Vilnius 

The Instagrammable Love Story Cafe of Vilnius

Gediminas Tower guide

The best places to eat in Vilnius

Republic of Užupis travel guide

How to get to Trakai Castle

Top attractions at Trakai Castle

The best viewpoints in Vilnius

The ultimate guide for Three Crosses Hill

Why you need to visit Vilnius in December 

Trakai Island Castle | things to do in Trakai

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Best things to do in Kaunas Lithuania

Thursday 23rd of February 2023

excellent blog - thanks!

Sophie Pearce

Thanks, David! Glad you enjoyed the post. Happy travels, Sophie x

PAID CONTENT FOR Kaunas IN

How to spend a weekend in Kaunas, Lithuania's vibrant central city

The most central city in Lithuania, Kaunas has remained something of a hidden gem when it comes to weekend city breaks. 

There’s much to be said for taking a turn in the spotlight. Ever since it was launched as a concept in 1985, the role of European Capital of Culture has enabled more than 60 cities to showcase their history, food, art, music, theatre and all-round brilliance to the entire continent. In 2022, the Lithuanian city of Kaunas joins this group, crowning what is already proving to be a fabulous year of celebration in the city.

However, Kaunas was an intriguing travel option long before 2022. The second biggest city in the southernmost Baltic state, it has stood at the heart of Lithuania, on the Nemunas and Neris rivers, for more than a millennium. The lanes of its Old Town proudly retain their medieval heritage and the castle dates to the 14th-century - but Kaunas doesn’t linger in the past. In recent years, the city has developed a distinctive modern and creative identity. 

A two-and-a-half-hour flight from the UK, Kaunas is a refreshing weekend destination for British travellers looking for a new city to explore, whether they want to dine well in the restaurants on Laisves Aleja, admire the region’s unique interwar modernist architecture, or simply revel in the vibrancy of what, since 2015, has been a UNESCO City of Design. You're sure to find yourself feeling the sense of marvel and discovery that locals here have coined simply 'kaunastic'.

Kaunas' Old Town features cafes, castles and the Cathedral-Basilica, an architectural jewel not to be missed. ...

Kaunas' Old Town features cafes, castles and the Cathedral-Basilica, an architectural jewel not to be missed. Its construction is a prime example of Eclecticism, with its Gothic design taking on elements of Renaissance, Baroque and Neogothic styles over the years. 

Day one: enjoy Old Town charm

Start your day by jumping onto the Aleksotas Funicular, an elegant antique that's been whisking passengers up to the top of Aleksotas Hill since 1935. Enjoy panoramic views and a unique perspective of Kaunas’s Old Town before heading down to lose yourself in its cobbled streets and cosy cafes. Top off the morning with a tour of Kaunas Castle, a feast of red brick, with a lone surviving tower standing as a symbol of its former strength.

Pause for lunch at Kaunas’s oldest restaurant, Medziotoju Uzeiga (Hunter’s Inn), which serves a range of hearty stews and fresh fish from a prime position in the Town Hall Square. Once fed, soak up some culture at the M.K.  Č iurlionis National Art Museum , which salutes the eponymous Lithuanian painter and is currently hosting a compelling exhibition by famed contemporary artist William Kentridge.  Or, head to the   Architecture Centre at the Former Central Post in Laisves Aleja, where European Capital of Culture exhibitions such as "1972: Breaking through the wall" provide a glimpse into the darker days of Kaunas' history.

Find a huge range of fine dining opportunities on Laisves Aleja, or sample local craft beer at the likes of Genys Taproom , Laukas , Nuogas  or  Vingių Dubingių .

Craft beer connoisseurs will love exploring Kaunas' many bars and breweries, where great local beers await ...

Craft beer connoisseurs will love exploring Kaunas' many bars and breweries, where great local beers await in unique, understated settings. 

Day two: dive into history

Kaunas is the perfect place to delve deep into the history of Lithuania, the first country to break free from the Soviet Union. A simple six-mile drive (or Bolt journey) to the east of the centre, the Pazaislis Monastery is a 17th-century wonder, perched on the shore of Kaunas Lagoon. The sandy beaches on the church’s doorstep, arguably the city’s prettiest water feature, offer opportunities for swimming and boating.

Dive into a darker side of Kaunas’s past at the Ninth Fort , a prison and labour camp during the Soviet and Nazi occupations, with some harsh tales to tell. East of the centre, Sugihara House is named after heroic Japanese vice-consul Chiune Sugihara, who issued travel visas for Jewish families escaping the Holocaust.

Depending on who’s in town, catch a show at the Zalgiris Arena , the largest venue in the Baltics. This 20,000-capacity arena has hosted gigs by the likes of Muse, Elton John and Sting.

The Pazaislis Monastery is also an award-winning film location - recently appearing in the TV series Catherine ...

The Pazaislis Monastery is also an award-winning film location - recently appearing in the TV series Catherine The Great, starring Helen Mirren.

Day three: explore art and architecture

Kaunas witnessed a huge boom in art deco construction between the two world wars. The Art Deco Museum compellingly dissects the art, furniture and spirit of this time. Elsewhere in the city, as you wander between stops, look out for Kaunas’s impressive street art, with the Wise Old Man mural by the castle a notable example of this. Use the Wallographer’s Notes map to navigate between works, or head to the Yard Gallery to view community street art projects.

Dip into another superb art museum. Kaunas Picture Gallery is running an exhibition by performance artist Marina Abramovic until 31 July, after which the Learning Garden of Freedom – a giant retrospective exhibition by Yoko Ono – will run from 9 September until 4 Dec 2022.

Return to Town Hall Square for one of the many open-air concerts and events taking place throughout the summer months.

As the 2016 UNESCO City of Design, Kaunas has a host of art and design experiences ...

As the 2016 UNESCO City of Design, Kaunas has a host of art and design experiences to enjoy, from interwar modernist architecture to contemporary street art.

Plan your trip

You can fly direct to Kaunas from the UK - via Ryanair ( ryanair.com ; from Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Luton and Stansted) and Wizz Air ( wizzair.com ; Luton). In the city, taxis (including Bolt ), bicycles and e-scooters are plentiful and the centre can easily be explored on foot.

For more information, visit visit.kaunas.lt/en

Follow National Geographic Traveller (UK)  on social media 

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This content is brought to you by the Kaunas NI. It does not necessarily reflect the views of National Geographic, National Geographic Traveller (UK) or its editorial staff.

