Trakai Castle, or locally known as Traku Pilis, is maybe the most famous Lithuania landmark.
Located about an hour from Vilnius, the country’s capital, it´s the most popular day trip you can take from Vilnius.
Visiting this attraction is a fun and easy excursion and one that you should not leave out of your Lithuania itinerary.
Trakai is a charming town in southeastern Lithuania. Many travelers visit the town to view the Trakai Castle, a 14th-century fortress located on an island in the middle of Lake Galve.
This castle is historically significant as it was once home to the dukes of Lithuania.
Today, the castle houses the Trakai History Museum and its many interesting artifacts.
Trakai is also a lovely town with beautiful traditional homes and spectacular scenery.
A trip to Trakai is one of the most popular trips from Vilnius as there is plenty to see and do. To ensure you get the most out of your visit, we have put together a guide highlighting everything you need to know.
Psst… While you’re in Vilnius, be sure to take a trip to the Uzupis neighborhood – one of the capital’s most unique attractions.
Trakai, Lithuania – All you Need to Know
Trakai is a scenic town in Lithuania. Surrounded by lakes, this popular tourist destination has it all: beautiful scenery, stunning architecture, and quite an interesting story to tell.
With so much to offer, a trip to Trakai from Vilnius is a must for anyone visiting the capital city.
Where Is Trakai?
Trakai is a historic city and lake resort in northeastern Europe’s Lithuania. The city lies 28 kilometers (17 miles) west of the country’s capital, Vilnius.
Due to its proximity to Vilnius, Trakai has become a popular tourist destination. The region is home to 200 lakes, the deepest of which is Gatve. In the middle of this lake lies Trakai Island Castle.
Best Time to Visit Trakai
Trakai can be visited all year long.
However, Lithuania is known for having short summers and freezing winters.
An ideal time to visit is when the weather is pleasant enough to explore the town and enjoy the lake.
Late spring through summer is generally the best time to visit Lithuania.
This is any time between May and September. In spring, temperatures range between 1ºC and 18ºC (34ºF and 64ºF). Summers are considerably warmer, with temperatures ranging between 11ºC and 23ºC (52ºF and 73ºF).
Regardless of when you visit the Lithuanian capital, it is best to pack in an umbrella and rain jacket.
During my visit in mid-July, I had sun and heavy rain during a couple of hours.
Getting From Vilnius to Trakai Island
Getting to Trakai is easy as it is well connected by public transport to the rest of Lithuania. Transport options to the town include traveling by bus, car, or booking a private tour.
The journey from Vilnius to Trakai is your easiest option as it leaves more frequently and drops you closer to your destination.
The drive is around 30 minutes long, taking you to Trakai town and just 20 minutes by foot from the Lithuanian castle. The bus fare is also cheap, costing around 2 euros.
You can pay on board, so there is no need to worry about booking tickets in advance. Just be sure to check the Vilnius bus schedule.
If you would prefer more freedom to your day’s activities, it is also possible to travel from the capital to Trakai by car. To do so, you can simply rent a car in Vilnius, and you’re good to go.
While the comfort and freedom of traveling by car are great, it is worth noting that finding parking at the destination can be quite a challenge.
One of the best and simplest ways to experience Trakai is via a private tour. This provides you with the comforts of traveling by car as you can travel in your group in an airconditioned minibus to the destination.
We recommend this Trakai half-day tour as it ensures a comfortable and seamless journey. You’ll also be able to explore the area together with an English-speaking guide.
Top Things To Do In Trakai
Trakai Island Castle Tour
A day trip to Trakai Castle is a popular excursion amongst travelers visiting Vilnius. On a tour of the island, you will learn about the development of the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
You will also get to see the stunning castle and various monuments of the old town. Whether you’re taking the tour on your own or under a guide, there is plenty to see and do.
Below are several attractions that you will encounter during your visit.
The Trakai Island Castle is not only the most famous castle in Trakai but in all of Lithuania. This Vilnius castle is also the main reason why travelers visit the historic town.
Trakai Island Castle was constructed in the 14th century under two successive Grand Dukes. Many of the Grand Dukes preferred staying here instead of Vilnius.
As such, Trakai was one of the most important cities in Lithuania and prospered economically until its fall in the 17th century.
When viewing the castle, you will notice the variety of stones and bricks built into this structure. This is because the castle underwent a number of renovations during its existence, both small and large.
Some architectural influences seen throughout the structure include Gothic-Romanesque and Renaissance styles.
Following World War II, the castle was reconstructed and is now a major landmark in Lithuania.
For a deeper look into the Trakai Castle’s rich history, we highly recommend partaking in a guided or self-guided Trakai tour.
Explore the Old Town
Trakai is also home to a beautiful town that sits on a narrow stretch of land between several lakes. As you make your way to the castle, take your time and admire the pretty streets lined with colorful wooden houses.
