Kaunas, being the second biggest city in Lithuania, and often crowned as the heart of Lithuania or the capital of culture, has many places you don’t want to miss. So take some of your free time and explore Kaunas by yourself. Here are some ideas about what to see or where to start ;)
1. Vilniaus gatvė | Vilnius Street (Old Town)
This old town street of Kaunas is a long pedestrian way with traditional and modern places, cafes, pubs, restaurants, souvenir shops… This is a place where many people come to spend their afternoon or evening, chill out and have a good time.
2. Kaunas castle (Old Town)
Not a big but cetainly an impressive castle along with many mysteries behind its walls. Worth a visit if you want to learn a bit about the rich history of Kaunas (there is a small museum in the castle) and admire the view to the old town and Nemunas and Neris confluence park that lies around.
3. Town Hall square (Old Town)
Town Hall or as we call it, the White Swan, is one of the oldest buildings in Kaunas. Many people have their weddings there, a lot of events are happening in the square and every winter it holds Christmas market.
4. Aleksotas panoramic viewpoint
Probably the nicest picture of Kaunas you can take is from here. You will see the town and nature blending together. It’s totally worth it to see the view in the day time and night time and feel the different prettiness of Kaunas City. Be warned though, quite many stairs are waiting for you to go up here.
5. Laisvės alėja | Liberty avenue (City Center)
The fascinating and colourful, longest pedestrian street in Kaunas and one of the longest in Europe: pretty alley with more than 500 trees and beautiful white church at the beginning of the street. The street also has most examples of functionalist architecture from the interwar period in Kaunas, emormous amount of bakeries and cafés as well as restaurants, pubs and various shops. A good place to gather around with your friends and take a walk to see how things are going.
6. Pažaislis monastery
This is a calm and peaceful place not far from the city. The architecture of the monastery is totally stunning and the complex is more than three centuries old. And it is surrounded by beautiful nature of Kaunas reservoir Regional Park.
7. President Palace (between Old Town and City Center)
After Lithuania gained independence in 1918, Kaunas became its capital. The historical President Palace was functioning here until the country lost its independence again in 1939. By visiting this place you can lean about the evolution of modern Lithuanian statehood and changes that affected this period of history.
8. Vienybės aikštė | Unity square (City Center)
Unity square holds the sculptures of the most important people In Lithuania’s modern history and the eternal fire for the ones who died fighting for Lithuania’s freedom. There are many museums around (Vytautas the Great War Museum, M. K. Čiurlionis Art Gallery, Devils museum), across the street you can see Students square and KTU central building.
9. IX fort museum
It is a part of the Kaunas Fortress, which was constructed in the late 19th century. During the occupation of Kaunas and the rest of Lithuania by the Soviet Union, the fort was used as a prison and way-station for prisoners being transported to labour camps. After the occupation of Lithuania by Nazi Germany, the fort was used as a place of execution for Jews, captured Soviets, and others. IX fort museum shows the most painful periods in the history of Lithuania which are necessarry to know to understand the country and its people.
10. Devils museum
If you like horror stories and even if you don’t, here’s a unique place in Kaunas to visit. Over 3000 works depicting the devil gathered from all around the world are waiting for you there with interesting stories, legends and superstitions Lithuanians have about devils. We dare you to visit them and figure out why this nation is so obsessed with the creatures of the underworld.
What would you add to your top 10 places to visit in Kaunas?
By Mookfee Nantanapramoth
Photos by Kristis Balčiūnas