  • Weekend Breaks
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Eternal Expat

18 Things to Do in Kaunas Lithuania

By: Author Laura Bronner

Posted on Last updated: August 16, 2022

18 Things to Do in Kaunas Lithuania

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There are so many things to do in Kaunas Lithuania that you won’t want to miss on a trip to this country.

I am a short two-hour drive from Kaunas and since moving to Lithuania I will find any excuse to visit.

While Vilnius has plenty to do and tons of great restaurants , there’s something about second cities like Melbourne or Osaka or Guadalajara that I really love.

When a country has a huge city that gets all of the tourists and sees more of the international limelight, these second cities get a chance to figure out exactly who they want to be and there’s a soul about them that draws me in. 

Kaunas is one of those cities. It has unique museums, a beautiful pedestrian street in the new town, a stunning old town that has recently received a huge facelift. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe and the rest of the world is starting to notice.

It has been named the European Capital of Culture in 2022 and after visiting a few times, I can see why. Here are all the best things to do in Kaunas and more importantly, why I think you should add Kaunas to your Lithuania itinerary.

Getting to Kaunas Lithuania

Getting to Kaunas is very easy if you are coming from Vilnius. 

There are direct trains and buses all day long between the two cities and it only takes about an hour.

If you want to take the train, you can pre-book your tickets here (although it isn’t any cheaper than buying them at the train station). This is also the best website to use for checking train times. 

If you want to travel by bus, it tends to take about the same amount of time and cost slightly more. You can book bus tickets ahead of time on Lithuania’s bus app ( Google Play here and Apple App Store here ).

This app also tells you what bus companies are available, how long it will take, how much the ticket will cost, and the timetable for all of the buses.

street art with polar bear on it

Some of the cool street art you will see around Kaunas as you explore it.

If you are planning to visit Kaunas from outside of Lithuania, there is an airport here (code: EYKA or KUN). There are daily Ryanair and Wizz Air flights available to tons of different cities around Europe.

The main hubs that I’ve seen offered most days of the week are London, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Dublin.

Once you arrive at the Kaunas airport you can catch a bus to the city center. The city bus is the 29G and runs once an hour. You can see the timetable here . The bus tickets cost €1. 

Where to Stay in Kaunas

There are tons of great serviced apartments and cute hotels in Kaunas. You get a lot for your money in this Lithuanian city and thankfully it’s very easy to get around, so anywhere within the downtown area is a great location to stay.

These are some of my favorite hotels in Kaunas.

apartment in Kaunas Lithuania with couch and mirror on the wall

The living room in one of the Luxury Flats that we stayed in. I loved the fun and slightly over the top decor.

  • Boheme House – This boutique hotel is locally owned and operated. It is without a doubt the best boutique hotel I have found in Lithuania. If you want artist architecture, thoughtful touches, beautiful decor, an outstanding breakfast, and a seriously comfortable place to rest your head each night, then book a night at Boheme House. On top of that, it’s also located right in the heart of the old town, so you can walk absolutely everywhere. Rooms start at €80 per night. Book a stay at Boheme Hotel here .
  • Four Luxury Flats – The value for money of these apartments in Kaunas Old Town is absolutely outstanding. You are a few minutes in either direction of museums, cafes, restaurants, and fantastic bars (of which there are many in Kaunas, see below). For less than €50 a night, you get a full kitchen, living room and TV, plush bed, and plenty of tea and coffee for your stay. I stay here regularly when I visit Kaunas because you can’t beat the price for what you’re getting. Book a stay at the Luxury Flats here .
  • Art & Comfort Rooms – This is the best budget hotel in town in my personal opinion. You get a beautiful room and private bathroom inside an apartment with a shared kitchen. The apartment has three separate rooms and each one is fully contained other than the kitchen. Check-in is a breeze and the place is absolutely spotless. Rooms start at under €30 a night. Book a stay at Art & Comfort Rooms here .

bike trail over a bridge surrounded by trees

Riding bikes seems to be one of the best ways that locals get around Kaunas. I would love to have bikes and take some of these trails the next time I visit!

Getting Around Kaunas Lithuania

Getting around Kaunas is incredibly easy. The city is quite small and very walkable. Most of the streets and areas that you’ll want to visit on a short trip to Kaunas are pedestrian streets. 

If you want to get to some of these places that are slightly further away or you don’t feel like walking anymore you have a few options.

You can take the bus or tram. There are tons of buses and trams (really they’re electric buses) that skirt the city and they are all less than €1 each. The best way to learn the timetable is through the Trafi App. I’ve talked about this in my guides to Vilnius , but the Trafi App shows you all of the different buses you can take based on where you currently are and where you want to go. It tells you the times of each one and when one is due to arrive.

To book your bus tickets, however, you’ll need a different app (I know, it’s kind of annoying). The app that you use in Kaunas to pay for the bus is called Žiogas. You can download it from the Google Play Store here or the Apple App Store here .

This is a great app to use if you plan to be in Kaunas for a week or more because you can also use it to get week or month bus passes which will save you plenty if you are taking the bus every day.

If you are going further afield, you can also use the Bolt App. This is like Uber in many countries. It’s a taxi app where you enter your current location and the location of your destination. You are linked up with a driver, they pick you up and then take you to your requested destination. You pay directly through the App. They also have Bolt Food if you want to order takeout to be delivered to your hotel.

street art on a building of a man smoking a very large pipe

This is one of the most famous street art pieces that you’ll discover in Kaunas. It’s located right near the Kaunas Castle.

Awesome Things to Do in Kaunas Lithuania

These are just some of the amazing things to do in Kaunas. If you have more time you can explore further afield to places like Kedainiai , Marijampole , or Birštonas . 

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This list of things to do in Kaunas will keep you busy for several days. 

Click on the Google location linked at the bottom of each description to see its location, opening hours, and to mark it on your map for easy access while traveling around the city.

1. St. Michael the Archangel’s Church (Šv. Arkangelo Mykolo bažnyčia Soboras)

The St. Michale the Archangel’s Church is the centerpiece of the city as you walk in from the bus or train station. You’ll see it from most angles as you explore the new town and it is the start of the city’s pedestrian street, Laisvės Alėja.

The church was built between 1891 and 1895, when Lithuania was part of the Russian Empire. It was built in the Neo-Byzantine style and was used as a Russian Orthodox Church for military service members.

Large St Michael's church in Kaunas

St. Michael’s Church is quite a grand building and definitely grabs your attention whenever you spot it. Of course, everything looks better against blue skies!

 After World War I, it was converted into a Catholic Church until Lithuania once again fell into the hands of the Soviets. During the Soviet Occupation, the church was used as an art gallery until once again it could be converted back into a Catholic Church, which is what you see when you visit today.

