A Spectacular Day Trip To Trakai from Vilnius
Trakai is the former capital of Lithuania and frankly, the stuff of fairytales. A day trip to Trakai is the perfect way to spend time if you are visiting Vilnius. Trakai is very close to Vilnius and it is very easy to travel between the cities as well. I was joined by a dear friend of mine for this day and we spend a rather leisurely day with perfect weather in Trakai. The city of Trakai is ever so soothing and serene and the island castle of Trakai has become the perfect poster image of Lithuania. It would be a gross injustice for someone to visit Vilnius and miss Trakai.
Fun Fact: Trakai has been home to many ethnicities over the years including Tatars, Lithuanians, Poles, Russian, Jews & Karaims.
Check out my country guide about Lithuania for all your travel questions answered.
Insta Stories for Lithuania
Check out my stories from Lithuania on Instagram.
Trakai Torism Website
There is a Visit Trakai Website which was very useful in providing information along with the App that provides a lot of information. You can check both of them here.
Getting to Trakai
Trakai is very close to Vilnius (only 28km or 17 miles) and there are very frequent buses and trains between Vilnius and Trakai. The easiest way is to take the bus which leaves from Vilnius Bus station on Sodu Street and drops you at the Trakai bus station which is some 2.3km from the island castle. There is a bus every 15-20 minutes and they are usually quite busy especially on good days. The journey takes around 40 minutes and costs €2 each way. You can find more information about the schedule here.
You can also take the train from the Railway station on Geležinkelio Street. You can check the train schedule and buy tickets on Lithuanian Railway Website. The train does leave you further away though some 3km away.
Note: Return tickets are cheaper and you can buy tickets for the bus and train from the bus driver or train conductor directly as well.
We arrived around 12pm at the bus station to start our day trip to Trakai. We decided to take the taxi from the bus station to the island castle because we were both hungry. It was an absolutely beautiful day with a slight chill in the wind and bits of clouds over the sun now and then.
Food in Trakai
Lithuania is a bit hit and miss when it comes to food and the level of culinary sophistication hasn’t arrived here yet. There are a few restaurants in the city but we decided to stop at a restaurant next to the Vityne to enjoy our lunch with a view. The food was pretty good but the view made it just perfect. The castle and its reflection in the lake with every bite was amazing, a different type of foodgasm. I honestly don’t remember the name of the restaurant but I do remember they had pretty great green tea with a dessert that made me want to kiss the waiter. (I didn’t, don’t worry.)
A Day in Trakai
It was time to stretch my legs, put the tourist hat on and start exploring this gorgeous city. Let’s get this day trip to Trakai kicking. The advantage of starting near Vityne was that we got the details on how to rent a boat for rowing and then headed to the rest. The first stop was Vityne itself.
It is a small spot at the shore of the lake Galve with the perfect view of island castle with some lotus plants in shallow water with beautiful flowers. In short, it is the dream spot of every Instagrammer and this is the most instagrammable spot in the entire town. We took tons of photos and then watch with mesmerization the photos of a couple who had just gotten married and came to get their photos taken here.
Trakai is also extremely popular with Lithuanians and people come here a lot, it also happens to be extremely favoured for weddings (I’d want mine here as well).
The Island Castle
Official Website – https://trakaimuziejus.lt/en/
We started walking towards the island castle bridge. As time passed, the place got busier. We strolled slowly enjoying the beauty of surroundings mixed with children laughing and people rushing towards the door with anticipation.
The island castle is Gothic and has been in the use of Grand dukes of Lithuania since the 14th century and it has been very well restored in 15th-century style. It was later turned into a dungeon and lost its significance but it was rebuilt in the early 1960s. It has become a national symbol and the most famous castle in Lithuania. It is much bigger than it seems from the mainland. It also hosts carnivals and concerts in summers.
We got the tickets and inquired about the tour but it was an hour later so we headed inside. What I really loved about this castle was how it was rebuilt so beautifully with such meticulous detail. The red bricks and their pattern make it drop-dead gorgeous. It is relatively modestly furnished and decorated inside though. The museum inside has some old furniture and a sort of scene from the days of the dukedom.
The courtyard also hosted some torture equipment which seemed funny until I got inside one, everyone laughed when I grimaced and all of sudden it felt like I was in the 14th century. Another authentic experience there!
We spent an hour or so exploring this gorgeous castle and eventually found something even more fun to do; archery. I have never touched a bow and an arrow in my life and my first time was just in the right settings. Wouldn’t you want to start your archery lesson in a medieval castle aiming at a stable door?
Needless to say, I was entirely c**p at it and barely managed to send one arrow to the target but it was a lot of fun.
We explored some more and headed back to head to the lake to hire a boat and row in the Galve Lake to see this beautiful castle from the water as well.
Rowing in the Galve Lake
Our day trip to Trakai became too lazy and needed a little kick so we went for rowing in the lake. There are multiple points to hire boats and you can opt for a paddle boat if you wish. I went for a rowing boat which was more fun. We put some music on and started on our journey and went from the shore to the backside of the castle and back. Also got to see the beautiful Uzutrakis manor.
The water was serene and unsurprisingly we discovered the island castle looks picturesque from every angle. Its gothic towers raise their heads from the greenery surrounding them and the tapering roofs make it so beautiful and picturesque.
It doesn’t take long and we spent about an hour and a half until my arms demanded some rest from rowing and we headed back to return the boat. It was heading into the evening and our leisurely day at Trakai was coming to an end. I wanted to see the Uzutrakis Manor but it was an hour and a half long walk each way so seeing it from the boat became my consolation. If you get time do visit it.
Uzutrakis Manor is an old beautiful manor on the shores of Lake Galve. The pale yellow manor along with its beautiful gardens is a beautiful tourist attraction. It also has a restaurant and an exhibition if you wish to visit. It has a beautiful view and you can see the facade from the lake. I’ll have to do another day trip to Trakai for this specifically.
Hill of Angels
Hill of Angels is a relatively new addition to Trakai since 2009. It has 25 oak angels on a hill on the opposite side of the lake and each angel sculpture is sponsored by a different family. We stopped briefly to see the hill but didn’t spend a lot of time here. It is another beautiful addition to this already stunning city and another place not to be missed on the day trip to Trakai.
The Town of Trakai
We walked back to the bus station through the town and stopped in a small cafe on the way for some more tea. the town is quite small and spacious with beautiful houses scattered within greenery with neatness. If you get some time I’d recommend spending a night here.
We passed through the route and had a look at the other side of the lake. there were fewer people and it was more serene, a perfect spot for our tea on this day trip to Trakai. It was our last stop.
Eventually, we arrived at the station, jumped on a bus and headed back to Vilnius. The bus was ready to go and we didn’t have to wait at all. Our wonderful day trip to Trakai came to an end. This day will be etched in my memory as a really pleasant one.
I cannot recommend the day trip to Trakai enough from Vilnius, it is totally worth the time, effort and money all. I promise you, it will eb totally worth it.