Thursday, August 11, 2022

How To Travel Around Lithuania

EuropeLithuaniaHow To Travel Around Lithuania

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By train

Litrail, Lithuania’s state-owned railroad, provides service to the country’s main cities. The majority of trains also make stops at minor stations along the route. Other than public transit, a portion of those smaller stations is inaccessible. In comparison to Western Europe, fares are low: Vilnius-Kaunas is about €5 for 104 km, while Vilnius-Klaipda is around €15 for 376 km (as of 2016-02). Tickets are sold at the ticket office within the station building until about 5 minutes before the departure time at major railway stations. A ticket is only valid for the train for which it was purchased. It is, nevertheless, possible to purchase tickets in advance. When purchasing round-trip tickets, a 15% discount is given to the return ticket. Many minor stations lack ticket offices, thus tickets must be purchased from the conductor on board. If you board the train at a station with a functioning ticket office and wish to purchase a ticket from the conductor, you will be charged a modest fee. However, if one arrives late at the station but still makes the train, this may be the only choice. On board the train, only cash is accepted; however, most, if not all, ticket offices take cash and credit cards. In addition to periodic special discounts, the same criteria for discounts apply as for other public transportation. Students holding a Lithuanian Student ID or ISIC, in particular, get a 50% discount. Train conductors validate tickets, which must be retained until the conclusion of the trip owing to occasional inspections by conductor-inspectors.

Trains may be quicker or slower than buses or minibuses depending on the route. Vilnius-Klaipda and Vilnius-Kaunas are two intercity routes where traveling by rail is quicker. In Lithuania, there are currently no high-speed railway lines. Trains operate less often than vehicle transit when routes intersect. However, for distant locations far from main highways and cities, the train is often the only choice (especially on routes Vilnius-Marcinkonys and Vilnius-Turmantas). Trains are popular with wilderness travelers and residents searching for wild berries and mushrooms as a result of this.

Trains are often more roomy than buses, making them ideal for passengers carrying big bags or huge goods (such as skis, bikes). Bicycles may be transported on all trains; however, a special bike ticket is required (fee depends on the distance). Bicycle racks are usually found in the first or final car of most trains. However, they can only hold 2-3 bicycles, thus it’s usual to just line them up down the aisle. This technique is allowed as long as the bicycles do not obstruct people’s mobility. The majority of regional trains feature 3-3 seats adjacent to 2-2 seats across the isle. This allows up to ten individuals to view each other at the same time, making trains popular among bigger corporations. Some trains include three seats that combine to create a comfy bench that is long and broad enough to be used as a bed if there is enough room for other passengers. Many long-distance trains feature cabins that can hold six people sitting or four persons sleeping. The headrest may be raised to create a really comfortable bunk bed that can be utilized while others sit below. The other pair of beds are formed by the chairs themselves. Because some trips are very lengthy (4:30 to 5 hours in the instance of Vilnius-Klaipeda), passengers often sleep on the top bunks throughout the day.

Auktaitija (historical Auktaitija) The Anykiai Narrow Gauge Railway provides brief excursions to a local lake. It operates on a regular schedule during the summer, but tours must be scheduled in advance throughout the rest of the year.

By bus

In Lithuania, getting around by bus is simple; virtually all of the larger and most minor towns can be accessed by bus. Intercity buses are divided into two categories: express and regional. Express buses only stop in large cities and are typically considerably quicker than regional buses. Express buses are usually often newer and more comfortable. Those buses are sometimes (but not always) branded as Ekspresas (“express”). For longer distance travel between cities, it is the best choice. Regional buses, on the other hand, make several stops throughout the route. As a result, they are typically sluggish; a 40-kilometer journey, for example, may take an hour. The majority of regional buses are vintage vehicles acquired from the Nordic nations. In comparison to Western norms, the service quality on such buses may be subpar. If you need to go to a station not served by express buses, regional buses are the best option. However, since express and regional buses often serve the same route, it is best to inquire ahead of time. Another thing to keep in mind is that some buses are indirect, meaning they go via towns rather than taking the straight route between cities. “CityA – CityB per CityC” is a common label for these (per meaning “via”).

Buses run frequently between the major cities and the regional centers. In almost every town, there is a bus company. TOKS (from Vilnius), Kautra (from Kaunas), Klaipdos autobus parkas (from Klaipda), Busturas (from iauliai), and Transrevis (from Transrevis) are some of the largest and finest. For most trips, bus tickets cost 15-20 Litas per 100 kilometers (as of 2013-01). Bus operators provide a 50% discount to students holding a Lithuanian Student ID throughout the year. Bus operators are required by law to provide a 50% discount to students having an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) issued in a European Union country. Keep your ticket till the conclusion of your trip in case inspectors decide to stop by one of the stops to examine the bus.

The majority of Lithuania’s bus routes and turns are published at autobusubilietai.lt, where you may also book tickets for specific routes. However, keep in mind that the payment mechanism currently only supports a limited number of Lithuanian banks, and credit cards are not accepted. iticket.lt is another online bus ticket provider that offers additional payment alternatives.

