Double-digit temperatures only look good when they’re above zero. Especially when you’re on holidays. But we believe a kaunastic day can be squeezed out of anything. Even when it’s -19 °C. Here’s an itinerary for a frozen day out and about in Kaunas! Oh, and please note the traditional winter outfit in Lithuania is called The Onion and includes numerous layers of clothes, preferably from wool.
Breakfast at Višta Puode
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As we’ve planned a significant amount of time outside in the cold, it’s important to eat well before that. A couple of freerange eggs and some bacon on the side should do, and you can always top it up with a traditional curd donut. Višta Puode is in fact a great spot to visit any time of the day and introduce yourself to the Lithuanian culinary heritage. Early bird? No problem as the place opens at 8AM. Daily.
Photo by Višta Puode
Shopping in Aleksotas market
The market on Aleksotas hill is a pretty kaunastic one. It’d be best to travel there on foot, taking the funicular up the hill, but if it’s super cold it’s better to be in a car. It was kind of a slow day when we visited the market on a -19 °C morning but you can still bargain on amazing vintage cutlery, cups and plates and – it’s winter season, after all – sledges! Warm marine-tested socks and shirts that were cool before your thermal wear existed are also available. And... new friends?
Photo by Evaldas Virketis / Kauno Diena
Exploring the great outdoors at the S. Darius and S. Girėnas Airport and the Aviation Museum
You don’t have to travel far from the Aleksotas market to reach the airport – it’s right on the other side of the road. Yep, in the middle of the city. It’s one of the oldest airports in Europe – thousands of aviation fans celebrated its centennial birthday in 2015. Named after legendary pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas who tragically crashed their “Lituanica” plane after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the airport has not been used for commercial flights for decades but is actually one of the best flying destinations in Europe! It's also home to local aviation enthusiasts. You can spot small planes performing acrobatic tricks from many spots in Kaunas all year round! It’s of course very quiet there during the winter, and the panoramic views of the field covered in snow are simply breathtaking.
Photos by Šarūnas Jasiukevičius / www.jasiukevicius.lt
The Museum of Lithuanian Aviation, located right there at the airport (open daily except Sunday 9AM-5PM), will take you through a very rich, diverse and colourful history of Lithuanian aviation. You can visit the planes parked outside, too. We recommend booking a guide for a full experience.
Visiting the greenhouse at the Botanical Garden
Photo by VMU
The Kaunas Botanical Garden of Vytautas Magnus University, located in Freda, is open daily from 9AM to 8PM and you don’t have to pay for the ticket from Nov 1st to March 31st. The entrance to the greenhouse (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)costs 3EUR and it’s absolutely worth it after a light stroll from the main entrance to the manor (yes, the botanical garden is in fact an old manor!). Who wouldn’t love a selfie in a jungle in the middle of the winter?
Photo by VMU
Feeding swans in Šančiai
Photo by Rokas Tenys / Kas Vyksta Kaune
Feeding swans can actually be called a traditional winter pastime of the residents of Šančiai, an charming neighbourhood behind the railway station, situated at the bank of Nemunas river. Mute swans (a few hundreds of them!) hibernate there, and it’s highly recommended to come help the birds survive the season when the temperatures are low. Local farmers support the initiative by donating grain and vegetables; people can come collect the donations and then go feed the swans. And ducks, to be honest. You could also give them bread but it doesn't have the necessary nutrition value. Inviting the birds to the bank is probably not the best idea either.
Treating yourself at KaravanSarai
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There’s a single place in all of Lithuania that can immediately transport you to Middle East on a magic carpet. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies ant gentleman, and welcome to KaravanSarai. The family restaurant located in a neighbourhood surrounded by woods on the imaginary border of Kaunas, is definitely the best warming-up idea after a jolly day outside. Indian catfish soup. Armenian steak. Uyghur stew. Uzbek, Kyrgyz or Bukharan Jewish pilaf. Falafels. Have space for a dessert? There’s always baklava. And Turkish coffee.
Photo by KaravanSarai
It’ll probably be dark when you roll out of KaravanSarai after the feast. There’s a handful of options for the rest of the evening, depending on your priorities.
You are able catch a performance in the National Kaunas Drama Theatre – some of them are interpreted into English.
Maybe a sauna session with a massage afterwards would do? Try Saulėja SPA at the Park Inn hotel, for example.
Bar-hopping is always an option (here are some of our favourites) but we suggest you choose one for the rest of the night because the feels-like temperature is usually lower at night.
Have fun – don’t get cold!