How to Spend 1 Day in Trakai
Just a 30-minute drive from Vilnius, Trakai makes a popular escape from the city, and there’s plenty to see and do on a day trip. One day gives you time to visit the island castle of Trakai, enjoy outdoor activities in the UNESCO-listed national park, and explore the historic Old Town. Here’s how.
Morning: Cruise to the Castle
With its fairy-tale turrets and redbrick facade rising up over the glittering Lake Galvė, the island castle of Trakai is one of Lithuania’s most photogenic landmarks. A visit to Trakai isn’t complete without a tour of its star attraction, so make an early start and beat the crowds—it’s worth booking your tickets in advance to save time. For water views, opt for a cruise around the island to admire the castle. Afterwards, head ashore to visit Trakai Castle Museum and learn more about the castle’s history, the Battle of Grunwald, and former residents such as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Vytautas the Great.
Afternoon: Explore Trakai Old Town
On the mainland opposite the castle, Trakai’s Old Town is also part of the Trakai Historical National Park and has Karaite history to tell. A walking tour is the easiest way to get around, taking in sites such as the Karaite Ethnographic Museum, the 15th-century Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the ruins of the Peninsula Castle. Be sure to sample some traditional Karaite cuisine while you’re in town. There are a number of restaurants that serve specialties such as kibinai (stuffed savory pastries). For a more immersive experience, join a cooking class or Lithuanian bread-making class.
Night: Karaite Cuisine and Sunset Views
Trakai Castle appears even more magical at sunset. Take a stroll along the lakeside to find the perfect viewpoint, rent a paddleboat on the lake, or for a bird's-eye view, opt for a romantic hot air balloon flight over the lake.
Stick around until dark to admire the castle illuminated against the night sky. Adventurous travelers even join a night kayaking tour, including a moonlit paddle around the lake and a BBQ campfire dinner by the lakeside.