From Medieval Castles to Open-Air Museums: Get Ready for an Unforgettable Adventure
Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania, is a charming destination that offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s history and culture–with its picturesque old town, fascinating museums, and beautiful natural surroundings.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s medieval fortresses and churches or discovering its vibrant arts scene, Kaunas will leave a lasting impression.
In this guide, we’ll list some of the top things to do in Kaunas and why they are worth experiencing.
Here are some things to do in Kaunas:
- Explore the Old Town: Kaunas’ old town is a delightful maze of cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and historic architecture. Take a stroll and admire the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings that line the streets.
- Visit the Kaunas Castle: The castle is one of the oldest and most impressive structures in Kaunas. Built in the 1300s, it is now home to the Kaunas Castle Museum, which tells the story of the castle’s history and the city’s past.
- Discover the Ninth Fort: This fort is a sad reminder of Lithuania’s tragic past. During World War II, it was used as a detention and execution center by the Nazis. Today, it houses a museum that commemorates the victims of the Holocaust and Soviet occupation.
- Admire the Pažaislis Monastery: – This 17th-century Baroque masterpiece is one of Lithuania’s most beautiful religious buildings. It is set in a tranquil location near the Kaunas Reservoir, and the interior is adorned with stunning frescoes and sculptures.
- Enjoy the Open-Air Museum of Lithuania: This unique museum is on a picturesque hill overlooking Kaunas. It showcases the traditional architecture, crafts, and customs of rural Lithuania. The museum has over 100 authentic buildings, including farmhouses, windmills, and churches.
- Take a stroll along the Nemunas River: The Nemunas is the longest river in Lithuania, and a walk along its banks is a great way to unwind and enjoy the city’s natural beauty. You can rent a bike or take a boat tour to explore the river further.
Did you know?
Kaunas is known as the “City of Museums” and has the highest concentration of museums in Lithuania? With over 40 museums, visitors can explore various topics, from Lithuanian art and history to aviation and medicine.
One of the unique museums in Kaunas is the Devil’s Museum, which houses an extensive collection of devil figurines and artwork worldwide.
A little history:
Kaunas has a history that spans over 600 years. The city was first mentioned in written records in the early 1300s. By the 15th century, it had become an important center of trade and commerce in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
In the 1500-1600s, Kaunas was a thriving cultural and intellectual center with many schools, churches, and printing houses. The city was also an essential hub for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and was crucial in forming Lithuanian identity and nationalism.
In the late 1700s, the town came under the control of the Russian Empire, and its economic and cultural development slowed down. The city remained an important industrial center, with a thriving textile industry and numerous factories.
During World War I, it was occupied by German forces, and it became the temporary capital of Lithuania in 1919 following the country’s declaration of independence. But, in 1940, the city was annexed by the Soviet Union, and it remained under Soviet control until Lithuania regained its independence in 1990.
Kaunas is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and entrepreneurial spirit. Its many museums, galleries, and festivals attract visitors worldwide, and its lively nightlife and culinary scene make it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.