Vilnius to Siauliai
The connection between Vilnius en Siauliai isn’t particularly fast… With the bus it would take you between three and four hours and I didn’t particularly liked that idea… A lot faster (and cheaper!) are the regular trains. From Vilnius gelezinkelio stotis you have to take the train to Siauliai gelezinkelio stotis. (The central train station of Vilnius to the central train station of Siauliai)
A single tickets costs between €9 and €11 ($10 – $12) and in total you are on the road for about two hours and a half.
Siauliai is located about hundred kilometers of the border with Latvia, so if you’re planning to do a trip through the Baltic states you might as well plan this trip in your itinerary.
You can check the schedule of trains on the website of Lithuanian railways.
Siauliai to Kryzuy kalnas (hill of crosses)
After a comfy train trip, you finally arrive in Siauliai. From here you need to walk for another ten minutes to the central bus station (address:adres: Tilžės g. 109, Šiauliai 77159), because the hill of crosses is still located twelve kilometers outside the city.
From the train station you’ll have to turn left and from there you can just walk straight ahead all the time. When you see a beautiful, orthodox cathedral on your way (St. George’s church) you are walking in the right direction.
At a certain point, you’ll cross a busy road that leads you to the center of the city. At this crossing point you can see the bus station located on your right side. This is where you should be heading.
It’s a pity that there are so few busses that head towards the hill of crosses. Because of this, you definitely need to plan ahead a little bit!
From Siauliai you have to get to the bus stop of ‘Domantai’ and there is actually only one bus that heads this way. A single ticket costs 80 euro cent ($1).
Ask the bus driver to stop in Domantai or follow your route with a smartphone app like Google Maps. The busses don’t stop everywhere, except for when there are people waiting or when someone asks the driver to stop at the next stop.
Don’t forget that the bus doesn’t stop right in front of the hill! From the Domantai bus stop you still need to walk about 2 kilometers (+/- 1 mile) until you see the many thousands of crosses appear on the hill!
In short this is what you should do:
From Siauliai to Domantai
- From the central train station of Siauliai, you head to the central bus station of Siauliai.
- From platform 12 you hop on the bus until you reach the bus stop ‘Domantai’. Buses leave at 7:25 AM (this bus doesn’t drive on sundays), 8:25 AM, 10:25 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:15 PM, 1:10 PM, 2:15 PM, 3:40 PM, 5:05 PM and 8:30 PM (this bus only drives on mondays, fridays and sundays).
- Get out at ‘Domantai’ and walk twenty meters back, over there you’ll notice a small sideway that will eventually lead you to the hill of crosses or the Kryzuy kalnas.
From Domantai to Siauliai
- Walk back towards the busy road where you were dropped off. The bus stop to head back to Siauliai now lies at your left side.
- From this bus stop you can head back to Siaulai at 7:43 AM, 8:50 AM, 9:37 AM (this bus doesn’t drive on sundays), 10:43 AM, 12:17 PM, 1:03 PM, 2:03 PM, 3:07 PM, 5:32 PM, 7:03 PM (this bus only drives on mondays, fridays and sundays).
The Hill of crosses
The Kryzuy kalnas has already been there for quite a while and thus has quite some history to tell! In fact this hill was a form of protest. The Russians conquered Lithuania and obviously they didn’t like that very much. Between 1831 and 1863 the Lithuanian people had enough of this occupation and they started acting up agains their invaders. Because of all this violence, lots of people died and the mourning families never really could honour their loved ones. To at least try to commemorate their losses, they started some sort of honouring place. Et voilà… De hill of crosses was born!
Eventually, Lithuania was able to get rid of their Russian invaders, but not for long. Because in 1944 the Soviet regime came to power… From one occupation into the other!
The hill had grown tremendously in the meantime, and there were still a lot of pilgrims who regularly added their crosses to this hill. The Soviet Union wasn’t very happy about that and they tried to completely demolish the hill a couple of times… Luckily for us, the Lithuanians kept rebuilding the hill time after time. Because of their perseverance we can still visit this magical place!
In 2006 there were counted more than 100,000 crosses!
The beautiful winter landscape around me didn’t ever give away that I was so close to this unique monument. When you get closer, you do see something, but from afar it looks more like the silhouettes from a dense forest of trees than those of hundreds of thousands of crosses.
The closer I get, the more certain I got. Right in front of me there is a giant monument with small and big crosses. The one more impressing than the other.
The whole scene stretches out a couple of hundreds of metres in front of me and you can walk through some little paths that were made between the crosses.
Actually it feels kind of creepy, and that feeling only gets heightened because there are almost no other visitors in this strange destination of pilgrimage.
The way to the Hill of crosses may seem a little long at first, but for me it was definitely one of the most unique things I have ever seen during my travels. It seems that people in need always become most creative during their hard times!
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.