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Kėdainiai is one of the oldest towns in central Lithuania which makes up a perfect day trip destination from both, Vilnius and Kaunas. Unique and thought to be one of the most beautiful old towns of Lithuania, rich history and well-preserved cobblestone streets are only half of what Kėdainiai can offer. If you’re looking for a quick and interesting day trip from Vilnius or Kaunas, Kėdainiai is a great choice. Continue reading to find out more about this charming old town and its grand Alp mountains.
How To Reach Kėdainiai
Since Kėdainiai is located in the centre of Lithuania, the town can be easily accessed from both the biggest cities of Lithuania:
If you have a car, you can drive to Kėdainiai in less than 2 hours (around 130 km). Simply use Google Maps or any other navigation app and you’re good to go. There are plenty of parking spots all around the old town and they are free to use.
If you don’t have a car, you can still go to Kėdainiai from Vilnius by train or bus. The most affordable and easiest way is using the train system as it is one direct train ride. The trains usually run 3 times per day to Kėdainiai, you can check the timeline in the official website of Lithuanian railways.
The train journey will take around 1,5h and will cost you 7,90 EUR one-way. If you’re a student, you can also use a 50% discount.
The bus option is a bit more complicated since you’ll have to make a stopover near or in Kaunas. To make it less complicated, I would suggest to grab a bus to Kaunas central station and then catch a bus to Kėdainiai from there. Buses from Vilnius to Kaunas a few times per each hour and cost around 7 Eur one-way. Trains tend to be faster than buses, so keep that in mind.
You can find timetables, prices and book bus tickets here.
TIP: If you’re booking a bus trip from Vilnius to Kėdainiai, make sure to book a trip to and from Kaunas as separate instances to change at the central bus station. Example: Vilnius – Kaunas / Kaunas – Kėdainiai.
Kėdainiai is only 50 km away from Kaunas, so you can easily reach the town in under an hour by car.
The fastest way to reach Kėdainiai if you don’t have a car is to take a bus. Buses run every hour or so from the central bus station. One-way trip will cost you from 4 to 5 EUR and it will take exactly one hour. As with trains, you can get a 50% discount if you’re a student.
You can find timetables, prices and even book tickets on this website.
Best Things To Do In Kėdainiai
There are many things you can see and discover in Kėdainiai. From picturesque cobblestone streets, cute cafes to man-made Lithuanian Alps. The best part is that the town is quite small, so you can easily get around and see all spots on foot. Here are some of my favourite highlights of Kėdainiai:
Probably the longest historical street in town. The street has preserved its original curve. Nowadays the street is full of little shops, cafes and colourful buildings that you can’t help but want to take a picture of. While passing Didžioji street, make sure to pop into “Laffa Coffee” cafe to get yourself some natural hand-made soaps. Perfect souvenir!
The Great Market Hall Square (Didžioji rinka)
The market hall was built in the 17th century on the right riverbank of Nevėžis. It was the main market hall of Kėdainiai back in the day. In the square, you can find Stiklių house, unique style houses and the town hall. Today it is one of the tree original town halls that are still in tack in Lithuania and it is also the only Rennessanse style square in the country.
Evangelical Reformed Church and the Mausoleum
You can’t miss the Evangelical Reformed Church which is the highest building of the old town. The church was build in the middle of the 17th century and till this day it is beautifully decorated in the renaissance style. You can walk around the church and admire its architecture as well as visit the church’s basement in which you can find Mausoleum of the Dukes Radvilas. The remains rest in old Baroque style sarcophagi which have been restored in 2001. If you want to hear more about these great noblemen and their history, definitely ask around the guide of the church who will let you in the basement.
A small cobblestone street that was named by jazz enthusiasts of Kėdainiai is the only street in Lithuania named after this lively music genre. Here you’ll find street art inspired by jazz and music and see one of the oldest streets in Kėdainiai. Also, every year the town holds a jazz festival called “Broma Jazz” in this street which is a fun event to attend if you find yourself in Kėdainiai during the month of August.
St. Joseph church
A well-preserved 18th-century wooden church is unique to the town’s landscape. The dark and somewhat mighty building draws the eye of every tourist. The church itself has been preserved as it was initially built along with the belfry. You can enter the church and admire its luxurious interior that brings quite a strong contrast to the exterior of the church. What is interesting about this church and that’s wooden and still standing in its original form. Majority of wooden churches in Lithuania were lost in fires during World War II.
Grab a cup of coffee at Kavamanija
If you’re looking for a quick brunch or midday coffee, Kavamanija is the best choice. Here you’ll get a variety of different coffees, delicious looking cakes and snacks. Plus a cozy atmosphere and a free wifi!
Kėdainiai regional museum
If you want to immerse yourself further in history, Kėdainiai regional museum is a good place to start. It’s one of the oldest museums in Lithuania which was established in a restored building of the former Carmelite Monastery. Nowadays you can find a huge collection of artefacts from different areas of life: art, writing, ethnography, numismatic, photography and others. One of the more impressive collections is crosses of Vincas Svirskis who is the most famous wood-carver in Lithuania. The museum is also up to date with the newest technologies meaning you can explore history through 3D glasses and other technologies.
Lunch at Grėjus House
If you’re looking for a high-quality meal, look no more than Grėjus House. This is the most luxurious restaurant in town. However, the prices are very much affordable and quite far away from the regular restaurant prices in, let’s say, Vilnius. I can’t comment on the quality and taste of the food but an old trusted TripAdvisor will definitely help you out on that.
If you’re coming to Kėdainiai by train, the first you’ll see is probably the huge city park and its minaret on the other side of the train station. Back in the 19th century, there stood a manor and a mosque right beside the minaret. Unfortunately, the mosque and the major was bombed in 1944 and only the minaret and a beautiful park were left standing. The minaret itself was build under the order of earl Eduard Totlban who most likely wanted to erect 28 meters high minaret as a monument for Crimean wars from the sentiments for Balkans. However, there are a few different legends that tell the tale of the minaret. One says it was built for the Muslim origin wive of Totlban, another says it was for his other lover.
Probably one of the less usual sightseeing objects is Lifosa mountains or as Lithuanians like to refer to them – the Alps of Lithuania. These are man-made mountains from photo gypsum which is left behind in a phosphorus acid making process by “Lifosa” company. They have been dumping the photo gypsum here since 1968 and now we have over 21 million ton mountains in Kėdainiai which make up for a great photo opportunity and a filming location.
The location is closed and entering is prohibited as it might be dangerous. Fortunately, you can book a visit to the mountain in advance and they will even let you hop on top. So if you plan on visiting Kėdainiai, definitely do that. Here are the contacts.
Fun fact: Bastille filmed their music video for Things We Lost in The Fire in Kėdainiai. You can definitely see the top of those mountains (white, mars like looking ground).
BONUS: The geographic centre of Lithuania near Kėdainiai
Not in Kėdainiai but very near that you simply can’t miss if you’re travelling by car. Just a few kilometres from Kėdainiai is the geographic centre of Lithuania at the Ruoščiai village. There are a monument and a very tiny park around it.
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