See the location on Google here .

2. Walk Along Laisvės Alėja and Vilniaus Gatvė

Once you’ve visited St. Michael’s Church, you can take a walk down the city’s main boulevard which is completely closed to cars.

If you are walking away from the church, the right side is mostly used as a bike lane while the middle and left sides are wide open for pedestrians (and sometimes those electric scooters).

Along Laisvės Alėja, you will spot cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops. A few that I love are the Genys Tap Room and RePUBlic No. 1 . Both have a nice selection of drinks and a great atmosphere. 

You’ll also find Green Cafe who are roasting their own coffee beans and serving up delicious pastries. 

You can take this street all the way down until it meets Vilniaus Gatvė. This is the pedestrian street that will take you through the city’s stunning Old Town. Recently completely dug up and relayed (during 2021), the street has been given a total facelift.

This is where you can begin your walk through the city’s history and see some of the nicest architecture in Kaunas.

See location on Google here .

main pedestrian street in kaunas lithuania with colorful buildings and trees

The tree-lined Laisves Aleja looks good even in the rain!

3. Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery (Mykolo Žilinsko dailės galerija)

Before you head all the way to the end of Laisvės Alėja you’ll want to make a stop at this beautiful art gallery. It’s a branch of the larger M.K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art, but it doesn’t matter which you visit first.

Both have a stunning collection of art and this one in particular often has changing exhibits, so is nice to visit if you’ve been to Kaunas once or 100 times.

4. Vytautas the Great War Museum (Vytauto Didžiojo Karo Muziejus)

This is perhaps my favorite museum in all of Lithuania. I’m a bit of a history buff and I find Lithuanian history particularly interesting because I never knew anything about this region of Europe before moving here. 

This history museum trumps the rest because it not only goes into depth about the last few hundred years here in Lithuania, but it  shows it to you. There are photographs, weapons, armor, artillery, and even an old wrecked airplane on display. 

It feels like this sort of balance between an art museum and a history museum because so much care and detail has been taken in each display. It is a modern approach to teaching history and it’s a museum that I cannot recommend enough.

See location and operating hours on Google here .

Vytautas the Great war museum exterior

The front of the war museum is already quite foreboding I think!

5. M.K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art (Nacionalinis M. K. Čiurlionio dailės muziejus)

Located just behind the Great War Museum, you could easily visit these two museums in one morning or afternoon (with a doughnut from Spurginė in between to energize you!).

M.K.Čiurlionis is one of Lithuania’s most prolific artists and musicians. The museum showcases many of his personal paintings as well as work from other Lithuanian artists. 

You’ll be able to learn more about this artist through stories about him and his work as well as photographs and many of his possessions which have been kept and displayed by the museum.

6. Kaunas Picture Gallery (Kauno paveikslų galerija)

If you only go to one art museum while you’re in Kaunas, it should be this one. While this gallery is also a subdivision of the M.K. Čiurlionis Museum, I find that it has more events and exhibits worth checking out than the actual M.K. Čiurlionis Museum since that is really just his personal art and story.

There are some permanent collections that are well worth seeing from both Lithuanian and international artists. But it is the different exhibits that they get that make this the best art museum in Kaunas in my opinion. There are pieces here that are interactive and fun, that are thought-provoking, and some that are simply beautiful to see.

Entrance to Kiemo Galerija

The entrance to Kiemo Galerija doesn’t give much away, but it is well worth visiting (and it’s completely free!).

7. Check out All of the Street Art (Especially Kiemo Galerija!)

The street art scene in Kaunas is one of the best you’ll find in Lithuania (except maybe in Marijampole ). 

The best place to start is at the Courtyard Gallery or Kiemo Galerija. This is an absolutely fantastic courtyard of houses that are covered in art that tells a story. In fact, it tells many stories.

It all started when one of the residents of these houses, Vytenis Jakas, who also happens to be an artist, wanted to get to know his neighbors. He felt it was so sad that they passed each other each and every day and they didn’t know anything about one another.

So, with their permission, he began collecting their stories, organizing get together’s amongst the neighbors, and together they share their stories through the art on the outside of their homes. See the location of the gallery on Google here.

The city of Kaunas has also put together a pretty comprehensive map that shows you all of the street art around the city center.

You can check it out and download it here .

street art of two women on a chess board

One of my favorite pieces hidden away in a parking lot in the center of Kaunas.

8. Kaunas Town Hall (Kauno rotušė)

If you follow Vilniaus Gatvė all the way to its end you will eventually end up at the Kaunas Town Hall building. This is also the main square in the old town and where, in the summertime, you should without a doubt grab a seat at one of the outdoor bars and enjoy the evening’s events. 

There is usually some restaurant with a band or DJ playing live music. The plaza fills with people on Fridays and Saturdays and it’s daylight until well into the night (usually after 10 pm all summer long!).

The Town Hall building was originally constructed in 1542. It was reconstructed several times over the years and had many different uses.

Originally it was a prison. It was then used as an Orthodox church, then a residence for Russian Czars, then a fireman office, a Russian theater, the archives office, a wedding hall, and then finally, a town hall again. It’s now also home to a ceramics museum.

tall white kaunas town hall building against blue sky

Kaunas town hall is one of my favorite buildings in the Kaunas Old Town.

9. House of Perkūnas (Perkūno namas)

This is one of my favorite buildings in Kaunas. House of Perkūnas is a 15th-century Gothic brick building that was originally a Hanseatic merchant’s home. 

The reason it is called the House of Perkūnas is that, as the legend goes, during renovations, a sculpture of the pagan god of thunder, Perkūnas was discovered in the walls. 

The building now belongs to the Jesuits and is used partly as a school. There is also an exhibit of Adomas Mickevičius’s life and works (a famous poet who is claimed by Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus). 

You can take a tour of the home and learn more about the history of the building or simply explore on your own for a small fee. Learn more about entrance and booking a tour on the website here .

Front of Gothic brick building in Lithuania

The front of the House of Perkūnas.

10. Kaunas Castle (Kauno Pilis) and Surrounding Park

This was the first castle I visited in Lithuania and it gave me all the European castle vibes that I was hoping for. If you really love castles though, be sure to visit Trakai Castle while you’re in Lithuania.

Kaunas Castle is a medieval castle that was originally built way back in the 14th century. Unfortunately, by the start of the 21st century, only about 1/3 of the castle was still standing. 

Since it was first built the castle has been used as a fortress, an armory, a prison, and even as a residence. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the castle stood mostly unused and abandoned. In 2010 and 2011, the castle was reconstructed into what you see today and is now a museum and viewing tower that you can visit.

