Oravský hrad, or Orava Castle, played an essential role in the life of historical Hungary. It defended the country from the north and the trade route to Poland. Of course, this role has disappeared today, so let’s just visit him for his beauty. It is no coincidence that it is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Slovakia.

The castle is located in the Orava region, next to the Orava River. The 13th-century medieval castle was built on a 112-meter-high rock face. The castle is the most prominent attraction in the region.

Quick Details

Orava Castle Details
Country Slovakia
Location Orava area
Address Oravský hrad, 027 41 Oravský Podzámok, Slovakia
Distance from Bratislava 3 hours / 270 km
Opening hours Every day (daily hours vary)
Admissions EUR 3-7
Time you need to visit 1-2 hours
Barrier-free? No
Dog-friendly? Yes
Website oravskemuzeum.sk

Photos

Where is the Orava Castle?

The castle of Orava is surrounded by the Western Tatras, the Beskyda and Chočský hills and the Little Fatra. It is located in north Slovakia, quite close to the Polish border. It is about 3 hours from Bratislava.

  • Address: Orava Castle, Orava Castle Slovakia
  • Distance from Poprad: 1.5 hours / 100 km
  • Distance from Banská Bystrica: 1.5 hours / 80 km
  • Distance from Kosice: 2.5 hours / 215 km
  • Distance from Bratislava: 3 hours / 260 km
  • Distance from Krakow: 2.5 hours / 140 km

Parking

Although the castle does not have a parking lot, you will find a paid option in the city.

History of the castle

There are no sources for the construction of the castle. What we know is that it was probably the Tartar invasion in 1241 which triggered the need for a strong castle.

There have been rumours that the castle was built by the Knights Templar themselves, but this was never confirmed.

The first official owner of the Orava Castle was the Balassa family. This can only be known because a document from 1267 has survived, in which king Bela IV takes the castle from Nicholas Balassa - so the property becomes a royal possession.

Only the  Upper and Middle parts of the castle stood at that time; the Lower Castle was added later. The castle was run by the castle ispan, and about 100 years later, in 1370, Orava became its seat.

  • Over the years, the castle was also owned by Matthew III Csák, Matthias Corvinus, and John Corvinus.
  • The Thurzo family took over the castle in the 16th century. They lost the castle for a while, when it was acquired by Imre Thököly in 1678, and in 1703 by the Rákóczi insurgents. After that, the fortress was given back to the family.

The castle burned down in the early 1800s when everything made of wood was destroyed. The damage has since been repaired, so you can now see the former fortress in all its glory.

After the First World War, the castle belonged to Czechoslovakia and was nationalised during the Second World War.

Visiting the castle

You can see the castle and the exhibition without a guided tour. This way you can walk around the castle at your own pace. You can visit the castle on 3 different tours:

Orava Castle Tour Attractions Duration Adult ticket
1. Great tour Lower-, Middle-, Upper castle, and the citadel 60 mins EUR 7
2. Small tour Thurzo Palace 30 mins EUR 5
3. Combined Lower-, Middle-, Upper castle, citadel, and the Thurzo Palace 90 mins EUR 10

Great tour (perfect with kids)

During the tour of the Lower Castle, you can see the defence system, and there are exhibitions in the Middle Castle. At the end of the tour, your journey will take you to the Upper Castle and the Citadel. Here you will find an archeological exhibition with a great panorama.

Small tour (the fast route)

As part of the smaller tour, you can visit the Treasury, St. Nicholas Chapel and the Lower Castle. If you have knee pain, we recommend this tour as it is a gentle, very easy tour.

Opening hours

Orava Castle is open every day, but the daily opening hours vary from season to season. In summer, the castle gate is generally open.

  • Winter season (Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Dec): 09:30 to 15:00
  • Summer season (May, Sep): 08:30 to 17:00
  • High season (June, July, Aug): 09:00 to 17:00
  • Closed: April

Admission and prices

You can't buy tickets online, only at the box office.

  • Adult ticket: 7 euros
  • Student and child ticket: 3.5 euros
  • Retirement ticket: 3.5 euros
  • Disabled ticket: 3.5 euros
  • Under 6 years old: free
  • The family ticket costs 21 euros for two adults and three children.

The above prices are for the "Great Tour". The small tour costs only € 5 for adults and the combined tour costs € 10.

(Prices might slightly increase every year!)

We hope you found the summary useful. If so, save this link for later or share it with your friends. Have a nice trip! Trekhunt team ❤️