There is a plethora of lesser known castles in Slovakia, they remain in the shadow of well-known and more popular castles and chateaus. These are the castles that the passage of time, wars, and property disputes have gnawed often to ruins. But this does not detract from the strong charm and atmosphere of their past. Thanks to them, Slovakia is known as “The country of the castles”. So after our previous article that ran through the best-known castles, we decided to introduce you to the less well-known gems you may have overlooked. These castles and the committed civic associations working to rescue them from degradation -often without publicity- are well worth it. So, if you love ruins where the winds whisper their unfolding ancient stories, towering majestically, often on the harder to reach hills, read on…
10 | DOBRÁ VODA
A Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians. Specifically the Small Carpathian mountains and situated not far from Bratislava. Getting here from the capital is not difficult. You will find yourself in a forgotten castle hidden deep in the forest. With its massive dungeons, high walls and courtyards it serves as proof that this forgotten castle was a significant fortress and for a certain period even the royal seat. protecting the mountain pass of the Small Carpathians. When you plan your trip to this castle, you can also combine it with a visit to the nearby magnificent and equally mysterious ruins of the Katarínka Monastery.
9 | ŠOMOŠKA
Unique in many ways. First, because it is built on volcanic basalt shale-rock formations, that almost look man-made. And secondly because of its location, which is a bit of an anomaly in the Central Europe. While the castle is on the Slovak side. the houses just a few meters down below the castle and of course clearly visible from it are on the Hungarian side of the border. We definitely recommend completing the whole great tour, which includes a mighty and unique lava waterfall and a forgotten mining settlement from the last century. There is plenty to explore and there are times you will feel like you are traversing through a jungle, discovering the remnants of an ancient civilization hidden beneath the lanes and branches of the deepest forest.
8 | LEDNICA
The Lednica Castle stands in the almost inaccessible and very steep terrain of the White Carpathian hills, it brings to mind a dragon nest. Its near total inaccessibility in the past was such that getting to it is only possible using the only entrance through a tunnel that had to be carved piercing solid rock. This is still the way to enter today. All the way to its highest point this castle is masterly carved into the rock. Its an exhilarating day out.
7 | KAPUŠANY
Not far from Zborov Castle, and on the way that leads from Prešov to Bardejov, stands a castle that was once a significant guarding fortress. It’s strategic position is further enhanced by the fact that it sits on a high hill, and it is visible from very far away. However it does not have the massive walls and size of Zborov Castle, the views from it up to Prešov are amazing. Welcome to the Kapušany Castle, which after a partial restoration is gradually now regaining its historic, attractive face.
6 | POVAŽSKÝ HRAD
Považský Castle is one of the symbols of Považie region. It is this region’s stone guardian, that stands on a hill that is surprisingly easy to climb. At its peak, you can take in its history, and you are rewarded with some fine views. We recommend to use binoculars to peer into the deep valley where the Váh river is divided into two and the magnificent Manín Gorge, which happens to be the narrowest passable gorge in Slovakia.
5 | TOPOĽČANY CASTLE
One of the better preserved ruins of Slovakia, there is plenty of work being done here as it’s reconstruction continues apace restoring it’s original beauty thanks to the great of work of the civic association. Ascending to it you can see from afar the well-preserved tower and the mighty silhouette of the castle. Standing on it you will have some wonderful circular views of the picturesque landscape beneath the Považský Inovec mountain range.
4 | ČABRAĎ
On a hill surrounded from nearly every side by the river Litava, something like a canyon emerges. Here stands one of the most important castles in the Hont region: the Čabraď Castle, that was once also called the Litava castle. Besides a local humorous story about a weather forecaster, you can also enjoy the stunning views of the Litava river meandering through.
3 | UHROVEC
On the imposing hillsides and visible from afar, stands the Uhrovec Castle. Its mostly peaceful history has more or less fully preserved this castle. The great efforts of the local civic association complete this positive first impression. During your visit you can travel in time through stories quite extraordinary and exceptional about the extraordinary marksmanship of the local castle maidens, which -according to legend- forced the Turkish invaders to withdraw and abandon their conquest of the castle.
2 | ZBOROV
On the outskirts of a village not far from the famous medieval town of Bardejov, stands a castle with a long and exceptionally turbulent history. The castle’s massive walls and large area are not initially visible. When you ascend this place reveals it’s secrets one by one, against a backdrop of deep forests. This is a beautiful medieval castle. It is of a size that cannot be found elsewhere in Eastern Slovakia. So if you decided to admire the beauty of the UNESCO-protected Bardejov town, this nearby castle should not be omitted from your plans.
1 | FIĽAKOVO
Visiting this castle one can appreciate it for it’s substantial size, military significance, history, and exceptional location in the centre of the erstwhile important medieval centre of Novohrad county – Fiľakovo. The construction materials make it one of the most beautiful and most interesting items in our list of lesser known castles in Slovakia. During your visit set aside at least an hour for the comprehensive exhibition found in the castle, as it will surprise you with its size and richness.