Kaunas, Lithuania: The Leafy European City that Should be Your Next City Break

Kaunas, Lithuania: The Leafy European City that Should be Your Next City Break

With its abundance of art spaces, hyperlocal restaurants, slick bars and sprawling greenery, Kaunas makes for a weekend-getaway tour de force


Kaunas, Lithuania.

Why now?

Lithuania’s second-largest city, the charming Kaunas covers some
15,000 hectares, 9,000 of which are greenery, groves, gardens and
nature reserves. It’s the thriving cultural scene, however, that is
turning the heads of weekenders. Named as the European Capital of
Culture for 2022, alongside Serbia’s Novi Sad and Luxembourg’s
Esch-sur-Alzette, the city’s streets are woven with art and
history. We suggest spending time at the M.K. Čiurlionis National
Museum of Art
, home to regular special exhibitions by
international artists – That Which We Do Not Remember by leading
South African Artist William Kentridge is on until November 30.
Then there’s the Devil Museum, where over 3,000 sculptures and
artworks of devils from all over the world are housed in a stunning
building. And, one to keep your eyes peeled for is the £24 million
National Science & Innovation Centre, which is set to open
later this year – we wouldn’t be shocked if the low-level, glass
structure became Architectural Digest’s new HQ.

Despite the city’s strong growth and contemporary attitude,
there is still a beautiful respect for its history. We recommend
slipping into Caffeine and picking up a cup of joe to-go, before
wandering between art deco buildings, exploring 14th-century
castles and flitting between independent boutiques in the Old Town.
But, before you do, read on for our top picks of where to snag a
cocktail and the coolest place to rest your head.

An abandoned fortress, left, and a gritty street corner. |
Photo credit: Aleks & Tadas / Shutterstock.com /

Don’t miss

Take a trekk around Ąžuolynas, the largest urban stand of mature
oaks in Europe, where you can gaze up at trees ranging from 100 to
320 years old. After which, head to Kaunas Lagoon. Located in the
heart of the regional park, it is the largest artificial lake in
the city. We can think of no better spot at which to pop on our
cossie and take a refreshing paddle.

Where to stay?

Bed down at Bōheme House. This intimate apart-hotel aims to
reflect the local fabric of Kaunas through an eclectic collection
of furnishings, objects and artefacts that have been borrowed from
museums and local artists. There are eight individually designed
apartments to choose from, all inspired by different artists. We’re
staying in the Scenographer bedroom, a space that is inspired by
the interwar artist Liudas Truikys. Designed to evoke a sense of
calm, there are no sofas or chairs; rather, an enormous rug and
beanbag invite meditation and allow guests to unwind in their own
way. The open-plan set-up sees a blackout curtain used as a
divider. Smaller details such as paintings, Buddhist statues and
Indian vases draw on Japani-style influences.

Where to go for dinner?

Family-run restaurant Uoksas presents a seasonal menu in a contemporary
setting, with bare-brick walls, an open kitchen and pipework
crisscrossing the ceiling. Dish standouts include the scallops with
caramelised cauliflower, steamed lamb dumplings and a sensational
honey cake served with ice cream. There is also a six-course
tasting menu available for those who would like to submerge
themselves into a full-blown culinary adventure.

A crisp-base pizza, left, and a smoky cocktail. | Photo
credit: Nadya & Sukhenko / Unsplash.com

And for a drink…

Every local knows BO baras – a popular, family-run bar that was
opened by the current manager’s father and uncle and is now run by
mother and son. Following a recent renovation, the lively venue is
better than ever, and has become a Friday-night hotspot for
regulars and tourists alike. Outside, a stripped-back concrete
facade belies the forest-like enclave found within, where
bamboo-laced lights, potted pampas grass and overgrown plants
complement an all-wooden bar. Doors don’t exist here; instead,
smashed-brick walls make for interesting entranceways. Come for the
exotic cocktails (tropical kiss is our go-to) and stay for the
delicious crisp-base pizzas.

Who to take with you?

That friend who draws up an entire itinerary for their getaway,
who’ll delight at the abundance of cultural attractions to

Essentials to pack

It’s that time of the year again when it’s too warm for a coat,
but too cold to brave it without. Lucky for us, gilets have made
their way back into fashion. Pack this Weekend Max Mara blue Frutto gilet – the
ultimate layer between seasons – which, crafted with a
water-resistant material and finished with a stylish quilted shell,
will keep you cosy whatever the weather.

How to get there

Take a direct flight from London Gatwick to Kaunas International
Airport, from where the city centre is just a 20-minute drive.

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