Devín Castle

Castle in Western Slovakia

Image by Christian Kober Getty Images

Perched between Slovakia and Austria, rugged Devín Castle makes a popular day trip from Bratislava. From the ramparts there are admirable views of rivers and goat-speckled hills beyond. Inside, the museum hosts an archaeological exhibition with neolithic grave finds and bronze-age sculptures. In summer, kid-friendly medieval games and souvenir stalls consume the grounds. From November to March you can enter the grounds but exhibitions close.

Bus 29 links Devin with Bratislava's Nový Most (stop 6); get a 30-minute ticket (€0.90).

The castle complex stands 9km northwest of Bratislava, at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers. For millennia, settlers have been tempted by this strategic locale, guarded by the Small Carpathian mountain range on one side and water on the other. Settlements date back to the 5th century BC, there's evidence of a hill fort from the Bronze Age, and fortifications have stood here since the 9th century.

The castle's name originates from the Slavic deva (girl), and its Maiden Watchtower has acquired various legends of tragic young ladies across its long history.