Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading center of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas is a large centre of industry, trade and services in Lithuania.
Kaunas is located at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris, and near the Kaunas Reservoir, the largest body of water entirely in Lithuania.
The city covers 15,700 hectares. Parks, groves, gardens, nature reserves, and agricultural areas occupy 8,329 hectares.
The oldest part of Kaunas city is the Old Town located to the east of the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers.
City municipality 311,148
Metro 673,706 (Kaunas County)
Kaunas features a warm and humid continental climate. Summers in Kaunas are warm and pleasant with average daytime high temperatures of 21–22 °C (70–72 °F) and lows of around 12 °C (54 °F), but temperatures could reach 30 °C (86 °F) on some days. Winters are relatively cold, and sometimes snowy with average temperatures ranging from −8 to 0 °C (18 to 32 °F), and rarely drop below −15 °C (5 °F). Spring and autumn are generally cool to mild.
Kaunas International Airport (KUN) is one of the biggest airports in the Baltic states. An Irish low-cost airline Ryanair announced Kaunas Airport as their 40th base and first in the Central Europe in February 2010. Kaunas Airport was the fastest growing airport in the Baltic states in 2009 and 2010.
The smaller S. Darius and S. Girėnas Airport, established in 1915, is located about three kilometres (1.9 miles) south of the city centre. It is one the oldest still functioning airports in Europe used for tourism and air sports purposes and now hosts the Lithuanian Aviation Museum.
Welcome! We wish you unforgettable impressions in the only Hansa town in Lithuania. Visit the Baroque pearl Pažaislis Monastery and gain knowledge in the museums of the former temporary capital. Ride an extraordinary means of transport, in the form of the funicular, and enjoy the breathtaking view from green hills, roof tops and churches. You can also look for secrets in old prisons. Become acquainted with a live town in the cosy little streets of the Old Town and one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, Laisvės avenue.
PLACES TO VISIT / SIHTSEEING
1. Kaunas Castle (Pilies g. 17) is the oldest stone castle in Lithuania, first mentioned in written records in 1361. According to legend, Queen Bona Sforza’s army disappeared underground in this castle. In the sixteenth century there was a prison in Kaunas Castle and the castle is haunted by prisoners’ spirits which have not found peace yet.
2. Santaka Park (Papilio g.) is called the heart of Kaunas where you can see the confluence of the rivers Nemunas and Neris. There are many places of interest in Santaka Park: the altar where pagan rituals took place, Pope Hill visited by Pope John Paul II where he celebrated Mass in 1993, the Statue of Pope John Paul II, St. George the Martyr Church and Bernardine Monastery and Kaunas Castle.
3. St. George the Martyr Church (Papilio g. 7) which started functioning in 1503 was one of the first churches in the Kaunas Old Town and was allocated to Bernardine monks who settled in the town. The remains of the Gothic style together with fragments of Baroque equipment dominate the interior of the church. There is a functioning monastery in the southern side of the church and next to it, the guest house “Domus Pacis”.
4. Kaunas Town Hall (Rotušės a. 15), also called the White Swan. Its construction was started in 1542. There are elements of three styles, Gothic, Baroque and early Classicism, which dominate the architecture of the Town Hall. At different times the purpose of the Town Hall differed: the main town markets, fairs and courts took place here; there were nine wax melting furnaces functioning, a prison and storerooms of goods under the paving of the Town Hall building. At present wedding ceremonies and official events take place in the Town Hall.
5. Kaunas Parochial Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and Paul (Vilniaus g. 1) was established on duke Vytautas the Great’s initiative in approximately 1413. It was one of the first and oldest stone buildings in Kaunas. Gothic and Renaissance styles dominate the architecture of Kaunas Archcathedral Basilica, whereas the interior is special for a Baroque layer with historism (Neo-gothic, Neo-baroque) and supplements of 20-21st centuries.
6. Kaunas City Museum (M. Valančiaus g. 6). Collections of town history, science and industry, culture and art, sound and video and archaeology departments are exhibited in the museum. City Museum was established in the building of the Classicism style which has a special historical meaning in respect of creation of the nation’s spiritual culture and statehood.
