In geological and paleontological terms, the abandoned sandpit Sandberg is one of the most important sites in Slovakia. This protected site is extremely rich in fossil remains of marine coastal and terrestrial fauna and flora. You would not expect there used to be a sea in this area 14 – 16 million years ago! On top of the historical importance, the Sandberg site will enchant you with the most beautiful panoramic views!
Sandberg is situated in Devin which is a borough of Bratislava, 12 km away from the city center. The easiest way to get here is by car. An alternative is to take a taxi (if you don’t have a car). The public transport is quite easy, too. You need to get on the bus 28 at the „Most SNP“ station. It is the one under the UFO bridge. The bus journey takes around 25 minutes. If you prefer the most direct way, get off at the bus station “Na hriadkach”. Then walk up the Primoravska Street and after approximately 300 meters, turn right to the Slovinec Street.Walk until the end of the street where you will see the ramp. You will see Sandberg right after passing it.
If you came by car, you also need to park it somewhere down in the village as there is no parking allowed next to Sandberg and you need to walk up the Primoravska Street.
If you like hiking, another alternative is to come here from the Devin Castle (the route starts from the Devin Castle parking lot) what we strongly recommend. There are several possible tracking routes of various difficulty and marked with different colours. You can start the tour at Sandberg as well – there are many markings showing you various directions to choose from.
If you come to see only Sandberg without hiking and admiring the nature around, it will be a very brief stop. Don’t take it the wrong way – the importance of this site is great but there is not much to do around. Just look at the pictures to see how beautiful this area is!
COOL FACTS FROM THE PAST
Imagine that this place was once a sea in a tertiary. Its warm and salty water washed the rocky limestone cliffs, inhabited by many species of plants and animals.
The story of the variety of life is still imprinted in the sandstone which you can still see here today. For example, the red algae reveal that the sea was rather shallow and quite translucent. In its waters once swam turtles, crocodiles, manatees, bony fish, dolphins and whales. The sharks were feared predators.
The coastline was covered by subtropical vegetation – magnolias, cycases, cinnamon trees and sequoias. The open plains were full of deer, antelopes, rhinos and a variety of trunked mammals. Even apes were present and their only occurrence is confirmed by the discovery of the fossilized teeth. Fossil remains of over 250 various kinds of marine, coastal and terrestrial fauna and flora have been found here.
You can read about all of this from the educational boards present at the site in Slovak and English.
WHY TO VISIT SANDBERG
The abandoned sandpit Sandberg is a paleontological site taking area of more than 25 ha, with the remains of the sea sands older than 14-16 millions years. It is part of the National Natural Reserve “Devinska Kobyla”. One of the cool facts is that Devinska Kobyla is actually the highest point of Bratislava. You might have thought it was Kamzik TV Tower with its 439 m but Devinska Kobyla simply wins with its 514 m.
As mentioned, Sandberg is a protected area and therefore it is prohibited to remove any natural materials or hike outside the marked trail. There are cameras placed all over the place for this purpose.
Your kids can enjoy a beautiful paleontological sandpit or an educational trail with a quiz about the organisms found at the site (a big plus is that the boards are in English, too. A big minus is that they are somewhat destroyed by weather and harder to read).
When walking around, you will have a feeling of being somewhere in Africa thanks to the soft golden sand on some parts of the trail.
Sandberg and Devinska Kobyla as such offer one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Bratislava. From here, you can see Devin Castle on the south, flow of the Morava River when you look down, the Danube River in the background together with Austrian Braunsberg, Hainburg mountains and typical wind turbines. You will also glance fields and meadows of Marchfeld with a dominant castle Schlosshof. Definitely breathtaking!
Author: Zuzana Mytna