Essential Kaunas Tour with Lunch and Pazaislis Monastery Visit

Essential Kaunas Tour with Lunch and Pazaislis Monastery Visit

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$ 448

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      Kaunas, Lithuania
      6.5 Hours
      Moderate
      From (USD)
      $ 448
      • Old Town walk: Enjoy a guided ramble through the center of Kaunas, where ornate medieval buildings and churches set the scene on long, cobbled streets – and even the phone booths are historic. 
      • Sightseeing drive: This orientation to modern Kaunas passes the sleek Zalgiris Arena, Zaliakalnis Funicular, and the massive hilltop Resurrection Basilica – a symbol of Lithuanian freedom even World War II and Soviet communism couldn't suppress.
      • Pazaislis Monastery: Tour a hillside masterpiece of Italian Baroque architecture along the Neman River. This magnificently frescoed complex has had a turbulent ride through history, but remains a breathtaking showplace.
      • Kaunas landmarks: See Kaunas Castle, Town Hall and Square, Perkunas (Thunder) House, Kaunas Cathedral, the Catholic Seminary, the Jesuit Monastery, Holy Trinity Church, the Old Post Office, the Vytautas the Great Monument, and more.
      • Lunch: Enjoy a relaxed three-course meal at a restaurant that overlooks Town Hall and specializes in classic Lithuanian food made from fresh ingredients.

      Meeting point

      Please make your way to the Kaunas Castle Parking Lot at Pilies g. 17, Kaunas 44275 to meet our tour representative.

      Helpful hints

      In need of retail therapy after your tour? Your guide can advise you where to go in search of that "must have" souvenir to take home. Be sure to have some local currency and a backpack for all your great buys.

      Getting around

      Plan to walk for approximately 3 miles over cobblestones and paved surfaces. If your mobility is limited, you may find it too challenging to keep up with the group and enjoy yourself. Tour is not wheelchair accessible.

      Activity type

      Cultural, Walking Tour, Scenic

      Languages

      English, German, French, Spanish, Russian

      Tour ID

      TR-EUR-LTU-KAUN-EN-1002

      Tour Participation Requirements

      Activity Level

      This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.

      Age restrictions

      Travelers must be 6 years of age or older, and accompanied by an adult to participate in this tour.

      It's been a town for a thousand years, and was a capital for 20 of them. Today, Kaunas is both a free, vibrant metropolis and a time capsule of medieval and Renaissance architecture. This tour samples it all, along with some authentic Lithuanian fare.

      Over the centuries, a tag team of Lithuanian dukes, Teutonic Knights, Russians, Prussians, Poles, Bolsheviks, Nazis, and Soviets have taken turns being in charge, each leaving their mark on the city's array of landmarks.

      Monasteries became technical schools. Town Hall went from archive to prison to czar's roadhouse. Churches became ammunition depots and movie theaters. A 15th-century Hanseatic traders' building became a Jesuit school, then a Soviet warehouse, then a gymnasium. Yet somehow, almost everything survived reasonably intact.

      Nowhere is that pattern of repurposing and survival more impressive than at magnificent Pazaislis Church Monastery, on a lagoon east of town, atop aptly named Peace Hill. It took an army of 17th-century Italian master craftsmen 60 years to build and decorate this late-Baroque showplace, the gift of an art-loving Lithuanian patron to the Benedictine monks it housed for its first century. With 140 ethereal frescoes adorning their vaulted church, they must have felt very close to heaven itself.

      But when Napoleon arrived on his ill-fated 1812 Russian romp, the peace on Peace Hill was shattered. The French troops pillaged and plundered and stabled their horses on the monastery's fragile marble floors. The monks managed to hang in until Napoleon cleared out, but Czar Alexander I evicted them for good in 1831 – and had Pazaislis converted into a Russian Orthodox sanctuary, even down to changing white monks' robes to black in the wall paintings.

      During World War I, the monastery was again sacked – this time by Germans, who turned it into a field hospital. In 1920, it was turned over to a sect of Lithuanian nuns for restoration, but they got kicked out in 1944 by the Soviets, who used Pazaislis as a mental hospital, then an art gallery. Finally, once Lithuania gained independence in 1990, the monastery was returned to the loving care of the Sisters of St. Casimir.

      You'll be bowled over by the amazing beauty that endured here – especially those masterful frescoes – and by the peace that now prevails on Peace Hill.

      Capital crimes

      In 1920, with Bolsheviks and then Poles in control of its traditional capital city of Vilnius, the embattled but independent-minded Republic of Lithuania named Kaunas as its acting capital. Over the next 20 years, the town prospered as never before, ballooning into the country's largest city. But that growth was soon to falter. Germany invaded in 1941, and over the next three years, one quarter of Kaunas' population (including almost all of its Jews) would perish at the hands of the Nazis.

      Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.

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      Kaunas, Lithuania
      Great photo opportunities
      Wear sunscreen
      Wear sunscreen
      Wear comfortable shoes
      Wear warm layers

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      Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.

      To book this tour for a large group, visit ourGROUPS PAGE for special discounted group rates