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Devin Castle – How to Visit On a Bratislava Day Trip (2024)!

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If you’re looking for the perfect Bratislava day trip, then I would recommend visiting the majestic Devin Castle. 

It’s a symbol of Slovakia with a vast history dating back to the Great Moravian period in the 9th century.

Unlike Bratislava Castle, Hrad Devin is a romantic ruin but there is so much to see here on a visit. 

The castle ruins are extensive with several exhibitions and walking trails. However, the best part is the panoramic views you get of the countryside and the Danube River bend.

You’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from the capital city, even though you can easily reach Devin in under an hour. 

Here is how to visit Devin Castle from Bratislava and whether it’s worth visiting in Slovakia!

Slovakia Devin Castle Day Trip from Bratislava!
Devin Castle, Slovakia

Top Bratislava Travel Resources

  • Don’t forget travel insurance, I always use World Nomads

Legends of Devin Castle

The ancient name for Devin Castle is Dowina meaning ‘girl’ but many believe it’s related to Devana who is the goddess of love in Slavic mythology. 

It’s a rather appropriate name as this castle has many heart-wrenching legends of star-crossed romances.

Devin Castle’s Maiden Tower is the most famous and photographed landmark in the entire fortress as there are legends of lovelorn maidens who were forced inside.

According to one legend, a princess was forced into this tower as the king didn’t approve of the knight she wanted to marry.

He killed her lover and so, as she was utterly heartbroken, she leapt to her untimely death into the river below. 

Devin Castle Maiden Tower
The Maiden Tower of Devin Castle

Another is of Mikulas who eloped with the beautiful Margaret of Carinthia against the wishes of her parents. 

On the day of their wedding, the Carinthians broke into the castle and so Mikulas and Margaret fled to a secret passageway to the Maiden Tower.

Unfortunately, the soldiers found them and Mikulas tried to protect her. He fought a mighty battle but then he fell to their swords so Margaret had no choice but to jump from the tower and join him in the afterlife. 

This octagonal tower is such a small part of the castle but it’s a huge symbol for the country. It was featured on Slovak Koruna coins before the currency was converted to the Euro. 

Devin Castle Statue

Devin Castle history 

There have been settlers here in Devin since the Ice Age with woolly mammoths and Neolithic periods.

Archaeological excavations have also revealed a Roman wooden fortification that existed here called Cella Memoriae.

However, records show that the current castle was constructed during the Great Moravian Period. It was noted down in an 864 census as Castle of Dowina making it one of the oldest castles in Slovakia.

It was the historic seat of Prince Rastislav and the position of the fortress was strategic to defend his territory as this area was a crossing of the Amber and Danube roads. 

Hrad Devin then served as a royal castle and the upper ramparts were built between the 13th – 15th centuries. 

Devin Castle Slovakia

It switched hands many times from the Kingdom of Hungary, the Dukes of Austria, King Charles I of Hungary and then was absorbed into the Habsburg Empire. 

Stephen Báthory, uncle of the infamous Elizabeth Báthory, was gifted the castle in 1527. It then remained in the Bathory family until 1605 when it switched to House Keglević under Mathias II.

The Counts of Pálffy were the last owners of the fortress until the Siege of Pressburg in 1809 by Napoleon’s troops. 

The castle was destroyed and what was left became a romantic ruin and a muse for writers, poets and artists. 

Today, the castle is seen as an icon of Slovakia and its independence. Although it is still a ruin, it’s open as a popular tourist attraction and a working archaeological site of significant scientific interest.

Devin Castle Slovakia

Can you visit Devin Castle today?

Yes, you can and it makes an amazing day trip from Bratislava if you have the time.

I found that Devin Castle was a highlight of my trip due to the incredible views you got of the Slovak countryside and the Danube River.

It only took 30 minutes or so to reach the fortress from the city but it was so peaceful and felt like a million miles away from the bustling capital.

It helped that it was a blue sky sunny day without a cloud in the sky and so I could see for miles over the border into Austria and beyond. 

As a history lover, I was in my element as there was so much to discover and experience in this ancient fortress!

Devin Castle Slovakia

How to visit Devin Castle from Bratislava

Devin Castle is just over 12 kilometres from Bratislava and is around a 20-minute car journey from the centre if you’re driving or renting a car. 

To be honest, it’s so close to the city you can get an Uber or Bolt taxi here if you’re short on time. 

