Spiš Castle, located in the northwest of Slovakia, is one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe. Its walls comprise an incredible 41,000 square metres (approx. 10 acres), making it a truly majestic sight to see. A number of fairytale and fantasy films have been shot here as well. Spiš Castle's ruins are an absolute must-see for every castle lover!
If you plan to visit the castle, make sure to wear sturdy enough shoes - climbing the mountain is a bit of a challenge. But once you've made it, you're in for a treat: a stunning view of the surrounding area of Spiš. The extensive ruins conjure up images of how enormous the castle may have been in its full glory. The better preserved parts of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are now home to parts of Spiš Museum. The exhibitions revolve around the castle's history, medieval weapons, and feudal criminal justice.
Historians assume that the castle hill has been populated since the Neolithic Period, and was used by the Celts. The actual castle was built in the 12th century. After having withstood the Mongol invasion, the castle site was extended to its final size throughout the 14th and 15th century. Throughout its history, Spiš Castle was owned by different dynasties, from the Kingdom of Hungary and the Zápolya family to the Thurzó and Csáky families. It was not until the 17th century that the separate buildings were all structurally connected. Eventually, two big fires in 1710 and 1780 left the castle an empty and abandoned ruin.
When the castle site became state property of Czechoslovakia in 1945, it was partly reconstructed and restored. In 1961, it was declared a national cultural monument; in 1993 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How to get there
Spiš Castle is situated within the beautiful region of Spiš, making a hike to the castle a special highlight. From the town of Spišské Podhradie it's about an hour's walk.
However, if you'd rather safe your energy for the climb up the hill, you can always come by car. From the west, follow D1, then switch onto Route 18. Just after Studenec, exit the roundabout towards Route 3215. Turn right at the first junction. This street leads you to the car park. From here, the walk up to the castle takes approximately 10 minutes.