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Address

Trakų salos pilis, Trakai, Lithuania

GPS: 54.652887321782, 24.934376816006

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Looking for an online travel guide to visiting Trakai Castle? We’ve brought everything you need to know onto one page. Here you’ll find stunning photos, an exhilarating video, up-to-date information and the best travel tips. Browse a selection of Trakai Castle’s travel facts below or scroll further to explore everything ootravels.com has on offer to inform your visit.

Surrounded by water, Trakai Castle enjoys a divine location on one of the 20 small islands in Lake Galvė. This medieval fortress is part of the Trakai National Historical Park, the only one of its kind in Europe. Established in 1991, this 80 km² protected area aims to preserve the historical sites and natural heritage of this beautiful Lithuanian region.

Trakai Castle was conceived between the 14th and 15th centuries, when the city of Trakai briefly became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The first building, of which nothing remains today, was built by Gediminas, King of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, after the transfer of his capital from Kernave to Trakai. Later, Grand Duke Kestutis, followed by his son Vytautas the Great, built a Gothic fortified complex similar to Malbork Castle in Poland. After the famous Battle of Grunwald (or First Battle of Tannenberg) in 1410, the purpose of the Trakai site as a defensive castle accelerated in response to the growing but futile threat of the Knights of the Teutonic Order. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania joined forces with the Kingdom of Poland to form the Republic of the Two Nations (1569-1795). This political union enabled Trakai Castle to resist the expansionist wishes of Muscovy (Great-Principality of Moscow) for a time until the formation of the Russian Empire.

Thanks to its location in the middle of Lake Galvė, this castle was also used as a summer residence and reception place for prestigious guests (ambassadors, diplomats, noblemen, merchants, etc.). Occupied by the Russian Empire from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century and then by German troops during the First World War, it was completely restored in the middle of the 20th century. Today, Trakai remains the only island castle in the whole of Eastern Europe and one of the favourite destinations of Lithuanians, who regularly come to visit it as a couple or with their families. A visit to the museum, with exhibitions on Trakai Castle and Medininkai Castle (based in the south-east of Vilnius), is an opportunity to learn more about the history of the country.

Now that you’ve read our selection of Trakai Castle’s travel facts, check out our ‘Useful Info’ section below for travel tips or browse through our local travel advice about where to eat, where to go and where to stay. If you’ve finished with this online travel guide to visiting Trakai Castle, check out our other destinations and travel deals.

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  • The defensive architecture of the castle surrounded by large bodies of water
  • The thick walls and high red brick towers of the castle; the vaulted interior rooms
  • The Trakai History Museum; collections of ancient artefacts, manuscripts, furniture, arts and crafts
  • Archaeological exhibition on the castle site and ethnographic exhibition on the Karaites community
  • The 15th-century church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the 19th-century Orthodox church
  • Lake Galvė and its twenty islands; the picturesque setting in summer and winter
  • Water activities (swimming, fishing, water skiing, windsurfing, boat, pedal boat and pleasure boat rental)
  • Walking, cycling and horse riding around the various lakes or through the large green areas
  • Classical music festivals, opera and ballet performances, traditional and old crafts’ days, concerts, medieval festivals and knights’ tournaments in the high season (the weekend in mid-June marks the start of the festivities)
  • The Christian religious order of the Knights of the Teutonic Order, founded in the 12th century, quickly developed into a military order. It led numerous crusades against pagan peoples (Lithuania was the last country in Europe to convert to Christianity). At its peak at the end of the 14th century, the Teutonic Order had a vast territory worthy of an empire. The stinging defeat at the Battle of Grunwald in the early 15th century against the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania marked the decline of the order. The order still exists today as a clerical religious institute of pontifical right. In contrast, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became one of the most powerful states in Europe before it became part of the Russian Empire. At its peak in the 15th century, its territory stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, covering almost one million square kilometres (compared to 65,303 square kilometres in present-day Lithuania). At that time, its population was made up of people with very different religions and customs. Its grand dukes and kings could convert to Catholicism or Orthodoxy.
  • The lake town of Trakai has many communities, including the Karaites. This small Turkish ethnic group came from the Crimea in the early 15th century at the request of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Vytautas the Great, to help with his personal protection (as guards and servants). They later became farmers, craftsmen and traders before achieving full autonomy.
  • Trakai Castle can be reached by train or bus from the capital Vilnius, which is only about 30 kilometres away.
  • The best time to visit is from May to September (remember to protect yourself against mosquitoes).
  • In the off-season, the site is closed to visitors on Mondays, but access to the castle grounds is still possible (a footbridge provides easy access).
  • On site, you will be able to taste the kibinai, a tasty hot pastry stuffed with meat and accompanied by chopped onions, a culinary specialty of the Karaites.

Where to eat

  • Pilialaukis
    (varied and economical cuisine)
  • Remus
    (comfortable and delicious)
  • Senoji Kibinine
    (local specialities)

Where to go

  • Paneriai Memorial Museum
    (place of memory)
  • Vilnius Tower
    (best view on the capital)
  • Vichy Vandens Park
    (family water park)

Where to stay

  • Aerodream
    (calm and romantic)
  • Esperanza Resort & SPA
    (luxurious services)
  • Argo
    (relaxing and well-decorated)

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From 732
Duration:
8 nights
Available from:
12 September 2022
Available to:
24 October 2022
Star rating:
3 stars

Enjoy a change of scenery and discover the Baltic states, a little-known, discreet destination that has long remained a secret to the majority of international travellers. Members of the European Union, these three small nations with undeniable tourist potential are just waiting to be discovered on this self-guided 8-day, 8-night tour. Driving a rental car, you will delve into the historical heritage, natural beauty and cultural richness of the capitals of Lithuania (Vilnius), Latvia (Riga) and Estonia (Tallinn).

Your program includes the following places to visit: old medieval towns combining several architectural styles, cobbled streets, ancient buildings, listed historical monuments, fortification systems, churches, monasteries, cathedrals, art museums, fishing villages, sacred places, castles, markets, forests, gardens, farms, windmills, beaches, former Soviet bunker… and not to be missed are the Trakai Castle on an island in Lake Galvė, and the wonderful landscapes of the Curonian Spit, a 98 km stretch of sand-dune separating the Baltic Sea coastline from the Curonian Lagoon.

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