You can climb the stairs and take in the views around the city for free. The museum entrance is at the base of the castle and costs €5 to visit.

Just outside of the castle you’ll see a huge bronze statue of a Freedom Warrior. It’s eight meters tall and was built in Ukraine.

A Freedom Warrior is called a Vytis in Lithuania and is on the coat of arms that you’ll see around the country on a red flag. It is an armored knight holding a sword and shield and riding a horse. Lithuania’s coat of arms is one of the oldest in the world.

From the castle, you should follow the path into the park and walk to the edge where you can see two of Lithuania’s most important rivers, the Nemunis and the Neris, converge. 

See the location and opening hours of the museum here .

kaunas castle

Kaunas Castle isn’t as grand some some castles in Europe that have been fully rebuilt, but it was cool to see and well worth visiting!

11. 9th Fort of the Kaunas Fortress (Kauno tvirtovės IX fortas)

The 9th Fort of the Kaunas Fortress is, as the name suggests, one of several forts that were built to fortify the city of Kaunas.

This is one of the best-preserved and has a deep and painful history worth learning about at the museum located here.

The Ninth Fort was completed on the eve of World War I and from 1924, the fort was used as the Kaunas City Prison. 

When the Soviets arrived in 1940, the prison was used by the NKVD to house their political prisoners and as a way station before sending people off to camps in Siberia. 

Things only got worse from then. 

9th fort war memorial kaunas

The memorial to the murdered Jews at the Ninth Fort is enormous and really attention-grabbing.

The Nazis then took over Lithuania from the Soviets and used this location to murder over 50,000 people, mostly Jews from Kaunas, but also France, Austria, and Germany. 

It became a place where people were sent simply to be held in the prisons before being executed outside in the fields that sit beside the fort. 

Now there is a monument to those that were murdered and the interior of the museum is packed with information, photographs, and things that were left behind by those that passed through these halls.

Getting to Kaunas 9th Fort: You can either take the bus from the city center (check the Trafi app for times!) or you can grab a Bolt. Bolts take about 15 minutes and cost €6-8. The bus costs under €1, but takes about 40 minutes.

See the location and operating hours on Google here .

kaunas zalgiris basketball team

Seeing the main team of Lithuania play was one my favorite things to do in Kaunas.

12. Watch a Kaunas Žalgiris Basketball Game

Lithuania is a basketball-loving country and Kaunas is home to the best team in the league. A regular Lithuanian league game here will set you back a whopping €3 or if you want great seats you’ll pay about €9. 

The real reason people crowd to a Žalgiris game, though, is that they are in the Euroleague. This is like the Champions League of basketball. The top teams from around Europe all play each other and these games are supposed to be the best atmosphere that you can get in Lithuania at any sporting event.

Fans travel from around the country to support Žalgiris against the top teams in Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and all of the other countries that participate.

You can get tickets through the Žalgiris website here . It’s easier to book them online because you can switch the website into English, but its slightly harder on your phone (I just did a lot of copy and paste into Google Translate). You get a digital ticket that you can add to your “wallet” and then scan it at the stadium. 

Location of the stadium on Google here .

13. Pažaislis monastery and church (Pažaislio vienuolynas)

The Pažaislis monastery and church form the largest monastery complex in Lithuania. The buildings here are widely recognized as the best baroque architecture in the country and its located in one of the most stunning areas of the city along the Nemunas River.

The building of the church and hermitage began in 1662 and completed in the 18th century, the church was designed by Italian architects and the interior frescos were also painted by Italian artists. 

When the Russians closed the monastery in 1832 and later turned it into a Russian Orthodox Church. When the Germans began arriving during World War I, the monks living here pillaged all of the valuable pieces of art and treasures that decorated the buildings and fled.

The Germans then turned the church into a hospital. When the Soviets took back over after World War II, it was converted into a psychiatric hospital and then an art gallery. Finally in 1990, it was returned to the Roman Catholic Church. 

You can actually spend the night on the property in quite a luxurious hotel that has a wonderful restaurant and seriously good breakfast. Book a stay at the monastery hotel here .

See the location of the church and monastery on Google here . 

front of christ's resurrection church in Kaunas

The front of the Kaunas Christ’s Resurrection Basilica is the best view of this huge church.

14. Kaunas Christ’s Resurrection Basilica (Kauno Kristaus prisikėlimo bažnyčia) 

The Kaunas Christ’s Resurrection Basilica is the largest basilica in all of the Baltics and offers one of the best panoramic views in the city.

The idea of this church was first born when Lithuania gained independence from the Russian Empire in 1918. They decided they would build it in Kaunas because at the time of building, Kaunas was the capital of Lithuania. From 1920 and 1939, Vilnius was actually part of Poland.

The first pieces of the church were brought from Jerusalem in 1934 and finally in 1936 architects arrived from Prague to begin building. The walls were completed by 1938 and by 1940, most of the church was complete.

All further construction stopped as the Nazis began to use the building as a storeroom. Once the Soviets took back over after WWII, they used the building as a radio factory. 

After Lithuania regained independence, many years passed before money was able to be raised to complete the Basilica. In 2004, it was consecrated and in 2015, Pope Francis gave it the title of Basilica.

You can pay €1.50 to walk up the stairs to the roof of the church or €2.50 if you want to take the elevator. From the roof, you will get the best views of the surrounding area.

view of Kaunas from above with blue skies

The roof of the basilica offers you 360 degree views of the city.

Getting to Kaunas Christ’s Resurrection Basilica: You can walk up the hill from the center of town, it only takes about 20 minutes and is not particularly steep. However, on either your way up or down, you may want to consider taking the Žaliakalnis Funicular Railway.

Built in 1931, this is not only the oldest funicular in Lithuania, it is one of the oldest of this type in the entire world that is still operational. For €2 you can take it up and back and avoid the hill up to the basilica.

15. Aleksotas Observation Deck (Aleksoto apžvalgos aikštelė)

If you love a viewpoint, this is arguably the second-best in Kaunas. It is also home to the second oldest funicular in Lithuania. Built in 1938, it was only a few years behind the funicular at the basilica and in my opinion, they did a better job with this one.

For €1.20 you can take the funicular up and walk back down the stairs. Or you can pay €2 for a round trip ticket. Check out the operating times of the funicular on this website here .

The steps really aren’t that steep and it is a short walk to the top. The main reason to take the funicular is just to enjoy the ride not really to avoid a super difficult hike. 

The observation deck looks out over the old town and the Nemunis River. While the Basilica offers a more expansive view, the view from the Aleksotas Observation Deck is actually a prettier view with the old town directly in front of you. 

