One of the most interesting shopping malls I've visited in Europe, mostly for its architecture and layout. From the outside it looks like just another big, modern mall. Inside you'll see that they've paid great respects to the local landscape. Like Melbourne's Central Shopping Centre, where they built it around the shot tower, in Kaunas they have built the shopping mall around the factories that once lived here. They've even kept the street names exactly as they were when they were built, and you can see the street signs directing you through the mall when you go in. Even the boring old Maxima supermarket had a big aquarium with live fish in that you can pick and buy fresh (if you're that way inclined). Fascinating for children.
It's also got a lot of great shopping too.
It's a little shop based in a basement almost in the heart of Kaunas. They have a lot of books in English compared to other bookshops, also dictionaries and Excercise books to learn various languages (French, Spanish, Japanese, etc. )
What to buy: It's absolutely nothing special there about Kaunas, but if you need a general book in English (a novel, etc.) while you are in Kaunas, it's a good place to buy it there.
I accidentally found grammar book of Lithuanian in English + 2 learning CDs for a rather good price! Haven't seen it in other book shops in Kaunas! :) Have that in your mind in case you are seriously thinking of learning damn difficult Lithuanian language!
What to pay: Novels are relatively cheap and you can pay up to 100 dollars for dictionaries.
It was a picture gallery. There were a few rooms with many pictures of various styles displayed. Well, they sold various drawings depicting old architecture of Kaunas as well. Some of them in size of postcards or similar.
What to buy: Postcards-drawings in pencil (sepia, black and white or colour).
What to pay: Small drawings costed approx. 3.50 - 5.00 Lt.
Walking back from Kaunas castle towards my hotel I entered this Egles galerija, on my picture. There were a few rooms with many pictures of various styles displayed. Some of them were pretty in my opinion.
What to buy: Pictures or small drawings in pencil (sepia, black and white or colour) - postcard or similar size.
What to pay: Small drawings costed approx. 3.50 - 5.00 Lt.
Have in mind that all travel agencies in Kaunas are closed during weekend, and the only one place where they work is, of course, Akropolis. So if you're planning to go somewhere further from Lithuania by bus, plane or have a tour with lithuanian tour operators, I just let you know that you can buy it in Megaturas even on weekends :)
Working hours: 10 am - 10 pm (Monday - Sunday)
What to buy: Flight tickets, bus tickets, booking your hotels, bus tours outside of the country, charter flight tickets, tours by plane to all the countries of the World, car rental, insurance, last minute tours.
What to pay: Depends how far you go :)
The Laisves aleja (Freedom Avenue) is the main shopping artery in the city centre of Kaunas.
The pedestrianised 1,6 km long street is not only home to many shops, but also to restaurants, cafes and even government institutions.
In the middle of Laisves aleja, just at its junction with the street Daukanto gatve a fountain can be found.
The fountain is said to be the most popular meeting place in Kaunas. We started a fabulous VT get together here, which was also joined by members of Hospitality Club.
The writing on the T-shirt says: Welcome to Lithuania, country of rich history, good beer and beautiful women. I just couldn't agree more (except for the beer part, I don't like beer at all, I'm more into the liquors LOL).
It's just a pity the shop was closed so I couldn't buy me a T-shirt as a souvenir.
The first shopping and leisure center MEGA in Kaunas was built in 2006. There's a spectacular aquarium (the biggest one ever built in a shopping mall) in the main entrance with tropical fishes and even sharks. You may also find few restaurants, bowling, multiscreen cinema and several shops in this shopping complex.
What to buy: You can find such ordinary stuff as clothes, footwear, haberdashery, mobile phones, flowers, books, toiletries, bijouterie, toys, pharmacy, photography shops, banks, sport gamble corners. Possible to buy lithuanian food and drinks in the shop "Rimi" which is inside the shopping mall. Possible to taste national Lithuanian food in the "Cili Kaimas" restaurant.
What to pay: You may just stare at the aquarium and not spend a cent, if you go shopping, prices are the same as in the other parts of Lithuania.
I bought a few traditional Lithuanian donuts (spurga, ceburakai) from a street vendor. The seller packed them with her hands to small plastic bags like on my picture.
