After spending a lot of time abroad, returning back home becomes the most exciting part of our journeys. So it happens that we were born and raised in a charismatic and unique city of Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, known for its vibrant atmosphere, extraordinary geographical location and splendid interwar architecture. But that should not be new for you, Dear Reader, because we have already shared an argumentative opinion that Kaunas is the best city in the world*.
This time we wanted to try to look at our home town in a way we look to the other cities in Europe – as tourists. Therefore, we are very excited to announce that this week is #HomeWeek! Firstly, it means that we did a takeover of our hometown Kaunas official Instagram page, where for the seven days we will be posting photos of how we see Kaunas. Secondly, Home Week means that this week on our blog you will hear only about the uniqueness of our hometown!
7 Places to Discover in Kaunas
If you have a limited amount of information about Kaunas, then our beautiful hometown sure will be a great discovery for you, Dear Reader. It is a city full of surprises – from the longest pedestrian street in Eastern Europe to the crazy and original Devil’s Museum. Not to mention, traditional things needed for a great city break! Charming medieval cobblestone streets, romantic riverside, scenic overlooks, green parks, vibrant atmosphere. Everything is here! In addition, Kaunas is known for its interwar period architecture, so if you are an Art Deco lover we sure have a lot to show you here.
We tried to name all the places that we would recommend for a city guest, and the number we counted would be way too big for one post. Therefore, we took some of our favorites as an inspiration for you, Dear Reader, to deepen your knowledge about the great city of Kaunas. In our opinion, it should be your next European destination!
Here are 7 places that you need to discover in Kaunas.
Aleksotas Scenic Overlook
Firstly, you have to cross the river Nemunas to the other side of the Old Town to discover the most iconic view of the city – Aleksotas Scenic Overlook. You can reach it by car or by foot, but if you want to experience Kaunas to the fullest then take a funicular ride up the hill. At the end of it you will be standing in front of the charming rooftops of Kaunas Old Town!
Let’s move forward to Pažaislis, one of its kind religious building in the whole region of North-Eastern Europe! Built in 18th century it is a largest monastery complex in Lithuania and a prime example of Italian Baroque. What is more, by being located at the shores of Kaunas Reservoir, afternoon trip to Pažaislis will be your short, but great nature getaway.
Streets of the Old Town
Once, in the early Middle Ages, before acquiring a Magdeburg rights, Kaunas was a city of wooden architecture. Today not much of it is left, as since the 15th century all of the Old Town’s streets are cobble-stoned and designed by the example of medieval German cities. Nevertheless, it is said that in some places wooden street foundations still remains.
It is the longest pedestrian street in whole Eastern Europe. Design back in the 19th century, Laisvės Avenue holds many of the most significant sights in Kaunas, and it sure will guarantee you the best stroll that you had in awhile. Starting from St. Michael the Archangel’s Church it will walk you for 1,6 kilometers up to the Old Town and then to the place where two Kaunas rivers – Nemunas and Neris – meet.
Ninth Fort is a 19th century stronghold and a museum just outside the city. To tell you the truth, Kaunas and Lithuania in general, had a really rough history. Back then, when Ninth Fort was built, Lithuania was under occupation of czarist Russia. Later, Nazis came. After them – Soviets. Ninth Fort was a convenient stronghold for all of them, so it became a place where very horrific things were taking place. Especially, during the Holocaust. Anyway, now it is the most affecting museum that we have ever been to, and a place which you should visit in order to get to know more about tragic history of 20th century.
Blessed Virgin Mary Church
This 15th century church is one of the most unique religious buildings in former territory of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Actually, it is the only Gothic church with cross-shaped layout in this area. What is more, it is located in the picturesque area on the bank of the biggest river Nemunas, which makes Blessed Virgin Marry Church standing in one of the most lovely spots in Kaunas.
Here in particular you see Central Post Office located in the middle of Laisvės Avenue. It’s one of the most important representative buildings of interwar period in Kaunas. But surely not the only one! Whole city center and Žaliakalnis (Green Hill) district above it, is full, literally – full, of examples of interwar architecture. And that should not surprise you. Back then Kaunas was one of the most modern and prosperous cities in Europe!
Though these places are most of our favorites, it is just 7 of long list of things to discover and to experience in Kaunas. After traveling a lot through Europe, every time we come back to see that Kaunas, like a rare other destination has everything you need for a great city break. Want culture? Kaunas is full of culture! Want sightseeing? It is full of sights! Want to experience great nightlife? Come to the streets of Kaunas Old Town!
Come, Dear Reader, and see it for yourself!