Kaunas City in 1 Day. Sightseeing
How to see the city of Kaunas in Lithuania and most sights in 1 day by taking a 5km walk from the train station to the historic castle.
How to get to Kaunas
Kaunas is about 100km from Vilnius. Travel time from 1 to 1,5 hours depending on the chosen transport. More information with schedule in Vilnius-Kaunas-Airport article.
- Train Vilnius-Kaunas – 4,5-6,5 € depending on the time of departure. costs 7 € and departs every 20-40 minutes.
- Transfers from Vilnius to Kaunas airport are 80€.
Where to Stay in Kaunas
Staying overnight in Kaunas either at early departure from the airport or at late arrival, so it is better to choose an accommodation close to Savanoriu Street where the bus goes to the airport.
The best option for the price is to rent an apartment for a day on Airbnb from 15 €, but if you prefer hotels, the prices start at 25 € for a room. Hotels are better to search through RoomGuru and do not forget to use CashBack and coupons.
Despite the small size of the historic city and the small number of tourists you can find several excursions in Russian here.
– 12€. Bus is open, so runs only from April to September. – 65€.
- City tour in Kaunas – 88€.
Kaunas City in 1 day
As mentioned at the beginning, the walk will start at the railway station, where I was taken in 1.5 hours by a clean, comfortable, double-decker and almost empty train. I wanted to see the road from the second floor, but it was cramped and drafty, so we took the first floor.
Upon arrival in Kaunas, the weather deteriorated significantly and it rained heavily, we had to wait at the station for about an hour, and during that time, the only entertainment was a photo shoot with a military exhibit inside the station.
You can start the walk from the train station, and those in a hurry can go to the historic center for 0.8€ by public transport. The photo of the station was taken from the bus stop that takes you to the historic center. At the bus stop there is a clear public transportation map and it is easy to find the right bus or trolleybus. Tickets can be purchased from the driver.
Just a 5 minute walk from the station you will meet the first sightseeing place – the Cathedral of the Annunciation. It is located in the middle of the park and may not be immediately noticeable among the trees.
In the same park, next to the Cathedral is the Church of the Resurrection. The church is older than the Cathedral by half a century and was built in 1862, and the cathedral had to be built next to it because of the increase in the number of parishioners.
At the other end of the park you can find a small Mosque. Although the religions are different, but all buildings are in the same white color, coincidence or coincidence I do not know.
After the park and a 5 minute walk, the real historical city of Kaunas begins. For this you have to exit to Laisves Alley. This alley will take most of the route with some deviation to the side.
Church of St. Michael the Archangel
The first thing you’ll see in the alley is the largest temple or church in the city, the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. It’s hard to say what to call it, because it was originally Orthodox since it was built in the late 19th century, and it is clearly visible in the architecture, but since 1990 it has been owned by the Catholic Church, so it is now a church.
Almost at the beginning of the alley, about a hundred meters from the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, there is a tourist center. Whoever needs a free tourist map of the city can look here. I got it a little earlier, when checking into a rented apartment.
The address of tourist center in Kaunas is Al. Laisvės, 36.
At that time, when I was there, around the church and on Laisves Avenue itself there was some construction work related to the reconstruction. Maybe it’s already finished now. This is what the beginning of the alley looked like, not very nice.
And it is worth walking a hundred or two meters, where the work is over and the view of the alley is quite different.
Further the alley looks though beautiful, but the same, which can seem monotonous and boring. To avoid this, you can turn right at the next crossroads to V. Putvinskio and find a small tourist attraction Funicular Žalakalnis .
This funicular operates since 1931, the length of ascent is 142 meters. The cost could not be found out, because it did not work, and probably due to bad weather, because 30 minutes ago it was raining heavily.
Funicular does not work, and climb to the top is necessary, because at the top is the Church of the Ascension of Christ. We had to look for an alternative climb, and he is a little further up the street.
The stairs are not straight up, but several levels, and at each level, the stairs sometimes diverge and go into the apartment building. We turned once in the wrong staircase and met a dead end, but all was not in vain, in a dead end among the residential buildings found a small chapel. Quite an original find, not found in the guidebooks.
Church of the Ascension of Christ
After climbing the stairs we had to make some more effort to find the Church of the Ascension, because the stairs didn’t lead directly to the church. As for the church, the photo shows that it is a modern building. During World War II it was turned into a warehouse and later a radio factory where TV sets were made. At that time instead of the cross there was an inscription on the tower saying “Glory to the CPSU”. But in 2004 the church was used for its intended purpose, it was returned to the faithful and was re-consecrated.
