Kaunas is the second-largest city and an economic and cultural centre in Lithuania. Situated at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers, approximately 100km (map) northwest of Vilnius, Kaunas is an easy day trip from the Lithuanian capital. I wasn’t sure what to expect on my day trip from Vilnius but together with my driver/guide, I discovered quite a lot of things to see in Kaunas.
Between the First and the Second World Wars, Kaunas served as the temporary capital of Lithuania. The city flourished during this period. In terms of architecture, Kaunas experienced somewhat of a renaissance, with the construction of many beautiful Art Deco buildings, particularly in the Bauhaus and Lithuanian National Romanticism style, in Kaunas New Town and the adjacent Žaliakalnis district. In fact, during the interwar period, Kaunas became known as ‘Little Paris’ because of its rich cultural and academic life, fashion, Art Deco architecture as well as a thriving café culture. Due to the splendid array of architecture, interior design and furniture styles stemming from the interwar period, Kaunas was designated a UNESCO City of Design in 2015. In addition, in 2022, Kaunas will have the honour of being the European Capital of Culture. In short, there’s lots of things to see in Kaunas so if you can, I suggest spending a few days there to check out all the sights.
Things to see in Kaunas
Prior to my trip to Lithuania, I have to admit that I didn’t know a thing about Kaunas. However, I quickly discovered many things to see in Kaunas on my day trip. I absolutely loved the charming atmosphere in the historic centre and the stunning Art Deco style buildings in Kaunas New Town. In addition, the street art in Kaunas is plentiful, with various thought-provoking pieces. Follow my photo essay of my day trip to Kaunas:
The historic centre of Kaunas
My first stop was the 14th century Gothic style Kaunas Castle. Just as I stepped out of the car, I noticed this cool piece of street art, called ‘The Old Wise Man’ on the side of what was once a factory.
Art Deco and street art in Kaunas New Town
Find out more about the Ciurlionis National Art Museum.
Check out this tour of Kaunas with a local.
Courtyard Gallery art
Read about my stay in Birstonas, the spa resort town of Lithuania.
St. Michael the Archangel Church
It was a short visit – I could easily have spent a few days in Kaunas and explored more of the city in search of more Art Deco gems – but this day trip to Kaunas from Vilnius gave me a very good impression of the city. The charming cobblestone streets and brick buildings in the historic centre form a stark contrast with the Art Deco architecture and street art in the New Town, making Kaunas a fascinating city to explore.
Visit Kaunas Tourism for more information.
Getting to Kaunas
Kaunas is easily reachable by regular bus services from Vilnius. Kaunas also has its own international airport served by various (low cost) airlines from major European cities.
Read about my stay at the five star Hotel Pacai in Vilnius.
Note: my visit to Kaunas was made possible by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Visit Kaunas. As always, all views expressed above are mine, and mine only.