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fairy-tale castles in slovakia

Slovakia is a stunning yet still quite unexplored destination among travellers. It offers so much natural beauty in its mountains, national parks, rivers, and rich history with many castles and monuments. Nobody has ever gone out of this country disappointed. And it’s time to explore it even more.

I’m from Slovakia and visited so many castles in the country. So, I’ve picked the best 9 Slovakian castles you should definitely visit one day. Ready to explore Slovakian beauty and rich history? Let’s set off.

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List Of The 9 Best Castles In Slovakia

1. Bojnice Castle
2. Orava Castle
3. Trenčín Castle
4. Strečno Castle
5. Budmerice Castle
6. Devín Castle
7. Halíč Castle
8. Spiš Castle
9. Bratislava Castle

Castles In Slovakia Map

Below is a map of the most beautiful Slovakian Castles. Save it to your phone and use it as a reference when you visit Slovakia:

👉 READ ALSO: Best Of Slovakia Itinerary: 8 Days In Slovakia

1. Bojnice Castle

One of the most beautiful Slovakian castles and the favorite among travelers is Bojnice Castle or Château. It’s located in the charming town of Bojnice, a 2-hour drive from the capital, Bratislava.

The reconstruction of Bojnice Castle, as you can see it nowadays, was inspired by the model of French Medieval Castles, e.g., The Papal Palace of Avignon.

best fairy-tale casltes in Slovakia Bojnice Castle
Bojnice Castle

Brief History Of Bojnice Castle

Initially, it was a Gothic castle during the reign of Matej Korvín. After his death, the castle was occupied longer before Alexej Turzov got it as a present. His reign added new shapes to the castle. They built high towers with a courtyard in the middle and converted it into a Renaissance-style castle.

After the extinction of the Turzov family, the castle was abandoned for a longer time. In the 17th and 18th centuries, its reconstruction stopped. In 1852, Earl Pálfi bought the castle for 200,000 golden coins. He decided to reconstruct the castle in a Romantic style.

Bojnice Castle went to the hands of Czechoslovakia after the death of Pálfi. Nowadays, locals organize many attractions in the castle, including medieval days or sometimes a Halloween party.

Tours Of Bojnice Castle & Admission

CASTLE CIRCUIT – visit Earl’s flat, Pálfi’s tomb, French part, Cave (11 EUR p.p.)
GALLERY CIRCUIT – visit Chapel & Royal Rooms (11 EUR p.p.)
COMPLETE CASTLE TOUR – entire castle (15 EUR p.p.)

2. Orava Castle

Orava Castle counts as one of the top fairy-tale castles in the country; thanks to its beauty and a great program, locals organize for visitors and bring you back to medieval times.

It’s located 3 hours from Bratislava by car. You can also get there by train. You can visit it as a day trip from the capital and add more castles on the way, e.g., Trenčín Castle and Strečno Castle.

best fairy-tale castles in Slovakia Orava Castle
Orava Castle

Brief History Of Orava Castle

Orava Castle, built on a hill over the River Orava, was built in the 1200s after the Tartar invasion. Over the years, its territory gradually extended, and the castle had 154 rooms in total.

It was the headquarters of administrators who controlled the entire Orava region. Turzo’s family got the castle in the 1500s and started rebuilding it, and the castle got one of the nicest shapes it ever had. However, after Turzo died, nobody was interested in taking care of it and in the 1800s, it caught under fire.

Only after the Second World War was the castle reconstructed again to the model you can see today. Nowadays, you’ll explore various styles inside the castle, including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.

Tours Of Oravský Castle & Admission

MAIN TOUR – visit almost all parts, ethnographic and archaeological exhibition
(9 EUR p.p.)
SMALL TOUR – visit lower castle with Treasury, St. Michael Chapel (7 EUR p.p.)
BIG TOUR – visit entire castle (13 EUR p.p.)

