The old town of Trakai – which is extremely popular with the residents of Lithuania and foreign guests – is situated west of Vilnius between the hills, forests and lakes. The shores of the peninsula on which it is located are washed by the waters of Lakes Galvė, Totoriškių and Bernardinų (Lukos). This town, famous for its picturesque landscape and the legendary Trakai Castle, was a cradle of the Lithuanian statehood, an important military and political centre, headquarters of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes, and the capital of Lithuania. Today, Trakai attracts visitors to a wonderful place offering refuge from a hectic city life, with walks around the beautiful area or yacht trips on one of the numerous lakes.
Trakai is also known for the Karaimes (a people speaking the Turkic language), who have lived there since the 14th century and have preserved their traditions. The kenesa – a Karaime sanctuary – and houses of Karaimes have survived in Trakai, and the national dishes (the most popular is kybyn – a small pasty stuffed with minced meat) of this ethnic group can be tasted at the Karaime Restaurant.
Those who want to admire the scenery of the environs are recommended to take a walking tour along the cognitive paths of Aukštadvaris and Varnikai Botanical Zoological Reserve (the length of the route is 10.1 km)(GPS N 54° 38.866’ E 24° 57.927’) (N 54.647766º E 24.965454º).
By car: Trakai is 27 km from Vilnius. Go along Savanorių Avenue, further follow the signs, A16 motorway.
By bus: from Vilnius Bus Station (Sodų St. 22, tel. 1661), platforms No. 6, 7, 8 (local), 28 and 29 (intercity, via Alytus). Buses to Trakai run approximately 50 times per day (at weekends about 40 times), at intervals of about 10–20 minutes, www.autobusustotis.lt
By train: from the Railway Station (Geležinkelio St. 16, tel. +370 5 233 0088), www.litrail.lt