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Kaunas

Kaunas

Kaunas is a thriving modern city with a healthy smattering of excellent museums, inspiring architecture and a bustling student population. Be sure not to miss a trick when exploring many Old Town boutiques, where the city’s famous amber jewellery can be bought at a great price compared to other Baltic countries. Local artisans are also a huge draw for treasure hunters, with lovingly hand crafted merchandise including bone china tea sets elaborating painted to an unbelievable standard.

Lithuania’s second largest city and former capital is awash with wonderful old baroque buildings and has few of the Communist blocks that blight Vilnius. What’s more, you don’t just get to look at them – you can stay in them as well. Hotel Metropolis (S. Daukanto g. 21) is one of the nicest and has individually decorated rooms, giving it a cosy boutique feel. A comfortable option is the Magnus Hotel (Vytauto pr. 25), conveniently located close to the central bus station and opposite the Akropolis shopping centre. For something a little cosier, try the Litinterp Guesthouse Kaunas (Gedimino g. 28-7), a family-run spot close to the quaint cafés of Laisves Aleja.

Kaunas is famous for its amber jewellery which costs less here than in other Baltic countries. The best is to be found on Vilnius Street in the Old Town, where you’ll also find boutiques selling the local earthenware pots and handwoven linen. Most of the international brands are to be found in the vast Kaunas Akropolis shopping centre (Karaliaus Mindaugo pr. 49) but give the annoyingly overpriced Zara and co a miss in favour of ImDeco, where you’ll find beautiful bone china dishes, cups and pots complete with elaborate hand-painted designs. Laisvės Alėja is the main spot for street sellers, in particular artisan food producers selling everything from flavoured vodka to delicious slices of Šakotis (Lithuanian pound cake).

While not every local dish is as delicious as Šakotis, there is more to eating Kauna-style than picking through an unappetising platter of skilandis (stuffed pig stomach). Along with ubiquitous Western chains such as McDonald’s, there is a host of local cafés serving good value fare, including Viva Blynai (Laisves al. 53), which specialises in tasty dumplings and pancakes. For something lighter, try Morkų šėlsmas (Laisves al. 78B), which offers a surprisingly good all-vegan menu complete with plentiful fresh fruit and a juice bar. Best of the bunch is Abato menė (Vilniaus g. 7), where you can tuck into Lithuanian classics (no skilandis in sight) in what used to be an abbey.

Kaziuko Mugė
March
A huge folk arts and crafts fair, Kaziuko Mugė brings artists from all over Lithuania – as well as Russia and Poland – to Kaunas for the annual market that fills the streets of the Old Town.


Kauno Miesto Diena
May
Kaunas gained official city status in 1463 and Kauno Miesto Diena or ‘Days of Kaunas City’ celebrates the anniversary via a huge folk fair and numerous musical performances.


Bike Show Millennium
June
Despite the name, Kaunas annual petrol fest takes place each June and sees the city thronged with bikers from all over the world. Don’t miss the impressive ‘Fire Angel Show’ synchronised display.


Pažaislis Muzikos Festivalis
June-August
Lithuania’s version of the Proms, Pažaislis Muzikos Festivalis brings together classical musicians, church choirs and singers for a series of concerts over the summer months. Kicking off in July, proceedings come to a close at the end of September.


Kaunas Cantat
December
The perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit, Kaunas Cantat is a three-day event that pits choirs from all over Lithuania against each other in a festive sing-off.

ESSENTIALS

Language
Lithuanian
Currency
Lithuanian Litas
Time zone
GMT +2
Flight time
2 Hours 30
Holiday type
City Break , Sightseeing

WEATHER

21/08/14
Cloudy skies
Cloudy skies
8°C
min
21°C
max
22/08/14
Sunny skies
Sunny skies
10°C
min
23°C
max
23/08/14
Partly cloudy skies
Partly cloudy skies
11°C
min
24°C
max
24/08/14
Patchy rain possible
Patchy rain possible
11°C
min
21°C
max
25/08/14
Light rain shower
Light rain shower
11°C
min
19°C
max
Jan
0°C max
-4°C min
Feb
1°C max
-5°C min
Mar
5°C max
-2°C min
Apr
11°C max
2°C min
May
18°C max
7°C min
Jun
21°C max
10°C min
Jul
22°C max
12°C min
Aug
23°C max
12°C min
Sep
16°C max
8°C min
Oct
11°C max
4°C min
Nov
4°C max
0°C min
Dec
0°C max
-4°C min

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