7. St. Francis Xavier (Jesuit) Church (Rotušės a. 9). The construction of the church was started in 1666 and finished in 1720. The style of the church is late Baroque; it has a rectangular plan and two towers. There is a panoramic viewpoint in the terrace of Jesuits’ Monastery where you can admire the beauty of the Town Hall Square and the Old Town panoramic view.
8. Perkūnas House (Thunder House) (Aleksoto g. 6) is considered to be the only trading headquarters in Lithuania which belonged to Hansa merchants. It is an old, original Gothic monument built in the late 15th century. Legend has it that pagan priestesses guarded the eternal flame here and a statue of pagan God Perkūnas (Thunder) was found in the wall of the building. Supposedly, the name Perkūnas was given in order to honour traditions of paganism, the old Lithuanian faith.
9. Kaunas Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption (or otherwise Vytautas the Great Church) (Aleksoto g. 3.) is the oldest church in Kaunas, built approximately in 1400, it is the only Gothic church in Lithuania which has a plan of the cross. According to historians, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas was defeated in the battle with the Tartars by the Vorskla River and almost drowned. Being thankful for saving his life, Vytautas promised the Virgin Mary to build a church on the bank of the river.
10. Vytautas the Great Bridge is also called “the longest bridge in the world”. In order to cross the bridge from one bank of the river Nemunas to another 13 days were necessary because Kaunas belonged to the Russian Empire, whereas until 1807 Aleksotas belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia. Therefore, different calendars were valid on the different banks of the river and this difference was 13 days.
11. Aleksotas Funicular with panoramic viewpoint (Amerikos Lietuvių g. 6) is considered to be one of the oldest funiculars in Europe which has been operating since 1935. You may go up by the Aleksotas Funicular to the panoramic viewpoint where you can admire the outstanding beauty of the panorama of the Kaunas Old Town.
12. Historical Presidential Palace of Lithuania (Vilniaus g. 33). When Kaunas became the temporary capital, all political, economic and cultural life moved here. All three contemporary presidents of the Republic of Lithuania worked and lived in the Presidential Palace: Antanas Smetona, Aleksandras Stulginskis and Kazys Grinius. You can see the sculptures of the presidents of the Republic of Lithuania who worked there in the yard of the Palace. At present there is a museum in the Palace.
13. Kaunas St. Gertrude Church (Laisvės al. 101A), built in the late 15th century, is one of the most distinguished monuments of the Lithuanian Gothic era. The biggest sacral value in St. Gertrude Church is the cross with the Crucifix scuplture known for graces from old times. Prayers may light candles in the Temple of Candles which is next to the church. The candles burn for 7 days during which other prayers pray.
14. Laisvės avenue (Laisvės al.). When visiting Kaunas it is necessary to walk along the most important street of Kaunas in the New Town, which is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. The length of the street is almost 1.7 kilometres and its layout clearly shows directions to the west and east. While walking along Kaunas Laisvės avenue, you can see Vytautas the Great’s Monument and the scuplture of Danielius Dolskis, the originator of interwar Lithuanian variety music (pop songs) next to the fountain. There are plenty of cafés, bars, restaurants and cosy little shops on Laisvės avenue. It is a favourite place for walking and meeting.
15. Kaunas State Philharmonic (L. Sapiegos g. 5). The palace was built in 1928; the author of the project was architect E. Frykas. The style of the four-storey palace building is Neoclassicism with Art Deco elements. Culture and traditions of national professional music and art are cherished and created, classic musical works and works of foreign composers are played and values of the world musical culture are conveyed in the Philharmonic.
16. Kaunas State Musical Theatre (Laisvės al. 91). Professional Lithuanian theatre art, which is drama, opera and ballet, began and existed throughout all interwar and Lithuania’s independence periods in the theatre palace. The first ballet event was in 1948 and in 1951 the first opera took place in the theatre. There is a Town Garden next to the Musical Theatre which is decorated by busts of Lithuanian composers, artists and singers.
17. Kaunas National Drama Theatre (Laisvės al. 71) is the first professional and stationary drama theatre in Lithuania, in 1920-1921 called “Dramos vaidykla” (Drama performing). The building of the theatre became one of the most characteristic examples of social realism architecture of 20th century in Lithuania. It is represented by a monumental and theatrically decorative façade. There are six different creative spaces for events in the Kaunas Drama Theatre.
