Baltics Rail Passes and Train Tips

By Rick Steves

Are rail passes a good value for the Baltics?

Since point-to-point train tickets are cheap in this region, a rail pass isn't likely to save you much money. If you're already traveling with a continuous Eurail Global Pass, you could use it to hop on trains in the Baltics, but it's probably not worth adding extra days to a pass just for train travel in these inexpensive countries.

How do I see whether a rail pass makes sense for my trip in particular?

Train Fares: Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania

Map shows approximate costs, in $US, for one-way, second-class tickets. For first-class fares, add 50 percent.

Use this map to add up approximate pay-as-you-go fares for your itinerary, and compare that cost to the price of a rail pass for the number of days you expect to spend on the train. Dotted lines show ferry routes and dashed lines (such as Tallinn–Pärnu) show bus routes, neither of which are covered by rail passes.

Also, follow the links below for:

More tips for figuring out whether a pass makes sense for your trip
The basics on choosing among rail passes
More tips on how to save money by fine-tuning your rail pass
Advice on deciding between first and second class
Fare-estimate maps outside the Baltics
Answers to frequently asked rail-pass questions

What are my options for rail passes that cover the Baltic countries?

Lithuania Eurail Pass

Eurail Global Pass (33 countries) → read more about this pass

Buy  Estonia Eurail Pass (currently unavailable)

Buy  Latvia Eurail Pass (currently unavailable)

Rail Europe shopping cart: Have an order underway? Review and complete it here.

Do I need to make seat reservations on trains in the Baltics?

Seat reservations are not required — nor even possible on most trains here. You can hop on trains in this region with just your rail pass in hand.

What's the best way reach the Baltics from elsewhere in Europe?

A daily direct train now runs between Vilnius and Kraków (via Warsaw); it does not travel via Belarus (9 hours to/from Warsaw, 12.5 hours to/from Kraków). Aside from the fact that this train trip is covered by rail passes, flying may be your best way to connect the Baltics' capital cities with most of Europe.

Buses within the region are also worth considering:

  • Latvia–Lithuania: As trains run only once daily, direct buses between the capitals can be handy for offering extra schedule options (train and bus both take 4.5 hours and cost about $25 — unless you're using a rail pass to cover the train).
  • Estonia–Latvia: Tallinn–Riga trains connect at Valga (6 hours, $20 without rail pass), but direct buses save time (4 hours, $20).

Ferries connect Tallinn to Stockholm and Helsinki, Riga to Stockholm, and Liepaja to Travemünde (Germany). Eurail Global and Scandinavia passes grant a discount on some of these international ferries (but one-country passes offer no ferry deals).

Any tips for buying point-to-point train tickets in this region?

If a rail pass doesn't pencil out for your trip, see our general tips for buying point-to-point tickets.

What if I need help with my Rail Europe order?

All orders for passes and tickets are fulfilled by Rail Europe (not by Rick Steves' Europe). For customer-service questions, contact them online (or call 800 622 8600, but expect long waits and periods of unavailability at the call desk) — and keep in mind that refund options are fairly limited.