There were no paper boxes to pack, say donuts, cakes etc. neither on street stalls and in groceries in Kaunas. Well, being in the former Soviet Union (Western Ukraine in 80'), once I bought sausages packed in... a newspaper.
There were no doggy boxes in Kaunas restaurants as well. Kaunas is in Europe, not in the USA.
What to buy: Inexpensive Lithuanian local food:
- ceburekas (large donut filled with minced pork or beef meat),
- spurga (donuts filled with mushrooms, meat etc.),
- pyrageliai (potato buns).
What to pay: Spurga: 0.60 - 1.00 Lt
Ceburakas with meat - 1.50 Lt.
Laisves aleja (avenue) was the main shopping street of Kaunas and the longest pedestrian street in Eastern Europe. It was the most crowded place in Kaunas on Saturday's early afternoon - time of shopping there.
Well, I could easy find there many stores with clothes and accesories both for women and men including store of Benetton - worldwide known clothing company for young feeling folks :-).
All stores accepted credit/debit cards, at least of Visa and Eurocard/Mastercard system.
The cloth stores/shops were open:
Mon - Fri: 10.00 am - 7.00 pm
Sat: 10.00 am - 5.00 pm
What to buy: Clothes both for women and men, for children as well.
What to pay: Prices like in Poland and Western Europe + always some discounts.
There were quite many kiosks similar to this one on my picture put around Kaunas. Very usuful if you want to buy various small items including tickets for public transportation (different for buses and trolleybuses). The kiosks were often run by a company called "Lietuvos Spauda" - the largest commercial periodical publisher in Lithuania.
What to buy: Newspapers and magazines, cigarettes, postcards, telephone cards, personal hygiene items, stationery, confectionery, transport and lottery tickets etc.
What to pay: Cheaper than in any Western European country :-).
Tickets (different for a bus and for a trolleybus!) costed 0.60 Lt.
Cigarettes costed (a pocket of 20) from 2.75 Lt (local) to 6.00 Lt. Marlboro costed 4.25 Lt in May 2004 (€ 1.28, US$1.53, 6.10 Polish zloty). Warning: cigarettes will be more and more expensive since Lithuania joined European Union on 1 May 2004.
These amber necklaces, on my picture, and other amber jewelry were sold from street stalls, put along Vilniaus gatve close to Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.
What to buy: Amber or... fake amber. I would never buy any jewerly on a street.
Two days before, I found amber with insects inside but they were much more expensive, at least in Vilnius.
What to pay: Generally low and not very fixed prices. Try to bargain (preferably in... Lithuanian). Good luck :-). First price for amber necklaces was only 10 (€ 3.01; US$ 3.63; 13.82 Polish zl) or 12 Lt.
I always feel some kind of shy when I want to take a picture of someone's face. Fortunately, my digital camera had 7x optical zoom, so I could take this picture of a girl - street vendor.
What to buy: The girl - street vendor was sitting by northern wall of Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul and was trying to sell the picture.
What to pay: Excuse, I have no idea.
It was not a store/shop but a restaurant (with limited choice of food) and a bar which served limited choice of beer, wine and other drinks.
They offered Avilys beer brewed in mini-brewery located in cellars of nearby Avilys restaurant (Vilniaus gatve 34) not only to drink at place but to buy and take out in these large glass containers on my picture.
What to buy: If you like (taste first at place):
1. Avilio alaus (Avilys light beer) - 5.00 Lt (€ 1.5; US$ 1.83; 7.00 Polish zl) for 500 ml or 2.50 lt for 250 ml
My opinion: malt-accented pale lager clean and easy to drink in quantity :-). Sweetish aroma and taste with honey and almond notes. Very different (that's why it's a must) although not my favourite.
2. Medaus alus (Avilys honey beer) - 0.5 lt more expensive than the above.
My opinion: Avilys Avilio brewed with honey, industrial-grade honey note, not my favourite.
What to pay: Price for large glass container was a little bit lower than for the same amount of beer drunk at place.
Well, to be honest I paid more attention to the brick building which housed this bookstore than to books themselves. To be more exact I noticed strange pattern of red bricks mixed with navy blue ones.
This bookstore was called/advertised as "Tukstantis ir viena knyga" as well. Did it mean native and foreign books?
Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm :-).
What to buy: What you like. Good choice of books in many languages including in English.
What to pay: Books generally were less expensive than in any Western European country.