Photo of the church as a whole because of its height did not work. There was some kind of greenhouse behind it which was closed and we couldn’t get more information about it. I had to go down the same way, by stairs.
Museum of devils.
Going back down and walked along the street V. We found the Museum of Devils, which many tourists who visited the city of Kaunas recommend to visit. Alas, we had no time to visit it, and there was only a picture of the showcase.
After the museum back to Laisves Alley, missing some of its part, and went straight to the Monument of Vytautas.
From the monument walk along the alley for about one more kilometer till the real Old Town. As soon as you will cross the road and come to Vilniaus street, you’ll see little old houses with flower-beds, lanterns and benches.
On the way around all these cozy houses will be an abandoned Dominican church, which now does not perform its function, but is a university building.
After the abandoned and dilapidated church again clean and beautiful streets of the old town. A little more and it will be the very center.
The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul
By this time it starts to get dark and it becomes more and more difficult to take a bright picture, but we have to get to Kaunas Castle at least before sunset. In the meantime, we are held up by the central square of the old town and everything that is nearby.
In the center of the square is built Town Hall, so the square itself is called Town Hall. As town hall looks now can be seen in the photo below, it is a building with a tower. But it was not always like this. When it was built in the 16th century, it was one-story and not very attractive. The second floor and the tower were added a little later. At that time, the first floor of the town hall was used for trade and prison guards, while the second floor was used for court rooms and the archive. Goods were stored in the cellars and criminals were imprisoned under the tower.
Next to the town hall is the Church of St. Francis Xavier, but on this day it was under restoration.
In one corner of the square is the Church of the Holy Trinity and the Bernardine Monastery . The church now houses the Faculty of Theology of the Theological Seminary, which was founded in the 19th century by Bishop Motiejus Valancius. A monument to him was erected here, near the walls of the seminary.
Behind the town hall is a rather original and even humorous monument to the creator of the world’s first animated cartoon. Vladislav Starevich spent part of his life in Kaunas.
We leave the square and go in the direction of the river to see the main attraction – the Castle.
In the photos and in reality, the castle seems somehow small and does not match the scale of the churches and other castle buildings at all. Perhaps it was originally much larger, but what is now only a small remnants and if you look at the history of the castle, it was destroyed to the ground several times.
Church of St. Jurgis
Next to the castle there is another church that exceeds it in size, the Church of St. Jurgis.
It was not so noticeable in the pictures, but the sky was already beginning to darken and frown. Time was getting close to sunset, and I had to run to see another funicular named Alexotas, and on the way over the bridge, almost on the run to take photos of two other famous buildings in the city, which are the Church of St. Vytautas and the Lutheran Church, which is surrounded by the Vilnius University.
Aleksosatas funicular was also closed and again I had to climb up the stairs, but this time I did not have to look for it, it was on the left side of the funicular. The funicular building was not as well restored as in the first case.
This time it was not for the sake of another church, but for the sake of the observation deck with a view of Kaunas. As soon as we went up, it rained and spoiled the whole picture, the view is still beautiful, but not so much.
We visited almost all the sights of Kaunas, which can be seen in 1 day, but there was still one the most remote, to which we had to go by trolley bus from the railway station is Pažaislislis monastery.
You can get to the monastery from the railway station by trolleybus 5, but it does not reach the monastery a few kilometers, much closer comes trolleybus 9. The best solution would be to change to trolleybus 9 at the terminus of trolleybus 5 and go to the terminus of bus 9. The ride to the final stop will take you about 1 hour and the trolleybuses themselves can also be treated as relics and remember the trolleybuses from the Soviet Union.
Note that the monastery is closed on Mondays to visitors and had to take pictures of what was left is the roof of the monastery, and for this we had to walk through the field.
On the approach to the monastery there is a beautiful walkway, you think it’s the entrance to the monastery, but it’s actually the walkway to the MONTE PACIS hotel and restaurant. Only visitors to the restaurant or hotel are allowed through this alley to the monastery.
The entrance to the monastery is to the left of the alley. There are no other entrances and it is surrounded by a high fence around the perimeter. Through this fence is the next picture.
If we are to believe the information on the net, then under the monastery there is an underground passage 12 km long. Through this tunnel you could once get to the center of the city.
Cost of the trip to Kaunas for 1 day
I will list the approximate minimum amount of money that you can fit into if you go for 1 day from Minsk.
Starting from 15 € one way.
- City transport: 4 trips at 0,8 € (to the monastery and to the apartment) – 3,2 €.
