Vilnius: Kaunas Full Day Tour
- 8 Hours
- 8 Hours
- On request
Enjoy a visit to Kaunas, beautifully located at the confluence of two rivers, its old town and the splendid Pazaislis Monastery. Your private tour starts at your hotel in Vilnius, when your guide picks you up for the relatively short, 90-minute, drive to Lithuania's second largest city. Set between the Neris and Nemunas rivers, Kaunas is known for its old town, which, though smaller than that of Vilnius, is thought to be in better condition. Since distances between points of interest are quite short, your itinerary can be a little more flexible. Old Town Kaunas, the medieval heart and architectural focal point of the city gathers most of the museums, churches and lively streets, with City Hall Square at its center as well as a nearby castle.
The most beautiful part of the Old Town is Vilnius Street so make sure not to walk past it. Kaunas Castle, Lithuania's oldest defensive site, has a long and rather sad history. One-third of the castle is still standing and today it is used as a museum, with interactive exhibitions showcasing its history. It is well worth exploring, though, and your guide might tell you about some of its ghosts or the 'Moaning of Bona Sforza's soldiers in the dungeons'. Talking about ghosts, the Museum of Devils is one of the unique places to visit in Kaunas because it holds a collection of over 3,000 depictions of the devil from around the world. All paintings, sculptures, carvings, masks and even soft toys come with a description of their age and origins. It is, apparently, the only devil's museum in the world.
After lunch (not included), continue the journey along Freedom Avenue, part of the New Town and considered the most famous street of Kaunas. For the best panoramic view of the city, its picturesque red roofs and the glimmering river below, plan to go up Aleksotas Hill.
Finally, your last stop today is the Pazaislis Camaldolese Monastery, a beautiful example of mature baroque architecture. Founded in 1662 for the Order of the Camaldolese Hermits, it has experienced many bitter moments in history. The monastery's church, decorated with highly polished marble, was damaged by the horses of Napoleon's army during their Russian campaign. In 1832, the monastery was, initially, closed by Russian authorities but later converted into an Orthodox church. During World War I, the Orthodox monks were forced to abandon the monastery but not before stealing many of its treasures, including the St. Mass Cup, decorated with over 400 diamonds, 300 rubies and 200 emeralds. After 1920, the now bankrupt monastery became Roman Catholic and was restored by sisters of the Lithuanian convent of St. Casimir. After World War II, the Soviet authorities converted the church and monastery into an archive, a psychiatric hospital and finally, in 1966, an art gallery. After Lithuania gained independence in 1990, the complex was returned to the nuns of the convent. Yes, history can do that to you.
After an incredibly varied day of exploration in Kaunas, it is time to return to your hotel in Vilnius. This trip is an excellent choice for families with teenage children or couples of all ages.
Duration: 8 Hours
Departs: 9 a.m. - Returns: 5 p.m.