Trakai is a small city near Vilnius which has the island castle surrounded by Galve Lake. Trakai castle was one of the main centers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14-15th century and now it is a great city for a day getaway.
A day trip in Trakai
The best season in Trakai
My favorite season in Trakai is Autumn because at that time it’s less crowded and all restaurants and cafes are still working. Also, the leaves are so colorful and it makes your photos even more pretty.
On Summer don’t forget to take your swimsuit, because what can be better to take a swim on a hot Summer day?
On Winter, the view will be super beautiful, but the weather usually is freezing cold. If you don’t mind the weather then walking on a frozen lake in front of the castle is pretty amazing. I would skip the early Spring because it will be grey and muddy, well personally I am not a fan of it.
How to get there?
The most comfortable way to get to Trakai is by train from Vilnius railway station. It will take about 30 minutes and the price is only 1.8 Eur. Also, you can choose to go by bus, because they go more often, but usually the trip is longer and the buses are more crowded.
Don’t forget to take the most comfortable shoes, because the castle is 2.5km from the station so be prepared to walk. If you will go along the lake the view will be better, but the road is longer if you choose to follow the main street of the town it will be quicker. It is impossible to get lost because there are signs everywhere from the railway to the castle.
Discover Karaim history
If you choose to through the town then you’ll notice adorable, wooden architecture of Karaim and Tartar (Turkic ethnic groups) who were living in this part of Lithuania in the 14th -15th centuries. What happened why these communities are in Lithuania?
The Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas the Great brought 383 Karaim families from the Crimean Peninsula and settled the in Trakai. Karaims served as great guards of the castle and they also engaged in trade, agriculture, and crafts. That’s why traditional meals in Trakai are different from Lithuanian cuisine.
Traditional meals in Trakai
The most famous is kibinai, which is pastries filled with chicken, pork, lamb meat or cottage and spinach, which is usually eaten with broth. You will find them in any restaurant or even in food trucks. Another traditional meal is Kiubetė which looks like a pie only with meat or fish inside, although it’s less common. I think even some Lithuanians never tried Kiubete.
The main attraction in Trakai is the castle on the island. Should you go inside? I’m not sure, I can’t strongly recommend you to do that, because most of the interior design didn’t survive. Yes, there is a museum there with many historical items about the castle, although it never impressed me. I recommend you to go better around the castle and get to know the city more than to go inside the castle.
Although, one amazing thing is that sometimes some crazy events take place in this castle. I mean from classical music concerts to techno parties.
Take a boat in Trakai
What I like about Trakai is that there are so many boats, yachts, paddle boats and everything that can float. The price can range from 5eur to 50eur depends on your needs. Although you should try a trip with a boat, because it is one of the city’s experience, in some boats you will get headphones and you could learn about the history of Trakai.
My favorite activity in Trakai castle lake is Guided Canoe Tour of Castle Island in Trakai, try this for sure.