Gazing at fairy-tale Bojnice Castle stirs fantasies of knights and maidens in even the world-weariest travellers. Blushing sandstone towers and crenellated turrets make this romantic castle the most visited in Slovakia. Only foundations remain of the original 12th-century fortification, but an early-20th-century reconstruction by the Pálffy family took inspiration from the castles of France’s Loire Valley, lifting Bojnice to the neo-baroque splendour that stands today.
Visits are by 75-minute guided tour only and taking photos carries an extra charge (€2).
If you're hungry before or after a castle tour, Alej is a much better choice than the food stalls around the castle.
Prievidza, 4km east of Bojnice Castle, has bus connections to Žilina (€3.40, 1½ hours, 10 daily) and Bratislava (€10.50, 3¼ to 4¼ hours, three daily or change at Piešťany or Žiar nad Hronom). From Prievidza bus station, regular local buses run to Bojnice (€0.60, 10 minutes).
For additional atmosphere, book a few days ahead for a night tour and consider visiting during the International Festival of Ghosts & Spirits.