Trakai is a beautiful historic city located 17 miles (28 kilometres) from Vilnius in Lithuania. The town dates back to 1337, though there were settlements in the area before that. There are 200 lakes in the region with 21 islands. In Lake Galve a castle was built on one of the islands, Trakai Island Castle. Construction started in the 14th century and was mostly completed by 1409. During the wars in the 17th century, the castle was damaged and eventually fell into disrepair, it was then reconstructed and mostly finished in 1961.
As is usual when I go visit a place, the bridge linking the castle to another island to get to the mainland was being rebuilt, so it didn’t quite look like it does in the pictures I had seen!! Though I did manage to get this shot through the fence!!
We set off from Vilnius bus station, it takes about 45 minutes, I went in the low season but there were still a few buses an hour. During high season the buses are a lot more frequent. We arrived in Trakai bus station and followed the sign pointing to the tourist information. It’s about a 1.5km – 2km walk and you can see the castle from the tourist information office. There we got a map of the area showing the various footpaths and bike paths. When we first arrived it was very cloudy so we had a quick walk around the castle before deciding to have a walk around the lake.
Walking along the shoreline was great, the views of the lake are amazing, we crossed a few bridges and got to the abandoned buildings we had seen from the castle, what a great view it was from there and the sun had started to come out.
We had heard that the lake is a great place to swim and had brought our costumes but unfortunately the day we were there the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees from the day before!!
Once we got back to the other side, we chilled for a bit while a few people in the group ate their packed lunch. I wasn’t that organised and needed to buy lunch, so we then headed back up to the main area where all the restaurants were and had lunch outside at one of the restaurants serving local food. I tried the Cepelinai, which is a potato dumpling filled with meat, covered in a sauce. I also tried a kibinas which is a pasty filled with meat, very much like a pasty we would get in the UK!!
It was then back over to the castle, where we had a slow walk around it, before a little sunbathe on one of the piers!! You can go inside the castle it costs 6 euro but we opted not to. There are also options of boat tours around the lake which were 30 euro.
After that we walked the 2km back to the bus station, looking at the beautiful houses in the area and waited for the bus back to Vilnius.
We spent a day in Trakai but if you got there early you could easily do everything in half a day. It’s a beautiful place and if you visit Vilnius then you shouldn’t miss it.
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