Vilnius railway station, Lithuania
 

Vilnius station - terminus of the train journey from London.  Courtesy of Yuk Wah Chu.

UK to Lithuania overland by train...

The closest of the three historic Baltic capitals, Vilnius can be reached overland from London via Berlin and Warsaw.

COVID-19 update Eurostar is running a much-reduced service; trains from Berlin to Poland are running almost normally with a few service reductions; international trains from Poland to Lithuania are temporarily suspended.  See COVID-19 travel information.

Train times, fares & tickets...

small bullet point  London to Vilnius by train via Warsaw

small bullet point  London to Vilnius via Kiel & the ferry to Klaipeda

small bullet point  Useful country information: currency, dial code...

small bullet point  Hotels & accommodation in Vilnius & Lithuania

On other pages...

small bullet point  Train travel in Lithuania

small bullet point  Warsaw to Vilnius by train

small bullet point  Vilnius to Riga by train

small bullet point  Trains from Vilnius to other European cities


large bullet pointUseful country information

Train operators:

Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (LTG-Link for passenger services, www.traukiniobilietas.lt

Train times in Europe: http://bahn.hafas.de

Train times for any journey in Europe

 

Time zone:

GMT+2 (GMT+3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Dialling code:

 

+370

Currency:

£1 = approx 1.11 euros, formerly 4.0 Litas.  Lithuania joined the euro in January 2015.    Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.inyourpocket.com.  Recommended guidebooks

Hotels in Lithuania:

Find a hotel in Vilnius.  Hostels:  www.hostelworld.com

Visas:

UK citizens don't need a visa for Lithuania.  Warsaw-Vilnius trains do not pass through Belarus, so a Belarus visa is not required.

Page last updated:

12 July 2021.  Train times valid 13 Dec 2020 to 11 Dec 2021.


large bullet pointLondon to Vilnius

Option 1, by train via Warsaw...

This is the fastest way.  Thanks to a Warsaw-Vilnius train service introduced in 2016 initially only Friday, Saturday & Sunday, but now every day from 2021, you can travel from London all the way to Vilnius by train.  If you'd prefer a train+ferry option using a Germany-Lithuania ferry, see option 2 below.  It's up to you!

London ► Vilnius, 2-night journey

London ► Vilnius, 1-night journey

Vilnius ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 train.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liθge, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Berlin by ICE2...

ICE2 trains have a restaurant car, bar car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi. In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine.  It passes through the industrial Ruhr via Wuppertal & Hamm.  After leaving Hannover, the train passes non-stop through Wolfsburg - look out for the original Volkswagen factory on the left, built in 1938.  The train then travels at up to 280 km/h (174 mph) on the high-speed line to Berlin Hbf, where it arrives at the low-level platforms.  More information about ICE2Cologne Hbf station guide Berlin Hbf station guide.

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

An ICE2 at Berlin Hbf...

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

 

Bar car.  Larger photo.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2 at Berlin Hbf...

 

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

4. Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train...

These comfortable air-conditioned trains have a restaurant car.  See the Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity page for more photos, tips & information.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

A Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train at Berlin Hbf...

1st class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train.   2nd class open plan seating on the Berlin to Warsaw train

1st class compartment car...

 

2nd class open-plan car.  Some seats are in compartments.

Bar counter on the Berlin-Warsaw train   Food on the Berlin-Warsaw train

The bar...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

5. Warsaw to Vilnius...

Take an InterCity train from Warsaw to Bialystok, then a once-a-day air-conditioned regional train to Kaunas.  From Kaunas, there are plenty of Lithuanian trains to Vilnius.  This is all explained in detail with a timetable on the Warsaw to Vilnius by train page.

Trains at Bialystok station

At Bialystok station, the Intercity train from Warsaw has arrived on the right, the connecting train to Kaunas in Lithuania is on the left.  Courtesy of Joerg Schmidt.

Bialystock-Kaunas train   Bialystock-Kaunas train

The Bialystok to Kaunas international train is modern and air-conditioned.  It's 2nd class only, there's no catering so bring your own food & drink.  Photos courtesy of @zugreiseblog

1st class seats on Kaunas-Vilnius train   Kaunas-Vilnius douible-decker train

1st class upper deck seats on the Kaunas to Vilnius air-conditioned double-decker train.  Photos courtesy of @zugreiseblog

Vilnius railway station

Vilnius station.  Photo courtesy of Yuk Wah Chu

Option 2, by train to Germany then ferry to Lithuania...

This is a leisurely way to Lithuania, using comfortable trains from the UK to Germany then a civilised & comfortable DFDS Seaways ferry from Germany to Lithuania.

London ► Klaipeda & Vilnius

Vilnius & Klaipeda ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Hamburg by Intercity train...

