Kaunas

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Square in Kunas

Image used under Creative Commons from Jaakko Lintula

For a taste of Eastern Europe, travellers should seriously consider a trip to Kaunas. With a flight time of just three hours from Shannon, Lithuania’s second city certainly fits the bill for those seeking a city that has transformed itself in recent years but yet still holds proudly to its past.

Come visit Kaunas in May-August where temperatures can get up to 22°C. Or, consider visiting for a winter adventure, though you are advised to wrap up as the mercury can plummet well below zero, especially in the early months of the year.

Getting Around

On arrival at the modern international airport, a short spin on the A6 motorway will have you in the city in just 30 minutes. Public transport is also widely available to whisk visitors off to their chosen accommodation. The number 29 bus departs from outside the main terminal and for less than €1, you’ll be downtown in no time at all.

Getting around by bus and trolley is probably the best option when you’re ready to explore. Single journeys are very reasonably priced at around 0.60-0.70c but for convenience, €5 will get you a 3-day ticket, while parting with around €9 of your holiday fund will keep you on the move for a full seven days.

Accommodation

Kaunas, like most 21st century cities, has a host of accommodation options to choose from. Those on a strict budget will find suitable fare on Airbnb – a quick search uncovers modern, clean and sometimes chic apartments from as little as €25 per night. Those who have the luxury of more expansive financial resources can lay head their head in four and five star establishments in the city centre for the very sensible price of €60 and upwards a night.

What to see

Maps of the sites in Kaunas and the surrounding area can be picked up at the Kaunas Tourism Information Centre and Convention Bureau, which is ideally located on Liberty Avenue, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. The Field of Victims, The Ninth Fort, Devil’s Museum, Napoleon’s Hill, and much, much more await in a city with a haunting but extraordinary history.

Five for free

  • Start with sightseeing splendour

    Sightseeing tours are on offer in Kaunas, and are usually delivered in English, German, French and Russian. However, as the city centre is quite compact, short walks will take you to the main attractions, such as the Pazaislis Monastery Complex, one of the most visited spots in the region.

    Image used under Creative Commons from tjsalo

    Pazaislis Monastery
  • Remember the past

    Kaunas played a major role in World War II and the city’s Ninth Fort has a chilling history on a par with some of the more famous concentration camps. The Fort is another of the city’s most popular tourist spots, with half of the grounds dedicated to Soviet skullduggery, while the remainder focuses on the Holocaust. Most of the Fort can be accessed for free, but full access and a guided tour will set you back €5.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Julia Glassman

    Julia Glassman - Remember the past
  • Follow the festival trail

    If there’s one thing that Kaunas doesn’t lack, it’s festival fever. From international choir competitions to world-wide photo art festivals, and from culture and art fairs to globally-recognised silver screen events, the culture vultures among you are spoiled for choice. Many are free of charge too, which just adds to the magic!

    Image used under Creative Commons from Lee Fenner

    Lee fenner - Follow the festival trail
  • Take a break in the park

    The powers that be in Kaunas take their parks and open public places very seriously – indeed, almost 10 per cent of the city’s acres are dedicated to parkland. The Oak Grove stands out most – covering over 60 hectares, it’s Europe’s largest area of mature oaks. The overhanging branches are perfect for whiling away a summer afternoon, even though the bustle of the city is just a stone’s throw away.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Vadim

    Vadim - Take a break in the park
  • Sample the old and the new

    Since Lithuanian independence in 1990, Kaunas has shrugged off most of its industrial legacy to become a major transport and logistics hub, while also embracing technology, sport and tourism, all of which contribute to the economic transformation of the city. Examples of old and new sitting side by side are plentiful here – a stroll through the Old Town and on into the modern centre offers a mixture of architectural masterpieces that hold candles to the past and celebrate a bright, optimistic future.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Guillaume Speurt

    Guillaume Speurt - old and new
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