Choosing a city in Lithuania: should Vilnius, Kaunas or Klaipėda become your new home? 

08 July, 2022

A quick rundown of what Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda have to offer their citizens.

Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda. If you’re thinking about moving to Lithuania, you’re probably familiar with at least one of these names. Lithuania’s three biggest cities might not be located that far from each other, but they each have a unique character and some specific advantages. 

So, here’s a quick rundown of what Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda have to offer their citizens, so you can pick the city that best matches your needs and expectations best. 

Vilnius – the green metropolis 

In Vilnius, tourists are most impressed by the city’s vast Old Town and wonderful Baroque architecture. But what should an expat know about the Lithuanian capital before moving there? 

Here’s what you can expect in Vilnius. 

Vilnius © Go Vilnius

Easy commutes 

Lithuanian cities are generally compact, but nowhere is that more apparent than in Vilnius. It’s a very walkable capital with many transport options to cover longer distances. The city’s cheap and robust public transport system rarely glitches and boasts one of the newest bus fleets in Europe. Plus, there are plenty of car, bike, and electric scooter sharing schemes, so you’ll get from A to B in a snap. 

A vibrant cultural scene 

You’re unlikely to be short of things to do in your time off in Vilnius. There are plenty of festivals and events throughout the year, from Vilnius Book Fair, the largest in the Baltics, in February through to the lively Street Music Day in May and Vilnius City Fiesta in September. MO Museum – the star of the city’s art scene – regularly puts on blockbuster exhibitions featuring local artists. But art lovers can also explore dozens of other museums, galleries and street artworks scattered across the capital.  

Nature on your doorstep 

One of Europe’s greenest capitals, Vilnius has multiple public parks and gardens. The Bernardine Gardens is an excellent spot for a romantic stroll in the heart of the city. Meanwhile, Vingis Park is a favourite among runners, cyclists and roller-skaters. A 20-minute drive will take you to one of Vilnius’ public beaches for a swim in the River Neris. And if you fancy a hike, there’s a 100-kilometre long forest trail around the capital. In short, there are plenty of great options for some outdoor action.  

Kaunas – the artistic tech hub 

Lithuania’s second largest city, Kaunas had a brief stint as the country’s capital in the interwar period. But there’s much more to the city than former glory and being the little sister to Vilnius. 

Here’s how Kaunas stands out. 

Kaunas © A. Aleksandravičius & Kaunas IN

Career opportunities  

Kaunas is an up-and-coming business hub, with its logistically-optimal location and business-friendly environment attracting many investors. Oracle, Dematic and Kayak are just a few examples of well-known international companies that have set up offices here. So if you’re looking for an exciting role in ICT, Business Services, Engineering or other fields, you won’t be looking for long. 

Affordable housing 

Kaunas residents don’t have to choose between affordable rent, a good location and plenty of living space. Whether it’s you’re renting or buying, Kaunas offers truly affordable real estate prices compared to other mid-sized European cities. So moving here, you can expect to live comfortably and enjoy a large living space in a central location. 

A modernist paradise 

Kaunas is home to many great galleries and quirky museums, but the city’s most striking cultural feature is its Modernist architecture. Kaunas owes this to the two decades between the World Wars, when the city served as Lithuania’s temporary capital. With more than 6,000 (that’s right!) buildings from that creative period still standing intact, a simple walk through the city centre will immerse you in the roaring 20s and swinging 30s. 

Klaipėda – the laid-back coastal city 

Klaipėda, Lithuania’s third largest city, is the country’s gateway to the Baltic Sea. While it attracts many Lithuanian and foreign visitors in the summer months, it’s a great place to be all year round. 

Here’s what Klaipėda has to offer. 

Klaipėda © A. Kundrotas & Klaipėda ID

Financial incentives for newcomers  

Moving to a new country for work can get expensive. But Klaipėda City Municipality is ready to assist newcomers with their relocation costs. The city is currently offering up to €2,400 to highly-qualified specialists to cover rental fees and Lithuanian language courses. You can find more information on Klaipėda’s financial incentives for newcoming talent here. And once you’re set up here, Lithuania’s international port, dynamic free economic zone and emerging tech cluster offer attractive career opportunities. 

Coastal living 

Situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea, Klaipėda boasts pristine beaches of pure white sand, pine forests and plenty of spots for a walk along the waterfront. The city’s Melnragė and Smiltynė beaches don the Blue Flag, the gold standard for beaches. And the Curonian spit is just a short ferry ride away. Here you can find authentic fishing villages set in unspoilt forests and see dolphin performances at the Lithuanian Sea Museum.  Meanwhile, thirty kilometres to the north is Palanga, Lithuania’s most popular summer resort. All in all, Klaipėda is the perfect place to enjoy seaside living to the max.  

A slow-paced lifestyle 

Time seems to move a little bit slower in Klaipėda. Between the calming smell of the sea, the gentle bobbing of masts on the sailboats, and the mild marine climate, it’s easy to enter a relaxed state of mind. Plus, this compact “15-minute city” is easily navigable on foot, by bike, or by public transport. So if you’re looking for a place that combines urban comforts with a leisurely rhythm of life, Klaipėda is your spot.  

So, have you decided on a Lithuanian city to call home?