Trakai Castle: the perfect daytrip from Lithuania’s capital

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I’m a sucker for castles, and those surrounded by water have an even greater appeal. So visiting the 14th century castle at Trakai was a must during my stay in Vilnius. Perched on an island in Lake Galvė, the red bricked castle with it’s fairy-tale turrets can be reached by a footbridge from the nearby peninsula. It’s 8€ to go inside the castle, so I preferred to wander the grounds and take in the exterior in the afternoon sun.

While Vilnius is not a bustling city, visiting Trakai still felt like the perfect escape to quiet nature. The bus from Vilnius takes you to the head of the Trakai peninsula- a 2km stretch of land between two lakes. It’s then a half hour walk to the castle, either by the foreshore or through the town center.

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I’d recommend walking along the foreshore on the way to the castle and through the town on the way back. On the western side there are paddle boats for rent and a long footbridge provides a perfect view of the castle and leads to further walking paths.

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Within the town there are some beautiful old buildings like the Trakai St. Virgin Mary Church and appealing cafes, like the chocolate shop AJ Šokoladas which has incredibly well priced delicious chocolates and hot drinks.

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A train or bus from Vilnius to Trakai takes 30 minutes and costs a mere 2€ one way. The bus and train stations are next to each other in the city center. Buses are more numerous and stop a little closer to the castle than the train.