While you’re up here, have a wander around this cute neighborhood. The first fort of the Kaunas fortress is a short walk from here. 

See the location on Google here.

gothic brick church in kaunas lithuania

The St. Gertrude Church is another excellent example of Gothic architecture in Lithuania.

16. Church of St. Gertrude (Kauno Šv. Gertrūdos bažnyčia)

The Church of St. Gertrude is well worth at least walking past. It is rarely open to the public, even on a Sunday, unless you time it with a church service.

This church is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in all of Lithuania and is one of the oldest still standing churches in the country. The exact date that it was built is unknown, but it is speculated that it must have been in the 15th century.

In 1503, the Grand Duke of Lithuania designated this church as the parish church of Kaunas. The bell tower was added at some point in the 16th century and while it was damaged severely in the 18th century, the majority of the structure remained intact. It was renovated to what you see today in 1992.

17. Historical Presidential Palace (Istorinė Lietuvos Respublikos Prezidentūra Kaune)

Did you know that at one point in the 20th century, Kaunas was the capital of Lithuania?

I mentioned briefly above, that From 1920-1939, the period which is referred to as the interwar period here in Lithuania, Vilnius was part of Poland. 

The presidential palace was the home and office of the president during those years when Kaunas stood as the country’s capital. It is a neo-baroque building that you can now go inside and explore. It’s a small museum that has been set up to look as it did when it was the residence.

yellow palace building against blue skies

The presidential palace in Kaunas is perhaps not as grand as you might imagine, but the interior museum is worth a visit.

However, it wasn’t originally built to be the president’s house. It was actually built back in 1846 by a local wealthy resident of Kaunas. After a few years of living in this home and expanding the garden (aka turning it into a beautiful mansion), it was “acquired” by the Russian government and became the home of the local governor.

During World War I, Keiser Wilhelm II stayed here briefly. Finally, the war ended and the property ended up in the hands of the newly formed Lithuanian government. It wasn’t until 1918 that it began to be used as the presidential palace.

See location and operating hours on Google here . 

18. Sugihara House

Kaunas is packed with museums about art and history and the Sugihara House is no exception.

As I mentioned above, for a few years Kaunas was the capital of Lithuania. During that time, this house was home to the Japanese Consulate. It was also where vice-consul Chiune Sugihara lived during his time working in Lithuania.

The house which bears his name also tells his extraordinary story. Sugihara is famous around Lithuania for the work he did at the outbreak of World War II. 

Seeing the treatment of Jews across Europe during this time period, Sugihara became known as the man to come to in order to get out of Europe. In the few years that he was vice-consul, all the way up until he got on the train to leave Kaunas in 1940, he processed visas (against the orders of his superiors) for nearly 6,000 Jews to receive refugee status in Japan.

See location on Google .

See More Things to Do in Kaunas

Compasses & Quests

A Visitor’s Guide to Kaunas, Lithuania

  • Post author: Matt & Lia
  • Post published: January 26, 2023
  • Post category: Europe / Guides / Guides - Lithuania / Kaunas / Lithuania
  • Post comments: 1 Comment

Kaunas is Lithuania’s second largest city, and a visit here will provide ample opportunities to experience some of the country’s charm through tasty cuisine, interesting museums, unique events, beautiful streets, and more. It was even voted the European Capital of Culture in 2022! There is so much to see in the city, and we definitely recommend making a stop here if you are traveling through Lithuania. Here is a city guide to help you plan a visit to Kaunas.

Kaunas

When to Visit Kaunas

There isn’t really a bad time to visit Kaunas, but because the weather varies so much throughout the year, your experience will vary depending on when you go.

Being so far north, summers in Lithuania are fairly mild with high temperatures generally averaging 18-24˚C (65-75˚F) in the warmer months of June through August. It does rain more during these months, but days are overall sunnier. During the summer, daylight hours are longer and weather is more ideal for outdoor activities like swimming and hiking.

Winters can get very cold in Lithuania, the average high temperatures commonly dropping below freezing. The landscape is frequently snow-covered and the days are more overcast. However, if you come properly prepared, the winter is a great time to enjoy the Christmas markets and winter activities like ice skating. With the exception of holidays, Kaunas is a bit quieter in the winter and prices for accommodation and many attractions are a lower.

We visited in October and really enjoyed being in Lithuania during the fall. The fall colors around the river and city parks were beautiful! While we were expecting a bit of rain, we were lucky to have primarily very sunny (though chilly) days and just one downpour on our last day in the country.

Beautiful fall leaves in the parks of Kaunas

Getting There

If not traveling by rental car, visitors often arrive in Lithuania at Vilnius International Airport . There are many direct flights from within the EU. If arriving from outside Europe, you’ll likely connect through a larger European hub first. The Vilnius airport is small and easy to navigate.

Kaunas also has an airport and, for us coming from the U.S., flights to Kaunas were really not too much more expensive than those to Vilnius . This airport serves fewer airlines than the Vilnius airport, so you’ll likely connect through another European hub before arriving in Kaunas if you are coming from outside the EU.

Kaunas is a large hub in Lithuania, so there are frequent trains to the city from Vilnius, Klaipėda, Riga, Warsaw and more. We found Lithuania’s transport system to be quite convenient and easy to navigate. We booked all of our train tickets on the Lithuanian rail site before the day of departure. You may find bus tickets online as well. If not booking online, you can also book at the station at a ticket window or machine in advance or on the day of departure. If you’re on a tight schedule, we recommend booking in advance, especially during peak summer months.

Old churches and other beautiful architecture in the heart of Kaunas

Getting Around

Kaunas is a lovely place to explore on foot, and there are many great things to see in the historic center and surrounding streets. However, some activities in Kaunas sit just outside the city. If you need a ride to a further attraction, the airport, accommodation, etc., there are various options. Buses run routes around the city frequently – we recommend downloading the Žiogas app to see routes and timetables and for easy payment.

Additionally, there’s Bolt and multiple taxi services in Kaunas. We didn’t ever use them because we found that they were generally more expensive than public transport.

Lastly, if you need to go further or just want the convenience of having your own transport, there are a few car rental agencies in Kaunas and car sharing services like CityBee and Spark. Be aware that finding parking around the city center can be difficult.

We found the bus system in Kaunas to be fairly easy to navigate

Where to Stay in Kaunas

There are many places to stay in Kaunas for a range of budgets. Here are some recommended options to consider for your stay.