- Lodging: from 15 € for 1 night for 2, and for one it’s 7,5 €.
TOTAL trip from Minsk to Kaunas for 1 night with overnight stay and all transfers will cost from 34 € for 1 person. But it’s better to take tickets one way and fly from the city to somewhere else by low-cost airlines for 5-20 €.
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Kaunas is the cultural capital of Lithuania. For twenty years of Polish occupation it really was the capital. But that is not even the point. An important trade and defense center from its very founding, and later an industrial, religious and cultural center in the region, Kaunas at different times has produced and hosted many talented artists and musicians, scientists and politicians. Read about what to do, where to eat and taste local Kraft in our new guide.
There are regular trains, buses and shuttles from Vilnius to Kaunas. Check the schedules on the websites. From Minsk to Kaunas you can take buses.
As in Vilnius, you can buy a ticket for one trip on public transport only from the driver on the trolleybus/bus and it costs 80 euro cents. If you stay at least three days, get a card at Kauno Viešasis Transportas newsstands.
If you’re flying from Kaunas Airport, check our instructions on how to get there.
A great way to get around the city is by bike. Kaunas has a bike rental system CityBee. All you have to do is install the app, confirm your identity and link your bank card. The fee for 3 days is € 2,90, but each ride for up to half an hour is free. Alternatively, you can rent a bike here, here and here.
The Monk’s Bunk (Laisvės al. 48-2) was the first hostel in Kaunas, and in 2014 it was named the best hostel in Lithuania. It is located on the main promenade of the city. In addition to beds and clean linens, there are plenty of gizmos like fast wifi, foosball, musical instruments, and discounts for visitors at several nearby cafes and restaurants. A place on a double-decker bed will cost €14-16.
R Hostel (Vytauto pr. 83) is located in the historic city center and near the train station. From the summer roof terrace you can enjoy the view of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, which locals simply call “Soboras”. The hostel also offers laundry and bike rentals for an extra fee. A bed in a shared room costs from €10, a double room from €23.
Summer Hostel (Miško g. 2) belongs to the same chain – you will have to check in at the reception of R Hostel. It only has rooms for two (from €21) and three (from €33) people, so it is perfect for families.
Sports Hostel (Vytauto pr. 21) is a great place to stay for a budget night before your flight. The Sports Hostel is located in front of the bus station and at the reception you can buy breakfast and transfer to the airport. A bed in a 10-bed room costs €8. Note that the reception is open until 10 p.m.
Apple Economy (M. Valančiaus g. 19) is a small hotel in minimalist style with rooms for one, two or family of three. For a cosy and homely atmosphere you will have to pay from € 25.
Radharanė (M. Daukšos g. 28) – another small and quiet hotel in the old town. Rooms from €47. There is also an Indian vegetarian restaurant where you can have a hearty and relatively inexpensive lunch.
If you want to rent an apartment, use Airbnb (there are decent options from €20) or check offers here.
We suggest you start your walk not from the center itself, but from the city’s “place of power,” Santakos Park, whose name translates to “The Merger.” This is where the Neris, which in Belarus flows under the name Vilija, merges with the Neman. According to legend, Prince Kunarius founded Kaunas here.
The landscape is also significant because Kaunas Castle (Pilies g. 17), which was built to defend against the Teutonic Order, was destroyed and rebuilt by Vitovt. Look for the Monument to Pope John Paul II in the park – in 1993 he preached here at an open-air mass. A Kaunas operetta festival is held every year at Santoka, and historical plays are staged to commemorate the coronation of Mindaugas. On ordinary days, it is a favorite place for city dwellers to take their children for walks and sports. Perhaps this is what patriotism should look like for a healthy person.
After a long walk in the park, you come back to the center. Laisvės (Freedom Alley), a kilometer and a half long pedestrian walkway, connects the old and new parts of the city, around it are concentrated streets with the main sights. Another noteworthy pedestrian walk is Vilniaus Street, where quite a few 16th century buildings have been preserved.
First, take a look at the Town Hall (Rotušės a. 15) – a building built in the 16th century and reconstructed several times, often called the “white swan” for its elegance. The town hall architecture combines Gothic, Renaissance, late Baroque and early Classicist styles. Inside it is worth looking at one hall of incredible beauty with fantastic stucco – it was made especially for the Russian Tsar.
