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Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

Trakai is one of Lithuania's most visited and popular tourist destinations. Trakai is the place that can be easily visited and we definitely recommend a half day in Trakai as part of your Vilnius experience. Find a detailed guide how to visit the Trakai Castle, inside and out, what to do there and how to get to Trakai.

What is Trakai?

Trakai is a city in Lithuania, 28 kilometers west of the capital Vilnius. Trakai is one of the most popular tourist attractions around Vilnius. Considered as the center of Lithuania and the capital city of Lithuania in the 14th century, Trakai provides you unforgettable moments with its fascinating nature of lakes and architectural and historical sights of the castle.

Our Day Trip to Trakai

We’ve traveled to Trakai several times and we found that taking a bus is the best way to get to Trakai Castle for a day trip. There is not much time saving when traveling by car in relation to the bus, and renting a car would be much more expensive. You can check for more information about how to get to Trakai at the end of this article.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

We took a bus from Vilnius Bus Station to Trakai. Buses leave every 30 minutes with a trip lasting between 30-40 minutes.

When disembarking from the bus in Trakai, we’ve checked the bus schedule at Trakai Bus Station for getting back to Vilnius. We would recommend checking departure times carefully as there are longer intervals between departures in some hours so you would waste more time for waiting. You can buy the return ticket at Trakai Bus Station.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

From the bus station, it is about 30 minutes’ walk to the castle and walking along stunning streets is a real delight. If you come to Trakai by train, the walk will be longer as the train station is about 500 meters further away from town center.

The walk is along the Vytauto Street. There are few supermarkets, Maxima, IKI and other local shops where you can stop for drinks and snacks.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

On the way to the city center, we’ve passed the Rebirth Orthodox Church which is nice for taking photo. Along the way, there are many colorful wooden houses.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

On the way you can see another big church built in a more classical style, Trakai St. Virgin Mary Church, known as the Trakai Madonna, which was built in 1409.

The first half of the way is via the town, where you can find the sign “I love Trakai”, the spot not to be missed.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

Not far from here, you can continue walking into the town along Karaimu Street. This is the most well-known street of Trakai because you can see the best-preserved wooden houses. There is also an Ethnography Museum right at the start of the street.

However, we preferred turning to Birutes Street for strolling along the shore of Galve Lake all the way to Trakai Castle. If you are a nature love, this way is more pleasant way to walk and it is possible to capture beautiful pictures of the castle from different angles.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

Trakai Island Castle

Trakai is an important tourist center of Lithuania, and its main attraction is Trakai Castle. Trakai Castle is an island castle, set on an island in the middle of Galve Lake. The area where Trakai Castle located belongs to the Trakai National Park, established in 1992. Trakai National Park, one of the 5 national parks of Lithuania, will enrich your eyes and heart with its nature and wonderful views of the lakes, castle and forests.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

Trakai Island Castle construction was first started in the 14th century by the Duke of Trakai Kestutis, but the building was completed by his son Vytautas. In the 16th century, the castle was set on fire and fell into ruins, remaining abandoned since then. The city rose only in the 20th century, with the reconstruction of Trakai Castle. Currently it is a very peaceful place that has become one of the important symbols of the country.

The castle is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture surrounded by thick towers with defense towers. To enter the castle from Trakai, you need to cross the 100-meter-long wooden bridge built on Galve Lake.

With the entrance fee, you can enter the castle and visit a large history museum in the castle. Inside, it has a large courtyard which is really impressive. You will see various torture devices that were used in the courtyard in the Middle Ages.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

While walking around the museum, you will see different rooms. Each room of the castle was evaluated in different ways. There are also artifacts found during the excavations made after the 1900s.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

In the summer, festivals and concerts are held in the courtyard of the castle. Medieval festival in Trakai Island Castle is held every year during July. This festival is organized by the Trakai Historical Museum that aims at reconstructing the medieval town as it was with traditional crafts, people in period costumes and a number of games. Naturally, medieval music and dancing are also part of the festival.

