Posts Tagged With: castles

Off-The-Beaten-Path Castles in Slovakia

Panorama from Šariš Castle

Panorama from Šariš Castle

As I’ve been saying in my previous posts, Slovakia is chock full of castles. But just when I thought I’d found myself becoming blasé as I passed them on my cross-country bus rides and train passages, spring sprung and the sport of castling took a whole new twist.

I’ve seen plenty of the castles located in major towns or cities with paved paths leading right to the iron gates and with eager tour guides waiting inside.  However, now that the hills are thawing and the sun is shining, off-the-beaten path fortresses tucked into the ripples of Slovakia’s landscape become accessible. Castles that can only be reached on foot have turned trips into less of a visit and more of a quest.

Šariš Castle

Newly blooming flowers along the path to Šariš Castle

Newly blooming flowers along the path to Šariš Castle

You can see Šariš Castle sitting atop an almost volcanic looking flat-topped mountain from miles away. From a distance, the silhouette of the castle perched above Veľký Šariš was none too impressive. However, after hiking an hour or so from the village center, up a path winding around the mountain, it became clear I had underestimated. The castle consists of a mid-restoration wall surrounding, undulating, lush, green grounds dotted with benches, brambly trees, and of course, the occasional tower or other remains from the 13th century icon.

This castle contains more greenery than most others in Slovakia, and appears to be just as much public park as historical site as people we’re barbecuing within the walls with no apparent reprimands. The 360 degree views make the meandering walk up to the building worth the 60 minutes of work, and it is even possible to see the High Tatras poking over the surrounding hills.

This wooden sculpture stands guard as the walls come into view.

This wooden sculpture stands guard as the walls come into view.

The lush grounds inside the castle

The lush grounds inside the castle

Checking out the valleys below

Checking out the valleys below

Chris relaxing on the castle wall.

Chris relaxing on the castle wall.

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Categories: hiking, photography, tourism, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coming Soon: Castles, Castles and More Castles

Despite a lethargic start, spring is now going in full force here in Slovakia, and, oh my, is it beautiful. These over-70-degree, sunshine-soaked days have been perfect for exploring the finally-thawed hills, and in particular, the castles that are tucked within them. Unfortunately, the longer days and gorgeous weather have been keeping me outside so much that I’ve been remiss about posting, but a full update is soon to come. For now, these photos can serve as a sneak preview.

The majestic Strečno Castle

The majestic Strečno Castle

Scaling some castle walls.

Scaling some castle walls.

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Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle

My last two weeks were spent under the shadow of this castle in Bojnice, Slovakia. More to come soon.

Categories: travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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