18. Palace of the Bank of Lithuania (Maironio g. 25) was designed by Professor M. Songaila in 1924. The purpose of the Palace of the Bank of Lithuania has not changed since its construction until present; ever since its construction banks have been working in the building. There is a Money Museum which has a collection of exhibits related to banking and the history of money.
19. Devils’ Museum (V. Putvinskio g. 64) The only devils museum in the world is in Kaunas. The museum contains a collection of more than 3000 devils. The collection includes the exhibits from Armenia, Yakutia, Mexico, Cuba, the Ukraine, Japan and other states.
20. Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Art Museum (V. Putvinskio g. 55). Mikalojus Konstatinas Čiurlionis is a globally well-known Lithuanian painter and composer. Although his creation period lasted only slightly longer than a decade, he created more than 400 musical works and painted more than 300 pictures. Čiurlionis’ creation includes ideas of Neo-romanticism, symbolism and Art Nouveau artistic ideas. You may see the most famous Čiurlionis’ paintings and enjoy listening to his created music in the museum.
21. The Garden of Vytautas the Great War Museum (K. Donelaičio g. 64). In 1919 the establishment of the museum and garden was allocated to pay honour to those who lost their lives in the fight for Lithuania’s independence. There is a monument “Laisvė” (Freedom), a famous sculpture “Sėjikas” (Seeding man) which sows stars at night by Bernardas Bučas in this garden; you can also see the Eternal Flame next to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, listen to the concerts of carillon of 35 bells in the tower of the museum, admire wooden crosses commemorating those who died for Lithuania’s independence (Lithuanian cross-making is the construction of traditional Lithuanian crosses, a branch of Lithuanian folk art which was included in the UNESCO Non-material and Verbal Heritage Masterpiece List in 2001).
22. Žaliakalnis Funicular (Aušros g. 6) is a short railway line with a funicular rod mounted on a steep hill slope in the Žaliakalnis district. The funicular has been functioning since 1931; its speed is 2 m/s, the duration of the ride is 1 min 38 s and 36 passengers may ride it at a time. You may go up by the Žaliakalnis Funicular from the city centre to Monumental Christ’s Resurrection Church.
23. Monumental Christ’s Resurrection Church (Žemaičių g. 31B). After Lithuania regained independence, in 1922 the idea to build a church as a symbol of thank-you to God for freedom regained in the temporary capital Kaunas emerged. Christ’s Resurrection Church is of impressive size and has a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy the panorama of Kaunas.
24. M. Žilinskas Art Gallery (Nepriklausomybės a. 12). There is a collection of art works presented by Mykolas Žilinskas to Kaunas in the gallery: ancient Egyptian art, European applied and decorative arts of the 17th to the 20th centuries, Italian paintings of the 17th and18th centuries, Western European paintings of 19th and late 20th centuries and paintings and sculptures of the Baltic States of early 20th century. There is a famous sculpture of a naked man called “Man” in the gallery yard created by P. Mazūras in 1986. During playful campaigns “Man” is dressed, especially in winter so that he won’t not freeze.
25. St. Michael the Archangel (Garrison) Church called Kaunas Sobor (Nepriklausomybės a. 14). In 1895 the Russian Orthodox Cathedral was build by the order of the Tsar of Russia Alexander III as the representative fortress, expressing luxury and an official atmosphere. In 1991 St. Michael the Archangel (Garrison) Church was returned to Kaunas Archdiocese Curia. There is a Museum for the Blind in the basements of the church.
26. Sugihara house (Vaižganto g. 30) was founded in 1999 by the efforts of Lithuanian and Belgian intellectuals and businessmen, seeking to commemorate the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara. From 1939–1940 there was a Japanese consulate in this house. Chiune Sugihara became famous during the years of World War II when he saved the lives of about 10,000 Lithuanian, Polish and German Jews: he issued “life visas” to Japan without any official approval of Japanese Government.
27. Oakery (Sporto g.) is the biggest oakery present in the territory of the town in all Europe; its area is 84.42 ha. You can see a sculpture “Stumbras” (Aurochs), walk in the poet Adomas Mickevičius Valley, admire the monument built in commemoration of legendary Lithuanian pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas’ flight and visit “Dainų slėnis” (Valley of Songs). Oakery is a favourite place for walking and sport.
