Vilnius to Riga

A visit to the points of interest of Vilnius including Vilnius town hall, Gates of dawn, St Annes church, Vilnius castle complex, and Gediminas tower (and view of the city), The Hill of Three Crosses (and view of the city), Cathedral Square, Museum of genocide victims before taking the bus to Riga

Vilnius is the capital city of Lithuania and is part of the European Union and Schengen area.  For a tourist Vilnius offers the following points of interest;

  • Vilnius town hall
  • Gates of dawn
  • St Annes church
  • Vilnius castle complex and Gediminas tower (and view of the city)
  • The Hill of Three Crosses (and view of the city)
  • Cathedral Square
  • Museum of genocide victims
Vilnius Train Station

Vilnius Train Station

I decided to fly to Vilnius in December, my friends and family thought I was crazy.  It will be too cold they told me, I thought to myself, what about all the people living there?  Surely they survive the cold weather!  The best thing about traveling this time of year is there is a high chance of snow, and there is nothing better than snow at Christmas!  Another bonus of winter travel is that the flights and hotels are cheaper too.

From the airport it is easy to take a minibus for €1 to the bus station which is right opposite the train station (pictured above).  There is also a convenient McDonald’s opposite the station with free WiFi and clean toilets.

Town Hall, Vilnius

Town Hall, Vilnius

There are many beautiful buildings to admire in the old town of Vilnius, and it is a very walkable city.  You can easily walk around the old town, visiting the points of interest and museums.  There are also many restaurants, bars and hotels you’ll see in the old town, most of them are great value.

If you don’t want to walk, there is a Vilnius city tour which will take you to most of the points of interest, this is also a good way to meet other tourists.  You’ll still have to walk up to the castle complex and the Hill of Three Crosses though.

Gediminas Castle

Vilnius castle complex

The Vilnius castle complex and Gediminas tower are an easy short walk, slightly uphill from cathedral square.  With the full on blizzard that I was enjoying, it made going back down quite slippy, adding to the fun of the castle complex visit.  There are great photo opportunities from the top of the old town, river Neris and cathedral square.  You can walk down a different way which leads you to a path to the the Hill of Three Crosses.  It is a little bit more of a walk than the castle complex but worth it for the great photo opportunities at the top.

River Neris, Vilnius

River Neris, Vilnius

I decided to take a walk over the King Mandaugas bridge, walk down the river and return over the white bridge.  Because the river was freezing over I managed to get a decent reflection photo of some old town buildings.  You’ll also be able to get some decent shots of the castle complex from this side of the river as well.

Bus from Vilnius to Riga

Bus from Vilnius to Riga, 4 hours, €10

Lux bus and Ecolines offer direct bus services to Riga which take less than 4 hours.  The standard price is €17, but it is possible to find prices as cheap as €5 on some days.  Both companies offers services with an entertainment system on the back of each seat, so you can watch movies, listen to music, play games and view your current location via GPS.  You can also enjoy the free WiFi and charge your phone.  I also read that if you take a selfie on, or next to the Ecolines bus and post it on Instagram with the hastag #Ecolines, they give you free ticket for your next ride.

Riga to Tallinn

2017-04-10T13:00:17+00:00 December 17th, 2016|Lithuania, Northern Europe|9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Jen Morrow February 23, 2017 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Nice to see inexpensive transportation. I am not a big fan of snow and cold, but I prefer off-season travel to avoid crowds. The River Neris looks lovely iced over.

  2. Natalie February 23, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Love off season travel! When you visit hot spots in the heat and cold spots in the winter you see a totally different slice of life!! There are less tourists and everything costs less, too!

  3. Kelly February 23, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    I love traveling to places in the off season because I really hate crowds. And the view of the river and castle in Viliniud looks awesome. I think I would walk rather than take the tour because I loving feeling the heart of a new city. Thanks!

  4. Christina February 24, 2017 at 1:49 am - Reply

    I love seeing castles and old buildings with a dusting of snow. It’s great that old town is easy to reach and that it is walkable. I haven’t been to Vilnius but it looks like a wonderful city to explore. Great tip about the free wifi at McDonald’s.

  5. Daisy Li February 24, 2017 at 2:28 am - Reply

    Looks like it was freezing, beautiful nonetheless! It’s so true how much a city can change when you avoid the crowds and tourists, makes you feel like a part of it!

  6. carlinn meyer February 24, 2017 at 7:56 am - Reply

    It looks a bit chilly there haha! The bus sounds epic with free wifi and charging stations though. Then you are all charged up and ready for your adventure when you get to your next stop! 🙂

  7. Joanna February 24, 2017 at 11:17 am - Reply

    That’s really cool that a selfie can land you a free bus ticket between Vilnius and Riga. I have never visited these countries before but I would love to someday. Not sure I would be brave enough to go to Vilnius in winter though. I have lived all my life in a country with harsh winters, with temperatures reaching -28 and snow being as high as the house. So I try to avoid winter now if I can 🙂

  8. Janine Good February 25, 2017 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Vilnius looks fabulous. I have wanted to visit the Baltic nations for quite some time and all three look impressive and full of history. I think I would enjoy the city tour. Not only because it will be warmer, but it also takes the guess work away from seeing the majority of the points of interest. I am from Canada so the cold weather wouldn’t bother me to travel there. Plus you are right – the flights would be cheaper.

  9. Diana - MVMT Blog February 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I am hoping to do this exact trip this summer! I’ve found that McDonalds typically has reliable wifi and bathrooms. I would love to visit the genocide museum, although I’d have to mentally prepare myself for that one. And for 5 euro I would definitely take the bus into Riga! Great trip – really hope to go through your itinerary this summer.

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