  • Hostel Lux : triple rooms with shared bathrooms
  • Art & Comfort Rooms : double rooms with private bathrooms
  • Very Bad Hootel : double rooms with private bathrooms and included breakfast
  • HOF Hotel : double rooms with private bathrooms and some options including breakfast
  • Laisves Ave. Apartments : private apartments
  • Berman House : double rooms with private bathrooms
  • Bōheme House : studios to full apartments and included breakfast
  • Downtown Ministery Luxury Apartments : private apartments
  • G – Owl Jazz : private apartment

Where to Eat in Kaunas

In a city the size of Kaunas, it’s hard to cover all of the amazing places to eat. Just walking around the old town area, particularly down Vilniaus and Laisvės streets, you’ll come across a ton of restaurants, cafés, and bars. Many display their menus outside for you to have a look and have nice outdoor seating in the warmer months. We absolutely recommend seeking out some Lithuanian cuisine!

Some places to try local dishes include Bernelių Užeiga Smuklė, and Etno Dvaras (which also has locations in Vilnius, Klaipėda, and other cities). Uoksas is also a great option, and while this restaurant is a little pricier, it is often considered among the top restaurants in Kaunas.

We loved trying different Lithuanian dumplings

If you’re looking for good beer, pub foods , and a bar-type atmosphere, make a stop at Hop Doc, rePUBlic No.1 , or 2½ Obuolio. Nisha also offers a very wide selection of beer. If you’re craving other international cuisines, visit Agave for Mexican, Moshka for Indian and vegan options, Sushi Masters , Casa Della Pasta for Italian, and DIA or Avilys for unique selections of seafood, steak, duck, and more.

For breakfast dishes or a coffee, head to Holy Donut, Prezo (a chain bakery), Koffee Lab, or Motiejaus Kepyklėlė. For other quick and easy bites , grab a kebab from Liuks, or make a quick stop at the bakeries or grocery stores for pastries, fruits, and other items to take out. Spurgine is also worth a stop (either for dining in or taking out) for their famous fried pastries, some of which are filled with meat and others that are sweet.

A quick kebab between activities for a busy day in Kaunas

There are many grocery stores in Kaunas. Supermarkets like Rimi, Šilas, and Iki sell typical groceries, baked goods and deli goods, liquor, and beer. If you need them, these spots also offer toiletries and other basic home goods.

There are many things to do in Kaunas without a tour. However, if you want to hit the city highlights in limited time or want to take a deeper dive into various topics, a tour can be a great option. There are free walking tours and other paid tour options available in the city. Some popular walking tour options include Vilnius With Locals , and GuruWalk .

There are some tour offices around Kaunas, but many tour itineraries can be found and booked online in advance on sites like Viator and Get Your Guide. Additionally, making a stop at the Tourist Information Center can be helpful if you’re looking for maps and information on tours or various attractions.

The beautiful central square in old town

Lithuania uses the Euro. There are many ATMs in Kaunas if you need to withdraw cash. If you need to exchange currencies, we recommend doing so at a bank as opposed to the airport. They generally offer a better exchange rate. Some train and bus stations in Lithuania also offer exchange services.

Most museums, restaurants, and accommodation take card. Some have even begun to require card payment since the pandemic. But, we recommend carrying some Euros just in case cash payment is necessary. Some markets and street stalls may not accept electronic payment methods.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that help us keep the blog running. When used, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. We appreciate the support!

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This Rare Earth

A travel resource for the adventurous and often-solo female

  • Things To Do in Kaunas, Lithuania

Lithuania , Blog , Europe / January 3, 2023 by Monica / Leave a Comment

Looking for the best things to do in Kaunas, Lithuania? With so many places to see and worthwhile attractions in Kaunas, its hard to know where to start. Luckily, I’ve got you covered. Here are the ten best things to see and do in Kaunas, Lithuania!

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Things to do in Kaunas Lithuania Pinterest pin.

Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania with a rich history that dates back to the 14th century. Kaunas used to be the country’s historical capital prior to its move to Vilnius . Once you visit Kaunas, you will understand its charm!

Being Lithuanian by heritage, I have visited the city multiple times over the years and have found so many interesting and historical places to see in Kaunas! In fact, some of the Kaunas attractions on this list taught me quite a bit about my own heritage.

Situated at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris, Kaunas is the type of place that blends nature, history, education, and modern amenities all in one.

Kaunas is a vibrant and historic destination that should be on every traveler’s radar. Here are the stops you just can’t miss.

Want to see more of Kaunas but skip the planning? Check out these top-rated tours!

⫸ From Vilnius: Visit Kaunas, Trakai and Paneriai Forest . This full day private tour will visit Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania; the famous Trakai Island Castle; and the Paneriai Holocaust memorial. Book your tickets here !

⫸ From Vilnius: Visit Kaunas, Rumsiskes & Pazaislis Monastery . This full day private tour will visit Kaunas, Rumsiskes, and the Pazaislis Monastery. I recommend this tour Tuesday through Sunday, as not everything is open on Mondays. Book your tickets here !

⫸ From Vilnius: Sightseeing Tour to Kaunas . This full day private tour visits many of the Kaunas attractions you’ll find on this list, as well as a couple other obscure sights. Book your tickets here !

Table of Contents

The Best Things to Do and Places to See in Kaunas

Photos of the Ninth Fort, one of Things to do in Kaunas Lithuania - the firing squad wall, the cells, and the memorial sculpture.

1. The IX Fort (Ninth Fort)

The Ninth Fort in Kaunas, Lithuania is a must-see for anyone interested in history or architecture. The fort was built in the late 17th century as part of the city’s defensive walls, and it played a key role against enemy invasions.

Most poignant, the Ninth Fort was transitioned into a prison during the Nazi and Soviet occupations.

Now a museum, visitors get to can explore the casements, barracks, and the fort’s underground tunnels as they learn about the country’s struggle for independence. This former fort-turned-concentration-camp also tells the story of the Holocaust in Lithuania through bone-chilling artifacts, photos, and documents.

This sat at the top of my list of things to do in Kaunas when I took my father to Lithuania . He later told me that this was one of his favorite stops in the entire country.

The Ninth Fort is an absolutely essential stop for anyone interested in either Lithuanian history or World War II. Though a heavy experience, it is one of the most important places to visit to truly understand Lithuania’s past.

You May Also Like: The Best Things to Do in Vilnius

The War Museum's facade - one of Things to do in Kaunas Lithuania.

2. The War Museum

The War Museum in Kaunas is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. The museum chronicles the history of the Lithuanian people during the 20th century, with a focus on the country’s experience during World War II.