28. Stumbras Museum (K. Būgos g. 7). Visiting the museum is a unique possibility to learn about the history and development of the beginning of alcohol production in Lithuania and tasting subtleties and rules. Devices used in the process of production, labels and packing, as well as the process of how Stumbras drinks are produced and bottled today are introduced.
29. Botanical Garden (Ž. E. Žilibero g. 6). The botanical collections of the garden founded in 1923 include plants of 7300 taxons raised. Expositions of plants, the biggest greenhouses in Lithuania, a mature park of unique beauty with ponds and romantic bridges and the historical environment of Aukštoji Freda estate create a great space for rest.
30. Kaunas forts (The IX fort adress: Žemaičių pl. 73, The VII fort adress: Archyvo g. 61). On the threshold of World War I the town of Kaunas was surrounded by nine forts, batteries among them and other defensive equipment. Kaunas fortress reflects engineering decisions and construction possibilities of those times. The ninth and seventh forts are adjusted to visiting; there is a museum where you can learn about the history of fortification.
31. Ensemble of Pažaislis Church and Monastery (T. Masiulio g. 31), also called Baroque pearl, is one of the most wonderful masterpieces of late Baroque architecture in North Eastern Europe. About 140 frescoes of various sizes survived in the buildings of the monastery ensemble. You can see a famous painting the Mother of Fair Love in the monastery, which was presented to Kristupas Zigmantas Pacas, the founder of Pažaislis Church, by Pope Alexander VII in 1661. There is a museum in Pažaislis Monastery and next to it, a unique Hospitality complex “Monte Pacis” where one may taste historical dishes of nuns with modern interpretations.
Architecture of Kaunas. Modernism
Modernism ideas which spread fast among most countries of the Western World after World War I soon emerged in Lithuania as well. In 1920 when Poland occupied Vilnius, Kaunas became the capital of the independent Republic of Lithuania (1920–1939) and the most important Lithuanian city. As the economy was growing, it was sought to make the capital a modern European city. Lithuanian architects started to design and build houses in the style of modernism, in German called the Bauhaus, which was avant-garde in Europe and the USA at that time. Up to the present day Kaunas is probably the only city in the world where so many buildings of this style were built and have remained intact. Each of the architects who created here had their own individual style which was distinguished for different modern variations. These variations included historical elements, a search for national style or just attempts to convey the main modernism principles.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO KNOW KAUNAS
Ride a bike!
Kaunas is often called the town of cyclists, because there are plenty of cycling routes intended for riding in accordance with the most beautiful Kaunas itineraries. You will find more information about bike rent, the most popular cycling routes and itineraries in the Kaunas Tourism Information Centre, Laisvės al. 36, tel. (+ 370 37) 323 436, www.kaunastic.lt.
Hop on Hop off!
It is a unique possibility to visit exceptional Kaunas places of interest by bus with a convertible type of roof and audioguide. Kaunas is introduced in 8 languages with the help of an audioguide. Please ask for more detailed information: tel.: (+370 5) 261 5558, (+370) 699 54064, website www.kaunascitytour.com.
Trips by ship!
Kaunas is at the confluence of the biggest rivers in the country Nemunas and Neris. There is the biggest basin in Lithuania, Kauno Marios (Kaunas Sea), surrounded by wonderful and astonishing landscape in Kaunas. Therefore, it is a great place for water entertainment. Many unforgettable adventures and great leisure is guaranteed. Let’s meet on the deck!
You will find more information about trips by ship and other water entertainment in the Kaunas Tourism Information Centre, Laisvės al. 36, tel. (+ 370 37) 323 436, www.kaunastic.lt.