Take a walk through the places of religious worship – their number, architectural scale and variety is impressive. Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral (Vilnius g. 1) is the largest Gothic building in Lithuania with late Baroque interior. The Holy Resurrection Basilica (Žemaičių g. 31A), one of the largest churches in the Baltic States in the monumental architectural style, was built in the 1930s-40s in gratitude to God for restoring Lithuanian independence. You can climb to the observation deck on the 70 meter high tower and enjoy an incredible panorama of the city. The Church of Vitovt the Great (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) (Aleksoto g. 3) is the oldest church in Kaunas (15th century). Take a look also at one of the two active synagogues (E. Ožeškienės g. 13) in Lithuania and the Mosque of Vitovt the Great (Totorių g. 3) (he allowed Tatars to settle in Lithuania). The most mysterious place of worship (this time a pagan one) is the House of Perkunas (Aleksoto g. 6), which was built for the money of Hanseatic merchants, but later got its name from the statuette of the god of thunder found there.
Kaunas has not only a lot of temples, but also many museums on any subject – we counted 42 – Aviation Museum, Medicine Museum, Police Museum, Sports Museum, Museum for the Blind, Children’s Literature Museum, Clown Museum, etc. Clearly, you can’t see everything in one trip, so focus on the most iconic ones.
National Art Museum of M. K. Ciurlionis (V. Putvinskio g. 55) – there is a large collection of works of this amazing artist.
The Museum of Devils (V. Putvinskio g. 64) has a collection of more than 2,000 sculptures and carved figures of devils from around the world, including the devils of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, together dancing the dance of death on human bones.
Another unusual museum is the Atomic Bunker (Raudondvario pl. 164A) . It is located in a real bunker with a collection of civil defense items (such as gas masks for children and horses), radiation meters, air compressors, spotlight generators and other strange things that refer to wartime.
You can learn about the dramatic history of these lands, which were occupied by various states more than once, in the Museum of Fort IX of the Kovno Fortress (Žemaičių pl. 73). At various times it served as a prison for the NKVD and a place of mass execution of Jews by the Nazis. You can get here by buses 23 and 35 of the city. On the spot is better to use the services of a guide (from € 4). Besides, the open-air exhibition Kiemo Galerija (E. Ožeškienės g. 21A) tells about painful points in Lithuanian history – street art in one cozy courtyard.
If you’re interested in architecture, take a tour of Kaunas’ rich modernist heritage.
There are two funiculars in the city in the districts of Žaliakalnis (Aušros g. 6) and Alyaksotas (Amerikos Lietuvių g.). After walking around the center, climb the mountain on one of them to watch the sunset. The trip will cost 50-58 euro cents.
Sports fans will be interested in attending a basketball game at Zalgiris Arena The home of the legendary club “Zalgiris”.
If time permits, you can go out into nature and visit the Botanical Garden (Ž. E. Žilibero g. 6) or the largest oak park in Europe, which is located within the city (Sporto g.).
Spurginė (Laisvės alėja 84) . “Grandma’s” doughnuts made by the cafeteria employees, many of whom have been working here for several decades, are rightfully a local landmark. The café has been there since the 1960s, and the interior (and the soulful atmosphere) inside has remained intact since the 1980s. In such a long time of existence, the place has developed its own traditions, which is why, for example, you won’t get here in July – everyone goes on vacation for a month. Both sweet and meat donuts are available.
You can always have a coffee or eat a sandwich, roll or bun in one of the Coffee Inn cafes (Laisvės al. 89; Islandijos pl. 32; Laisvės al. 72; Vilniaus g. 3), Caif Cafe (Laisvės al. 50) or Vero Cafe (Laisvės al. 45).
A quick snack in the form of sushi can be found at Sushi Express (Laisvės al. 12A) . In general, one will not stay hungry on Laisvės Alley!
Go to Pelėdinė (Šv. Gertrūdos g. 22) for burgers, they say they are the tastiest in the city. The cheapest (but still tasty) burgers and ribs can be found at Kuhne (Žemaičių g. 29) .
On Fridays (and in good weather, as Kaunas people like to add) the Open Kitchen, an analog of Vilnius street food market, operates on Neman Island. Food, music from local DJs and beautiful nature around.
Galeria Urbana (Vilniaus g. 22), known as a cafe of architects, is ideal for a budget lunch with wine. The creative atmosphere of the gallery is attached.
Kultura Kavine (Donelaicio g. 16) is an analog of SMC cafe-bar in Vilnius. The menu has an Asian twist and you can, for example, dine on ramen. During the cold season you can attend great parties.
Uoksas (Maironio g. 28), decorated in “industrial vintage” style, is among the best restaurants in the Baltic states (according to the White Nordic Guide). The menu made of local products is constantly being updated with the help of guest chefs. The place is suitable both for a lazy Sunday brunch and a late romantic dinner. But in the evenings it can be hard to get here because the locals love it so much.
