A Day Trip From Vilnius to Kryžių Kalnas (Hill of Crosses)

One of Lithuania’s most famous and fascinating places to discover is in fact a site of pilgrimage. When I visited, as I approached the hill in a very eerie twist of events a burst of icy snow blasted my face before I was able to be awe-inspired and impressed by the sheer scale of crosses and monuments of Kryžių Kalnas.

I’m not a religious person in any way, but I can appreciate how this place is somewhere that people can receive comfort and even a sense of pride. This site has existed in various forms from approximately 1831 and was formed after the failed rebellion of the Russian Empire, as many people died relatives were unable to locate their bodies and instead started to put up crosses here in commemoration.

It has been destroyed several times during the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, this was because they didn’t like that people were trying to showcase their heritage, religion and original Lithuanian identity.

Well that’s enough of a history lesson, how did I actually get there?

Here’s my exact itinerary from April 2017*

09:50 – Train from Vilnius

I must admit I was very impressed by the Lithuanian train system, it was fairly modern, clean and pretty efficient. After leaving a very snowy Vilnius I was pleased to see that this train appeared to be almost brand new and had free wi-fi!

Although scheduled to arrive at 12:01 we sadly crept in around 15 minutes late meaning I missed the earlier bus to Domantai, it was fine though because even on Easter Sunday the Rimi supermarket at the bus station was open for snacks.

13:10 – Bus from Siauliai Bus Station to Domantai

The bus station is an easy 10 minute walk from the train station, you don’t need to buy tickets beforehand but you can pick up a timetable from the one of the ladies in the ticket booths. When you arrive you’ll need to wait at platform 12, the bus driver we had was friendly and understood where we wanted to go. For the cheap price of €0.84 you can get to Domantai – the nearest bus stop to the Hill of Crosses.

Once you get off the bus you’ll need to start walking along a road called the 4033 for 2km and very soon see the magnificent and legendary Hill of Crosses in the distance.

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

15:02 – Bus from Domantai 

Although it might not sound very long to spend here you can catch the bus 2 hours later, there’s a bus stop on the opposite side to where you disembarked that’s clearly visible, once you get back to Siauliai you’ll have some free time to go and explore Lithuania’s fourth largest city. There’s a few cool sites to see including some funky street art…

Siualiai

17:25 – Train from Siauliai to Vilnius 

Sadly for me I didn’t realise I wouldn’t have the same brand spanking new train coming back, unfortunately it was a rickety old pile which was cramped and jam-packed with people heading home after the Easter holidays. There was another train soon after ours that left at 17:57 but I’m not sure if this uses the newer train, my advice would be to try that instead and stay a bit longer.

Oh…how the mighty have fallen :o(

How to Visit?

If you are travelling by train you can easily buy your train tickets on the day from Vilnius station, however during peak and holiday seasons these trains will get extremely busy. I was travelling to Trakai the day before and thankfully I booked all of my tickets together, most people speak some English in Lithuania but it’s always fun to make a fool of yourself by trying to local lingo.

The Lithuanian Railway website sadly doesn’t accept credit cards yet; however they do take some cards from several Baltic states and Scandinavian countries. A return second class ticket to Siauliai should cost just over €21, which given that it’s almost 200km I think it’s a bargain!

Driving here will likely take around three hours from the capital, there’s a brand new visitor centre and car park located opposite the site, although most people prefer to just park on the side of the road and avoid being charged. There’s no entry fee on to the site of the Hill of Crosses and you can freely roam around.

*Check local listings for updated train/bus times

Further Information?

If you’d like to discover more photographs and information from this trip or any others please feel free to ask me any questions. You can visit my Facebook page and please don’t forget to ‘Like’ Travel Geek UK.

All images copyrighted, if you wish to use any images produced in this blog article please contact me.

7 thoughts on “A Day Trip From Vilnius to Kryžių Kalnas (Hill of Crosses)

  1. Been to Lithuania many times – beautiful country. Free wifi is available in a lot of places and Lithuania reportedly has one of the fastest internet connections in the world (though not in my own experience).

    The Hill of Crosses is still one of the places I’m yet to go and see, so I will take some of your tips on board. Did you leave your own cross there?

    • Thanks I’m glad you like the article, I’d recommend a visit here definitely. As I’m not religious I decided not to place a cross, but I did admire the hundreds of thousands that people had already placed there 🙂

  2. thank you!!! i used this information to plan my trip to kryziu kalnas today and it was precisely like you said. the city of siauliai is sort of “suburban” and i spent a lot of time just hanging out in the shopping center by the bus depot. ive been doing a lot of walking so instead of exploring i relaxed. it was sort of deadzone on a sunday. i also got stuck on that rickety old train on the way back and it did a number on my back. your tip about prepurchasing a ticket was spot on – one stupid thing I did was i looked at the site you listed to see ticket times and availability and i showed up to the address listed on the site, which is the offices of the trains. i didnt see the real address of the train station on that site which is strange. i figured it out, though, and missed all of the trains to siauliai so i just switched my plans: caught a train to trakai and purchased tickets for the next day to siauliai. my day in trakai was sunny and beautiful and it was quite overcast at kryziu kalnas but i think it helped create a somber and instrospective mood for the event. thanks again!!

  3. Further to my comment left in April, I visited the Hill of Crosses last week on a hot June day, following some of the advice left above. I got one of those new looking, very clean Hungarian trains to Siauliai from Vilnius, and then a German bus (marked ‘Diensfahrt’) to the Hill of Crosses.

    The walk from the bus stop to the Hill itself was a bit longer than expected (especially on a hot day), and we were getting a later train onwards towards Mažeikiai, so didn’t spend too long there but got plenty of photos and took in some of the scale of the site – did you notice the crosses left by the RAF?

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