Vilnius is a popular European holiday destination because of its location in Eastern Europe. The city is a few kilometers away from Belarus ad it was constructed beside the hilly river Neris. However, Vilnius has been Lithuania’s capital for the past century, and more people are getting the fact that the capital is the best destination that you can visit. Ideally, Vilnius is a cosmopolitan city, and with a compact nature, you can find fantastic nightlife and inexpensive attractions that you can explore while in the city. Some of the features include glitzy restaurants, ancient historic buildings, and a modern nightlife characterized by an international audience.
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania, and it is a significant part that embraces the identity of this Baltic nation. Kaunas is often included in the day trip, and many tourists often find fun activities to do while in the region. There are various aspects of the city that you can enjoy while on your trip. Kaunas suffered from the effects of World War Two, and most of the old city has ruins dating back decades. It is the major commercial center in this European country with functional trading hubs. Vilnius and Kaunas are interconnected by the Neris River, and it is a major location where products move from one point to another.
So which one is better for living – Vilnius or Kaunas? Keep reading our guide as we are going through all the important aspects each city has to offer.
Traveling to Lithuania anytime soon and looking for resources to learn more about this stunning country? Here are a few detailed articles that will introduce you to Lithuanian culture and activities:
- Majestic things to do in Kaunas, Lithuania
- Vilnius to Trakai day trip
- Lithuanian castles worth visiting
- Lithuanian festivals you can’t miss
- Most common Lithuanian stereotypes that aren’t true
- Memorable things to do in Lithuania
- Explore Vilnius nightlife
Vilnius is a major European hub, and many cities connect to this capital. There is an interconnection of major rail lines as well, and you can board a train from major European cities to Vilnius. In addition to this, arriving in Vilnius does not have to take a lot of time. You can board a car that will take you to the capital. Here is how you can get around Vilnius.
Numerous buses ply the intercity services, and you can move from major European cities to the capital via the buses. In addition, you can connect from Warsaw or any other major city in Europe. The ticket prices are posted on the bus company website, usually 3.40 euros for a day pass.
There is a perfect connection between Kaunas and Vilnius, and the road structure is modernized, thereby allowing you to easily move between the two cities. The highway system links major cities in Lithuania. You will pay $20 per day for a car.
There are numerous taxis around the Lithuanian capital, and they usually cost anything from 10 to 15 euros to move around the city.
Kaunas is usually a city that you can walk around and enjoy its features with ease. However, if you want to reach for things or activities that you want to do and are on the city’s outskirts, you will have to take the city buses. The buses usually cost anything from 3 euros for a day pass. Therefore, a day pass is cheaper than paying for fare each time.
Taxi and car sharing
This is a common feature in this city as many people have begun embracing the modernity of this destination. You can use the app to call for a cab, showing you the fare as well. The fares will depend on the distance covered.
There are scooters in Kaunas, and this is usually on a sharing service. You can access different parts of the city using these unique scooters. Download the Bolt app and choose your location, and you will get an estimated cost of the travel.
Since Kaunas and Vilnius are connected by a river, many people tend to use boats to move from one city to another. However, it is imperative to know that the boat trip is a sightseeing experience as well. You can see parts of the city from the river that you would not have used other means.
There are numerous Airbnb’s in Vilnius, and you can search them. These are usually cozy and feature modern features. Since they are located within the city, you can pay anything from $30 per night.
Vilnius is a rich destination when it comes to accommodation. You will find guesthouses that will charge you $40 per night. With this, some will give you complimentary breakfast while others won’t.
Vilnius offers some unbeatable hostel prices, and you will find hostels in the old town or the new town. These usually come with a fully equipped kitchen, cable television, among others. Therefore, you can enjoy some cheap rates as you get something from the kitchen and save more for your trip.
This is a hotel that combines an exquisite natural environment and experience of history and diversity. The hotel covers architecture that dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries. All the rooms have been restored to top-notch. The hotel is a few minutes from Vilnius’s old town. The price ranges from $150 upwards, depending on the room chosen and the size.
Choose to spend your night in this incredible destination. You will have amenities such as lavish décor, exceptional drapes, and it is a perfect place for couples because of the serenity. This is a historic hotel, and you can explore these features. The cost of a room is from $150, going up depending on the room size chosen, among other amenities.
Radisson Blu Royal Astoria Hotel
This is one of those historic hotels that you want to spend your time while in the capital. It is a perfect place because it is characterized by the baroque façade style. Moreover, you are within several meters of the major eateries in the capital. The price is $180.
Grand Hotel Kempinski
The Grand Hotel Kempinski is located in the capital, and it is a five-star hotel within a few steps from the cathedral square. There is a bar and a restaurant around this area, and you can take your time to explore the area well. It is an epic destination that you must try. The cost is $250, going upwards per night.
If you are a luxury seeker, then this hotel should not pass on your list. At hotel Pacai, you are sure that you will receive only top-notch services. You will be impressed by the exquisite design and elements that are incorporated to convey elegance and décor. The five-star hotel has a spa and concierge if you need some help. It is a perfect place that you can go while on your trip to Lithuania.
Kaunas is home to several guesthouses. You can book a room in these guesthouses and enjoy the cozy atmosphere it offers. Since the guesthouses are located closer to the city center, you can easily explore different parts of the town. They usually cost anything from $20.
There are multiple apartments in Kaunas that will offer you top amenities. These apartments have a cozy bedroom and a bathroom. They have an exceptional view of the city. You can get them for $30.
When in Kaunas you should not be worried because you can find hostels where you can spend your night. The hostels have a communal kitchen, and most of them are equipped with cable television. You can enjoy your stay in the city in these hostels if you are on a budget. They usually cost anything from $20 going up.