Located in a former military bunker, this museum features a wide range of exhibits, including an expansive firearm collection, historical weapons, photographs, and personal belongings of soldiers and civilians.

The museum spans several floors and galleries, with each room having an overall theme. There is even an old WWII intact airplane (as well as the remains of a crash.)

The War Museum also has a café and a small gift shop, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon learning about Lithuania’s wartime history.

The quaint streets of Old Town - one of the must see places in Kaunas.

3. Kaunas Old Town

Kaunas’ Old Town is full of character and charm! With cobblestone streets, towering churches, quaint cafes, and traditional Lithuanian architecture, it’s one of the most beutiful and walkable cities in the country.

Be sure to wander down Pilies Street, the main thoroughfare, to explore the plentiful restaurant options and boutique shops. And don’t forget to try some traditional Lithuanian cuisine while you’re there!

You May Also Like: The Top 10 Things To Do in Lithuania

The Church of St, Michael the Archangel, one of Things to see in Kaunas Lithuania.

4. The Church of St. Michael the Archangel

One of the things that makes Kaunas unique are the beautiful and varied churches around the city. There are many in Kaunas, each with its own history and architecture.

One of the most notable churches is the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. It was built in 1413 and is one of the oldest churches in all of Lithuania. It stands on the cobblestone streets of Old Town and is difficult to miss! The white domed exterior is visually captivating.

It is well worth a visit and one of the top sights to see in Kaunas.

The Kaunas Castle, an absolute MUST on your list of Things to do in Kaunas Lithuania.

5. Kaunas Castle

Kaunas Castle is a medieval castle in Kaunas, Lithuania. Dating back to the 14th century, this castle was originally built to protect the city from attack by the Teutonic Order and Livonian Order.

Today, Kaunas Castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Lithuania. Visitors can explore the castle grounds, visit the museum, and take in breathtaking views of the city from the top of the castle tower.

The castle also offers stunning views of the Neris River and the city of Kaunas. For those looking to experience the history and culture of Lithuania, Kaunas Castle is a must-see.

You May Also Like: Visiting Trakai Island Castle in Lithuania

Pastel pink roses at the Kaunas Botanical Garden, one of the best Things to do in Kaunas Lithuania.

6. Kaunas Botanical Garden

Kaunas, Lithuania is home to a beautiful botanical garden that is perfect for nature lovers (like me!)

The garden covers over 70 acres and includes a variety of different gardens, such as a rose garden, an herb garden, and even a rock garden. In addition, the botanical garden is home to more than 10,000 species of plant life, including rare and endangered species.

Visitors can also find a number of sculptures throughout the gardens, as well as a greenhouse full of tropical plants. That’s right – tropical plants in the Baltics!

The botanical garden is open year-round, and its diverse flora and fauna make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kaunas.

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7. St. Francis Xavier Cathedral

The St. Francis Xavier Cathedral is one of the most popular attractions to see in Kaunas, Lithuania, and for good reason. It is known far and wide for its stunning Gothic architecture.

Visitors to the cathedral can enjoy its ornate exterior, as well as an interior that features a number of paintings and sculptures. The cathedral is also home to historical artifacts, including a missal dating back to the 15th century.

In addition to its architectural beauty, the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral is an important religious site, and it is the seat of the Archbishop of Kaunas. Tourists should make sure to include a visit to this historical cathedral on their list of things to do in Kaunas.

8. The Devil Museum

For anyone interested in the slightly strange, you need to stop at Kaunas’ very own Devil Museum. This homage to Lucifer showcases over 3,000 artefacts of Satan – from rt to trinkets to carvings.

The collection here is primarily attributed to Antanas Žmuidzinavičius (1876–1966), a famous Lithuanian painter and professor, but has been added to over time. As part of the displays, you can see Žmuidzinavičius’ paintings, too.

Besides the visuals, visitors get to learn about ancient legends, old beliefs, and superstitions about the Devil from around the world. It is definitely fascinating!

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9. The M. K. Ciurlionis State Art Museum

The M. K. Ciurlionis State Art Museum showcases the works of the Lithuanian painter and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis. This Kaunas museum exhibits his paintings, drawings, and music. The museum was founded in 1921, and is a fun stop for anyone interested in the arts.

Check their  website  for opening days and hours.

Fresh donuts from Spurgine, one of the top places to visit in Kaunas, Lithuania.

10. The Spurgine Donut Shop

The famous Spurgine Donut Shop in Kaunas, Lithuania is one of the top places to go when you’re in the mood for something sweet. The donuts are made fresh in a variety of flavors, such as powdered sugar, chocolate, and strawberry filling.

My favorite thing about this place is that they don’t care if their donuts are perfectly round. The weirder the better, in my opinion!

The shop offers a wide selection of coffee and tea, as well as other snacks, cookies, and pastries. At busy times, this place often has a line out the door – so come early or on off-peak hours!

The shop is located in the heart of Kaunas’ Old Town, and its large windows provide a perfect view of the bustle of city life. Whether you’re in the mood for a delicious donut or just want to people watch, the Spurgine Donut Shop is definitely worth a visit.

You May Also Like: Traditional Lithuanian Foods to Try on Your Visit

White and grey buildings in Kaunas.

Where to Stay in Kaunas, Lithuania

This rich, historic city offers visitors a wealth of hotel options to choose from. Here are three of the best hotels in Kaunas, each with its own unique charms, that I personally recommend:

Hotel Kaunas is a four-star hotel located in the heart of Old Town. The hotel’s location is ideal for exploring many of the sights mentioned above, and the rooms are comfortable and spacious. The hotel also has a fitness center, free wifi, and minibars in all rooms.

The Radisson Hotel Kaunas is another great option for those looking for a centrally-located hotel. The rooms here are clean and modern, and come with single beds, double beds, or family rooms. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful, and has an in-house bar and snack shop. The hotel also offers very reasonable parking, which is great if you have a rental car like I did.

Lastly, this Best Western Hotel is a great choice for visitors who want to be close to all the action. The hotel is located just a short walk from Kaunas Castle, and the rooms are spacious and well-equipped. Plus, the hotel has an on-site bar and restaurant, making it easy to relax after a busy day of sightseeing.

Sunset in Kaunas, Lithuania - Things to do in Kaunas Lithuania.

When is the Best Time to Visit Kaunas?

No matter what time of year you visit Kaunas, there’s always something exciting to see and do. From spring festivals to winter markets, there’s something for everyone in this Lithuanian city.

Spring is a great time to visit Kaunas because the weather is mild and the flowers are in bloom. You should still bring a jacket and dress in layers, because nights and mornings will have a chill to them. There are also many festivals that take place in spring, such as the International Jazz Festival and the Book Fair.

