April 20, 2024

10 Castles in Slovakia Worth Visiting

Fairytale castles feature abundantly in Slovakia. Many ancient castles, once the home of kings, queens, lords, and ladies, have survived centuries of mayhem and bloodshed. Today, these medieval fortresses are must-visit attractions in Slovakia. You might even recognise some from major movies such as Dragonheart and The Lion in Winter.

Read on for a guide to 10 castles in Slovakia that are well worth a visit.

Bojnice Castle

Beautiful Bojnice Castle dates back to the 12th century. It’s one of the most popular castles in Slovakia, and if you could picture a romantic, fairytale castle, Bojnice Castle is what it would look like. The original gothic and Romanesque elements were constructed in the 12th century, but the romantic turrets were built in the 17th century. Today, Bojnice Castle looks more like a French chateau than an ancient castle. The interiors contain furniture from the 19th century and there is a lovely 14th-century Florentine altar, a moat, and caves beneath the castle.

Bojnice Castle is a short drive from the town of Bojnice. Daytime tours are available, or you can book a night tour for extra spookiness.

Spiš Castle

The current incarnation of Spiš Castle dates back to the 13th century, but the previous structure was built in the 12th century, before collapsing. Many noble families occupied the castle fortress over the centuries, adding their influences, and slowly the castle was transformed into a palace. A fire nearly destroyed Spiš Castle in 1780, but restoration work began in the 1970s and today, the castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visitors can tour the castle and explore the bedrooms, armoury, chapel, torture room, and more. You can reach the castle by hiking up from the village. There is also a free car park a 10-minute walk from the entrance.

Orava Castle

castles in Slovakia

If Orava Castle looks familiar, you are probably a fan of classic horror movie, Nosferatu. The castle looms over the Orava River, with original parts dating back to the 1200s. Over the years, new buildings were added in different styles, but it was largely destroyed by a huge fire in 1800. Reconstruction work took place after the second world war and the castle was designated a cultural monument in 1953.

You can tour the castle with a guide. There are history and architecture exhibits, furnished rooms, and tours last just under two hours. Be aware that there are a lot of steps on the tour. Because of this, it’s not suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, or people with mobility problems.

Orava Castle is a short walk from public transport stops; there are also paid car parks nearby.

Trencin Castle

Trencin Castle isn’t far from Bratislava. It lies in a dramatic spot above the Vah River and was once the home of an important nobleman called Matus Cak. The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 1200s. The castle and town of Trencin were damaged by a fire in the late 1700s.

Today, Trencin Castle belongs to the city and its presence dominates the town it looms over as well as the local region. There is much to see on guided tours of the castle, including the main palaces and Matúšova veža tower. There is also a dungeon and castle well, where you will learn the tale of Omar and Fatima, which thankfully has a happy ending!

The castle’s entrance is a 15-minute walk from the town centre.

Devin Castle

Devin Castle overlooks the Danube River, on the border between Slovakia and Austria. It has been a strategically important spot since Roman times. The upper part of the castle dates back to the 1200s, with the rest added on over the centuries. Much of the original castle was destroyed by Napoleon, but some parts, including the Maiden Tower, remain. Before the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, the castle was heavily guarded to prevent people from defecting to the West. However, today it is a tourist attraction and part of the Bratislava Museum.

Not all parts of the castle are open to visitors, but there is an interesting permanent exhibition detailing the castle’s history and archeological finds. There are also stunning panoramic views to be had if you are willing to walk up an endless flight of stairs through the central part of the castle.

Devin Castle is very accessible from the centre of Bratislava by car, bike, bus, or even boat. There is a large car park just below the castle.

Bratislava Castle

Take a trip to the capital of Slovakia and you can’t miss Bratislava Castle. It is a huge building occupying a strategic spot on the Danube Rover, above the Old Town. While the modern castle is very impressive, there has been a castle of sorts on the site for centuries, with the history books recording the presence of a hill fort built by Celts and Romans. The original castle played a crucial role during the Austrian and Hungarian Empire but was destroyed by fire in the 1800s. The current structure was built in the 1960s and is now a national cultural monument.

There are tours available of the Historical Museum, which is located inside Bratislava Castle. The cost of the tour is included in the entrance fee. Visitors can explore other parts of the castle without a guide.

Tematin Castle

Tematin Castle is a ruined fortress in the mountains east of Lúka and Hrádok. The original castle has a long and interesting history but was sadly sacked by Habsburg forces in the 16th century and there isn’t much left today. However, if you are willing to hike up the mountain to the castle ruins, you will be rewarded with some scenic views. Follow the blue signs from the resort at the base of the mountain to see one of the most scenic castles in Slovakia.

Fil’Akovo Castle

Fil’akovo Castle and the town of the same name are near the Hungarian border. Like Tematin Castle, Fil’akovo Castle is in ruins following a fire in the 1600s. Nevertheless, it has an interesting history, having been made an administrative seat during the Ottoman Empire. There is an exhibit in Bebek’s Tower, which is still standing. This details the castle’s history from the various Ottoman and Hungarian occupations. There are tours available, but these are in Slovak and Hungarian.

You can reach Fil’akovo Castle on foot from the centre of Fil’akovo.

Čachtice Castle

Historical castle Cachtice Slovakia seat sanguinary Elizabeth Erzsebet Bathory. Mysterious castle in the Carpathians. Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed. Main tower at Cachtice Castle, Slovakia.

Čachtice Castle is worth a mention for being the home of Elisabeth Bathory, “Countess Dracula”, also known as the Blood Countess. The castle was the scene of gruesome crimes in the 17th century. The noblewoman mistress of Čachtice Castle reportedly had a predilection for bathing in the blood of young virgins. Unfortunately, her habits involved torture and murder on a grand scale. By all accounts, Elisabeth Bathory was a sadistic serial killer who allegedly dispatched more than 600 young women. Servants who finally testified against Elisabeth Bathory when justice finally caught up with her said they had witnessed all manner of atrocities. Bathory was not put on trial for her crimes, but she was imprisoned in a room inside the castle, where she later died.

Thanks to its lurid history, Čachtice Castle was featured on the TV show ‘the Scariest Places on Earth’. Visitors today can hike up to the ruined castle and tour Bathory’s living quarters. They can also enjoy panoramic views of the town and the Carpathian Mountains.

Strečno Castle

Medieval Strečno Castle in northern Slovakia offers impressive views of the River Váh valley. The castle was destroyed in the 1600s but the ruins are open to the public from April to November. The castle entrance is a short hike from the car park and a narrated tour is available.

There are many more castles in Slovakia to explore, so check your local guidebook and see which ones are within easy travelling distance.

Related Articles

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles