Getting to Kaunas is easy, and the easiest from Vilnius. It’s hard to get lost, unless you plan to see something along the way.
We were on our way to the Open Air Museum in Rumshchki and still arrived without any problems ;) Unfortunately, not to make it too easy, right at the entrance to the city we hit some terrible traffic jams. Unusual, because it was Friday, and everyone was going downtown, even though nothing special was happening there. In general, the Vilnius-Kaunas route took us about 40-50 minutes, and from the entrance to Kaunas to its center more than 30 minutes!
We were in Kaunas twice – in the evening and the entire following day. As we wrote above, we hit terrible traffic jams the first time, and the next day as well. Although there was an explanation for the second day, because a knight’s tournament was just taking place at Kaunas Castle. Fortunately, by some miracle we managed to find a parking space in the center (on weekends parking is free).
With Kaunas, we had a bit of a conundrum with taking the right direction for sightseeing. In the latter, the most important city of Lithuania, the center is quite extensive and we were not sure if we could manage to see everything with three of us, so we decided to start in the Old Town and then “we’ll see” (which time is it on this trip?! :-)).
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Sightseeing in Kaunas
We parked right next to Kaunas Castle, so we started here. It was the first masonry castle built in Lithuania (its origins date to the end of the 13th century). Unfortunately, not much of it remains – in fact, there are only two towers here, connected by a wall, and this is the result of restoration work that was completed in 1989.
The castle is located in a picturesque setting – at the confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris, where a promenade awaits walkers, and the sandy promontory is almost a symbol of Kaunas.
Right next to the castle is the Bernardine Monastery and the St. Peter’s Church. George. The church is one of the most distinctive Gothic churches in Lithuania.
We then walked toward City Hall, stopping along the way at the Bernardine Monastery Complex dating back to the 17th century. There is a monastery (now housing a spiritual seminary), St. Peter’s Church. Trinity and a fragment of a 17th century wall.
After a fairly short walk (distances are not too great) we arrived To city hall and p. Town Hall, around which many of the most important monuments are located, including. 16th – 17th century townhouses.
The square itself is sizable, and our (and not only our) attention was focused on the many weddings that take place in the city hall. Every now and then, longer and larger cars would pull up in front of the building, with more and more beautiful brides, more handsome groomsmen and dressed-up guests. There was a lot of glamour but also elegance in all this.Please define valid width and height attributes for remote images. This will also optimize the loading time of the remote panorama.
Built in the 16th century. City Hall is called the “White Swan” because of its snow-white color, and it reigns supreme in the square. In addition to the wedding hall, the city hall also has an attraction for tourists – the Ceramics Museum. Attention is also drawn to the Church of St. It was the St. Francis Xavier Church, although scaffolding caught our attention during our visit :(
From the square we walked towards the Nemunas, to the Church of the Assumption and the Perkun House. The church is also known as Vytautas Church, because it was the Lithuanian prince who commissioned its construction.
Perkun’s House, on the other hand, is considered the most beautiful house in Kaunas – this Gothic building was built in the 15th century and is impossible to pass by indifferently.
At this point we decided that if we wanted to carry out our plan we had to speed up, because the list of churches and buildings we still wanted to see was long, so without delaying, we returned to the square. City Hall, from where Vilniaus gatvė – the main pedestrian street in the old city – begins.
However, before a longer walk, it is worth stopping and going inside Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul (officially a minor basilica). This impressive building is the largest Catholic temple and the largest Gothic building in Lithuania.
From the promenade we remember mainly the cobblestones, on which we slowly drove with a stroller :) These were not the only difficulties during our tour, but about that later….
Vilniaus gatvė is a place where you will find plenty of restaurants and bars. We ourselves stopped by here for a little coffee and cake, at the cafes, which are also abundant here :)
Walking along the promenade, we came to the former Presidential Palace, remembering the time when Kaunas was the temporary capital of Lithuania. However, this is not the end of our tour – the farther along the promenade we get into the new center.
New Town in Kaunas
Finally, we reached Freedom Avenue(Laisvės alėja) – a 1.7 km long road, along which there are public institution buildings, stores, restaurants and theaters (the Main Post Office building, the Music Theater, the Magistrate).
At the end of the alley is the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel – the square around it was just being repaired, so we didn’t even get a chance to walk around it, but we were still horrified by the state the building was in. Perhaps the fact of its neglect is due to the fact that it was supposed to be a symbol of Russian rule?
Right next door is the Art Gallery and the Museum for the Blind.
Taking advantage of the fact that here we were (at the end of the New Town), we went to a Lithuanian restaurant, secretly hidden between the buildings, recommended by Lonely Planet. It was such a “mountain hut”. The food is good, but it doesn’t knock your socks off – this is probably a peculiarity of Lithuanian cuisine: too fatty and too heavy ;)
This was also confirmed in the second restaurant, in the old town, also local, where most of the guests were Lithuanians.
Surprise at the very end – Funikulary
It was already getting slowly dark, so we quickly approached one of the curiosities we didn’t expect to see in Lithuania – the equivalent of Lisbon’s streetcars. Funikulars, as they are referred to, are railroads that connect urban areas with hills. Overcoming altitude is not a killer, speed and price too ;)
Here we found darkness, so we headed for the car. On our way back, we could still get a glimpse of Kaunas’ noisy night life and illuminated Castle.
To sum up…
In this city, we especially recommend the old town and numerous churches, a walk through the old town and the promenade along the rivers. One day is easily enough, although the guidebooks recommend even 3! ;)
With a child in Kaunas?
Finally, a “baby” comment. – Kaunas is NOT a city where you can easily move around with a stroller. In addition to cobblestone streets, one will encounter narrow sidewalks here, with lamp posts in the middle and steps narrowing them to 30 centimeters.
And when you do get a piece of wider sidewalk, it’s usually cluttered with tables and chairs from nearby restaurants. Especially in the Old Town. The underpasses are absolutely not wheelchair accessible either! We also did not realize here a place to change the baby, but fortunately the weather was more favorable, so the shelter was not needed :)
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