What better place to visit on our very first day in Lithuania, but Trakai Castle? Only 23 kilometers southwest of Vilnius, a perfect day trip.
After our short flight from Germany to Vilnius, we spent some time in the city before heading to the most popular sight in the country, Trakai Castle. I have been more than surprised by all the great cities and castles to visit while we explore as many Eastern European capitals and countries as we can.
The home of the dukes of Lithuania, Trakai castle has been conquered, destroyed, and rebuilt. First erected around 1328 by the Grand Prince Kęstutis, it was well fortified and sprawling for its time. As you walk around the castle grounds, you begin to get a feel how large it was. It was ideally situated in the middle of a number of lakes, but unfortunately plenty of marauders and conquerors were still able to breach its security. It has been governed by people such as the Poles and the Soviets. In fact, it was in the second Soviet occupation that the castle began its renovation around 1929.
This is the inner courtyard of the castle. Today, you can visit many rooms, complete with hordes of coins, armour, full scenes from throughout its history, and even a hologram of a knight/duke who is really the museum’s curator dressed in costume. The main museum is across from the castle and has extensive Lithuanian exhibits.
After traipsing around the castle and grounds, especially on a cold November day, visitors make a beeline for one of the many restaurants run by the Karaim people (or their descendants, supposedly) where they serve a traditional Karaite dumpling called a kibinai. They are stuffed with all sorts of things, the traditional lamb, beef, chicken, cabbage, spinach and cheese, and probably more. We tried four different ones and all of them were yummy. I liked the lamb the best, which I guess makes sense, since it is the original.
Trakai castle is only 23 kilometers southwest of Vilnius, it’s an easy day trip.
There’s so much to see, eat, and do in Lithuania. Check out some of our other articles:
Lithuanian Apple Cake Recipe
Lithuanian Fried Bread
Top 10 Things to Do in Kaunas, Lithuania
Trakai Castle- Worth the Visit
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.
Have you been to Trakai? What did you think of the castle? The lakes? Did you try kibinai?
Pin Trakai Castle!