Kaunas airport is small but absolutely fine.
However, they clearly have real problems dealing with several full flights departing at or around the same time.
I arrived (Ryanair flight) well before check-in opened, queued for 20 minutes or so (fair enough) and then spent another hour in the queue for security/passport control. There was only one person checking boarding passes. I asked her if it was always like this and she said 'Yes, the flights are full'. :-(
Only two security scanners (take the e.g. charger wires out of your bags and put them separately) but one closed as I arrived, even though the queue behind me was still enormous.
Passport control was quick though.
I literally had 10 minutes in the departure area before my flight was called. Just time to get some vodka from the tiny shop, and not even enough time to spend my remaining litas (or find somewhere to donate them to charity). Everyone did catch the flight (we waited for a good 20 minutes on the tarmac..I suspect Ryanair are used to how this airport operates!) but those who arrived later than me looked extremely harassed.
Not good organisation, I'm afraid. I was not impressed. With Ryanair flights especially, one cannot risk being late at the gate.
So do allow ample time to get to the airport, arrive well before check-in and go straight upstairs to the check-in desks rather than hang around outside. Be there for when they open 2 hours beforehand...you'll probably use up 1.5 hours of that time in a queue!
- Family Travel
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Bus station toilets.
If you are female and find yourself needing the toilet at Kaunas bus station, be aware that they are the 'squat' type.
They are clearly signed from the ticket office.
The toilets are clean enough (although a little whiffy) but it sometimes takes a while to get the hang of using squat toilets successfully. Better to be forewarned!
- Family Travel
- Women's Travel
I took a taxi at 1am from the intercity bus station to the hotel and he drove off in a completely different direction to earn more money. Being my second visit in within 2 weeks I knew it was wrong and yelled out. He then brought me straight to the back door of the hotel (I didn't know the front was on a pedestrian street only). As I couldn't see the hotel and maybe he felt a bit bad he then carried my luggage into the reception and only left once I was sure I was in the right hotel.
In every trip you should be careful about your belongings, so do so in Kaunas as well. Also if you come by car, don't leave it in the non-guarded (free of parking fee) parking lots or at least try to leave your car somewhere close to place where is more traffic, more people pass etc. It's a pity to admit that couple of my foreign friends while visiting Kaunas had problems with broken car windows and stolen stuff as well as stolen bags. Believe me, it is not the funniest way to spend your night explaining to Lithuanian police (which usually don't speak English) what happened!
Bus station region
Kaunas bus station is not the most pleasant place to stay because of the high level of criminality and various kind of drifters. If you have to stay there, be very careful about your belongings.
Also don't walk there (and in other parts of Kaunas) alone in the night and of course don't make other people around you understand you are a tourist and have many good things like camera, mobile phone, laptop etc.
If you decide to go at the beach or just for a walk at the Kaunas Sea, you have to know, that at the end of summer and in the begining of autumn the water isn't the best there. It has a green colour and not very tasty smell;-)
- Family Travel
Babies in Kaunas
There are a number of underpasses in Kaunas, and no lifts that I could see. There's even one as you enter the old town. It's not easy to get through them with a pram. The pavements range from perfectly smooth, along Laisves avenue, to the almost unnavigable cobbled streets around the old town, to the pot hole minefields on some of the main streets outside.
The train station had no lift, but I didn't need it as the platform dropped me off at the exit, but there was a huge underpass to negotiate once outside. The airport is just as bad. They actually have lifts, but they have to be operated by members of staff. The one upstairs was no problem as the check-in staff let us through. Once upstairs there was nobody to help us back down again, and a very narrow staircase to navigate. Thankfully a shop owner helped us out.
What happened to cycleway?
Kaunese inhabitants are incredibly lazy and apathic that they don't cycle themselves nor fight about their rights to have cycleways around the town. Cycling here is incredibly unpopular even though Kaunas mayor uses his bicycle to go to work in the town to promote this kind of transportation (I've never seen him cycling though).