Summer is the busiest tourist season in Kaunas due to the warm and pleasant weather. It never truly gets “hot” in most parts of Lithuania! However, the busier pleasant season also means that accommodation and attractions will be more expensive. If you’re visiting during summer, be sure to book your tickets and accommodation in advance!

My most recent visit to Kaunas was in October, and I can attest that fall is a beautiful time to visit Kaunas because of the changing leaves. The weather is still mild in September and October, making it a great time to explore all that the city has to offer. festivals such as Dusetos Old Town Music Days and Kaziuko Mugė also take place in fall.

Winter is a magical time to visit Kaunas with its snow-covered streets and Christmas markets! If you’re visiting during winter, be sure to pack lots of warm clothes as the temperatures can drop below freezing. Skies can be overcast and grey, but you will have the city all to yourself.

Kaunas offers travelers a chance to explore everything from Lithuanian history to excellent cuisine through its plentiful museums, churches, and pedestrian streets. Though you can visit Kaunas on a quick day trip from Vilnius , with so much to see and do, you may need more time to take it all in!

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply looking for a charming yet quirky new European destination to explore, add Kaunas, Lithuania to your travel list. You will not be disappointed!

More Planning Resources for Lithuania:

  • 40 Things To Do in Lithuania
  • The Best Things to Do in Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Visiting Gediminas Castle Tower in Vilnius
  • A Complete Guide to the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania
  • 25 Interesting Facts About Lithuania
  • Visiting Trakai Island Castle in Lithuania
  • Visiting the KGB Museum in Vilnius
  • Traditional Lithuanian Foods to Try on Your Visit
  • The Top 10 places to Visit in Lithuania

Things to do in Kaunas Lithuania Pinterest pin.

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About Monica

Monica has been a solo female world traveler for over 15 years. She is an expert on outdoor adventures, solo female travel, and off the beaten path destinations. She is the founder of This Rare Earth and is a firm believer that the world is not as scary as the media might have you think! Learn more about her here . Connect with her on Instagram .

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  • Travel Planning Guide

Should You Visit Kaunas?

Are you thinking about visiting Kaunas, Lithuania? Here's what you need to know before planning your trip.

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  • Is Kaunas Worth Visiting?

Reasons to Visit Kaunas

  • In the Summer?
  • In the Autumn?
  • In the Winter?
  • In the Spring?

What is Kaunas most famous for?

  • What is Kaunas most known for?

What is the most famous sight in Kaunas?

  • How touristy is Kaunas?

How long should I spend in Kaunas?

Is kaunas worth visiting.

Yes, it's worth visiting this city for one to two days because of the many great activities. Kaunas sits at the confluence of the Neris and Nemunas Rivers. It's home to the Kaunas Castle and the Kaunas Cathedral Basilica. The city has a nice pedestrian area with treelined streets. We first visited in 2011 and have returned several times. During our time here, we fell in love with wonderful atmosphere and feeling of authenticity.

Kaunas

Food It is a great place to try traditional Lithuanian dishes as there are a number of good restaurants and an active restaurant scene. Popular local dishes include cepelinai potato dumplings and cold beetroot soup.

Nightlife The nightlife scene continues to improve with a growing number of bars and clubs. During the warmer months you'll find many places opening outdoor areas. The old town is one of the more lively areas in town where it's nice to enjoy a drink on a terrace.

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Authenticity Kaunas has an authentic vibe where you can experience local culture, cuisine, and activities without the large tourist crowds of other popular destinations.

Is Kaunas worth visiting in the Summer?

Summer is the high season for travel in Kaunas, so expect more visitors and higher prices. Even though this destination is not very touristy, in the high season it's busier than usual because this is when most visitors come here.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during summer with average temperatures around 18°C (64°F).

You'll find plenty to do during summer, as you'll be able to discover the big city activities, browse around the old town, and take advantage of the local nightlife.

Is Kaunas worth visiting in the Autumn?

This is the shoulder season for travel in Kaunas. This destination is not very touristy, and in the shoulder season it can become fairly quiet.

The weather in Kaunas can be quite cold during autumn, and averages around 8°C (46°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

During this season it's fun to experience the historic old town and the big city activities.

Is Kaunas worth visiting in the Winter?

The weather in Kaunas can be quite cold during winter, and averages around -5°C (23°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

The low season for travel in Kaunas is during the winter. This destination is not very touristy, so in the low season it can become fairly quiet.

This is a great time of year to sample the delicious cuisine, admire the historic sights, and grab some drinks at a bar. Also, you'll be able to enjoy the city's energy.

Is Kaunas worth visiting in the Spring?

Spring is the shoulder season for travel in Kaunas. This destination is not very touristy, and in the shoulder season it can become fairly quiet.

The weather in Kaunas can be quite cold during spring, and averages around 7°C (44°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

You'll find plenty to do during spring, as you'll be able to browse around the old town and dance the night away.

Things to Consider Before Visiting Kaunas

Shopping : Kaunas isn't exactly a shopper's destination. The old town is the place to pick up souvenirs, but there are also shopping malls and outlets in the city.

Getting Around The area is not very walkable, and public transit is not great here, so it might be difficult to get around without arranging your own transportation.

The Cost Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel style, Kaunas might be an expensive destination for you. You can find out the travel costs for Kaunas here or see if Kaunas is expensive here .

Kaunas is most famous for its traditional Lithuanian culture and authentic old town. The city is very popular for its food, nightlife, and historical sights. It is often described as young, vibrant, cultural, and active.

The most popular sight in Kaunas is The Kaunas Old Town . You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Kaunas on our travel costs page .

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for The Kaunas Old Town and other attractions here .

How touristy is Kaunas? Is it a popular city to visit?

Kaunas is an off-the-beaten-path city that many travelers overlook. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

  • Kaunas Old Town tour + IX Fort Museum (BONUS): $55
  • Kaunas city center tour + IX Fort Museum (BONUS): $111
  • Kaunas Private Walking Tour With A Professional Guide: $243
  • Recreational Tour in Kaunas - The City of Freedom: $65
  • Private Custom Walking Tour with a Local Guide in Kaunas: $77
  • Kaunas Tour: Love Stories: $87
  • Kaunas Old Town: 2-Hour Ghost Tour: $87
  • Kaunas, Lithuania 2-Hour Sightseeing Tour: $147

The ideal length of time for a trip to Kaunas is one to two days. Since Kaunas has activities such as historical sights, dining, and nightlife, most people visit for up to two days.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Kaunas? and Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Kaunas? .

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