If you are visiting Vilnius, Lithuania, we highly recommend taking a short break from the city and visiting Trakai. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Trakai from Vilnius.
Trakai is a luxurious day trip (or half day trip) from Vilnius. It was very easy to get there and it was amazing to see the beautiful Lithuanian countryside.
We didn’t have much time so we spent half a day in Trakai, but it was enough time to admire the area, see the quaint houses, walk around the lake, visit the castle and eat some pasties!
You can spend an entire day here during the summer, as you can go hiking, take a dip in the lake, and explore the many restaurants!
Vilnius prices: cost of a 3-day trip to Lithuania
What is Trakai?
Trakai is a small, historic city located 27 miles outside of Vilnius, next to Lake Galve. Due to its proximity to Vilnius, it is a popular place for tourists to take day trips. Lake Galve is a prominent attraction in Trakai and a popular summer destination for lakeside holidays.
Lake Garb? It has 21 islands and is a wildlife paradise with a huge number of birds. The most famous island is home to Lake Trakai Castle, a stunning Gothic castle with all the atmosphere of a fairy tale!
Trakai is a popular spot during the summer, but it’s equally beautiful in the winter. I visited in November, the first time it snowed in Lithuania. It was very beautiful! The edges of the lake will begin to freeze and within a few weeks the entire lake will be frozen over, creating a magical skating rink!
How to get the train from Vilnius to Trakai
- Please check the timetable here
- Head to Vilnius station
- Buy tickets at the station or online (2.10 euros one way)
- The train takes 40 minutes
- the castle is a beautiful 3km walk away. Or you can take the bus
I decided to take the train from Vilnius to Trakai and it couldn’t have been easier. There are also buses, which are cheap and regular, but I like the simplicity of trains!
Vilnius is a small city, so you can walk to the station. I bought a ticket at the ticket office at the station and it was 1.76 pounds one way. On the way back, the Trakai ticket desk wasn’t open, so I bought a ticket (with a card) on the train.
The train station in Vilnius is large and modern, with toilets, a cafe, and a display showing which platforms the trains depart from.
You can check timetables and buy tickets to Trakai online here.
There is an option to buy a first class ticket, but I don’t think it’s necessary as standard class was fine and the train was very quiet.
The trip took 40 minutes and was a quiet and enjoyable journey. The ticket conductor walks back and forth on the train checking tickets. Trakai is the last stop, so you don’t have to worry about missing the train.
Tours to Trakai
If you don’t feel comfortable using public transport, or if you want a really simple and easy way to visit Trakai, consider joining one of Get Your Guide’s organized tours.
- Audio guided tours of Trakai cost just £21.94
- Half day private tour, £161.50 per couple
- Half day sightseeing tour £48.27
What to do in Trakai
Many people think there’s not much to do in Trakai other than seeing the lake and castle, but there’s actually a lot to see and do historically.
I’m not really interested in museums, but if the weather was nice, I wanted to go hiking and walk up to Angel Hill.
- Visit Trakai Castle
- walk around the lake
- go on a boat trip on the lake
- eat at a traditional restaurant
- Go for a hike (I downloaded this self-guided hike from Airbnb. It was too snowy to actually hike, but this is a great option)
- Admire beautiful buildings
- buy souvenirs
- Eat a traditional paste called Kybyns (try the restaurant or there was a great food truck near the bridge to Castle Island)
- Tour the building of the former Russian Imperial Post Office
- Visit the Hill of Angels (additional time required due to long walking distance)
- paddle on the lake
- Take a cooking lesson from Kaibins
- Visit the Chocolate Sculpture Museum
- Visit the Trakai Orthodox Church
- Visit the Trakai History Museum
Lithuania: a land of surprises
It was a very cold day when we visited Trakai so we didn’t stay too long and the highlights of our visit were the walk around the lake and the visit to Trakai Island Castle.
After getting off the train, he guided us to Trakai Castle using Google Maps. We decided to walk around the edge of the lake and it took about 40 minutes. I didn’t actually need Google Maps as it’s just a single footpath all the way there, but it did help me figure out how far I had to walk and how long it would take.
The trail that goes around the lake was actually blocked off by a construction fence, but since it was snowing and I could see footprints around the fence, I decided to see how far I could go. Fortunately, there were no other obstructions along the trail, and I don’t know why the fence was there. I met a few people on my walk, but everyone on my train took a different route to the castle. I think many people took the bus, but they arrived at the castle in about the same time as me, so if you can walk, I highly recommend it!
Visiting Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle is a highlight of your trip to Trakai. A long wooden bridge connects the castle island to the mainland, and walking along it reveals an imposing entrance.
You can pay to enter the castle, but it’s well worth the small entrance fee.
Current costs are:
From April to September:
- Adult €12
- Students, students and pensioners 6 euros
January to March and October to December:
- Adult €8
- Students, students and pensioners €4
Also worth noting is that there is a toilet inside the castle! This may sway your decision as there were no other public toilets open during the winter! There are several indoor rooms within the castle that you can visit and these are beautiful and warm. If you’re visiting during the winter, this may also influence your decision. It was well worth the money to go inside and use the restroom!
How long should you spend in Trakai?
I’m guessing that many of you reading this are planning to visit Vilnius for a short 2-4 day vacation and don’t have a lot of time to spare.
We recommend setting aside 3/4 of your day to visit Trakai. If you don’t have time, half a day is fine. If you’re visiting during the hot summer months, you might want to spend the whole day there, but in the winter, a whole day might be too long.