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- 14 Dec 2019, 3 nights
- 2 Guests
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The pretty and compact city of Kaunas is an ideal spot for a relaxed European weekend break. Lithuania's second-largest city has plenty of character, with a charming old town nestled between the Neris and Nemunas rivers. It was named the European Capital of Culture for 2022, and there's lots to see and do here. Come to discover the lively nightlife and thriving art scene for yourself. It's also ideally placed for a day trip to the capital Vilnius, which is just over an hour away.
There are hostels in Kaunas with foosball tables and large common areas, where you can get chatting with other travellers. For a little privacy, choose a Kaunas hostel that has private apartments. You could also pick a family-run place with a local feel right beside the old town or a stylish hostel with minimalist décor. Some Kaunas hostels have free linen and beds ready-made for you on arrival so you can drop your bags and start exploring.
The central neighbourhood in Kaunas is the old town, with its labyrinthine streets fanning out from the tree-lined main square. Laisvės Alėja, a pedestrianised thoroughfare packed with cafés, restaurants and bars, starts in this area and continues all the way through to the east of the city. The area around the Akropolis shopping centre is more modern. Žaliakalnis hill, north of the new town, is a laid-back suburb with Art Nouveau houses.
Some of Kaunas' top cultural sights include the ornate architecture of the Cathedral Basilica and the imposing red-brick Church of Vytautas the Great. Just outside the centre, Pažaislis Monastery has dramatic frescoes by Italian painter Michelangelo Palloni. Kaunas is an easy city to explore on foot: wander through its medieval streets to find cool street art and tiny independent galleries with vibrant collections of contemporary artworks. If you need a break from the bustle, join the locals and head to riverside Santakos Park for a picnic under a shady tree.
A fun way to get around Kaunas is on its 1930s funiculars, which are some of the oldest in the world. You can take them from the downtown area up to the Aleksotas and Žaliakalnis neighbourhoods for the views. Other parts of the city are easy to get to by bus, trolleybus and minibus. If you're flying in, the Kaunas International Airport shuttle bus lines up with arriving flights and takes about 90 minutes to reach the centre.