When thinking about the beautiful castles in Slovakia, does swimming come to mind? It is unusual that the words castle and swimming would go hand in hand, but in the case of Plavecký Castle, it is difficult to think of one without the other. This is because Plavecký Castle translates as ‘swimming castle’ even though it would be hard to find a place nearby to swim. The only aspect of the castle that has some relation to the sea is the ancient coral used to build one of the archways. This feature, the beautiful view, and the excitement of exploring one of Slovakia’s medieval ruins, will have visitors ready to dive in for a new adventure.


Plavecký Castle is located in the town of Plavecké Podhradie on the western side of the Malé Karpaty. Visitors are able to take a car, train, or bus to this town. If traveling by car, the town is located off of 501 and there is a parking area at the start of the Blue Trail, which leads to the castle. There is also a direct connection by bus from Bratislava Main Bus Station. Visitors may also take the train from Bratislava Main Train Station and switch at Zohor. The shortest route is by car and it will take around an hour to reach Plavecké Podhradie. Once at the Blue Trail, there is a short hike to Plavecký Castle. This hike will take about a half an hour and is slightly steep so make sure to bring enough water.


Plavecký Castle is an important ruin to visit because of its long history. It was originally built as a border fortress in the 13th century and was named Detrech. There have been many owners of the castle, but a few are notable. The first owner of the castle was Deprecht, which is why Plavecký Castle was originally called Detrech. He was the son of a vogt, or in modern terms, mayor, of Bratislava. Later in the 16th century, the castle was owned by the dukes of Svätý Jur and Pezinok. These are nearby towns on the east side of the Malé Karpaty. Around this time, protestants were printing calendars and holy books at Plavecký Castle. In the 17th century, the well-known Pálffy family took ownership of the castle. This family owned Plavecký Castle continuously until the 20th century. In the early 18th century, Plavecký Castle was besieged by the Austro-Hungarian Army since local rebels had taken control. In the middle of the 18th century, the Pálffy family had decided to move their family seat to Malacky and Plavecký Castle was never fully reconstructed.


As with all castles in Slovakia, each one is unique and has certain aspects to remember them by. In the case of Plavecký Castle, it’s name, ancient coral archway, and view stand out. Visitors are able to see the eastern side of the Malé Karpaty. This side of the mountain range is much more pastoral than the west and offers a different perspective of Slovakia’s landscape. Since the castle is free of charge, visitors can spend as much time as they would like hiking, taking in the fresh air, and admiring the medieval architecture. For those visiting Slovakia, Plavecký Castle would be a great way to begin learning about the many medieval ruins seen throughout the country. There will be some leeway given to those new to castle exploration, but make sure to learn the ropes, leave the kick boards at home, and greet other visitors with an ahoy (ahoj)! It is ‘swimming castle’ afterall.

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Author: Kathryn Baurhenn
Photo Credits: Marek Švec and Kathryn Baurhenn


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