1. Kaunas Picture Gallery
K. Donelaičio g. 16, Kaunas
II – VII 11.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 221 779
2. Ceramics Museum
Rotušės a. 15, Kaunas
II – VII 11.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 203 572
3. A. Žmuidzinavičius Creations and Collections Museum V. Putvinskio g. 64, Kaunas
II – VII 11.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 221 587
4. Kaunas Tadas Ivanauskas Zoology Museum
Laisvės alėja 106, Kaunas
II – VII 11.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 229 675
5. Museum of Lithuanian Education History
Vytauto pr. 52, Kaunas
I – IV 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.; V 10.00 a.m. – 3.45 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 206 210
6. Lithuanian Aviation Museum
Veiverių g. 132, Kaunas
I – VI 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 a.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 295 547
7. Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum
Rotušės a. 13, Kaunas
II – VI 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 207 477
8. M. and K. Petrauskai Lithuanian Music Museum
K. Petrausko g. 31, Kaunas
II – V 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 733 371
9. Povilas Stulga Museum of Lithuanian Folk Music Instruments
L. Zamenhofo g. 12, Kaunas
II – V 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.;
VI 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 206 820
10. Museum of Kaunas Archdiocese
M. Valančiaus g. 6, Kaunas
II – V 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.; VI 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 322 584
11. Museum of the History of Lithuanian Medicine and Pharmacy
Rotušės a. 28, Kaunas
II – VI 10.00 a.m. –5.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 201 569
12. Lithuanian Sport Museum
Muziejaus g. 7, Kaunas
II – VI 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Closed last Thursday of each month.
Tel. (+370 37) 220 691
13. Communications History Museum
Rotušės a. 19, Kaunas
III – VII 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 424 920
14. Museum of Precious Stones (Gemology)
L. Zamenhofo/Kurpių g. 13, Kaunas
I – V 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.; VI 10.00 a.m. – 16.00 p.m.
Tel.: (+370 37) 227 780
15. Museum of Anatomy
A. Mickevičiaus g. 9, Kaunas
Excursions for groups are organized only by prior appointment
Tel.: (+370 37) 327 283/ (+370) 652 98867
16. Museum for the Blind
Nepriklausomybės a. 14, Kaunas
Basements of St. Michael the Archangel Church (Sobor).
Excursions for groups are organized only by prior appointment.
Tel.: (+370 37) 226 676
International Jazz Festival “Kaunas Jazz” (April) www.kaunasjazz.lt
International Folklore Festival “Atataria lamzdžiai” (May) www.ktkc.lt
Kaunas Hansa Days (May) www.tautosnamai.lt
International sport dance competition “Gintarinė pora” (Amber Couple) (May) www.tautosnamai.lt
International Photo Art Festival “Kaunas Photo” (April-May, September) www.kaunasphoto.info
International fiesta “Bike show” (June) www.bikeshow.lt
Song Celebration (June) www.tautosnamai.lt
Pažaislis Music Festival (June-August) www.pazaislis.lt
International Festival “Operetė Kauno pilyje” (Operetta in Kaunas Castle) (July) www.operetta.lt
International Festival of Traditional and Contemporary Folklore “Suklegos” (September) www.suklegos.lt
International Festival “Musica Sacra” (September-October) www.krmc.lt
Kaunas International Film Festival (September-October) www.kinofestivalis.lt
International Dance Festival “Aura” (September-October) www.dancefestival.lt
Kaunas Biennial (September-December) www.bienale.lt
Christmas Tree Lighting Festival and Christmas Town (November-February) www.tautosnamai.lt
KAUNAS TOURISM INFORMATION CENTRE
Kaunas Tourism Information Centre will give you great advice on how to spend your leisure time well in Kaunas! There you will also find:
- Information about the most popular places of interest, museums, cultural events, entertainment and tours.
- Free Kaunas city guide (brochure) and Kaunas map.
- Information about the most suitable accommodation places.
- Useful advice about where to shop and eat.
Kaunas Tourism Information Centre
Laisvės al. 36, LT-44240 Kaunas
Tel.: (+370 37) 323 436
Fax: (+370 37) 423 678
E-mail: email@example.com, www.kaunastic.lt
Kaunas Tourism Information Centre offices:
In Kaunas Town Hall
Rotušės a. 15, Kaunas
Tel.: (+370 37) 323 436
At Kaunas International Airport (Karmėlava)
Karmėlava, LT-54460, Kaunas district
Tel.: (+370 37) 323 436
At Kauno bus station
Vytauto pr. 24, Kaunas
Tel.: (+370 37) 322 222
At Kaunas railway station
M. K. Čiurlionio g. 16, Kaunas
Tel.: (+370 37) 323 436
At hotel Park Inn by Radisson Kaunas
K. Donelaičio g. 27, Kaunas
Tel.: (+370 37) 323 436, (+370 37) 306 100
Working hours: 0 a. m. – 12.00 p. m.