Did you know that Slovakia has the highest number of castles and chateaus per capita in the world? To be exact, 180 castles and 425 chateaus. Well...it would take at least a lifetime to explore all of them. That is why I have picked for you the best castles that lay in Eastern Slovakia. They are all from different time periods, so architecture and style are unique in each castle, but they are all worth visiting. Let's explore and follow in the footsteps of kings from the 12th, 15th and 18th century!
Spišský Hrad, built in the 12th century, is the biggest castle in the region of Central Europe. The whole area makes 41 426 m² in total, so it would be quite a walk to see all of it. Since 1993, it is in the UNESCO World Heritage List and, even though the castle is in ruins, it is spectacular. It is fair to say that Spišský Hrad is among the top five things to see while traveling across Slovakia. You might not see expensive paintings or luxurious furniture like in newer castles, but you can get an idea how royalty used to live a few centuries ago and create your own fantasy by imagining how interiors could look like. The whole Spiš region has a lot to offer. The little village right under the castle has also a medieval vibe, and there are definitely a lot of things to see down there. The whole castle and its surroundings are basically a part of the National Park Slovenský Raj, so if you go by car, train or bicycle, you can visit the nature as well.
This castle was built in the 15th century, and you can see all kinds of different architectural styles that were used during the past - gothic, renaissance, baroque, and classical. Due to its location in the town Kežmarok, near the High Tatras region, it is very popular among tourists as they usually stop by to admire town's historical sites. There is actually an exhibition about people who used to live at the castle and their relationship to the High Tatras. It was more of a summer residence where royals went to relax than a real castle used for guarding and protecting the town. Part of the castle is a beautifully painted chamber and also a tower with the most idyllic view. You can see the breathtaking beauty of the High Tatras and its surroundings. The castle is located in the center of the town, so you can also explore Kežmarok. There are plenty of things to see!
Betliar is a renaissance chateau in the Rožňava region, built in the 18th century, that once belonged to Andrassy house (one of the richest families, during the Austro-Hungarian empire). It is one of the most visited chateaus in Slovakia, mainly because of the beautiful well-preserved interiors and exteriors. You can find there a breathtaking library with more than 15 000 books in different languages, hunting trophies, a private collection of art, and exotic objects that Andrassy family members used to bring home from their vacations. Part of the property is the biggest park with historical value in Slovakia, with several lakes and exotic plants. Andrassy family managed to build an artificial cave and a waterfall in their park because, why not?
One of the best things about Slovakia is the fact that wherever you go, there will be a castle or a chateau to visit. Spišský Hrad, Kežmarský Hrad, and Betliar definitely play an important role as historical and cultural heritage. They are all located in Eastern Slovakia, so if you want to follow in the footsteps of the kings, I suggest to start with Košice (the regional center). From there, everything is reachable within two hours.
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