Being based in Bratislava for my time in Slovakia, both Devin Castle and Trencin Castle were easily accessible to me. Slovakia seems to be full of castles, and I definitely recommend visiting at least one. Here are my tips for visiting Devin and Trencin Castles!
Devin Castle is very close to the city center of Bratislava. Bus #28 and #29 both run to Devin, the journey taking only about 20 minutes. Devin Castle overlooks the strategic site of where the Moravia and Danube Rivers converge—also the Slovakian-Austrian border. The castle is mainly ruins now, and there aren’t any interior rooms still existing.
Visiting during off-season, the exhibition at Devin Castle was closed. However, the castle ruins were still open to wander around. The information boards were in both Slovak and English, so it was possible to get information about certain areas as an English-speaker. The views of Austria and both rivers (and the point where they meet) were spectacular.
One of the major highlights of Devin Castle is the Iron Curtain memorial by the rivers, next to the bike trail. The Iron Curtain divided East from West, and communism and capitalism, for much of the second-half of the 20th-century. The poignant memorial here at the Slovakian-Austrian border pays tribute to those who sacrificed their lives. This memorial was definitely one of my favorite parts of my trip to Devin Castle!
Trencin is located much further away from Bratislava than Devin. It’s about 1.5 hours away and easy to get to by train. The town of Trencin isn’t particularly vibrant or happening—especially on Good Friday morning, when I visited, where the town seemed deserted. (Pohoda, one of the most popular music festivals in Slovakia, takes place in Trencin during the summer.) There are some interesting buildings in town like a large church, a synagogue, and a town tower. There is also a history museum.
Trencin Castle is a sprawling complex—it’s the third-largest castle in Slovakia. The castle sits on top of a hill, and is visible from much of the surrounding area. The interior palaces of the castle are only accessible with a guided tour. I opted for Tour C, which gave me the full tour and access to all the different areas. (It was only 3.50€ for students!) While the tour was given in Slovak, my guide gave me a booklet with information on all the rooms in English.
One of the highlights of the castle tour is visiting the top of Matus Tower. The views of the surrounding town and countryside are phenomenal—and you also get a nice birds-eye view of part of the castle below.
There are three different palaces within the castle: the Ludovig Palace, the Barbora Palace, and the Zapolsky Palace. Today, many of the rooms in the palace house paintings and artifacts from the collection. The pre-Romanesque rotunda is the oldest part of the castle (and the archaeology exhibit has information displayed in English). The walk up to the castle is a steep one, but it was well worth it!
Overall, Trencin is much more of a full daytrip from Bratislava than Devin. Devin Castle is much closer to Bratislava, and doesn’t have as much to explore as Trencin. I’m glad I had a half-day trip to Devin Castle, and I’m also glad that I took the time to go further into Slovakia to visit Trencin. Both castles were interesting in their own way and I’m glad I visited both of them!
Have you ever visited these castles, or any other interesting castles? Let me know in the comments!