Day trip to Kaunas: After having that first cup of coffee, you can head out to explore the best Kaunas has to offer - from green oases to the Laisvės boulevard – the main artery of the city always bustling with action. We promise that this day is not only going to help you beat that Fitbit record but will also give you a fresh perspective on art and architecture. Who knows, maybe you'll even decide to hang a Čiurlionis painting on your wall as a reminder of this fine city.
Kaunas Castle, Confluence
The Medieval Kaunas Castle was built at the meeting point of two of Lithuania's rivers – Nemunas and Neris – to repel frequent Crusader attacks. The country's oldest stone castle is the only one that has two rows of defensive walls (as you might guess, the Crusaders were quite good at attacking cities). Kaunas Castle is open all year round to everyone interested in Medieval history.
Surrounding the castle is Confluence Park, oftentimes called the heart of Kaunas. It's a place fit for both relaxation and contemplation. Close to the point where Nemunas and Neris meet, you will find a pagan altar where ancient Baltic rites were performed millennia ago. After this journey back in time, you can climb Pope's Hill, where both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis held Mass when visiting Lithuania.
Town Hall and Town Hall Square
Gothic, Baroque, Classicism - Kaunas Town Hall displays a number of architectural styles, and its main façade features a tower resembling a swan's neck. That's where its nickname - the White Swan - comes from. At 53 metres tall, the tower is the highest point of Kaunas Old Town.
As time went by, Kaunas Town Hall changed many purposes. In the past, it hosted fairs and court cases, an Orthodox church and even a wax melting furnace. Today, this is the go-to venue for the city's flashiest wedding ceremonies.
Aleksotas Funicular and observation deck
Kaunas is the only city in Lithuania to operate not one, but two funiculars - one in Žaliakalnis and another one in Aleksotas. A treat for engineering and dieselpunk enthusiasts, the funiculars provide an easier way to get up the steep hills of Kaunas.
Aleksotas Funicular, in operation since 1935, connects the old part of the city with the slopes of Aleksotas district. The funicular's wagon will take you to the Aleksotas Observation Deck, which gives a great view of the city in all seasons. You'll get to see the smiling sundial on the wall of Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius University and a panorama of Kaunas Old Town. If you're into guided city tours - take notice, as this is the place where they usually start!
Vilnius street and lunch
Vilnius street is arguably the most beautiful street of Kaunas Old Town. It's also the city's oldest and was part of the road leading to Vilnius in the Middle Ages. Vilnius street hasn't lost its former glory, with old red brick houses still adorning both sides. It is pedestrian-only too, making it a perfect place for a slow stroll as you decide where to have lunch.
Sometimes it takes art to bring neighbours together. When Lithuanian artist Vytenis Jakas moved to this building with a large courtyard, he noticed that the common space was left unused. Jakas received great support from his new neighbours in drawing pictures and life stories of the Jewish families that once resided next door on the walls of the shared courtyard. The courtyard has since become a vibrant art space, with new objects and drawings appearing frequently.
Lithuania is home to many one-of-a-kind museums, and the Devils' Museum is probably the weirdest. This huge Modernist building - once the residence of its founder Antanas Žmuidzinavičius - hosts a collection of 3,000 devils, demons and imps that come in all shapes and sizes. Most of them are related to Lithuanian folklore, but some come from places as far away as Japan and Indonesia. It's also the best place to stop by if you want a truly original souvenir. We bet no one is expecting that you'll bring a tiny imp from your trip to Lithuania.
M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum
Coming to Kaunas and not paying a visit to M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art is akin to skipping the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Čiurlionis was the most famous Lithuanian artist, successful both in painting and music. In his museum, you will be able to get acquainted with the many sides of Čiurlionis - from his symbolist art to the recordings of his symphonies. Check the museum's website before you visit, as you might catch a concert or a performance while you're there.
Pažaislis Monastery and recreational trail
Pažaislis Monastery is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Lithuania. The ensemble, designed by Italian architect Giovanni Battista Frediani, is decorated with mouldings by Lombardy sculptors and frescoes by Florentine painter Michele Arcangelo Palloni. Since the summer of 1996, the monastery hosts the annual Pažaislis International Music Festival. During the off-season, the halls of the monastery serve as the meeting point for local artists and their audiences.
After touring the monastery, you can head for a walk on the Pažaislis recreational trail along the Kaunas Lagoon.
Laisvės Boulevard and dinner
At 1.6 kilometres, Laisvės Boulevard (Laisvės alėja) is the longest walking street in the region. Laisvės Boulevard is also the obvious choice for walks and entertainment in Kaunas, with cool bars, funky restaurants (including a donut shop that hasn't changed in forty years), book stores and fountains. After a long, exciting day, relax and enjoy dinner at a restaurant you like most.MORE →