The fastest and most economical way to visit Devin Castle from Bratislava is by bus and the journey takes around 20 minutes. Public transport is included with the Bratislava Card

Simply take either the 28 or 29 bus service from “Most SNP” by the UFO bridge and get off at the bus stop “Devin”. It’s then a short 5-10 minute walk to the castle.

Devin Castle Parking Lot
Devin Castle Parking Lot is FREE

Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle to travel to Devin or you could walk if you’re feeling up for a strenuous adventure.

In the summer months, they even run Devin Castle boat trips along the Danube to get here which would be far more scenic. 

The journey will take around 90 minutes and the boat moors just outside the castle on the river. You then get some time to explore the fortress before you head back to the city. 

Devin Castle Ruins Slovakia

Hrad Devin’s opening hours and ticket prices 

Devin Castle is open from 10 am throughout the year but closing time depends on the season. 

In winter, it can close as early as 4 pm and in summer it stays open as late as 7 pm. Always check before you go. The last entry is 45 minutes before closing time.

Ticket prices are € 8 for an adult in April – October but it goes down in price to € 4 from November to March. There are reduced tickets for children, students and seniors.

If you have a Bratislava Card, you can enter the castle for free.

Important: Devin Castle is closed on Mondays all year round. Click here for the latest opening times.

Devin Castle Slovakia

Things to do in Devin Castle

There are plenty of things to do in Devin Castle that make it worth visiting on a day trip from Bratislava. 

From exploring the ramparts to the scenic walks, the Maiden Tower, exhibitions and the spectacular views of the Danube and Morava Rivers.

Here is what you can expect to see and do on a visit; 

Devin Castle ruins

Explore the Castle Ruins 

Despite the castle falling during the Siege of Pressburg in 1809 the ruins here are extensive and many of them are intact. 

Most of the stairways, bridges and paths to explore the castle are new but it will still feel like you’ve stepped back in time to Great Moravia. 

Devin Castle Slovakia
Devin Castle

You’ll visit the royal apartments of the upper castle, climb the watch towers, and visit the remains of the lower farm buildings and stables. 

It’s mostly foundations but with a bit of imagination, you can just about envision how these rooms were used. 

Devin Castle Views
There are some incredible views to be had from Devin Castle!

Fortress exhibition

What I loved about visiting the upper castle was the permanent exhibition you could visit inside the old staterooms. 

They look like caves today and each one had display cases with artefacts that had been recovered from the archaeological digs made here over the years. 

Devin Castle Museum
Devin Castle Museum

This exhibition had lots of information on the history of Devin Castle and its various owners. 

You could see their coat of arms, pottery, cutlery, books and all sorts of weapons and stone cannonballs that were used to defend this territory. 

Make sure to mind your step inside as it’s pretty dark and the original flooring is uneven and dusty.

Devin Castle fortress exhibition
Devin Castle Fortress Exhibition

See the Danube Riverbend

Your journey of the upper castle will lead you to the very top of Hrad Devin and you’ll be treated to the most breathtaking panoramic views of the area.

Devin Castle is built on a horseshoe bend of the Danube River and a crossing to the Morava River. This vantage point allows you to see for miles over the Slovak-Austrian border. 

Danube River bend at Devin Castle

This castle is also in an area known as the Devin Carpathians so you can see many peaks and foothills. Plus, you can see the spire of the church tower and residential houses.

Danube River cruises are a very popular way to explore this part of Europe and I saw many that passed by on my visit. 

You also get a great view of the famous Maiden Tower from the top so make sure to have your camera ready.

Devin Castle Views
Devin Castle Views of the Danube River

Admire the Maiden Tower 

The octagonal Maiden Tower that you can see from the fortification ruins is the most famous and photographed part of this monument. 

Although it’s tiny, it’s a huge symbol of Slovakia and has a sad story to tell with all sorts of maidens falling to their deaths over their star-crossed lovers. 

As far as I’m aware, you can’t enter the tower today. But, you can see the small doorway that used to lead to the tower from a secret passageway that has been perfectly preserved.

According to legend, it was this secret door that Mikulas and Margaret of Carinthia ran through to escape the castle to the Maiden Tower!

Devin Castle Maiden Tower
Devin Castle Secret Door
The secret passage door!

Devin Castle Museum & gift shop

Although there are plenty of information boards all over the castle that explain the history of this fortress and what each area was used for, I would still recommend stopping by the museum before you leave.

This interactive exhibition hall has lots of games and immersive activities you can get involved with to learn about Devin’s diverse past. 

