Folded into a bend in the Strečno River, this medieval castle offers stupendous views over the surrounding valleys. Written mentions of Strečno Castle date back to 1384, though historians believe it may be hundreds of years older. The complex expanded from a square tower and moat into the lofty complex here today. Visits are by hour-long Slovak-language guided tour only (half-hourly in peak season) but information booklets are offered in several languages. Last entry is an hour before closing time.
Strečno Castle is one of many fortifications built across Slovakia from the 12th century onwards, usually gifted to nobles as a reward for their service. Following devastating attacks in the 17th century, Strečno Castle lay in ruins before restorations between 1978 and 1995 returned it to its former glory.
Strečno is 10km west of Žilina and regular local buses ply the route. Parking at the foot of the hill costs €2.