If you are planning to visit the Baltic Countries, you must not skip Vilnius. This middle sized city close to the Belarusian border has a lot to offer. Its wonderful Old Town is full of baroque pearls, but Vilnius boasts some exquisite Gothic and Neoclassical heritage too. You can spend days exploring its cobbled streets and entering museums and churches. Additionally, the city is full of great coffee houses, perfect for people watching. Luckily there is even more. Amongst the several interesting day trips from Vilnius, we chose to go to Trakai and the Park of Europe (Europos Parkas), both fantastic places.
The little town of Trakai is well known for its impressive medieval castle, but also for the beautiful Trakai National Park that surrounds it. Trains and buses to Trakai depart from Vilnius Central Station and take some 40 minutes. From Trakai bus/train station you have to walk for almost half an hour to reach the Trakai Island Castle. Though you could take a local bus there, the road is so nice, dotted with cool wooden houses and lakes on both sides, walking is a must.
The Castle is arguably Lithuania’s most recognizable landmark so the place was overcrowded with tourists. No wonder, it’s really superb. After spending some time exploring this majestic building, we took a boat trip around the Galvé Lake. This is the perfect way to enjoy views of the castle and several manor houses.
Since we were lucky enough to have an extra day, we decided to visit a completely off the beaten track destination: Europos Parkas. It was a bit tricky getting there. The bus leaves from a tucked away corner in the middle of a socialist style neighborhood. No worries, Lithuanians are so nice that all you have to do is ask and they will gladly help you.
Europos Parkas is an enormous lush forest. The trees are huge and the air is so fresh you can walk for ages. That’s not all; it is an open air museum showcasing 90 artworks from 27 countries. To us, it is the best of both worlds: a natural forest with outstanding art. Additionally, supposedly the Park is Europe’s geographical Center. We loved the place!