Kaunas is the city of love! Here is a historical fact to prove that. In 1549, grand duke Žygimantas Augustas gave Kaunas Castle, the city and its surroundings to none other than the love of his life, Barbora Radvilaitė.
Many more stories worthy of a novel have happened and been written down in Kaunas. And how many thousands of love stories began with a date at the fountain on Laisvės Alėja, no one will ever count. So on this 14th of February, we invite you to take a day off, or at least shorten your working hours, and follow the trails of love in Kaunas. Love, after all, can have many forms - not only for your other half, but also for freedom, nature or the city, and of course, for yourself. Let's start with that.
"Good morning," the barista at Chaika, the most Instagrammable café in the Old Town, winks at you and asks - banana cake, blueberry cake, or a cup of cocoa? Listen carefully - what does your heart want today? Spare yourself nothing, and when you're full, go do what you usually can't find the time for.
A swim in the Žalgiris or Girstutis pool? Just the right thing to do for Valentine's Day. A SPA programme or a sauna is also great idea - just choose and make a reservation. Time for yourself is also time for your soul, and Kaunas museums and galleries are eager to treat you with that. For example, the Kaunas City Museum's M. and K. Petrauskas House is hosting an exhibition of postcards with many ideas for love letters! And in the evening you can treat yourself to a cinema ticket - Forum Cinemas is showing the documentary "Thug Rose: Mixed Martial Artist", which emphasises the importance of love for oneself, the world and life. (For more culture in Kaunas: kultura.kaunas.lt)
Only you know best what to get your partner for Valentine's Day this year. Maybe it will be a ticket to the biggest-ever concert by love lyricist Gabrielė Vilkickytė at Žalgirio Arena? It's no coincidence that it's scheduled for the evening of Valentine's Day. Or maybe a blind date at the cinema? The Kino Pavasaris festival will offer a passionate film (still kept secret) on the 15th of February at Forum Cinemas.
Lithuania's oldest movie theatre, Romuva, also encourages you to go on a cinematic date and has even published a special series of postcards to make your job easier. On the 14th of February, the Italian film "Superheroes" and an adults-only diptych of Lars von Trier's films will be screened here.
Restaurant chefs are definitely not having holidays as the 14th of February approaches. And which is more romantic for you - French, Italian, Lithuanian cuisine or distant exotic flavours, seafood or desserts - you decide. True Valentine's Day enthusiasts will not refuse to take advantage of hotel offers. For example, Radisson Hotel Kaunas will only ask you to choose whether you want a romantic dinner, breakfast, or maybe everything? This year, Moxy is offering a love-inducing discount - if you've never visited this party animal paradise before, now is the time to make amends.
Photo by Moxy Kaunas
Of course, it's not the financial value that counts. If you invite your beloved to meet you in front of the street art mural "He and She" (drawn by Gražvyda Andrijauskaitė) and wander through the colourful streets of Šančiai, it will be a genuinely kaunastic rendezvous. Of course, the classic "by the fountain at six" never goes out of style. You'll still have time to split a legendary Kaunas doughnut in half and then walk hand in hand through the alleys of the city of love.
Did you know that the writer Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas, who lived near Oak Grove, loved nature so much that he even kept a meteorological diary? The beauty of the nature that surrounds and refreshes Kaunas has been immortalised in more than one work of art, and how many artists have been inspired by it, we do not know. What is certain is that the element of love is essential in this formula for success. So find your own inspiration - or rather, take a deep breath of the fresh air of a forest or a park and stir up your feelings and creative energy.
And where? In the just officially opened and renovated Juniper Valley by the Kaunas lagoon, in the Oak Grove, ideal for walkers and joggers (and writers), or in Santaka Park. After all, the union of the Nemunas and Neris rivers is one of the most historically romantic places in the city, the birthplace of Kaunas itself. It is, by the way, quite symbolic to propose here.
The Kaunas Botanical Garden is perfect for a date in all four seasons. It's fascinating to watch how nature changes, how plants hibernate or wake up, and for those who miss the warmth but can't get away to the tropics, there's the big greenhouse. A walk among the cacti and agaves will inspire you to save up for a trip (a honeymoon?!) to Mexico.
It is no coincidence that two days - the pink and the tricolour - are so close in the Lithuanian calendar. To love your country is to be filled with freedom, to defend it with all your might, and not to forget to celebrate that feeling. Concert halls, museums, squares, cafés and our hearts will be adorned with tricolours as we approach the 16th of February, our Independence Day. You can set the tone for a day full of love for freedom by waking up and donating to the #RADAROM campaign. After visiting the Vytautas the Great War Museum, admiring the Statue of Liberty, strolling along the Laisvės Alėja, stop by the street art piece "Victory" (drawn by Plugas) on Kęstučio street. After all, Ukraine's freedom is our freedom too.
We really love Kaunas every day and night of the year, after working hours and every second! So for us, Valentine's Day is also a day of love for the most fantastic city in the world. As we said in the introduction, look closely - every corner of Kaunas is filled with love. You can find out more about the love for a city, a country and life by booking a tour of the Art Deco and Amsterdam School Museums, the J. Zikaras, J. Gruodis, B. and V. Sruoga House-Museums, and the new exhibition about the cultural diplomat Magdalena Avietėnaitė at the National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art. The Historical Presidential Palace is a great way to encourage sympathy for the Temporary Capital! Meanwhile, you will find authentic contemporary kaunastic vibes in the Courtyard Gallery on E. Ožeškienės street.
For more kaunastic ideas for a walk, a day off, a workation or an actual holiday in Kaunas, visit kaunastika.lt or the Kaunas IN Tourism Information Centre at Laisvės al. 36. Here you can also choose a stylish souvenir for your other half in another city or country. Valentine's Day can be virtual, too...