Things to do in Vilnius

How to go from Vilnius to Riga

June 10, 2020
VilniusFreeTour
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A lot of people visiting Vilnius or any of the Baltic capitals (Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn) usually choose to visit two cities or all three of them. These capitals are quite close to each other and not too big, so you can easily visit three different cities in one trip. You can also meet many travellers going from Vilnius to Riga to Tallinn or the other way around and exchange tips and recommendations. One of the most common questions we get from our travellers is how to get from Vilnius to Riga. Here are a few ways:

  1. The cheapest way to get to Riga from Vilnius – by bus
  2. The fastest way to get to Riga from Vilnius – by plane
  3. The most comfortable way to get to Riga from  Vilnius – by car
  4. The most exciting way to get to Riga from Vilnius –  Vilnius – Riga Sightseeing bus

By bus


Time: 4-4.5 hours

Tickets: from 7 to 18 EUR/person

The cheapest and most popular option is to take the bus Vilnius - Riga. It usually takes around 4 hours. The buses are quite frequent. If you book far in advance pay as little as 7 EUR, but even if you book the last minute it should be around 18 EUR.

If you are not visiting all the three cities, or if you are in Vilnius only for a few days, you might even consider doing a day trip to Riga. Of course, if you do not mind waking up early and spending 4 hours on a bus to Riga, then exploring Riga for full day and going back in the evening 4 hours by bus to Vilnius. The timetables are quite convenient.

Lux Express has comfy buses, offers free wi-fi and multimedia touch screens on each seat so you can spend all 4 hours just watching movies. The prices vary from 7 to 18 EUR.

Due COVID-19 the buses were stopped for some time, but from May 22nd you can get to Riga from Vilnius by LuxExpress four times a day (6:45, 10:00, 12:00, 17:30). There is also one night bus going to Tallinn (stopping in Riga) daily at 22:30. As the regulations due to COVID-19 were not fully lifted yet, it is required to wear a face mask, or cover your face with a scarf when travelling with public transportation in Latvia or Lithuania. From 15th of July, there should be two more extra times offered (07:30, 13:30). The buses leave from the main Vilnius coach station. If you stay a bit further from it, you can consider catching a bus at Panorama shopping mall bus stop. It is on the left side of the shopping mall. Here is the exact location on Google maps. Usually the buses come here 15 min after leaving the main coach station. You can buy tickets online easily here.

Another bus company offering buses from Vilnius to Riga is Ecolines. The buses are a little less comfortable than LuxExpress, but they also offer touch screens on each seat and free wi-fi.

From 29th of May the buses will go to Riga twice a day (7:30, 18:00). The price is from 13 to 17 EUR. You will get both seats for yourself if travelling during quarantine period to keep the distance between the passengers.  The buses leave from the main Vilnius coach station. You can find more information and get the tickets here.

By plane


Flight time: 50 minutes 

Tickets: from 54 EUR/person

Riga has the biggest airport in the Baltics. A lot of Lithuanians who want to fly somewhere first have to fly from Vilnius to Riga. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions now there are less options, but there is a flight by AirBaltic once a day at 14:05 from Vilnius to Riga. It takes only 50 minutes. But do not forgetting getting to the airport a bit in advance!

Vilnius airport is very close to the city centre and it is quite easy to get there by public transport (buses 88, 3G). It should take around 20-30 minutes depending on the place you are staying in Vilnius. You can check our blog post for other options: How to get from Vilnius airport to the city centre. To go to Riga city centre from Riga airport takes around 25-30 minutes. Here is more information.

Overall, you will need at least 3 hours for this trip, even though we recommend arriving at the airport a bit earlier because of all the new regulations.  If you really hate travelling by bus, this is probably the best option for you. 

You can reserve your tickets here.

By car


A car from Autocom Car Rental in front of Trakai castle

Picture: © Autocom Car Rental

Time: from 3.5 hours

Prices: from 120 EUR/car

If you prefer taking your own speed and having more privacy, you can also consider renting a car in Vilnius to drive to Riga (around 300 km). Then you would decide when to leave Vilnius, where to stop and what to see on the way. Especially if you are travelling with friends, you could have a fun road trip from Vilnius to Riga.

There quite a few rental companies that you can find. It is possible to rent a car in Vilnius and leave it in Riga. Most of the companies charge a fee for returning the car in another city though!

Autocom Car Rental is one of the local rental companies offering car rental in the Baltics. They offer new cars and great customer service. You can check their cars here

One way rental from Vilnius to Riga (24 hours) costs 100 EUR + the price for the car you choose from Autocom Car Rental. The more people in the car, the cheaper it gets per person. Do not forget the petrol – it should cost from 25 EUR depending on the route you take J You can pick up the car during working hours at Vilnius airport or their central office. But feel free to contact their customer service if you have some special questions or requests!

We actually just became friends with Autocom Car Rental. They offer special rental discounts for our travellers. Contact us for more information hello@vilniuswithlocals.com. 

You can find all the terms & conditions here.

By Vilnius – Riga Sightseeing bus


Time : 12 hours

Tickets: 69 EUR/person

If you do not want to spend your time watching movies while travelling, taking your time at the airport or driving, you can consider taking one way Vilnius – Riga sightseeing bus. It is quite convenient. You will leave Vilnius in the morning and arrive to Riga in the evening, but on the way you will spend some time visiting a few highlights of Lithuania and Latvia, that you would probably miss otherwise. While visiting Trakai is fairly easy from Vilnius, going to the Hill of Crosses will take you 3 hours. So we always recommend visiting the Hill of Crosses on the way to Riga to save some time. You will stop in Kaunas, Hill of the Crosses, Rundale palace, Salaspils Memorial to victims of Fascism. Quite a good deal if you want to explore more of the Baltics!

Find more details about Vilnius Riga sightseeing bus

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A lot of people are interested in taking a train to Riga. Unfortunately there are no direct connections at the moment. We are all looking forward to Rail Baltica project to be completed so we could travel even more comfortably and faster among three Baltic countries. But we still have to wait for a few years J

For now, choose the best option from these four to get from Vilniu to Riga. You can also comment if you have more ideas ;)

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