Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania: how to organize a weekend?

Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania: how to organize a weekend?

Lithuania is a place where you don’t have to put too much effort . There are many options to choose from, from buying a trip when there is nothing to worry about, by bus, by plane, or by car. All of them are actually readily available.

  • Bus . You can take advantage of Lux Express or Ecolines (you can even get tickets for 630 rubles).
  • Plane . You can choose the Polish carrier and the recently announced connection WizzAir, where you can count on good promotions.
  • Car . Not the cheapest way, but convenient in terms of maneuverability in place and the amount of luggage. Getting to the border and then through Lithuania to Vilnius is fairly easy, although there is no direct highway to Berlin or Gdansk. The road, however, is wide and pleasant (not counting the many repairs on the Warsaw-Belostok highway).

Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania: how to organize a weekend?

Ways to get around

Travelling around the city

Let’s face it, Vilnius or Kaunas are cities, where most of the most interesting places are in so-called “walking distance” . You can not use public transportation, although it is possible to take the trolley bus for fun.

Another very pleasant option is a city bicycle in Vilnius . The card, which must be purchased before the first rental, costs 2.5 euros. There are many suitable paths and roads for cyclists in the city, but not in the old part. So it is still recommended to visit the old city on foot.

As for parking lots in Vilnius , they are, of course, paid, but it is worth looking for 24/7. You can park in Vilnius for 3 euros a day near the Gediminas Hill. It was only a 15 minute walk from the hotel, and for many of you it might be a very good starting point for a day trip around Vilnius.

Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania: how to organize a weekend?

Travelling around the city

On-street parking costs about 1 euro per hour . Streets in downtown Vilnius have different paid parking schedules and these are not individual areas, but streets. It may turn out that instead of paid parking 24/7 around the corner, you can park for free overnight.

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In Kaunas on the weekends you can not pay for parking , but when it comes to Trakai, there are options by parking in the backyard (2 euros per day).

While parking lots are pretty extensive , the same driving around town is the ultimate driving school . Surprises await on every corner in the form of numerous one-way streets that either become two-way or are completely closed to traffic at certain times. You really have to watch and read all the signs .

Also worth mentioning here are these unusual signs in Lithuania that indicate, for example, when parking is paid and sometimes prohibited entry. Signs with a hammer are weekdays and those marked with an asterisk are weekends. Sometimes there are also markings with Roman numerals (e.g. under the paid parking lot). Then Roman numerals indicate days of the week .

Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania: how to organize a weekend?

Travelling around the city

Accommodation and Meals in Lithuania

There are no problems with accommodation either, it all depends on your expectations and budget. There are many hotels to choose from.

When choosing a hotel it is more important location, parking, spacious room and kettle in the room, than the price.

Lithuanian cuisine is quite greasy, heavy, too meaty, a lot of sweets to coffee and vegetarian restaurants.

As for shopping, in the cities you can buy goods mainly in supermarkets, and the larger shopping centers are located on the outskirts of the cities.

What is pleasantly surprising is the souvenir kiosks . Mainly in the old town of Vilnius you can meet a few kiosks, where you can buy traditional Lithuanian products. If you want to be sure of quality and originality, you can shop in the boutiques of the old town.

Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania: how to organize a weekend?

Accommodation and Meals in Lithuania

Important points for your trip

Do not forget to turn the clock forward after crossing the border .

As for other practical things:

    – EUR;
  • the language is Lithuanian; attempts in English fail;
  • ATMs, card payment – are available;
  • 220V sockets.

Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania: how to organize a weekend?

Important points for your trip

Independently in the Baltics – one day to Kaunas and Trakai castle

In the first report I told about sightseeing in Vilnius – the capital of Lithuania. You can read about it here – “By yourself in the Baltics – one day in Vilnius”.

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After seeing Vilnius, the next day I moved early in the morning of August 15 to Kaunas. I went by bus, though it was possible to get by train. The road took an hour and a half and was very scenic, winding through beautiful forests and lakes.

Not far from the bus station there is a large and powerful Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel. It used to be an Orthodox church – now it has been converted to a Catholic church. The project of this church was created in St. Petersburg and approved by the Emperor Alexander the Third in 1895. In 1921 the church was turned into a Catholic church, but under the Soviets it was a museum, and now it is a Catholic church again. It was built in Neobyzantine style. The cathedral is open from 08.00-18.00 every day.

From this cathedral begins an alley Laisves – the main pedestrian street in Kaunas. The lower photo shows the former House of Soviets in Kaunas.

It was Friday, and I didn’t understand why there were so few people.

This alley is short in length and it’s the one that will take you to the historic center of Kaunas.

-Historical Center is not very big – about 700 meters long and 400 meters wide and it took me only three hours to get around on foot.

I was already walking along the street named after the capital – Vilnius, which is the oldest street in the city and at the end it goes to City Hall Square.

