A trip to Kaunas in March is what happens when you’re scouring Skyscanner for flight deals and you spot one for Lithuania and think, “I’ve never been to Lithuania, why the hell not”. I teamed up with my friend, Alex and we dragged our significant others along for a very random long weekend.
We were really lucky to get predominantly sunny days, but March (or winter in general), is just not the best time to go. We found that most of the shops were closed (so much for souvenirs) and the town was very sleepy. It was damn cold, so it’s not at all surprising that no one was out and about.
Regardless of the cold, we had a good time. In fact, it was probably one of the most relaxing city breaks I’ve had since moving to the UK because we didn’t try to cram in a huge city worth of activities. I wanted to share some of my favourite parts and they all seemed to be a bit quirky, so here goes:
The Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum was suggested by my husband. The Museum was founded in 1919 by Professor Tadas Ivanauskas and really could be considered more of a taxidermy gallery. Inside you’ll find plenty of hunting trophies, stuffed animals and insect collections. I’ve never seen so many taxidermied animals in one place. If you’re interested in natural history and biology or just boosting your general knowledge I definitely recommend a visit.
Obviously, if taxidermy is not your thing, I’d give this one a miss.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am–6pm.
Cost: €3 per person
You’ll probably need at least two hours to get through all of the displays.
Žmuidzinavičius Museum (Devils’ Museum)
I find the occult/esoteric beliefs quite interesting, so when I started researching what to do in Kaunas, the Devils’ Museum went to the top of the list. If you decide to visit, prepare yourself for three floors displaying around 3,000 artistic representations of the devil/satan/lord of darkness (whichever term you prefer). The pieces are varied in size, medium, origin and meaning. You’ll see wooden devils in the usual black and red, glass sculptures and even puppets. One of my favourites was a painting of the devil sitting on a toilet.
There is nothing particularly religious about the museum, it just started off as a collection by a 19th Century Lithuanian artist named Antanas Žmuidzinavičius. When he died, his collection was put on display and fans have added to it over the years. It’s a good bit of fun, even if it’s just for the conversation points.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11am–5pm, Thursday 11am–7pm
Cost: €4 per person
You could get through the museum in an hour if you rushed, but I’d give yourself longer if you enjoy art.
Kaunas Museum for the Blind
Probably one of my favourite things from my trip to Kaunas was the Museum for the Blind. It’s a bit confusing to start with because you think you’re visiting the catacombs of St. Michael the Archangel Church (I really do quite like the macabre), but actually, it’s an interactive ‘art’ installation (within the catacombs) where you need to use your senses to explore in the darkness. The experience aims to represent the challenges many blind people face day to day.
I really don’t want to give you any more information than that because it will ruin the experience but you’ll most certainly walk away with a better understanding of what life is like if you’re blind.
Opening hours: The hours can be sporadic, so I recommend visiting the church on your first day so you can ask for the opening hours.
Cost: €3 per person
uzeiga (The Hunters’ Inn)
The Hunters’ Inn came as a recommendation from a local expat Alex and I interviewed for our food podcast (you can listen to the episode here). He promised traditional game dishes and suggested we get the game meat platter to share.
Off we went for lunch and found an unassuming restaurant in a beautiful old building on the Old Town Square. We spotted a few animals on the door but didn’t think much of it. Little did we know that were walking into yet another gallery of taxidermy. Hunting trophies watched us from the walls, other small creatures peered out of their cages hanging from the ceiling and instead of wallpaper – animal skins.
As recommended, we ordered the game meat platter and a venison stew to share. We were impressed by what came to the table – the platter was huge and included various cuts of boar, roe deer and venison. We particularly enjoyed the slow-cooked meats and the game sausages.
Opening hours: Everyday, 11am-Late
Cost: Our meal was about €20 per person with a drink each
I’d read about Spurginė during my research and didn’t have too
You’ll be pleased you went to Spurginė for two reasons:
Number one: the doughnuts are amazing – they are handmade by the staff and because it’s such a popular place, they are constantly replenishing their stock, so you’ll likely be eating a fresh one.
Interestingly, it’s not just sweet doughnuts, there are savoury ones too. I will remember these doughnuts for the rest of my life because they were so good. The dough was light and fluffy and the fillings were just right. Luckily when you travel with your husband, you can try more types because you order a few and go halves. I tried a marmalade version (think jam doughnut but better), a ‘curd’ doughnut which was more like a fritter, and the meat version, which was filled with seasoned minced meat. All were divine and it’s not fair that I can’t have them again any time soon.
Number two: You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the Soviet-era. The interior looks as though it hasn’t changed since then and all the staff are definitely local grandmas; from what I’ve read, many of them have been working there since the Soviet-era.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30am-8pm; Saturday, 9am-8pm; Sunday, 10am-7pm
Cost: Most of the doughnuts are less than €1 each.
5 quirky places to visit in Kaunas, Lithuania
Kaunas is perfect for a city break – there’s not so much to see that you feel you need another holiday by the time you get home. But there’s still plenty to do, lots of good things to eat, and you’ll have a chance to relax.
This is not the first time a member of the team has been to Kaunas, Keri visited back in 2017. So, if you need some more inspiration check out her post!