👉 READ ALSO: What To See In Slovakia In 3 Days

3. Trenčín Castle

Welcome to Trenčín city, which hosts a castle with one of the most interesting legends in Slovakia (about the Well of Love). It’s situated on the west, only 1 hour and 20 minutes drive from Bratislava.

Not only can you visit the castle here. Trenčín is also known as the city of fashion. It has a nice center with cobblestone streets, local beer bars, delicious cafes, donuts, and local food.

best fairy-tale castles in Slovakia Trenciansky Castle
Trenčín Castle

Brief History Of Trenčín Castle

Trenčín Castle was built in the 11th century and stood on one of the most important trading routes connecting Central Europe with Pobaltic countries and Northern Europe. So, it already had great importance in those times and brought many merchants and visitors to the area.

The most important person from all times associated with the castle was Matuš Čák Trenčiansky, who started extending the castle in the 15th century. His endless love for the castle led him to convert it into an aristocratic residence.

After his death, the castle stagnated until they started reconstructing it in the 1960s. The construction goes on until today.

The Legend About The Well Of Love

The legend also talks about the monarch Štefan Zápoľský, who imprisoned a beautiful lady Fatima in the castle. One day, a Turkish merchant named Omar visited the castle and fell in love with her. She begged him to rescue her from the prison. Omar promised he would dig a deep well and take her out.

He was trying to dig into the hard rock and build the well for over 3 years. Finally, he managed it and took Fatima away.

Nowadays, Trenčín Castle hosts the beautiful well of love. Take a coin, throw it into the well, and wish for something. It’s believed your dream will come true after.

Tours Of Trenčín Castle & Admission

BIG CIRCUIT – visit the entire castle with a guide (11 EUR p.p.)
SMALL SIRCUIT – visit castle’s surroundings without a guide (8 EUR p.p.)

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4. Strečno Castle

Matuš Čák Trenčiansky was a legend. Not only is his name associated with Trenčín Castle. During his reign, he also bought Strečno Castle. It’s located in the western part of Slovakia on a giant rock next to the River Váh, close to Žilina. Let’s see what it has to offer.

Strecno

Brief History Of Strečno Castle

Strečno Castle dates back to the 13th century. The most famous family that owned the castle was the Bošňáková family. The couple had 7 children, out of which a small Žofia is mentioned in several sources. She got married when she was 17.

However, her husband had a serious illness, and Žofia soon became a widow. In her 20s, she got married again to František Velešény and had 2 sons with him.

Žofia was the most beloved person in the castle. Her love and good energy were felt all around. She was always prepared to help and never rejected anyone’s needs. Unfortunately, she died before she reached 35. Her second husband was in tears for so long that the castle slowly started to turn into ruins.

It was then destroyed during the Second World War. Only in 1978 did locals start their reconstruction, and nowadays, you can visit this beautiful castle on the giant rock.

Tours Of Strečno Castle & Admission

COMPLETE CASTLE – visit entire castle with several exhibitions & Žofia’s Chapel
(7 EUR p.p.)

👉 READ ALSO: Slovakia and Slovenia: How To Tell The Difference

5. Budmerice Castle

Welcome to one of the most unique Slovakian castles. It’s more a château than a castle and is officially called ‘The Manor House of Budmerice.

It’ll capture you with its beauty right at the beginning, and its stunning English gardens will take you back in history. You can also make it a day trip from Bratislava since it is just 45-minute drive.

As with Bojnice Castle, the construction of this castle was inspired by the French Châteaus from the area around the River Loira.

Brief History Of Budmerice Castle

In 1888Count Ján Pálffy decided to build this castle with his 16-year-old wife. He married her the same year, so the castle hosted the first wedding. Since Count Pálffy loved hunting, the castle served mainly as a hunting lodge.

The castle prides itself on its charming English Gardens. Count Pálffy also built another important piece in the gardens, the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, which you can visit nowadays.

What makes the Budmerice Castle different from other castles is that it remains the heritage of only one family, the Pálffy Family. After Ján’s death, his son Pavol inherited the castle and took care of it until 1945, when it became a property of the state.

