Hiking to Pajštún Castle

As the 5th July is a national holiday in Slovakia, I decided to make the most of it and do something productive. After extensive deliberation; hiking won, and relaxing in the thermal waters of Komárom lost. I was acutely aware I may regret this decision.

Záhorská Bystrica to Rača, via Pajštún Castle

Starting from Záhorská Bystrica, which is accessible by local bus #37, I took advantage of the excellent network of marked hiking trails, and made my way towards Marianke via the blue trail. Given the scorching heat, it was hard to ignore an inviting pub, thus my hike essentially started with a quick beer.

Religious statue en route to Marianka

Hostinec u Zeleného Stromu

Cold beer on a warm day

A cold beer for a warm day

Over the hill to Borinka via the red trail didn’t take too long, however it was a steep hike up to the ruins of Pajštún Castle. Fortunately, the majority of walking from this point would be under the cover of trees, which at least provided protection from the sun.

Najsvätejšieho Srdca Ježišovho, Borinka

Looking up to Pajštún Castle

Since moving to Bratislava, I’ve been on several hikes through the Malé Karpaty, and whilst the walks and nature have been enjoyable, the views have been somewhat disappointing. Until Pajštún, that is. There are excellent views of the Malé Karpaty towards the south east, with Borinka, Kamzík TV tower and Devínská kobyla all visible, as well as the flat plains of Lower Austria to the north west.

Panoramic view of Malé Karpaty and Borinka from Pajštún castle

View toward Lower Austria

View toward Lower Austria

This medieval castle was built in the 13th century, was rebuilt having been destroyed by fire during the 18th century, and has been in ruins since demolished by Napoleon’s Army in 1809. Whilst only some of the masonry remains today, it’s a popular destination or stop for hikers, many of whom were drinking beer whilst cooking sausages on open fires, and inevitably someone had brought along a guitar. Most of the area within the castle is now grass and trees, so plenty of space for relaxing in the sun or shade. As I was leaving, there were several groups climbing the face on the rock on which the castle was situated.

Pajštún castle

Groups of people relaxing after their hike

I continued on towards my next stop, the rather disappointing ruins of Dračí hrádok, via the yellow trail. This route was reasonably flat, however the descent to the ‘main road’ was quite steep.

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The only remnants of Dračí hrádok

My bottle of water, which was still cold, having started as a block of ice, was almost finished, yet I still had one final hill to negotiate. At this point the thought of relaxing in thermal water and generally being lazy entered my mind, although that was promptly disregarded as I followed the green trail towards Rača, transversing the Malé Karpaty. Unfortunately there are very few places in the Malé Karpaty where you can stop to buy food and drink, which is quite unusual for such a popular hiking and biking area. The only one I’ve found to date is at Biely kríž, which is situated between Borinka and Svätý Jur.

Narrow valley with many fallen trees

The village of Rača, which has now essentially been swallowed by an expanding Bratislava, was pleasant enough; plenty of cafes and restaurants, and as expected, several shops selling wine. However. I returned to Bratislava and had a couple of beers in Novomestsky Pivovar, the only microbrewery in Bratislava I’d yet to visit.

In summary

The walk was just under 20 km in length, and took around five hours, excluding breaks. Whilst the majority of my route was nothing spectacular, I’d definitely recommend hiking from Borinka to Pajštún – the views alone are worth it!

A return VISIT

I returned to Pajštún castle on the 15th September (another Slovakian national holiday), this time starting in Borinka, although descending via the yellow trail to Stupava. After a quick stop at D´Artagnan for some bryndzové pirohy, followed by a few beers in the Komunál klub courtyard, it was back to Bratislava. At just over 6 km, this route was a little more relaxed.

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Pajštún castle facade

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Walking through the forrest to Stupava

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