There have been settlers here since the Ice Age and they are still discovering new artefacts each year from their ongoing archaeological projects. There was even a Bronze Age skull on display.

You could see reconstructed outfits that the royal families used to wear as well as pose with weapons with their colourful cut-out boards. It was really fun for kids and big kids alike!

The gift shop isn’t huge here but they still have some guidebooks, postcards and magnets you could buy. Just make sure to bring cash as they don’t accept card payments.

Devin Castle Museum
The most fearsome battle pose haha

Take a scenic walk around the estate 

As well as the main fortress area, there was a lovely scenic walk that you could take around the wider estate.

Although not much remains of the buildings here, you could still see some historic statues and visit the many entry gates that used to be here back in the day that lead out to the river.

You can even visit the remains of the old Roman fortification, Cella Memoriae. It was built in the 4th century and they are still working on excavating it. 

Devin Castle Gates

Beyond that, I loved the scenic views that this walk provided. Sheep were grazing in the fields with a backdrop of rolling hills.

There are some benches to relax on if you’ve brought a picnic or need to rest. It was such a lovely stroll especially with the sun shining. 

Also, you can take a hike outside of the castle by the Danube to see monuments like ‘The Gate of Freedom’.

That’s why I recommend leaving the better part of a day to visit Devin as it has so much to offer.

Devin Castle Estate

Is Devin Castle worth visiting?

YES, if you’re a lover of history or simply want to escape the busy city of Bratislava for a spell then you must plan a visit to Devin Castle.

There is so much to see here that makes it worth visiting like the extensive castle ruins, the exhibitions and the gorgeous views.

Devin Castle Slovakia

Again, I couldn’t help but marvel at how peaceful Devin was considering we were only a few miles out of the capital city. It was bliss.

If you have more than a day in Bratislava, I would highly recommend using some time to visit Devin Castle. 

It’s a spectacular fortress and an icon of Slovakia with breathtaking views of the Danube and Austria-Slovak border.

Devin Castle Slovakia

Where to eat near Devin Castle

There aren’t any restaurants inside Hrad Devin itself but just outside in the parking lot, you’ll find many restaurants and cafés.

It was still too early for lunch for me and it was roasting hot, so I opted to visit the Gelateria for some yummy ice cream and a cold drink to cool down.

There were a few seats in the shade overlooking the castle and it was the perfect tonic after my long walk around Devin Castle.

If you were after something more substantial there are several bars nearby serving up lunch and beers throughout the day. 

Devin Castle Restaurants

My top tips for visiting 

  • Leave at least half a day to explore – Although it’s not too far from Bratislava there’s lots to do around Hrad Devin that make it worth visiting. Leave lots of time to explore.
  • Visit early – it doesn’t get too crowded here but I would visit early morning for opening time if you want a quieter visit. 
Devin Castle Bratislava Day Trip
  • Bring cash – you can pay for your castle tickets with cards but the gift shops and some cafés only take cash.
  • Avoid Mondays – the castle will be closed on Mondays all year but you can still walk around the area as there is a hiking trail by the water to the Gate of Freedom.
  • Bring a hat or suncream – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky on my visit which was lovely but it was also HOT. Make sure to bring a hat and suncream as it’s largely exposed to the elements. The same goes if it’s raining, come prepared with a raincoat as there aren’t many places to shelter.
Devin Castle Danube Riverbend

Read more of my Slovakia travel guides

25+ Best Things to Do in Bratislava

Is Konditorei Kormuth the prettiest café in Bratislava?

How to visit the pretty pink Primate Palace 

Visiting the Blue Church of Bratislava

Cachtice Castle – home of Elizabeth Bathory

Save this Devin Castle Day Trip from Bratislava for later!

Slovakia Devin Castle Bratislava Day Trip

Here are some Slovakia travel resources

  • Flights: I use Skyscanner to look for flight deals. Try to be flexible with travel dates for the best prices.
  • Accommodation: is my go-to hotel platform and I’ve used them for years. 
  • Public transport: You can book trains through the official ZSSK website.
  • Car rental: Rental Cars is a great choice that compares all sorts of rental companies and gets you the best price.
  • Activities: I love GetYourGuide and use the platform all the time for booking group tours and attraction tickets.
  • e-Reader: I love to read Romantasy books and I always take my beloved Kindle Oasis with me. It has an orange light and is waterproof which is perfect for lounging by the pool.
  • Travel insurance: I always use World Nomads to book travel insurance. You never know when you’ll need cover!