Tours Of Budmerice Castle & Admission

COMPLETE TOUR – join a guided tour through the entire castle, including
English Gardens (5 EUR)

6. Devín Castle

Devín Castle might be on your bucket list if you only visit Bratislava and don’t have time for anything else. Even though it is one of the less fancy Slovakian castles on this list, it’s had a huge importance in Slovakian history.

It’s on the edge of the River Danube and the border with Austria; you can reach this castle in about 20 minutes from Bratislava.

best fairy-tale castles in Slovakia Devin Castle
Devín Castle

👉 READ ALSO: 20 Best Day Trips From Bratislava: With A Local

Brief History Of Devín Castle

The place where Devín Castle stands today was occupied back in prehistoric times. It was significant during the Roman times when it was part of the fortification system ‘Limes Romanus’ of one of the strategic Roman legions.

Foreign troops had constantly occupied the area with the castle until the 7th century when the first Slavs settled around.

Later on, the castle became an interest of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Due to many disputes and fights in the area, the castle was destroyed many times.

Napoleon Wars & Devín Castle

Devín Castle also took part in the Napoleon Wars in the 19th century. When he captured Vienna and the surrounding areas of the Danube, his army tore the Devín Castle down. Ever since it has been a castle ruin.

Only in 1836 did the castle become important, thanks to the famous Slovakian politician and writer Ľudovít Štúr. For him, Devín Castle symbolized Slavic reciprocity and national awareness. He mentioned the castle in many of his writings, thanks to which the castle has many visitors until today.

The Iron Curtain

Another crucial time in history, which Devín was part of, was the ”Iron Curtain” introduced by Winston Churchill. It stretched between the west and the east, from the Barents Sea to the Jadran Sea. Bratislava with Devín area was part of the border 14 between Austria and Czechoslovakia.

In 1948, the situation at the border became more strict, and authorities banned people from crossing it. Back then, many bars, restaurants, and shops were destroyed, and 62 people were frozen to death.

Tour Of Devín Castle & Admission

COMPLETE TOUR – visit the entire castle, Center of Europe’s Memorial &
Gate of Freedom (6 EUR p.p.)

7. Halíč Castle

Halíč Castle, renovated into a beautiful chateau, is located in the southern part of Slovakia, close to Lučeneč. It got its name according to the village where it’s situated. Nowadays, you can walk around and learn about the history.

It has been converted into a luxury hotel, so you can stay for a night and enjoy delicious food in a local restaurant.

💡 PRO ITINERARY TIPS: Even though there is not much to explore in the area, staying in the Halic Castle is 100% worth it. Their rooms are beautiful, the staff is friendly and welcoming, and you can enjoy the spa and feel like royalty. Add a fine dining dinner at Origin Restaurant in Lucenec, and you’ll have a perfect stay.

Book your stay at Halic Castle here.

halic castle galicia nueva rooms
halic castle galicia nueva king room

Brief History Of Halíč Castle

Halíč Castle dates back to the 1300s when it was built by the Lossonczy family, counts of Lucenec. It was set on fire during the reign of Matúš Čák Trenčiansky and remained a ruin for a while.

After, it was reconstructed and belonged to several families. It was damaged many times by foreign troops. Yet, it was an icon of the Novohrad region.

Nowadays, it has been converted into a luxury hotel, where you can stay and enjoy a romantic gateway.

best castles in slovakia to visit halic castle galicia nueva
Halic Castle (Galicia Nueva)

Tour Of Halíč Castle & Admission

COMPLETE TOUR – visit the entire castle, must reserve at least 24 hours before your visit (7 EUR p.p.)

8. Spiš Castle

Spiš Castle is one of the most impressive and biggest castles in the country and Europe. It was used as a filming location for several movies, such as Dragonheart, The Last Legion, and Phoenix.

