A Day Trip to Trakai, Lithuania
Day 8: Jess is a Wanderer visits Eastern Europe's only Castle on an Island
Where is Trakai?
The easiest and quickest way to get to Trakai is to take a bus from Vilnius bus station. The journey will cost €2 each way and takes around forty minutes. Buses run to and from Vilnius and Trakai practically every hour. It's a popular spot for visitors and locals alike. Once you get off the bus, it's around a 2km walk to the lakeside where the castle can be viewed.
What is Trakai Castle?
Trakai Castle is Eastern Europe's only castle that was built on an island. Today, it is accessible from a wooden footbridge which connects the mainland to the island. You can get right to the courtyard of the castle before anyone asks you for the €7 entrance fee. It's an extra €1.50 if you wish to take photographs or videos. Guides can be hired from inside the castle for a set price.
During the summer months, there are often characters dressed up doing performances and traditional music being played. There are plenty of ways to see the castle - by flight, pedalo, yacht or boat. Prices range according to the method of transport you choose. We opted for a pedalo. It was €6 for an hour but we managed to barter to €5. So proud of ourselves.
What to do?
After admiring the view and walking around the perimeter of the castle, head back across to the mainland and hire a pedalo. It's a good way to spend an hour and cheap too. After that, choose one of the very reasonably priced restaurants and sample some traditional Lithuanian food. We had a beef stew and some kiribinai su kiauliena ir süriu - basically a meat and cheese pasty! It was most delicious too.
Following a good feed, a walk along the lakeside is definitely in order. We approached a chap with a boat and asked if we could sit on his jetty in the sunshine just watching the world go by. He was more than obliging and it was so peaceful that we could easily have fallen asleep. Plenty of places are selling ice-cream. If I had more of a budget I would have tried different home-made flavours from each of the little stalls as they all looked delicious.
Visiting Trakai Castle is a super cheap day out with some lovely views and a good chance to escape the city and get some fresh air. Highly recommended indeed.