It’s around +12°C and you can’t get the infamous cold pink soup everywhere anymore. The leaves start turning yellow and mornings are foggy. Aaah… Autumn in Lithuania is, apart from the deficit of the pink soup, a fantastic time of the year, especially when the sun’s out. But, yeah, we do get a lot of rain. Here are some pastime ideas for stay in Kaunas, whether it’s sunny or wet. The list is by no means definite – we’ll be back soon with a cosiest-hideouts-on-a-rainy-day special dedicated to museums and a few other suggestions for fall. We’d also be delighted if you shared your kaunastic ideas with us.
Take pictures of modernist architecture
Some say the best seasons for photographing architecture are autumn and winter, because the leaves don’t block the view. Well, there’s plenty of room for experimenting here in Kaunas, UNESCO City of Design. Download the app offering a handful of different routes for architecture lovers or get yourself a copy of Kaunas Architectural Guide (available in our e-shop). Don’t forget a thermos of hot tea.
Discover street art, graffiti and murals
The streets and walls of Kaunas have been experiencing quite intense times recently. Most of the iconic pieces have been commissioned by the NYKOKA street art festival (they’ve published a comprehensive guide, too – available here); Morfai, Vytenis Jakas and Plūgas, a few of the numerous great local artists, have also been very busy recently. Members of the Street Art Berlin collective visited Kaunas recently and were pleasantly surprised. What about you?
Visit the VMU Kaunas botanical garden
1200 species of dahlias is one good reason to visit a botanical garden, right? There’s also a brilliantly warm greenhouse and a great historic manor to pose in front of. Open daily – in winter, too!
Watch a sports game or participate in one
Our list of reasons why a Žalgiris game should be on your bucket list could go on for ever. The Euroleague season in Žalgirio arena starts on October 13th (Belgrade's Crvena Zvezda will be in town), but there’s more to Kaunas than basketball.
The brand-new Kaunas Hockey team are anticipating their debut in the Lithuanian ice hockey championship and their home arena is located near the Kaunas sports hall.
If you’re a football person, do check out the schedule of FC Stumbras, the funkiest club in Kaunas at the moment. They’ll play against the legendary FC Žalgiris Vilnius in the historic S. Darius and S. Girėnas stadium, also in the neighbourhood of Kaunas Sports Hall, on Oct 21st.
There’s an American football team in Kaunas, too – the Kaunas Dukes invite everyone to try the sports! Check their Facebook page for more information.
One more thing... Did you know one can play beach volleyball all year round in Kaunas? For sand in your hair and music in the air, visit the Rio arena located between Akropolis and Railway station.
Indulge in Lithuanian or world cuisine
Good bye, bikini body, hello, hearty meals and long dinners. We couldn’t possibly recommend all of our favourite restaurants in this little blog entry but, hey, we’ve published a free #kaunastic gastro map. It can be picked up in tourist friendly places or downloaded here.
Another publication we sincerely recommend is the 99 Places of Taste in the Baltics, a guide published by VMG and available in our e-shop.
For a concentrated experience, gastronomic safari hosted by Sustainable Gastro is scheduled for October 12th and includes two delicious routes, 6 restaurants each. More information about it can be found here.
Start a business
Kaunas provides a healthy atmosphere to invest, open a branch or launch a business. Head to Kaunas IN Business for more information if you want more facts and figures. If you’re just exploring, then our list of co-working spaces in Kaunas is a good place to start.
See a dance performance
The 27th international dance festival AURA is scheduled for October 5th – 8th. If you can’t make it then, check out what dance theatre AURA has to offer in their repertoire. We also recommend the Kaunas State Musical Theatre and its legendary operettas and Kaunas State Drama Theatre that offers interpretation to English in some shows.
Get blown away by la grande bellezza of Pažaislis monastery
The baroque complex of church and monastery in Pažaislis is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the region. The nature surrounding it, as well as the gardens inside the complex, are also worth a thousand compliments. For the full experience, you can even book a stay at the Monte Pacis hospitality complex located at the monastery, and spend and evening at the restaurant bearing the same name. It’s one of the top restaurants in the country.
Pick some mushrooms
... if there are any left! Mushroom picking is the second national sport in Lithuania after basketball. Yes, we know how to throw and then we know how to pick. Our top tip would be to visit the woods around Lekėčiai, a small town on the border of Kaunas and Šakiai regions. But that’s definitely just one spot out of thousands worth investigating.
