For most Lithuanians, Kaunas is undoubtedly the nucleus of Lithuania, but in contrasting ways. Yes, it is the elegantly ageing interwar capital, with its unforgettable east-west boulevard Laisvės Alėja and surrounding streets lined with austere modernist or Art Deco structures dating from that period. But it’s also an uninhibited, freewheeling party town. In contrast to today’s busy, stressed, self-consciously fashionable, slightly condescending capital Vilnius, Kaunas is laidback and relaxed while also keeping an edgier, more alternative feel that could be compared to, say, Riga.
In the wee hours of a summertime Saturday or Sunday morning, the serpentine central streets of Laisvės Alėja and Vilniaus are still full of life, especially in the clamorous and overflowing bars, restaurants and clubs.
But it’s amazing how far the Kaunas dining scene has metamorphosed in recent years. The city now boasts some of the Baltics’ best Italian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese and other cuisines, quirky gastropubs selling local craft beers and great food, as well as some of the region’s most memorable pubs, cocktail bars and clubs. We at Vilnius In Your Pocket are based in Vilnius, naturally enough, but the idea of not publishing a separate guide to Kaunas is unthinkable. May thousands more proclaim its name!