Essential Kauna: A Coach and Walking Tour
- 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.
- All the landmarks: This comprehensive panoramic tour covers all the must-see sights, including Kaunas Castle, Town Hall and Square, Perkunas (Thunder) House, Kaunas Cathedral (Lithuania's largest in the Gothic style), St. George's Church, the Catholic Seminary, the Jesuit Monastery, Holy Trinity Church and Convent, the monument to Vytautas the Great, and more.
About this Kaunas Tour
Nearly every historic building in this sizable city lining the banks of the Neris and Neman Rivers has changed hands – and purpose – multiple times during Lithuania's action-packed history.
Like the 16th-century Town Hall, known locally as "the White Swan" thanks to its tall and slender tower. Over the centuries it's served as an ammunition depot, a church, a prison, a roadhouse for czars, and a Russian theater. Soaring high above Old Town's main square, it's back to doing normal civic things like holding the city archives and hosting wedding ceremonies and official welcomes.
The nearby Jesuit Monastery at St. Francis Xavier Church has traded hands among Jesuits, Franciscans, the Russian Orthodox Church, and Soviet overlords since its 1666 inception. During unplanned pauses in its religious functions, it's held a technical school, a sports hall, a sauna (in the crypt!), and an indoor shooting range.
The spired, red-brick House of Perkunas was built in 1440 by Hanseatic merchants who used it as their trading offices until 1532, then sold it to the Jesuits, who made it a chapel a century later. Since then it's been a school, a Soviet storage warehouse, and today holds a gymnasium and small museum. The building has been known as "Thunder House" since 1818, when a statuette of the Baltic god of thunder was discovered inside a wall niche during renovations.
Standing on a strategic rise where the city's two rivers meet, picturesque Kaunas Castle (1368) was built by Lithuanian Grand Duke Kestutis after the Teutonic Knights trashed its predecessor. This new edition successfully withstood their attempted retake 30 years later, yet lost its primary purpose once the Knights were vanquished in 1410. Demoted to residential duty, by the early 20th century it sat abandoned and partially built over, but a substantial portion has now been faithfully restored to its original appearance.
Keep in mind that all this is just a sampling of Old Town's treasures. Once you experience the rest of the city, and walk along famous, pedestrian-only Vilnius Street and Laisves Avenue, you'll understand why Kaunas has been attracting so much attention, from so many people (and occupiers), for so many years.
Back to the future
There's always been some sort of ramshackle way to cross the Neman River where the Vytautas the Great Bridge now stands, not far from the House of Perkunas. In fact, from 1795 to 1815, "the longest bridge in the world" stood in that spot. At least that's what locals liked to call it. During those years, the south side of the river was technically in Prussia and the north was in Russia. This made the short 840-foot river crossing a trip between the Gregorian and Julian calendars – a journey of about 12 days.
Please make your way to the Kaunas Castle Parking Lot at Pilies g. 17, Kaunas 44275 to meet our tour representaive.
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.
Plan to walk for approximately 2 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.
Cultural, Walking Tour, Scenic
English, German, French, Spanish, Russian
Tour Participation Requirements
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.
Travelers must be 6 years of age or older and accompanied by an adult to participate in this tour.
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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