Burg Hochosterwitz


This fairy-tale fortress claims to be the inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty and drapes itself around the slopes of a hill, with 14 gate towers on the path up to the final bastion. These were built between 1570 and 1586 by its former owner, Georg Khevenhüller, to ward off invading Turks.

A Burgführer information booklet (in English; €4) outlines the different challenges presented to attackers by each gate – some have spikes embedded in them, which could be dropped straight through unwary invaders passing underneath. The castle also has a museum featuring the suit of armour of one Burghauptmann Schenk, who measured 225cm at the tender age of 16.

There’s a small cafe serving sausages, soup, rolls and coffee at the top. Regional trains on the St Veit–Friesach route stop at Launsdorf Hochosterwitz station, a 3km walk from the car park and the first gate, where a pricey lift (€9) ascends to the castle.