Lithuania’s second city takes up the mantle of European Capital of Culture in 2022, shining a light on its mix of traditional, old streets and squares with a youthful population (around 35,000 students attending seven universities), and a city that’s colorful, lively, artsy, techie and fun.

Stroll its tree-lined avenues, sit on one of the grand squares and soak up the atmosphere, or explore sights such as the Kaunas Fortress and the Folk Museum. Explore the city with a street art tour, or see the wonderful landscape on the Pažaislis ‘Cognitive Trail’, two kilometers of walks around the Pažaislis Monastery and the beautiful Kaunas Lagoon.

The Lagoon is another unusual feature of the city, sitting right on the eastern edge, and giving locals access to thickly-wooded parkland around calm, blue water. Head to one of the lakeside beaches like Lampėdžiai, where you can rent canoes, kayaks, wakeboards and such, as well as play basketball, volleyball, tennis, or simply sit at a beachside cafe and watch other people make the effort instead.

Turku, Finland

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