Monte Pacis (T. Masiulio g. 31) . It’s worth a visit if only for the location – the restaurant (also in the top one) works in the building of a functioning monastery on the peninsula, to which a 100 m long alley of linden trees leads. The menu is based on local, seasonal produce. Dinner here, as you can guess, is not cheap.
At Green Cafe (Laisvės al. 80) you will find 35 kinds of coffee from over 20 countries that can be prepared in 10 different ways.
Nüman (Nemuno g. 43) – Scandinavian cuisine with the most sophisticated style, cool service and loft interior. Friendly waiters don’t just serve food, but will respectfully and attentively tell you how the dish was prepared on your plate.
If you prefer Nordic cuisine to good old zeppelins, go to Bernelių užeiga (K. Donelaičio g. 11, M. Valančiaus g. 9) . There’s a 30% discount on Tuesdays. Traditional snacks, soup in a loaf, draniki and kvass are also available. The atmosphere is that of a tavern or even a canteen.
Medžiotojų užeiga (Rotušės a. 10) . The restaurant, the name of which is translated as “Hunting House”, has been here since 1965. During the Soviet era, the second floor was only available to the top brass of the Communist Party, but now it is available to you too. Get ready for an interior with horns and skins and a very meaty menu.
Žaliukė (Kaunakiemio g. 30) or “Zelenushka” is another of the oldest establishments in town. It is said that the recipe for shashlik, which is the main dish on the menu, has not changed since 1966. The atmosphere is in the style of “Soviet groove”, as they like to say here about all the good things left of a bygone era.
Vingiu Dubingiu Aludė (K. Donelaičio g. 41 / A. Mickevičiaus g. 35) – a bar in a small wooden villa with a cozy courtyard. Try the trendy local Kraft this season.
Klimas (Rotušės a. 3) . Out of all 15 establishments on Town Hall Square, this is the one to choose. An impressive array of taps (one even pours Prosecco). On weekends, DJs play from vinyl.
Nisha (M. Daukšos g. 29) – a very small beer library, filled to the ceiling with bottles of beer from all over the world. There is plenty of draught beer too.
Avilys (Vilniaus g. 34) . They make their own beer here, so if you’re really interested in what’s in your glass, you can go down to the microbrewery and look into the process.
The nameless tavern (Birštono g. is a real working-class barucha. One of the folk names “Old Men” – refers to the middle-aged visitors. The opening hours are also quite telling: the place opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes strictly at 10 p.m. The atmosphere is always peaceful. Very nice and friendly people work here, but you should not lose vigilance or you will start to charge the regulars a beer (however, a pint here costs only 70 eurocents).
For beer and burgers (or tuna steak) head to Hop Doc Gastropub (Daukšos g. 23).
O kodėl ne? (Perkūno al. 4) – a summer café-bar in Vitovita Park.
Lizdas (Nepriklausomybės aikštė 12) – a great nightclub with techno and house parties featuring local and guest DJs. Unfortunately, in summer it is closed (in Lithuania every summer weekend everyone goes to party at festivals).
Lemmy (Girstupio g. 1) is not a less nice place but for live music concerts. Here you can hear the most alternative of Lithuanian rock (and metal). Like the previous club, it is closed for the summer season.
Dildė ir Akvarelė (Vilniaus g. 16) – quite new, but a promising club with cool parties. Again, events should not wait until September.
BO (Muitinės g. 9) – a noisy and bright student pub in the city center.
Džem’pub (Laisvės al. 59) – this pub with live music is good for its summer terrace, which rises right above the picturesque pedestrian alley.
Go shopping in Akropolis (Karaliaus Mindaugo pr. 49) or shopping mall Mega (Islandijos pl. 32). At the latter, don’t forget to look at the giant aquarium with exotic fish and sea sharks.
For shopping with an ethnic flavor, go to the Central Market (Pramonės pr. 16) .
If you like the printed word – you’ll definitely like it in these 3 cool bookstores. Besides, there is a very good vinyl store (Kęstučio g. 7) .
Map of Kaunas with sights from the guide
It’s Kaunastic – all the insider information about Kaunas life
friendlycity.info – socially responsible facilities and services suitable for people with disabilities, LGBT people, vegans and vegetarians, visitors with babies, children and dogs.
We would like to thank Kotryna Lingienė and the It’s Kaunastic project, Artiom Soldatov and Ratsibor Biahun for their help in preparing the material. Thank you!