The second part of our series “Short Bratislava Getaways”. All short hikes and tours which you will find here are suggestions of ways to enhance your weekend in the shape of short and unchallenging one day trips. So, if you chose to escape the capital some weekends, then come and explore a plethora of cultural and natural attractions just beyond the city borders. Some places might not be new only to tourists, but to residence of Bratislava as well.
Last time we traveled a little farther from Bratislava, today we will explore its forests. A beautiful tour with a view to die for and a touch of times long gone: Part 2 – Devín – Kobyla – Sandberg.
INTERESTING FACTS AND SIGHTS
We will look past the renowned Devin Castle today because if you plan to begin this trip with a tour of the castle, it is quite possible you will never make it to the start of the pathway. Hence, the start of our stroll today will be at the Saint Cyril and Methodius Square right outside the church with a Baroque tower and partially Gothic interior. Unfortunately, there is not the main objective of our tour; Kobyla and Sandberg are. Both places are quite known and frequently visited by residents of Bratislava, so let us give them a quick introduction.
Kobyla (officially known as Devínska Kobyla) is, believe it or not, the highest point of Bratislava. Although it may seem that it is Kamzík as you enter the city via the D1 highway, this is simply an optical illusion. Any topographical map will prove it: Kamzík 439m and Kobyla 514m. A recent newspaper article announced that his qualified it as the perfect location to build a lookout. For now, it remains the place where the forest´s edge reveals the finest view of Lower Austria, the astounding Devín and the beautiful confluence of the Morava and Danube rivers. And if visibility allows, you can catch a glimpse of the Alps.
Sandberg as the second main attraction of this tour, is one that you are not likely to find anywhere else in Slovakia nor in the surrounding countries. Strolling across this paleontological area and approaching the sand mounds will bring your imagination to Africa. This is a place of great importance from which a collection of rare fossils was extracted. Salty waters once flowed through Upper Austria which were home to Mesozoic amphibians and aquatic lizards and Sandberg was the “Slovak” base of this sea. You are unlikely to find fossils here now but imprints of them can be found on the notice board.
DESCRIPTION OF PATHWAY
It is again easy and suitable for children. We begin at the Saint Cyril and Methodius Square which shapes the center of Devín. If you arrive by bus, it is a requested stop by the same name as the square. If you come by car, you can find parking directly in front of the church or in its near vicinity. The famous SNP Road of Heroes (which ends at the border with Ukraine after crossing the majestic mountain ranges of northern Slovakia) starts not far from this point. Moreover, this tour will take you through the beginning part of the chain of the third longest mountain range in Europe, dominated by giants like Gerlach in Slovakia or Moldoveanu in distant Romania: the Carpathian Mountains.
Well, we´ve taken some pictures, motivated ourselves and we start with a steep ascent following the red path through serpentines over Devín. Views sneak upon you through the trees of the most southern castle of Slovakia and its two rivers. You won´t be able to stop taking photos and the sun shining in your lens will be frustrating.
The path will eventually take you to the edge of town where a shrubby forest begins. The scrubland around you looks more like it belongs in Spain or somewhere in southern Europe. A gradual ascent leads to taller trees where the humidity and impervious canopy turn this place into hell in the summertime.
Soon you will find yourself on the cross-roads of the red and yellow paths from which you will continue on a level terrain first to the unmarked turn off to Devínska Kobyla. The ascent takes approximately a quarter of an hour and it is well worth it. You can take a selfie here knowing that you are standing at the highest point of Bratislava. What´s more, the selfies plan to be moved a few meters higher in less than a year when the lookout is built.
After conquering the tallest peak in Bratislava you will return back to the red path, taking you to an unidentified place to the point (GPS coordinates in the info), from which you will turn left and continue approximately 2 minutes through a thin forest to a viewpoint perfect for meditation with a 180° view overlooking Lower Austria, Schlosshof, Devín, Hainburg and a ribbon of the Danube shimmering in the setting sun. If the visibility permits, you will also see the Alps and the majestic Schneeberg. The sunset and, even better, the sunrise are magnificent. The vibrant colors swimming in the warm morning, reflecting in in perfect strips towards Vienna´s airport tower.
After fully soaking in the view, return back to the red path and make your way down a short descent to the green path. From here a steep descent will lead you to a forest, where a combination of autumn and fog could make it difficult to see the markings. Its canopy resembling Gothic ceilings will lead you to a steep precipice under which an anthill of people admiring the nearby Sandberg will slowly appear. You are getting close, it is directly beneath you. Just step over the rocky threshold via the yellow path and you will find yourself in prehistoric Slovak Africa.
We would love to hear about your experience if you have already undertaken this adventure (please leave us a comment via your fb account below or in the form to the right). If you would like to add something, please feel free to share with us. Thank you 🙂
Previous part of Getaways: Dobrá Voda – Katarínka
INFO ABOUT THE ROUTE