Yet, it’s still impressive that you can follow 8 educational trails to learn about the history and culture around the castle ruin. You can explore the archaeological site and see artifacts from the Stone Age. Don’t forget to climb up the tower – the views are stunning.

Spišský Castle
Spiš Castle

Brief History Of Spiš Castle

Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century when it protected the inner Romanesque Palace from Tartar invaders. When the Zapolsky Family got it, they converted it into a Gothic Palace. They owned several castles in the country, but Spiš Castle was their favorite.

After the family died, the Habsburgs gave it to the Turzo Family, and they rebuilt it into a Rennaisance Castle again. Unfortunately, in 1780, it got caught up in fire and has remained a ruin until now.

Tour Of Spiš Castle & Admission

MIDDLE & LOWER COURTYARD + UPPER CASTLE TOUR – guided tour or an audioguide (8 EUR p.p.)
MIDDLE & LOWER COURTYARD – (6 EUR p.p.)
NOCTURNAL TOURS – only in July and August (10 EUR p.p.)

9. Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle is a jewel of the city. Locals often refer to it as an up-side-down table with 4 impressive towers pointing to the sky. You’ll spot the castle right when entering the city, which makes it so beautiful.

Nowadays, it’s a venue of the Slovak Parliament and hosts collections of the Slovak National Museum.

castles in Slovakia to visit Bratislava Castle
Bratislava Castle

Brief History Of Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle and its area have been part of significant territories. It was inhabited as soon as the Stone Age and the first Celts settled in the area when, at the time, there was the Oppidum settlement.

The Limes Romanus from the Roman Empire also ran through this area. Slavs built a huge fortress during the Great Moravian Empire here, until it played a significant role in the rising Hungarian Empire.

In the 15th century, Sigismund of Luxembourg converted it into a Gothic Castle, and it served as a fortress to protect the area against Hussites.

Kind Ferdinand rebuilt it into a Rennaisance Castle in the 16th century, and Maria Theresa’s son-in-law Albert used it to store his precious art collections that you can nowadays see in the Albertina Museum in Vienna.

Tour Of Bratislava Castle & Admission

COMPLETE TOUR – visit the entire castle on a guided tour,
every first Sunday of a month free entry
(9 EUR p.p.)

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FAQs

To help you understand Slovakia more, I’ve also answered some of the frequently asked questions. Check the answers below:

How Many Castles Are In Slovakia?

Slovakia has 180 castles and 425 chateaux spread across the country. It’s so much when you think about the small size of this central European country.

What Is The Most Famous Castle In Slovakia?

Bojnice Castle is the most famous castle in Slovakia. It’s also one of the most beautiful castles with stunning architecture, remaining a Chateau. It’s located close to Prievidza, a 2-hour drive from Bratislava.

Does Slovakia Have The Most Castles In The World?

No, Wales has the most castles per square meter in the world. Slovakia has one of the highest number of castles based on the size of the country. It’s really small and has so many castles.

Why Slovakia Has So Many Castles?

Slovakia used to be part of many empires, including the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It also had several countries that wanted to protect their territories from potential invaders. That’s why it has so many castles.

What Is The Largest Castle In Slovakia?

Spiš Castle is the largest in Slovakia. It’s located in the Spiš region, on the northeastern side of Slovakia. It’s one of the most impressive castle ruins in Europe. You can visit it from the High Tatras mountain range and even do a nocturnal tour, which is pretty impressive.

What European Country Has The Most Castles?

Czech Republic has the most castles in Europe, with over 2000 castles. It neighbors Slovakia, so you can also visit them after you visit Slovakia.

WRAP-UP: 9 Best Castles In Slovakia To Visit

These are the 6 best Slovakian castles I highly recommend you visit. Slovakia is full of surprises. It’s one of the most underrated countries in Europe, and these castles are not an exemption. You can easily visit all of them on a day trip from Bratislava. So choose the one that interests you the most, rent a car, and visit it.

If you have any questions, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you or design a customized travel itinerary for your trip.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

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