Kaunas is Lithuania’s second largest city, and a visit here will provide ample opportunities to experience some of the country’s charm through tasty cuisine, interesting museums, unique events, beautiful streets, and more. It was even voted the European Capital of Culture in 2022! There is so much to see in the city, and we definitely recommend making a stop here if you are traveling through Lithuania. Here is a city guide to help you plan a visit to Kaunas.
When to Visit Kaunas
There isn’t really a bad time to visit Kaunas, but because the weather varies so much throughout the year, your experience will vary depending on when you go.
Being so far north, summers in Lithuania are fairly mild with high temperatures generally averaging 18-24˚C (65-75˚F) in the warmer months of June through August. It does rain more during these months, but days are overall sunnier. During the summer, daylight hours are longer and weather is more ideal for outdoor activities like swimming and hiking.
Winters can get very cold in Lithuania, the average high temperatures commonly dropping below freezing. The landscape is frequently snow-covered and the days are more overcast. However, if you come properly prepared, the winter is a great time to enjoy the Christmas markets and winter activities like ice skating. With the exception of holidays, Kaunas is a bit quieter in the winter and prices for accommodation and many attractions are a lower.
We visited in October and really enjoyed being in Lithuania during the fall. The fall colors around the river and city parks were beautiful! While we were expecting a bit of rain, we were lucky to have primarily very sunny (though chilly) days and just one downpour on our last day in the country.
If not traveling by rental car, visitors often arrive in Lithuania at Vilnius International Airport. There are many direct flights from within the EU. If arriving from outside Europe, you’ll likely connect through a larger European hub first. The Vilnius airport is small and easy to navigate.
Kaunas also has an airport and, for us coming from the U.S., flights to Kaunas were really not too much more expensive than those to Vilnius. This airport serves fewer airlines than the Vilnius airport, so you’ll likely connect through another European hub before arriving in Kaunas if you are coming from outside the EU.
Kaunas is a large hub in Lithuania, so there are frequent trains to the city from Vilnius, Klaipėda, Riga, Warsaw and more. We found Lithuania’s transport system to be quite convenient and easy to navigate. We booked all of our train tickets on the Lithuanian rail site before the day of departure. You may find bus tickets online as well. If not booking online, you can also book at the station at a ticket window or machine in advance or on the day of departure. If you’re on a tight schedule, we recommend booking in advance, especially during peak summer months.
Kaunas is a lovely place to explore on foot, and there are many great things to see in the historic center and surrounding streets. However, some activities in Kaunas sit just outside the city. If you need a ride to a further attraction, the airport, accommodation, etc., there are various options. Buses run routes around the city frequently – we recommend downloading the Žiogas app to see routes and timetables and for easy payment.
Additionally, there’s Bolt and multiple taxi services in Kaunas. We didn’t ever use them because we found that they were generally more expensive than public transport.
Lastly, if you need to go further or just want the convenience of having your own transport, there are a few car rental agencies in Kaunas and car sharing services like CityBee and Spark. Be aware that finding parking around the city center can be difficult.
Where to Stay in Kaunas
There are many places to stay in Kaunas for a range of budgets. Here are some recommended options to consider for your stay.
- Hostel Lux: triple rooms with shared bathrooms
- Art & Comfort Rooms: double rooms with private bathrooms
- Very Bad Hootel: double rooms with private bathrooms and included breakfast
- HOF Hotel: double rooms with private bathrooms and some options including breakfast
- Laisves Ave. Apartments: private apartments
- Berman House: double rooms with private bathrooms
- Bōheme House: studios to full apartments and included breakfast
- Downtown Ministery Luxury Apartments: private apartments
- G – Owl Jazz: private apartment
Where to Eat in Kaunas
In a city the size of Kaunas, it’s hard to cover all of the amazing places to eat. Just walking around the old town area, particularly down Vilniaus and Laisvės streets, you’ll come across a ton of restaurants, cafés, and bars. Many display their menus outside for you to have a look and have nice outdoor seating in the warmer months. We absolutely recommend seeking out some Lithuanian cuisine!
Some places to try local dishes include Bernelių Užeiga Smuklė, and Etno Dvaras (which also has locations in Vilnius, Klaipėda, and other cities). Uoksas is also a great option, and while this restaurant is a little pricier, it is often considered among the top restaurants in Kaunas.
If you’re looking for good beer, pub foods, and a bar-type atmosphere, make a stop at Hop Doc, rePUBlic No.1, or 2½ Obuolio. Nisha also offers a very wide selection of beer. If you’re craving other international cuisines, visit Agave for Mexican, Moshka for Indian and vegan options, Sushi Masters, Casa Della Pasta for Italian, and DIA or Avilys for unique selections of seafood, steak, duck, and more.
For breakfast dishes or a coffee, head to Holy Donut, Prezo (a chain bakery), Koffee Lab, or Motiejaus Kepyklėlė. For other quick and easy bites, grab a kebab from Liuks, or make a quick stop at the bakeries or grocery stores for pastries, fruits, and other items to take out. Spurgine is also worth a stop (either for dining in or taking out) for their famous fried pastries, some of which are filled with meat and others that are sweet.
There are many grocery stores in Kaunas. Supermarkets like Rimi, Šilas, and Iki sell typical groceries, baked goods and deli goods, liquor, and beer. If you need them, these spots also offer toiletries and other basic home goods.
There are many things to do in Kaunas without a tour. However, if you want to hit the city highlights in limited time or want to take a deeper dive into various topics, a tour can be a great option. There are free walking tours and other paid tour options available in the city. Some popular walking tour options include Vilnius With Locals, and GuruWalk.
There are some tour offices around Kaunas, but many tour itineraries can be found and booked online in advance on sites like Viator and Get Your Guide. Additionally, making a stop at the Tourist Information Center can be helpful if you’re looking for maps and information on tours or various attractions.
Lithuania uses the Euro. There are many ATMs in Kaunas if you need to withdraw cash. If you need to exchange currencies, we recommend doing so at a bank as opposed to the airport. They generally offer a better exchange rate. Some train and bus stations in Lithuania also offer exchange services.
Most museums, restaurants, and accommodation take card. Some have even begun to require card payment since the pandemic. But, we recommend carrying some Euros just in case cash payment is necessary. Some markets and street stalls may not accept electronic payment methods.
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