When I was planning my journey through the Baltics, I was trying to figure out the best way to get from one Baltic capital to the next – Vilnius to Riga and Riga to Tallinn. After some initial research, I found that there are no direct trains between the capitals, and, uncomfortable with driving solo in countries where I can’t read the language on the road signs, I searched for the next best option.
What I found was Lux Express, a bus company that focuses mostly on the Baltic region as well as having routes to Poland and Russia. Lux Express offers several buses a day, usually every 1-2 hours, so it makes travel from one city to the next easy to fit into your schedule.
My First Ride – Vilnius, Lithuania to Riga, Latvia (4 hours)
After hopping on the bus from Vilnius bus station, and showing my ticket and passport, I got my first good impression of Lux Express. My seat was large, I had plenty of leg room and space (my own row!), and there was a multimedia screen with movies, games, and music. I flipped on The Devil Wears Prada and attempted to connect to the WiFi. Unlike many coach buses that say they have WiFi but it barely works, Lux Express’s WiFi was super fast. I was able to catch up on email, check my bank balances, and read the news without issue. There was also a hot drink machine and bathroom on board.
The only issue I had the whole journey was that the bus driver only give updates in Lithuanian, so I was never totally sure what he said. When we pulled into Riga bus station four hours later, I wasn’t worn out like I normally feel after long bus rides.
My Second Ride – Riga, Latvia to Tallinn, Estonia (4.5 hours)
A few hours before my second ride with Lux Express, I received a text that the multimedia screens on my bus weren’t working, and providing the contact info for the company’s local number if I wanted to change my booking. My bus was scheduled to depart at 10AM but with the option to change your booking I opted for an 11:15AM bus instead (more time to sleep!). Lux Express’s customer service was able to move me to the 11:15AM bus, free of charge, and emailed my ticket to me immediately.
At 11:15AM, I boarded at Riga bus station, had my ticket and passport checked again, and again was placed in a seat that was spacious and had plenty of leg room. This time updates were given in English. I made myself a hot chocolate at the hot drink machine on board and settled into my seat. The WiFi again was really fast; I saw a fellow passenger in front of me streaming videos. I was allowed to bring snacks on board, and the driver also offered water, pillows, and blankets for sale during the journey.
As someone who generally prefers trains to buses, I was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable and easy it was to travel with Lux Express. For the price – I paid €10 each way – the hot drink machine, bathroom on board, multimedia screens, fast WiFi, and having space for my legs to stretch out were all huge pluses for me.
It was also convenient that you could show your ticket on your phone straight from your e-mail, rather that having to print it out. On the ticket, the platform and your seat number were listed, making it easy to find the bus and get settled easily.
I would definitely ride and recommend Lux Express to those traveling in the Baltics, Poland, or Russia; and would generally hope that more bus companies adapt features like fast reliable WiFi and spacious seating in the future.
- Website: LuxExpress.eu/en
- Cost: €5 to €20 depending on how early you book; I paid €10 for each ticket