I'm going to take a weekend regional-express train from Bialystok, Poland (a major railway station in northeastern Poland, just like two hours away from Warsaw) to Kaunas, Lithuania.

Apparently, it's the only way to travel from Poland to Lithuania by rail. The train is operated with a diesel multiple unit and utilizes a standard-gauge track built fairly recently (unlike most of other Lithuania railways, which are 1520 mm/1524 mm). But this track terminates in Kaunas, so the abovementioned train terminates there as well.

How can I get then from Kaunas to Talinn? Most of connection search engines of European rail operators (most are based on Hafas software) doesn't even seem to have any data for most of Latvian train stations, like Riga. Lithuanian and Latvian websites are also failing to find a connection between, say, Kaunas and Riga.

In Tallinn I'm going to hop on a ferry to Helsinki, if that matters.

How can I make this connection, then? I'm almost sure it could be possible.

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    Obligatory seat61 link . Apparently you need to travel via Vilnius and Riga.
    – Berend
    Aug 29, 2022 at 7:50
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    Considering how long the train takes, you might consider travelling by ferry via Sweden or even directly to Finland, although from Białystok this is a big detour as well, so if you're already in Białystok, the bus is probably the fastest surface-based transportation.
    – gerrit
    Aug 29, 2022 at 10:58
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    They are building a railway just for you: the Rail Baltica project. It will be a fast one. Too bad you will have to wait a few years before it gets finished... Are you in a big hurry? :) Aug 29, 2022 at 16:21
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    @MobileDevelopment, I share your sentiment. I was trying to be optimistic (with a few approaching 10 in my estimation), but realistically the project may take decades... Aug 30, 2022 at 7:01
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    You might be interested in the trip taken by Jon Worth a few weeks back crossborderrail.trainsforeurope.eu He tried to cross all the borders between EU countries by rail and failing that using his portable bicycle. If you click on the menu item for route and look at the northern section I think you will find something similar to the journey you are asking about.
    – mdewey
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


According to Seat61, there's a connection between Białystok and Vilnius (change trains at Kaunas).

From there, you would be able to reach Tallinn in two days, with a change at Riga. But note that since 2020, Vilnius-Daugavpils trains only run to Turmantas at the border, so you may be out of luck after all. This may also be the reason your own searches didn't give any result.

If you manage to get to Daugavpils (bus, taxi?), you can buy train tickets from there to Riga here.

Alternatively, there seems to be a direct bus from Warsaw to Tallinn, which also stops in Białystok. This would take just over 16 hours.

Another option that minimizes time spent on buses is this:

  • From Vilnius, take the local train to Turmantas
  • Cross the border on foot, and follow the railway tracks 2.5 km north to Zemgale. Google Maps doesn't show any roads, but OpenStreetMap does
  • Take bus 6173, which will take you to Daugavpils in only 40 minutes (schedule, 3 times daily)
  • Thanks for that again! The Seat61 resource looks extremely valuable. But naaah, I won't take a bus from Warsaw to Talinn. I find those "ultra-long-distance buses/coaches as they're being called in British English in general, after some experiences of course, as a great emergency mode of transit if one's completely broke, but nothing beyond that. If rails would turn out being impossible then I guess I'll just drive up there or simply take a plane, possbily directly heading Helsinki. But that's just for me of course. Have a nice day! (or here, apparently, that'd be have a great night, I guess) Aug 29, 2022 at 21:33
  • Yeah, buses are far from ideal. If you prefer trains, you could consider taking a bus just from Vilnius to Daugavpils (3.30h). The total trip will probably still be at least 2 days though.
    – Berend
    Aug 30, 2022 at 11:58
  • So 1) is there completely no (rail) service between Vilnius and Daugapvlis? and 2) there's no other, even as a big detour way, from Kaunas to Talinn, circumventing this leg with no service? Then yeah, if both are no then I'll probably catch a bus from Vilnius to Daugapvlis, 3.30h on a bus should be okayish. But I'll still try to look some different routes via different railway lines, using openrailwaymap and some of the railway connection search engines. Thanks for the idea of catching a bus between those two. Maybe I'll even be able to arrange way as overnight, which would be perfect! Aug 30, 2022 at 12:04
  • @MobileDevelopment, Vilnius --> Daugavpils --> ... --> Tallinn would include a detour when compared to Vilnius --> Riga --> Tallinn. The buses between these capitals are pretty comfortable, and the road Vilnius --> Riga is pretty good, too, making for an easy and comfortable trip. Of course, if you wanted to spend more time on the road, then an addition detour would not be an issue for you. Aug 30, 2022 at 12:10
  • @MobileDevelopment As far as I can see, the only way to go from Lithuania to Latvia by train is the Vilnius – Turmantas – Daugavpils line, but it terminates at Turmantas (I couldn't find anything on Mazeikiai – Renge – Jevgana, there might be something, but perhaps freight only?) As for big detours; going East would mean either Ukraine or Belarus, which I don't expect to be possible anytime soon. If you're willing to make a huge detour, going West through Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland would be an option.
    – Berend
    Aug 30, 2022 at 13:42

The reason for the lack of good connections from Warsaw to Baltics is gauge difference. The rail connections between Latvia and Estonia are surprisingly poor partly because both were part of Russian Empire when the railway network was developed - thus the focus was connecting Riga and Tallinn to St Petersburg and Moscow rather than each other.

These issues will be solved by the Rail Baltic project that will connect all the Baltic capitals and Warsaw with a semi-high-speed railway. Until the completion of that project, taking trains between the Baltic capitals is quite impractical.

However, if you insist opting for rail, here is how to get from Riga to Tallinn by train.

Take a train from Riga to Valka/Valga (cross-border town). From Valga there are connections to Tallinn (which also stop at Tartu, capital of South Estonia and the second largest town in Estonia).

The whole affair takes about twice as much time as it would to take a bus from Riga to Tallinn.

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