What similarities does Kaunas have with Finland? Two travellers who‘ve visited Kaunas on the last days of sunny summer say there are many of them, and share their thoughts on discoveries in our city.
Finland is offering many nature jewels to its citizens: dense forests, lakes full of crystal clear water, the magic of winter wonderland Lapland. Still, two travel bloggers Heidi and Saana are burning with a desire to see other countries and continents. Kaunas became one of their destinations, and during four-day trip, the city surprised adventurers with its nature‘s beauty, colourful history and cultural similarities with Finland.
The longer you stay in Kaunas, the better experience you receive
Both, Saana and Heidi agreed four days was not enough to see and experience rich culture in Kaunas. “I didn’t have any stereotypes about Kaunas before coming here, but I have to admit Kaunas was much more versatile than I expected (so much art, restaurants, history, stories!). It is a city that is both modern and youthful,” Heidi shared her impression of Kaunas.
Saana’s experience is similar: “It was delightful to find nature so close to the city; it’s not something you could take for granted nowadays.”
Jewels of Kaunas
Both travellers agreed on how hard it is to decide where to start the Kaunas discovery journey. One can take the time-travel route filled with historical buildings and monuments, or take a day off in Kaunas region and surround oneself in the calmness of nature, or go for a search of authentic kaunastic experience filled with arts, events and food.
“Juniper valley was one of my favourites, together with Jiesia sightseeing,” says nature lover Heidi. “Both were really cool places for photographing and proved how much nature is in and around Kaunas.”
Saana, who lives on the shore of the lake in her hometown in Finland, also cherished moments outside: “I loved the Santaka Park at the confluence of two rivers. It’s a great spot for admiring sunsets, easy to reach by foot, located close to most famous attractions, and the newly-built stone sculptures made the beach an exciting vision.”
Heidi, when asked of her favourite moments, could not pick one: “As much as I’d love to say the Pažaislis Monastery was my highlight (indeed it was impressing!) - I have to choose Kiemo Galerija (Yard gallery). Not only the street art in this outdoor gallery was impressive, but the stories behind it... And the fact that it's available for anyone to admire at any time of the day for completely free of charge was mind-blowing.”
Both travellers shared their passion for Chernobyl series, which were partly filmed in Kaunas and were able to get into the only shooting location still open for public. “We knew many of the places and attractions we'd be visiting beforehand, but we had no idea we’d get a chance to enter a building where scenes of Chernobyl were filmed. When I realized this was an exceptional occasion and tourists aren’t able to visit filming locations any more since all of them are now being reconstructed into apartments, I was so glad. I had no idea parts of the series were filmed in Kaunas, this was definitely one of the most surprising parts of our trip.” – Saana shared her excitement about the unplanned visit.
A foodie destination
Not only the views captured the hearts of Finnish adventurers. They were delighted to find out Kaunas has a lot to offer for a food lover. “Every single restaurant during our trip blew my mind away. Traditional dishes spiced up with a modern touch, lots of imagination and delicious flavours made me a huge fan of contemporary Lithuanian cuisine. Kaunas is, no doubt, a foodie destination,” said Saana and admitted her regret on not having enough time to take a peek at a local market where she wished to continue with her search of local delights.
Our Finnish friends stayed in Park Inn by Radisson hotel, visited Kaunas castle, Folk music museum, Pažaislis monastery and Christ's Resurrection Basilica. The ladies were fascinated by stories heard at Yard gallery, kARTu studio, Ragainė shop, Devils‘ and Čiurlionis museums, 5th Fort of Kaunas Fortress, and the ride with the funicular. Their nature trips included Juniper valley, Dubrava swamp, Žiegždriai geological trail, Panemunė and Jiesia sightseeing. Ieti, Momo Grill, Monte Pacis, Višta Puode, B2O, Ali šokoladinė invited our guests to experience local delicacies. Pub Kaukas helped ladies escape the summer rain, and Laukas (already closed for winter...) drew them into music frenzy.
Wizz Air flies direct to Kaunas from Turku, Finland. Check the schedule and book a flight at www.wizzair.com.
All the photographs used in the article belong to Heidi Lehtosaari and Saana Jaakkola. Follow their trips on Instagram:
“Kaunas IN” invited Heidi Lehtosaari and Saana Jaakkola to visit Kaunas