Kaunas, the second city in Lithuania, is balanced for travellers of all ages and sizes. There are numerous activities, both inside and outside, for small children, as well as family-friendly places to eat and lush nature for those who prefer to spend their holidays hiking and discovering. There’s no better time than this summer to experience kid-sized Kaunas – where do we start?
First and foremost, there’s Vienybės square, a newly refurbished public area in the heart of Kaunas. Full of fountains, pools and ramps for bmx’ers or skaters, it’s surrounded by cafes and restaurants – so you can combine a lot of activities there. Locals recommend “Olive Kitchen” for a cosy family dinner or lunch.
Other lunch spots Kaunas families love include “Jurgis ir Drakonas” for their healthy pizzas and playground, “Talutti” chain for endless menu options and “Višta Puode” because they cook just like everyone’s grandma!
After visiting Vienybės square, one of the most instagrammed spots in the city, take a look around you and discover dozens of street art examples and murals around the city centre. Some of the most famous pieces are „Pink Elephant“ and „Star Seeder“, also „Old Wise Man“. Near Vienybės square, on E. Ožeškienės street, take a peek into Yard gallery, a unique ongoing street art project in an actual yard. It’s open 24/7 and is constantly updated with new paintings or objects of art.
While Kaunas is a very walkable city, it also loves travellers with bikes. A city-wide campaign “Like Bike” aims to become the first 100% bike-friendly city in the Baltics. There’s always a new bike path around the corner, and they’re more than comfortable – perfectly safe, too – for family rides. The routes “Like Bike” offer include a tour of city fountains, a romantic journey, one with picnic stops etc. You can find them all online or pick up a free map at the Kaunas IN Tourism information centre.
No other city in Lithuania has public transport as unique. It doesn’t matter you have no business to attend in Žaliakalnis or Aleksotas (they are actually very nice if you have time to explore!) – the funiculars, both operating since the interwar era, are a great reason to travel up the hills. It only takes a couple of minutes, and the bikes can come for free.
Not so much into bikes? It’s ok – there are boats! Kaunas is a city born at the confluence of two rivers, so we do love our boats. Why not take a boat trip to Raudondvaris or Zapyškis, or just sail in the Kaunas reservoir? “Kaunas IN” tourism information centre will gladly provide more information.
Kaunas is known as a city of museums and galleries. While some might be too interesting for the parents, many are dedicated to children. Our little guests particularly love the Folk Music Branch of Kaunas City Museum, your one-stop shop to discover traditional instruments kanklės, birbynės, skudučiai, daudytės and beyond. The museum also frequently hosts polyphonic singing, folk dancing and lullaby workshops. The exposition is all about exploring and learning, so you can actually try a lot of the instruments – or at least hear how they sound. Did we mention there are also musical steps?!
Another exciting museum is the Kaunas Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum. Some residents of Kaunas visit this museum every six months and claim they’ve discovered a new species that they had never seen before! Hundreds and thousands of butterflies, birds, mammals and other kinds of creatures are on exhibit here. If your kids are into aviation, you shouldn’t miss the Lithuanian Aviation Museum, where they can not only observe authentic flying objects but use a flight emulator.
Those dreaming of becoming knights should visit the medieval Kaunas Castle and try out its educational programmes. Vytautas the Great War Museum also offers captivating experiences and exciting history lessons – in fact, just this summer, a new exposition of military technique was opened in the 6th fort of Kaunas Fortress.
After an exciting day full of kaunastic experiences, why don’t you offer your little one a treat – a doughnut made right here in Kaunas, for example? The doughnut shop called “Spurginė” on Laisvės alėja was opened a few decades ago and still has the vintage feel you might want to tell your kids about.
Are you celebrating a special occasion? Take your family to “Monte Pacis”, an upscale hospitality complex in a baroque monastery. Don’t be intimidated by the word “upscale” – they offer a special kids menu.
A zoo, a botanical garden, remains of Kaunas Fortress, horse-riding, paintball, street art – it’s all here in Kaunas. Grab a copy of (or download online) a map called “Kid-sized Kaunas” when in town for a full experience. In total, the map includes 60 objects of interest, both inside and outside.