It is advised to purchase a ticket in advance at a kiosk for buses and trolley-buses on routes inside towns and cities, board the vehicle via the center door, and stamp the ticket using one of the ticket punches. Traditionally, they were at the center door, but with the advent of computerized ticketing, they are now frequently found directly behind the driver’s seat. Tickets purchased from the driver rather than kiosks are more costly, and if the bus is late or packed, and you don’t have precise change, you may get an off-handed reaction. Students holding a Lithuanian Student ID or an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) issued in a European Union country are eligible for a 50 percent single ticket discount and an 80 percent monthly ticket discount. Inspectors will examine tickets on a regular basis and will levy a fee if you do not have a validated ticket or paperwork confirming your entitlement for a discount. The bus exits via the center door, and it is critical to get to the door before the vehicle stops, since it may be difficult to depart after passengers have begun boarding.

In addition to regular buses, express routes are typically served by minibuses.

By car

Lithuanian traffic moves on the right, much as the rest of continental Europe, and all distances are expressed in kilometers.

Lithuania has an excellent road network, particularly on the highways. On small roads, the condition of the road surface may vary. In several areas, the improvement work is causing traffic congestion. From Estonia to Poland, the Via Baltica route passes through Lithuania. The A1 from Vilnius to Klaipeda is another major route.

Turning right at a red traffic light is legal in many European nations, but not in North America, where signaled by a “green arrow” (square white sign next to the red light with a green arrow indicating the authorized direction), as long as it does not harm other vehicles. Be aware that the lack of such a sign indicates that turning right on red is not permitted, and any motorist caught violating this law will be stopped by the authorities.

There is a separate green light for vehicles turning left at many larger intersections, but just one red/yellow light. There are arrows heading straight and to the right on the green light for the other routes, but they are easily missed. Most of these traffic lights may be recognized by their outline, thanks to the white reflective border that surrounds them.

When traveling straight ahead on a two- or three-lane road, it is courteous to move out of the right-hand lane (if safe to do so); this maintains the right-hand lane free for right-turning vehicles. Keep an eye out for fast-moving cars coming from behind while returning to the right lane.

A dedicated bus lane is indicated by the letter ‘A’ on the right-hand lane. Taxis may also utilize the lane designated ‘A / TAKSI.’ Other road users are only allowed to join the lane if they want to turn right into a side road.

It is feasible to do a u-turn on the highways. Because vehicles do not adhere to traffic laws, pedestrians, in particular, must be as careful as they are in other former Soviet nations. On the roads and highways, moving domestic animals and roe animals may create hazardous circumstances.

The Lithuanian road network, especially in the cities, is dotted with roundabouts. The Wikipedia page on roundabouts may be helpful for visitors from countries where this kind of intersection is rare or not used at all.

In Lithuanian traffic, the alcohol limit is 0.4%. The legal drinking age has been reduced to 0.

Fixed speed cameras are common on rural roads and highways, especially at crossroads and pedestrian crossings, as well as in cities. A sign is typically used to advertise these events. Many of them seem to be intended to be turned around and watched in the other way from time to time.

By taxi

Taxis are metered and may be reserved by calling the phone numbers shown on the taxi’s door. In comparison to Western Europe, taxis are quite inexpensive. However, be aware that some businesses are not as secure as others; using common sense will keep you safe in this respect. “Taking the long way around” was formerly customary, but it has all but vanished. However, there have been instances of immigrants spending more than they anticipated. Keep in mind that the operator is in charge of setting the embarkation and transit costs. Some taxis waiting at key locations (such as airports and bus terminals) take advantage of this by charging prices that are many times more than the market average. In general, ordering a cab over the phone is less expensive than hailing one on the street. You may also get a pricing estimate in advance when booking a cab over the phone or before getting in the vehicle. Some tourists give the driver modest gratuities, although this is completely optional.

Taxi fares, particularly in Vilnius, have recently fallen significantly from their peak during the boom years (spring 2009). If you don’t need a luxurious trip, a cab may be had for as little as 1.25 litas (€0.37) per kilometer. Regional cities’ taxi rates are often cheaper than those in larger cities, making them more suited for out-of-town excursions.

By bicycle

Cycling is very popular in Lithuania, although it depends on where you are. In large towns, pavements will typically have a cycling route with many signs, but getting about by bicycle in rural regions may be difficult. EuroVelo No. 10 and EuroVelo No. 11 are two international EuroVelo cycling routes that run throughout the country and are equipped with high-quality signage and bikepaths.

It’s risky to leave your bicycle outdoors for more than a few hours without securing it, just as it is in Western Europe. BaltiCCycle, an international cycling initiative, may be able to offer you with information and assistance.

By thumb

Hitchhiking is usually safe in Lithuania. Get to the city’s outskirts, but not before traffic accelerates up to motorway speeds. The middle letter of the three-character code on earlier license plates (with Lithuanian flag) typically refers to the city of registration (V for Vilnius, K for Kaunas, L for Klaipeda, etc.). Newer license plates (with the EU flag) are not in any way tied to the city of registration.

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