Travel Guide to the European Capital of Culture for 2020 – Kaunas

Kaunas - Lithuania

Kaunas is the second biggest city in Lithuania. It is referred to as the Pearl of the Baltic.

Strategically wedged at the Neris and Nemunas Rivers’ confluence, Kaunas attained a taste for the spotlight during a spell as Lithuania’s central capital in the interwar era; the city owes some of its most charming architecture to this era. Long since shifted to second-city status, Kaunas still glints its eye: it’s here that you’ll find the country’s best galleries and uninhibited nightlife. As Kaunas moves towards its stint as European Capital of Culture next year, this spirited city is getting bolder every day.

How to move around Kaunas?

Kaunas has an improved public transport system. There are over a dozen trolleybus routes and about 40 bus routes within the town limits. The number of routes slightly varies with time. Trolleybus and Bus tickets are purchases from the driver for cash. The Kaunas Public Transport site offers valuable information and a map of the trolleybus and trolleybus bus.

In Kaunas, the tax prices vary from €0.50 to €0.65 per kilometer. Self-driving a car in Kaunas is simple if you comply with traffic laws. Remember that to rent a car without a driver, you must pay a deposit. 

Top Attractions in Kaunas

MK Čiurlionis National Museum of Art

One of Lithuania’s grandest and oldest galleries, Kaunas’ leading art museum (founded 1921 CE) is the site to acquaint yourself with the heartfelt paintings of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875 CE–1911 CE), one of the nation’s greatest composers and artists. Elsewhere in the large gallery are modern sculpture exhibitions, Lithuanian religious and folk art, 16th- to 20th-century CE European works, and Lithuanian portraits and landscapes from the early-modern era. 

Ninth Fort

Lithuania’s painful early modern 20th-century history is told here, 7km north of the central district Kaunas. Start in the somber, church-like gallery with outstanding stained glass and displays detailing Lithuania’s suffering under the Nazis and the Soviets. Then proceed uphill to the dark Holocaust memorial and the World-War-I-era fort – a hard-labor prison in the early 20th century CE and a center of mass killings and torture during World War II.

House of Perkūnas

With elegant arcs and towers curling from its brick facade, this late-15th-century CE mansion is a reserve of Kaunas’ late-Gothic architecture. Constructed by the Hanseatic League’s wealthy merchants, its interior is laid out to summon yesteryear’s noble lifestyles: dining tables, chandeliers, and a clean library with a small display dedicated to 19th-century CE Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz. The sumptuous house is named for the thunder god Perkūnas, whose likeness was discovered during renovations in 1818 CE.

Panemunes Park Beach 

Panemunes Park Beach is located in the loop of Nemunas river on the brilliant Panemune Park’s shore. The beach is reachable on foot if you start from the shopping center “Molas.” It’s a lovely place to visit for beach lovers.

Choral Synagogue

Constructed in 1871 CE, the only functioning synagogue of those endured since 1941 CE, and one of the few pieces of Kaunas’ once-strong and flourishing Jewish community, this is a remarkable gold and gold dark-wood. Outside there’s a memorial to 1600 innocent kids massacred at the Ninth Fort.

Museum of Devils

This dark museum is dedicated to the Devil, Satan, Lucifer, the seducer, the fallen angel, the cajoler, with over 3000 figurines, masks, carvings, and other scary images, gathered over the years by the artist Antanas Žmuidzinavičius (187 CE6–1966 CE). There’s a light-hearted exploration of the Horned One in various mythologies, plus a look at festivals held to drive away evil and darkness, from Shrovetide to Walpurgis Night to the well-known Halloween.

Top Things to do in Kaunas

Nightlife lovers may fancy Kaunas’s nightclubs, theatres, bars, and cafes, offering a wide range of entertainment, including striptease, casinos, foreign and local DJs, or, for instance, football/basketball games translations on vivid large screens.

  1. Festivals: Kaunas is home to numerous festivals, including the Kaunas Jazz festival (at the end of April/May), the famous summertime Pažaislis Music Festival, and the International Modern Dance Festival. The Akropolis Kaunas Grand Shopping Festival is held in July at Kaunas Akropolis shopping center (a fantastic destination). During the festival, great discounts apply in all stores of the colorful shopping center.
  2. Theatres: Kaunas has numerous theatres showing plays for different tastes. From state music theatre to drama and Symphony Orchestra, there’s something for everyone. 

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