On our second day in Lithuania, my mum and I chose to get out of the capital for a bit and head out in the country. We had seen pictures of the famous island castle of Trakai and figured that it would be the perfect place to experience another side of Lithuania. We set off early in the morning and spent the day walking along the lake, studying historical buildings and enjoying traditional Lithuanian dishes.

Trakai is a town built on water, surrounded by more than 200 lakes. My mum and I walked along the waterside from the bus station, looking out for the castle, uncertain if we would ever find it by ourselves. It seemed too mystical to be real.

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But there it was, just around the corner. The famous island castle was right there, standing majestically and beautifully isolated in the middle of a large lake. We were surprised to see it so soon, especially seeing as there were almost no other tourists around. Maybe we were just a bit out of season? It was definitely nice to have it all to ourselves. As we got closer to the castle, a few more tourists appeared, but there were nowhere near as many as one could fear.

We crossed the bridge that connects the island to the mainland and walked inside the walls of the giant architecturally significant building. The island castle was constructed in the 14th century and held great strategic importance during this time. Today, the castle is a museum and one of the biggest tourist attractions in all of Lithuania. Luckily for us, the tourist masses were absent on the day that we were there.

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When we got back to the mainland, we were feeling hungry and chose the cozy Home Lunch Café to have our lunch and found ourselves a nice spot in the corner with a view of the castle through the window. I ordered hot chocolate with a sweet honey cake, and my mum had coffee and mushroom soup made with hand-picked mushrooms from a secret place in the forest. The little café oozes of history, charm and atmosphere and it was the perfect place to enjoy the traditional, homemade Lithuanian dishes.

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Trakai is a beautiful pearl in the middle of Lithuania. The small town offers beautiful nature, interesting history and stunning views, making it the perfect day trip from Vilnius! Visit the town during the winter to avoid the tourist masses and don’t forget to stop by a cozy traditional café to finish off the day.

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