Looking to explore more of Lithuania than just Vilnius, Carrie and I decided to take a day trip to the country’s second city - Kaunas. Kaunas is Lithuania’s cultural hub and served temporarily as the capital of the country when Vilnius was occupied by the Russian Bolsheviks in 1919.
We took the train from Vilnius (one hour 15 minutes - cost: €5.60 per person one-way and slightly cheaper for the return trip at €4.20 per person). The trains seemed new with decent WiFi and the ride was smooth and comfortable. In fact I am bold enough to say the WiFi was better on Lithuania’s trains than Amtrak in the U.S. Oh and their website is really easy to use (Lithuanian Railways). Next time we travel across Lithuania we will certainly opt for the train.
Not sure where Kaunas, Lithuania is? Click here to see a map.
As soon as we arrived in Kaunas we jumped in a cab and headed towards the 14th century Kaunas Castle which we knew would be closed as it was Monday, but wanted to take some photos. Pro-tip - places of interest can often be closed on Mondays so plan ahead and check the schedule. Nonetheless we walked around the castle along the banks of the Neris river. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful riverside park and is just a short distance from Kaunas Town Hall Square.
Before we traveled to Kaunas I reached out to the Visit Lithuania Tourism Board via Twitter to see what they recommended we see and do. They responded and suggested a ride up the funicular. The funicular costs 58 cents one-way, which we took up the hill and, opting for some exercise we chose to walk down. Its an easy 5 minute walk. At the top there is a sweeping view of the city, the old town, and the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers.
After our journey up the funicular, we walked along the cobblestone streets before ending up on Kaunas’s main thoroughfare, Laisves Street. We walked the length of the pedestrian only street to St. Michael the Archangel Church. We fortuitously ended up popping into Knygu Ministerija Knygyna to grab some coffee and sweets. It was here Carrie happened upon 99 Places of Taste in the Baltics by the world’s best culinary magazine, VMG. The book covers the restaurant and bar scene unlike any other book for the Baltics with stunning photographs and excellent overviews of the food and drink.
One thing we sadly did not get to see was the Devil Museum. Yes, that's right Kaunas has a Devil Museum! Luckily, a friend and fellow travel blogger managed to check it out. Intrigued? Read about his visit.
Eager to check out some of the new finds in Vilnius we grabbed a taxi and headed back to the train station to catch the next train back to Vilnius.
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