Amberton Cozy Hotel Kaunas
This is an exceptional hotel located in the old Kaunas town, and it is a kilometer and a half from the city center. The rooms are spacious, and you have cable television. The price is from $50 going up.
This is another hotel in Kaunas old town, and it is a hundred meters from the city center. It is ideal for your stay because you do not have to worry about distance or sightseeing places. There is just a stone’s throw away. The rooms are cozy and well maintained. The cost is $80 going up.
The hotel Babilonas is a perfect destination to stay and relax while on your trip to Kaunas. The rooms are spacious, and they feature modern facilities that you can only find in a top tourist destination like Kaunas. They have Wi-Fi and a kitchen where you can prepare meals. The prices range from $90.
Daugirdas Old City Hotel
This is a luxurious city hotel situated in the city center of Kaunas and a four-star hotel. It features air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen television, and a spa and a bar in the building where you can relax and unwind. The price ranges from $250.
Best Western Santakos Hotel
This hotel is situated in Kaunas, and it is a few meters from the city center. It features free parking, Wi-Fi, cable television, and spacious rooms. So you can enjoy all the amenities while in the region.
This hotel is situated close to the central bus station, and there are numerous amenities that you can enjoy while in the area. You will enjoy free Wi-Fi, cable television, and private parking. This hotel is what you have been looking for because it combines both luxury and elegance.
Budget for a day
The average cost per day for a person on a budget is about $180 per day. The hostels and guesthouses will cost you anything from $15 to $30. A meal for a day will cost you anything from $10. The travel cost around the city will depend on the model that you have chosen. A person on a midrange budget will spend about $250 per day while a luxury seeker will spend anything from $500 going up.
The budget for Kaunas is similar to that of Vilnius because they are both cities that you will find average food costs to be around $10 for one meal. You can pay up to $30 for accommodation in the area. The traveling prices are similar too because you can purchase a day pass for 3.40 euros or choose to pay the fare for each time you travel. A person on a tight budget will spend around $150, a midrange person $200, while a person on a luxury budget will spend anything from $400 going up.
Things to do
Visit the Vilnius cathedral
This is one of the most visited locations in the Lithuanian capital. It is a historic building with the most inspiring architecture and you can learn something about the history of this country when you visit the cathedral.
The Gate of Dawn
This is one of the best places that you should visit in Vilnius because it has a history that dates back centuries. You will find worshippers in this area because pilgrims believe that there are miracles associated with it.
Explore Vilnius castle complex
The Vilnius castle complex features many traditional architectures and historical buildings that talk much about the country. You can learn more by reading the books in this area as well as seeing the artwork.
Town Hall Square
Kaunas is a historical city because it was mentioned in the 14th century, and ever since, it has evolved into one of the most visited cities in Europe. The town hall is designed in a Baroque architecture style.
This is a historical building that dates back to the 15th century. The main attraction is the structure and the artwork. This house was constructed for the god of thunder, and there is fish artwork, which symbolizes the rivers.
This is located on the side of River Neris, and it is an ancient castle that dates back to the 14th century. Over these years, it has been maintained, and everything about it is restored to its original form. You can learn much from this castle and understand how the system works. There is so much ancient history that you can learn from this castle.
This is a typical dish in Lithuania, and the capital is one of those places that you can find inspiration. These dumplings are similar to those in China; however, they are filled with ground meat. You can choose potato, mushrooms or cheese as your filling hence it is vegetarian friendly.
These are savory pastries. They are often served with soup, this dish was initially from Turkey, and the indigenous people brought it to Lithuania. It is made up of a baked crusty pastry filled with a meat of your choice or literally anything.
This is the famous pink soup that is often served in many restaurants across the capital. It is one of the unique things about Lithuania. The beetroot usually causes the soup to attain a pink color.
This is a common delicacy in Kaunas, and you can sample this excellent dish during the festivities. The mushroom is often picked from the forest, and this adds to the flavor because you get that earthy and umami taste.
Dried Apple Cheese
It is imperative to note that this is not cheese, it is usually made up of dried apples, and you can find them in many shops around the city. The locals love this delicacy because they are cheap and accessible in the shops along the streets of Kaunas. The lump of dried cake is flattened into a pancake-like substance, and it is served as a snack or dessert.
Black bread is a staple diet in Lithuania. Many people in the country like to eat bread and you should try it too. The bread is made from rye, and it is then fermented. The dough-making process is quite complicated because the kneading takes hours as it is done locally. Therefore, you can also purchase black bread from the local shops, which is a machine, made.
Culture and People
The culture of the people of Vilnius is deeply rooted in the indigenous Nordic as well as Lithuanian culture. The capital has historical ties with Poland hence the influence. Many people are from the Baltic States. Therefore, you expect them to have the features of the locals.
The majority of people in Kaunas are Lithuanians making about 85%, while poles make about 7%; hence the significant influence that these people have is from Poland. There are Belarusians in Kaunas and bring a new cultural dimension to a vibrant society. The concept of nation is mostly rooted in ethnicity and not more of citizenship. Hence, the locals in Kaunas are proud of their country.
Best time to visit
The best time that you can visit Vilnius is from May through September. During this period, the temperatures are fair, and they usually range from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best time that you can visit Kaunas is from June through August. This is because the weather conditions are favorable during this time, and the highest temperature recorded is 29 degrees Celsius. You can also visit during the winter period if you are into winter sports.
Vilnius is relatively safe, and lives in the capital is very relaxed. There is so much that you can do. There are low crime rates. However, always take care of your belongings.
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania, and it has been a tourist location. There is a very low crime rate, and you can visit any time of the year. Always be watchful of your belongings when visiting the city. You do not want to tempt people.