The Devín Castle, in Slovak Devínsky hrad, is a castle in the small town of Devín. The town is located a short distance from the capital city Bratislava. The castle itself is situated on a hill overlooking the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers, with the Morava forming the border between Slovakia and Austria. It is hard to believe that this very spot was one of Europe’s most guarded frontiers during the Cold War. It is especially difficult to imagine soldiers and border controls while walking along the peaceful riverside, with green and quiet Austria just a few meters away.
The castle itself is nowadays little more than a ruin, but throughout history, it has served as a boundary fortress, a military station, and a trade center. The once important building was destroyed on orders from Napoleon in 1809 and has since been left in ruins.
Devín Castle: What to Do and What to See
This is one of the main attractions to see if you visit Bratislava and Slovakia. And it is definitely a must for anyone interested in history. We can recommend three things to do while visiting the Devín Castle.
Our first tip is quite obvious – enter the castle. For a few euros, you will both get to walk around on the castle grounds, while enjoying the exhibitions in the museum and also getting a great view over the Danube. The most famous sight on the castle grounds is the Maiden Tower. Among the ruins, you may also find the castle’s well as well as the remnants of a 4th-century church.
The second thing to do is walk along the Danube. From here you will have a great view of the castle, while seeing some of the village itself and enjoying the river. It’s a fairly short walk, maybe half an hour or so that eventually will bring you back to the town. There are some pubs and restaurants in the vicinity of the castle where you can enjoy some delicious local food. However, you could also enjoy a cozy picnic in outside, either on the castle ground or somewhere by the river.
And to our third and last recommendation: when you walk down to the Danube along the Morava river you will pass by a monument that commemorates all the people (over 400 people) who died while trying to cross the river and flee into Austria. Have a look around and see what the area looks like today. There are no longer any obstacles that prevent you from just swimming over to Austria. Well, perhaps the only exception being your need of dry clothes in order to continue your adventures after the swim. The Devín Castle is standing evidence of how Europe has changed.
Devín Castle: How to get there
The easiest way to get to Devín is by using public transport, with buses going to and from Bratislava regularly. You find the timetable here >>
There are also other lines going to the town of Devín from where you will easily reach the castle after a short walk. The walk takes approximately 20 minutes from the town center.
Do you want to learn more about Devín Castle? We used the following sources:
Do you want to know more about Bratislava? Check out our Bratislava Guide here!
We first published this post on January 12 2016 and then updated it on December 14 2016.