Germany Intercity trains travel at up to 200km/h (120mph), with power sockets at all seats and a bistro car serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks and hot dishes.  On the Cologne to Hamburg route you'll find some departures are operated by high-speed ICEs (usually ICE1) rather than Intercity trains, although the ICEs are no faster than ICs on this section of line.  More information about Intercity trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu...

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

3. Kiel to Klaipeda by DFDS ferry...

Traveller Lewis Baston reports:  "We took the Friday ferry that departs at 22:00, making - if you can get the 06:50 from London to Brussels - it feasible to board the ferry on Day 1, overnight, and arrive on Day 2 in the evening (20:00) in Klaipeda. The Klaipeda boat leaves from Ostuferhafen, which is in an industrial area east of the fjord on which Kiel is built. The ferries to Sweden leave from a very modern looking port more or less across the road from Kiel Hbf but the Klaipeda dock is more basic. The signage isn't great - if people know exactly what they are doing, there's a number 11 bus from Hbf that gets you most of the way to Ostuferhafen, but for the uninitiated it is a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the city centre and station.

The ferry is of a standard type rather than the vast mega-ferries that go on routes from Kiel to Sweden or from Hoek van Holland to Harwich. Embarkation is smooth and uncomplicated; the check-in building has a pizza restaurant in it. Passengers are taken to the ferry by a shuttle bus from the terminal. The last shuttle leaves an hour before departure.

Facilities on the ferry are pretty good. It is Lithuanian-operated and crewed, so you do get the occasional taste of post-Soviet customer service, but mostly it is fine and the quality of the food and cabins is a pleasant surprise. We went 'Commodore Class' which involves two proper beds and an outside window, looking out in the direction of travel. The ferry was busy, with lorries packed in like sardines. There are two bars and two restaurants (one self service canteen style and one a la carte). We chose to book breakfast, lunch and dinner (a word of warning - if during booking online you are offered breakfast vouchers and your room rate says it includes breakfast DO NOT order a breakfast voucher - this differs from Stena Line's system I think). The meals are full, hearty and Baltic-style - and very tasty and filling, particularly if you (like me) are fond of meat and potatoes. But my companion, whose tastes are more refined, also thought the food was good. In retrospect, you only really need breakfast and one other meal, not two!

Arrival in Klaipeda is, as in Kiel, in an industrial port area. There is a bus (1A) into town but its timetable does not match up very well to the later ferries. Arriving on the 22:00 departure from Kiel you need to be lucky and on the first shuttle bus from the ferry to the dock gate to get the bus (it does not wait for passengers, however useful that would be!) and there aren't buses to meet the 23:00 departure from Kiel. You are more or less at the mercy of taxi drivers, although even taxis are scarce. Booking in advance might be efficient. We paid €20 split between four, which felt reasonable at the time as it was bucketing with rain. The standard bus fare is LIT2.60, a good deal if you arrive earlier in the day as the stop is just outside the dock gate and port building where outbound passengers check in.

Photos below courtesy of Lewis Baston...

Ferry check-in at Kiel   Kiel to Klaipeda ferry boarding in Kiel

Ferry terminal at Kiel...

 

The ferry to Klaipeda boarding in Kiel...

Cafe on board   2-berth cabin with shower & TV

The cafe-lounge on board...

 

2-berth Commodore cabin, shower, WC, TV...

4. Klaipeda to Vilnius by train...

Comfortable modern air-conditioned trains link Klaipeda with Vilnius in as little as 4h05 several times a day.  See www.traukiniobilietas.lt.  The trains have 1st & 2nd class, but no catering car so bring your own supplies.  You can easily buy a ticket at the station on the day.

Klaipeda station   Klaipeda to Vilnius train

Klaipeda station...

 

The express train from Klaipeda to Vilnius...

Vilnius station exterior

Vilnius station...

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large bullet pointTrain travel within Lithuania...

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large bullet pointMoving on from Lithuania...

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large bullet pointEuropean Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses) or www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide) or for £9.67 at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

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large bullet pointRecommended guidebooks

Lonely Planet guidebook to the Baltic States

Rough Guide to the Baltic StatesMake sure you take a good guidebook, even in this age of the internet.  For the independent traveller, this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both books provide a similarly excellent level of cultural and historical background and practical information.  You won't regret buying one of these guides..!Amazon logo

Click the images to buy online at Amazon.co.uk...

 

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large bullet pointFind hotels in Vilnius & Lithuania

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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large bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I use an annual policy myself.  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flagwww.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & covers you even if the FCDO advises against non-essential travel.

UK flag

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

UK flagYou can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

 Australian flag New Zealand flag  Irish flag    If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct.

 US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


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