This wonderful variety of architecture is due to the many different national and religious communities that reside here, all living harmoniously.
Those visiting Trokai are invited to familiarise themselves with how peacefully the Catholic, Orthodox, Karaite, and Tatar traditions coexist.
In the Old Town, you will also find a number of charming restaurants and cafés. Grabbing a meal here is great as the town remains peaceful, away from the large day-tripper crowds.
Amongst the pretty houses, you will also find a number of other attractions and landmarks, including the Trakai History Museum, Trakai Orthodox Church, and more.
Trakai History Museum
The Trakai History Museum is situated in the halls of the Trakai Island Castle and Peninsula Castle. It is one of Lithuania’s most-visited museums as it tells the story of the castles, the town, and its country’s former rulers.
In the museum, you will find many authentic artifacts, weapons, furniture, porcelain, and more.
Take a Boat Trip on the Lake Galve, Go swimming or SUP
If the weather is nice, we recommend you take a boating trip around lake Galve before leaving Trakai.
There are plenty of boats along the way from the shore to the castle.
These tours generally cost around 5 euros and include a 30-minute long ride around the island’s perimeter. Oftentimes, you will receive an audio guide as well.
Alternatively, you can rent a kayak or canoe and explore the island’s surroundings at your own pace. This is a wonderful experience as the water is calm, and the scenery is truly magical.
You can either rent a small sailboat if you prefer to sail on your own, or you can hire one with a captain.
Lake Galve is a popular leisure destination for the people in Vilnius. It offers some of the closest beaches to Vilnius, so it often gets crowded around here during the warmer months when the locals come here to cool down and swim in the lake, but not everyone visits Lake Galve for swimming.
Getting around the lake on a SUP, standing up paddleboard is also a popular activity around the lake on sunny days.
Take a hot air ballon ride
Like in most places of Lithuania, so are hot air balloon ride, a popular activity and the best way to get an overview of Lake Galve and the castle with the surrounding parks and nature.
The shores of a peninsula between Lake Galvė and Lake Skaistis is Užutrakis Manor, a national treasure and the best best-preserved mansions in all of Lithuania.
Užutrakis Manor was one of many palaces around the Baltics, which belonged to the powerful and wealthy Tyszkiewicz family.
Today the Mansion is restored to its former glory and reopened in 2010 to the republic after it was abandoned and left to itself in the second half of the 20th century. Now the impressive building it´s a museum which is well worth a visit, entrance fee 3 Euro.
Around the Manor is a park, which was created in the late 19th century by the Frenchman Édouard François André, one of the most respected landscape architects of that time.
There are now over 100 parks around the world that were built according to his design.
The park around Užutrakis Manor is worth a walk. It´s full of small man-made ponds and sculptures; just be aware that there are also a billion mosquitoes and flies around the park.
Where to Stay When Visiting Trakai, Lithuania
There are plenty of accommodation options in Lithuania’s capital city. These range from cheaper hotels and guesthouses to luxurious hotels and resorts.
While there are endless options to choose from in Vilnius, Trakai also has several unique options. To ensure you have a comfortable stay, we have listed some of the best accommodations in Vilnius and Trakai below.
But foreign visitors stay in Vilnius and do a daytrip here instead of staying here.
Apvalaus Stalo Klubas
Apvalaus Stalo Klubas is a four-star boutique hotel in Trakai. It is ideally situated on the shore of Lake Galve, 500 meters (1640 feet) from the 14th century Trakai Castle.
This secluded spot offers plenty, from its stunning rooms to the wide selection of activities on offer. Guests can take full advantage of the location by exploring the scenic surroundings and enjoying the lake.
The Tony Resort is a unique accommodation in Anupriškes. It sits right on the shores of Lake Gilušis, surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery.
The resort has its own private beach and offers an array of activities, including horse riding, fishing, watersports, and more. The Tony Resort is located 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) from Trakai.
This is a great option for couples seeking a quiet spot away from the bustling cities.
Downtown Forest Hostel & Camping
If you would prefer to stay in Vilnius, a favorite amongst many visitors is Downtown Forest Hotel & Camping. This cozy accommodation sits at the foot of a hill in the heart of Lithuania’s capital.
Here you find a variety of rooms, as well as charming bungalows surrounded by trees. Many travelers also love this spot because it is ideally located just a 10-minute walk from the Old Town.
Start Planning Your Traku Pilis Trip
Trakai is a stunning destination and one you do not want to miss out on when visiting beautiful Lithuania.
If you’re staying in the capital of Vilnius, the Trakai Castle is a fun and easy half-day trip.
During your visit, you can expect plenty of surprises. From the various historic landmarks like the castle and museum to the breathtaking views, this island is most certainly worth the visit.