What to do in Trakai

The most famous attraction in Trakai is certainly the Island Castle, which, besides being wonderful, still has a lot of value for the people of Lithuania because of its past. But, in addition to the castle, there is much more to visit and fall in love with.

You can go to the more open areas on the lake by boat or canoe. The boat tour on the lake is an economical way for discovering Trakai.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

Another option for exploring the area is renting a kayak to paddle on some of the most picturesque lakes of Lithuania. The route takes you on 3 interconnected lakes. The distance is about 11 km which makes 2,5 - 3 hours of active paddling. You can picnic on one of the small islets, and walk through the park of Uzutrakis Manor.

You can also rent a yacht for a private tour of 45 minutes at 30-50 Euro. However, the prices may vary depending on the season.

There are many people come here for picnicking, swimming and playing water sports.

Food in Trakai

Trakai is famous for the traditional pastries dish, Kibinai (kybyns). You should definitely taste this pastry or even take a Trakai Kybyns Cooking Lesson where you will learn how to cook the traditional Karaites' meal of kybyns with the professional chef.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

In addition, there are also classic meals and sea tourism dishes in the area.

Shopping in Trakai

If you want to buy souvenirs, especially some from a wide variety of handmade Lithuanian souvenirs from amber, they are sold in abundance at the entrance of the castle and by the lake. You can buy them from many boutique shops and small stands targeting the lower budget.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

Trakai Tour

Trakai Castle and Paneriai Memorial Tour is one of the most popular tours from Vilnius where you can step back in time and visit the Paneriai Memorial Park and Trakai Castle on a day trip. This tour brings you to visit the poignant war memorial at Paneriai Memorial Park, learn more about the Grand Dukes of Lithuania at Trakai Castle and taste the typical foods of the Karaites.

How to get to Trakai

From Vilnius, there are 3 ways for getting to Trakai other taking a tour:

By bus

There are plenty of buses from Vilnius to Trakai and it takes about 30-40 minutes to reach it. There are minibuses and buses for you to choose. Buses depart from Vilnius Bus Terminal's platforms 6, 7, 8 and 28, 29 every 20-30 minutes.

Trakai Castle in Lithuania: Day Trip from Vilnius

By Train

From Vilnius Train Station, you can get on the train going to Trakai. Trains are less frequent and depart every 50 minutes - 2 hours. The trip by train takes about 50 minutes - 1 hour and you get off at the small Trakai Train Station.

Private Car

If you want to come here by car, you can reach Trakai from Vilnius in 30 minutes by the A16 motorway.

Getting around Trakai

Trakai can be easily explored by foot. The distance from the bus station to the Trakai Island Castle is about 2 km. However, there are many other attractions and beautiful scenery on the way.

If you don't want to walk, you can take a local bus from the station or hire a taxi that are normally available nearby the station.

You can also take a mini train that drops you right in front of the castle.

Where to stay in Trakai

Trakai have many accommodations as it is also a lake resort town popular with locals. If you will decide to stay in Trakai, try to stay at the hotel close to the Trakai Island Castle. Most of them have a rooms and terrace with breathtaking views of the Trakai Island Castle and the lake.

Where to stay in Trakai

Some of the best rated accommodations in the area:

Apvalaus stalo klubas: 4-star boutique hotel featuring French interior design, situated on the shore of Lake Galve. Some rooms have a view of the castle.

Panorama: The guest house situated on the highest hill of Trakai, 160 m from the Lake Galve. Some rooms have a castle view.

Trakai is not far from Vilnius, so you can base there and take a day trip to visit Trakai Castle and its surrounding. If you are looking for the best hotel to stay in Vilnius, make sure to explore the best areas to stay in Lithuanian capital.


If you don't like touristy places, avoid visiting the castle on weekends as it is very crowded with local tourists, especially in the summer.

Lithuania should feature on everyone's travel bucket list, as there plenty of good reasons to visit Lithuania.

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