At the end of Vilnius Street, is the city’s Cathedral – St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral (pictured). No one knows when the church building was built, but the first written mention was in 1413. The first church was built in Gothic style, but in the 1655 war between Poland and Sweden, it was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt already in the Renaissance style at the end of the 17th century, and the interior decoration was Baroque. The bell tower reaches a height of 55 meters.

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As I have already noted, it was a holiday and the church was full of people and the service was going on – so I took only one photo inside, although there were many valuable cultural objects in the cathedral, including old icons (16th century).

But on the way back I went inside again and took more pictures

Just 30 meters from the Cathedral there is a square Town Hall Square – in the photo.

And this is how it looks from a bird’s-eye view – Internet photo

The town hall is on the right – it was built in the 16th century and has the name “White Swan” – it was considered the center of the city.

In the square near it all the important events of the city were held and there was a marketplace. And to the left of the Town Hall is the Jesuit church of St. Francis Xavier.

Next to Town Hall Square is a small monastery and a seminary for Catholics.

I walked through the seminary courtyard into the oldest part of Kaunas

And came out to the ancient cathedral – the Church of St. George, laid out back in the 15th century!

It is also a Bernardine monastery. Construction began in 1471. Inside, too, it is impressive – there are old paintings and frescoes – you can feel its ancient antiquity. It retains an authentic medieval look!

Nearby is a stone – where Kaunas was founded on the Neman River

On the right side of St. George’s Cathedral – there is the Kaunas Castle – in the photo.

It is the trademark of the city.

Only one third of it survived

The castle is located in a very convenient place – and was mainly built to defend against the Crusaders in the middle of the 14th century. As a result, the Lithuanians and the Teutons took it from each other several times, until the Teutonic Order was finally defeated in the early 15th century.

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The most impressive part – which has survived – is the Round Tower – on the photo

From the castle I went to the River Neman, passing the small field where Pope John Paul spoke in the early 1990s, as soon as the independence of Lithuania was declared.

The promenade by the Neman is very pretty – the locals sunbathe here

I went back to Town Hall Square again.

Here, in several lanes, is an interesting house – House of Perkunas – on the photo. It was built by merchants of Hansa back in 15th century. Built in Gothic style

By Alexota Bridge – I crossed to the other side of the Neman and looked at the historical part of Kaunas from the other side. In the photo – St. Mary’s Church

And here on the photo to the right of the bridge is a white temple – Evengalist Basilica of Kaunas for Lutherans

I again returned to the Church of St. Mary, which is known locally as the church of Vytautas the Great, it was built in the Gothic Hanseatic style in gratitude for saving the life of the prince in the losing battle in 1398 against the Mongols and Tatars, where he miraculously survived.

I didn’t stay anywhere else and went to the bus station – I had to see Trakai that day. So I arrived in Vilnius and took a bus to Trakai, at the same bus station in Vilnius, and in thirty minutes I was already out at the Trakai bus station.

This tiny town has become a mecca for tourists. Everyone who comes to Lithuania does not ignore it.

There is beautiful nature around Trakai and a few lakes, on one of which stands Trakai, but before you get to the castle, you can see the ancient stone towers.

This place has its own beauty – Lithuanian!

And in the distance on the island we saw the castle itself.

Around the castle were many tourists – it was a holiday and a day off in Lithuania.

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To come to the castle you have to pass to the island over wooden bridge, which didn’t exist in medieval times, and the castle was located on the island in the middle of the lake Galve

Trakai turned out to be one of the prettiest castles I’ve seen.

It is the largest surviving Gothic castle in Lithuania!

At the time of its construction in 1409 – Trakai Castle was the most powerful and impregnable fortress of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and all of Eastern Europe.

Throughout its history, no one was able to take Trakai by storm.

Nevertheless, after the defeat of the Teutonic Order, the castle in Trakai lost its military significance and turned into an ordinary princely palace, where feasts were held and distinguished guests were welcomed.

The remoteness of Trakai from trade routes gradually led to its economic decline.

For a time the fortress was used as a prison, and then it was abandoned altogether.

At the end of the 20th century the castle was restored and now it looks as it did when it was built in the 15th century.

Inside the castle is a small historical museum.

You can take a boat trip around the castle

There are a few more sights around Trakai, but I had no time left, and it was enough for one day.

And this is how Trakai looks like from the bird`s eye view – photo from the Internet

So ended my second day in Lithuania, which I was very pleased – has completed and my short trip to the Baltics – the next day in the morning, I left Vilnius by bus in Minsk, about the start of travel in Belarus, you can read here – “By myself in Belarus – a day in Brest and its legendary fortress.

To this report I am attaching two photo albums of Trakai and Kaunas, the photos in which do not duplicate the photos in the report.

Photo albums to the story

A cycle of materials “By yourself in LATVIA, LITHUANIA and BELARUSSIA + Smolensk.

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