Trakai is a beautiful little village just outside of Vilnius, Lithuania. It’s one of the most charming places I’ve been to in Eastern Europe. The village itself is small and peaceful. Trakai Castle in many ways reminds me of a little village of Lego Robotics I build when I was a child. It’s that surreal.
It’s quite easy to take a day, or even just a short afternoon trip to from Vilnius. It takes roughly a hour, and the bus costs just a couple of Euros to ride. You can see the short distance between Trakai and Vilnius in this map:
Let’s start our tour here at Eastern European Travel, shall we? To get to the city of Trakai, simply go to the Vilnius bus station and get on the bus that has the sign in it’s window saying “Trakai”. As far as I remember, there is NOT an actual bus number. You can always just ask someone if it comes to it, the English in Lithuania is excellent.
It’s a couple bucks and takes you about an hour to get there from Vilnius.
The bus station in Trakai is actually quite far from the village and castle itself. It’s well over a mile if you want to make the walk, otherwise there are some smaller buses you can hop on. Uber and a taxi are always an option, but they’re certainly not as available as they are in Vilnius itself.
Here’s a picture of the walk on the way to the town itself:
As you can see, it’s actually a very pleasant walk and well worth doing, at least one way. However, after a long day of walking around the town and castle, I’d totally understand if you didn’t want to make the trek all the way back to the bus station, too.
The village itself is full of excellent restaurants, shops, and other places to explore. In fact, I highly recommend you get some Cepelinai (Lithuanian dumplings) while you’re out there. They’re delicious.
Here are some photos from around the village itself.
First up, the “boardwalk” where you can rent paddle boats, shop for souvenirs, and more:
The waterfront patio:
A dog hoping to take a boat ride:
A shot of the water from the shore:
This castle has been knocked down, put back together, and overall has a ton of interesting history. If you’re short on time, you can walk around the outside enjoy it. However, if time permits–take the tour inside. I regretfully didn’t have time on this trip but am looking forward to going back and exploring a little bit deeper into it’s secrets.
Here’s some castle photos for your enjoyment:
Lithuania as a whole is a very interesting country. It’s very much Eastern European in many ways, but has some Western amenities. It’s certainly not as “ruthless” of a country like Ukraine; I mean that they are far more accepting of foreigners. With that being said, it is a small place. Vilnius can easily be done from a tourism perspective in a day or two. If you wanted to live, party, or immerse yourself into Lithuania, you could.
However, from a short trip perspective you’ll run out of things to do quickly. On top of it, Trakai is realistically the only other city you can do in a one day trip. Kaunas is close enough that you probably could (an hour or two by train each way), but it’s also quite small in nature.
In conclusion, Trakai is absolutely worth a visit if you’re in Lithuania. I promise you that you won’t regret it.
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