True Lithuania

Get To and From Lithuania: Rail, Air, Bus, Car

Lithuania has three international airports. Vilnius International Airport is the largest one, frequented both by the regular and low-cost carriers. Kaunas International Airport is a Ryanair hub with few other services. Palanga International Airport offers several routes, however, flying from there is generally more expensive due to lower competition.

All the Lithuanian airports are connected to the city centers by public transport (from there you can catch inter-city buses). In Kaunas and Vilnius, you can catch inter-city buses to major other cities directly at the airport, but the options are limited. Unfortunately, nearly all the public transport comes to halt during the nights and so it won’t help you in the case of early departures or late arrivals. Each of the Lithuanian international airports has a car rental facility within its arrival hall.

Kaunas airport only terminal as visible from departing airplane. All Lithuanian airports are small and hassle-free. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Lithuanian airlines had been having a bad luck as five of its carriers (Lithuanian Airlines, Air Lithuania, Amber Air, Star 1 and Air Lituanica) went bankrupt and were liquidated. There are no more national carriers in Lithuania.

Generally, Western Europe and Southern Europe are both well-served by air routes from Lithuania (the latter especially so in summer). A few Eastern European cities are also served but going anywhere beyond that (e.g. the Balkans, America or Asia) you'll need a transfer via such major European hub airports as Istanbul (Turkish Airlines, convenient for Middle East, Asia and Africa), Helsinki (Finnair, convenient for Asia), Frankfurt (Lufthansa, convenient for America), Copenhagen (SAS, convenient for Europe and North America) Warsaw (LOT, convenient for Europe and ex-USSR) or Riga (Air Baltic, convenient for Europe and ex-USSR).

A map of available air routes and frequencies from Lithuania and the most popular ways to transfer further on.

Lithuanian boasts an extensive network of open general aviation airfields, with 25 of them available across the country (flights from the Schengen area countries are permitted to land in any of them without a further hassle).

Entering Lithuania by car is trivial when arriving from the other countries that signed Schengen treaty – Latvia and Poland. There are no customs or passport checks. However, the waiting times on the borders with Russia and Belarus may get long (several hours).

You can also reach Lithuania (Klaipėda port) by DFDS car ferries from Germany and Sweden. The duration of the journey is at least 15 hours. Cruise ships also dock in Klaipėda during the Baltic cruise season (mainly summer, with some extension into spring and autumn).

Cruise ship 'Wind Surf' and a transbaltic ferry in Klaipėda. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

The possibilities of entering Lithuania on railroads from the West are rather limited due to Lithuania using broad-gauge instead of the common gauge. As such, the inconvenient service to/from Bialystok (Poland) is the only train service going westwards. On the other hand, getting by rail to/from cities like Moscow, Kaliningrad, Saint Petersburg (Russia), Daugavpils (Latvia) or Minsk (Belarus) is easy (albeit slow). There is no passenger rail service between the three Baltic capitals.

There still are international buses leaving for Western cities. However, with the advent of low-cost airlines, the number of them has severely dwindled. Buses remain a popular option for shorter distances, however, such as Vilnius-Riga, Vilnius-Warsaw or Vilnius-Minsk.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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