Learn how to make cepelinai
... or kugelis, or bulviniai blynai. As much as Lithuanians love mushrooms, they love potatoes, too. They keep us warm, you know? Ask your Lithuanian friend his or her favourite potato recipe and give it a try. If you fail, you can always visit Bernelių užeiga and order something potaty (that isn’t really a word but it does rhyme with tasty).
Make a leaf angel
... that’s basically the same as snow angel but in autumn! The best spots to do that are the Nemunas island, the Santaka park, the Oak grove and the City Garden next to the Kaunas State Musical Theatre.
Feel like Napoleon the Great
... and explore other panoramic views of Kaunas. The Jiesia hill is where Napoleon actually stopped on his way to Russia – he stood here and watched his army cross Nemunas. For great views, we also love the Owls hill in Žaliakalnis and the Aleksotas hill, both reachable by vintage funiculars. Climbing up the terrace of Christ’s Resurrection Church is a must. The church itself looks great, too!
Watch a movie or two
As the historic Romuva cinema in Laisvės alėja is undergoing a well-deserved renovation, the art house film scene of Kaunas now gathers at its temporary location on Kęstučio g. 62. Polish, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Iranian movies – you name it! For Hollywood blockbusters, go to Forum Cinemas at Akropolis mall. The multiplex is the only in Lithuania to offer the SCAPE experience. After a shopping spree in Mega mall, visit Cinamon, yet another multiplex.
Explore the 11th Kaunas Biennial
The main exhibition of this year’s edition is all over the city so the biennial literally can’t be missed. It’ll also inspire you to dig deeper into the history of Kaunas as each of the works of the main exhibition is site-specific and reflects a certain period or is inspired by a historic figure. Check our rough guide to some of the works here and explore the whole programme of one of the most important events of contemporary art in the Baltics here. The exhibitions run through November 30th.
Enjoy a pint of local craft beer
We compiled a list of our favourite craft beer pubs some time ago and we’re glad to announce there’s a new place to explore! Kaukas, a cozy and very dedicated craft beer spot, has just opened its doors in the Old Town. Cheers!
Get on a boat and sail to Raudondvaris !
The picturesque valleys surrounding the Kaunas Lagoon and Nemunas make the best holiday pictures any time of the year, but, of course, the lush autumn palette is unbeatable. You can take a private boat trip to Juniper valley as the season has ended for cruises at Kaunas lagoon (ask the tourism information office at Town Hall for details!). Public trips to Raudondvaris manor are still available. The season ends in October, so be quick. You can contact Nemunas Travel company directly.
Buy a book and read it
…right here, right now! The hottest bookstore in town is Knygų ministerija on Laisvės alėja. Sporting authentic interwar furniture, the place is full of art albums and good reads, including a second-hand shelf. Did we mention they also serve great coffee, tea and cake? A glass of bubbly is an option, too. Depends on your choice of books, really. The historic Central bookstore is also on Laisvės alėja, and while it doesn’t have an in-house cafe, it’s surrounded by quite a few. For more options, read our blog entry on bookstores here.
Spend an afternoon in the gallery boulevard
A few steps away from the Town Hall and the Cathedral, M. Valančiaus street is also nicknamed the ‘gallery street’. It’s easy to lose track of time surrounded by contemporary Lithuanian art in Parko and Balta galleries or trying out the latest fashion items in the numerous boutiques squeezed next to each other. Nyčės Ūsai is the newest spot on the street, featuring jewellery, prints, books and delicious coffee. Meno parkas, one of the most important galleries of contemporary art in Lithuania, and Kaunas photography gallery, both a stone’s throw from M. Valančiaus street, are highly recommended to visit, too.
Visit a market and get a bargain
Farmers market is buzzing every Saturday near the Kaunas castle - what a location! Šilainiai market is great for locally grown vegetables, meat and dairy products. Aleksotas is the place to dig for some of the weirdest vintage stuff. Žaliakalnis is itself a historic landmark and is great for weekend grocery shopping. Urmas is basically a little shopping town (there’s a new pulled pork burger place there, too) full of everything. Stoties, or Station market is also known as the flower heaven. We’ve got a car market, too, in case you’re in need of new wheels...