Guess, Kaunas municipality decided to follow "European standard" and make some cycleaway along the main street - Freedom Avenue (Laisves aleja).
One problem is that Lithuanians are so much not used to the cycling ethics that people walk on the cycleway and cyclers have to cycle in zigzags sometimes hitting people and even injuring them. Another problem is that cyclers themselves are not very careful drivers and often cycle precariously, especially teenagers. The third and the most ridiculous problem comes from the municipality - the public cleaning company just simply puts snow on the cycleway..
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- School Holidays
Be careful where you go, many thieves!
This is a city with a lot of poor people, and that is why there are much crime here.Dont go alone after dark and never go in dark alies! The best thing to do is to go in larger groups. They easily see that you are a tourist, and they know that you might have much money on you, So many many tourist get robbed here! It's not a nice excperience, so if you are careful you can avoid it.
Kaunas has the highest crimerate in Lithuania.So it's nothing to joke about.
“Mega” – just enormous shopping mal
You should be fit to do shopping there or know exactly what you want; otherwise you can get tired trying to reach your destination, for example grocery shop. May be is would be good to know that it is located at the opposite end of mall from the bus stop. Believe me there is some distance to walk. Sure this is no problem if you come with the car, if by bus, - then the good news is that cafes and restaurants are located in the middle, so if you get tired just stay there.
This shopping mall is the last stop for many buses and microbuses, you just should look for the word “Mega” on the bus and ask for direction ( Mega? – the answer should be “Taip” )
Streets, busses - be careful.
Unfortunatelly here isn't very safe to walk in the late evening or in the night. Be always careful even in the busses where some thiefs 'works' in stealing your money from the bags.
- Family Travel
As everywhere - beware of...
As everywhere - beware of pocket lifters. On the whole it's quite safe country comparing to others, but everything happens, apply the same rules as when you travel to any other country, keep an eye on your things. ya know, God protects those, who protect themselves :) The windmill you see here is in Rumsiskes.
Take more time
I was in Kaunas definetely too short time.
What did I skip? Do you really want the whole list? OK, just top 10 for my next Kaunas visit:
A. In Kaunas centre/downtown
In the Old Town:
1. Museum of Folk Music & Instruments,
2. Musaeum Historiae Medicinae et Pharmaciae Lituaniae" which is Museum of the History of Lithuania Medicine and Pharmacy
In the New Town or close:
3. Zoological Museum (close to railway and bus stations)
4. Christ's Resurrection Church (Prisikelimo baznycia)
5. 9th Fort Museum
6. Azuolynas - Oak Tree Park
7. Zoological Museum.
B. Outside centre/downtown:
8. Kaunas Sea (Kauno Marios) and Zalgiris Yacht Club
9. Kaunas funicular of Aleksotas and funicular in Zaliakalnis district,
C. Outside Kaunas:
10. Open-air Museum of Lithuania 18 km east of Kaunas, direction Vilnius;look here, please
There are more attractions to visit in and around Kaunas. Take more time. Two days is a minimum for Kaunas, I think. But, if you don't want to run like a sheep and you want to visit more places than me, to meet people and enjoy more food and nightlife, 3-4 or even more days is my recommendation.
Anyway, if you have only one day, come back again to see more, Kaunas is worth of it :-).
- Adventure Travel
- Museum Visits
Not really a Crime Capital
Everywhere you will read that Kaunas is the crime capital of Lithuania. I think this is a rumour put about by local rivals living in nearby Vilnius. Certainly it seems based on some truth: After the fall of the USSR the city seems to have become a hotbed of mafia crime. If that is still the case today, that kind of crime doesn't appear to impact the city's day to day life. It felt to me completely calm and safe, and not in the least bit threatening.
Public transport tickets
It’s up to you to punch your ticket once inside the vehicle, but if you are caught riding illegally (ticket inspection is a regular occurrence, being carried out by plain clothes controllers) you’re liable to a 20Lt on-the-spot fine.
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