Austria / Slovakia Austria / Slovakia Austria / Slovakia Austria / Slovakia Austria / Slovakia

Austria / Slovakia

Despite being only 90 km long, the section of the Iron Curtain Trail on the Austrian and Slovakian border is well worth visiting thanks to its many attractions and its picturesque riverside routes. The trail includes a visit to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava and the historic Devín Castle, a national monument dating from Roman times.

First, the route runs along the River March. A few kilometres later you will discover the first traces of history at the side of the road: a well-preserved, complex defensive system consisting of some 100 bunkers and fortifications in the alluvial meadows. The Czechs built them in the 1930s as an ultimately futile defence against Hitler’s Germany.

You then come to the delightful nature reserve of Záhorie, where the Trail runs for several dozen kilometres through a mainly flat landscape of alluvial forests and meadows.  You continue through forests, past the picturesque towns of Moravský Svätý Ján and Hohenau, with its ancient fortress that once offered protection against invasion by the Turks.  You also pass a former barracks used by the border troops.  After cycling along the Malolevarsky Canal and the Lakšársky Potok stream you come to the little town of Malé Leváre. Once again, you will find relics of the Second World War: a line of defence with several bunkers was built here on the model of the Maginot Line.

The trail carries on through expanses of forest, and you will still see some concrete roadblocks and tangled barbed wire left over from the past. The next stop is Suchohrad, which was regarded as a “place with no prospects of development” during the period of Communist rule. Consequently no new building or settlement was built there and strangers had to be registered on arrival. The same fate struck Záhorská Ves, the westernmost place in Slovakia, which today looks like an open-air museum of the Communist era.

After Vysoká, where barbed-wire fencing split people’s gardens in two during the Cold War, you pass through the wetlands of the March-Schwemmland nature reserve, one of the most important in Slovakia.  Soon afterwards the River March joins the mighty Danube, which is where Devín Castle, a national monument dating from Roman times, is located on a rocky outcrop. Not far from there, you will find a memorial to the victims of Communist rule. The trail then continues along the Danube, between the slopes of the Carpathian foothills, through the suburbs of Bratislava and to the Austrian-Slovakian border crossing at Petržalka.

Finally, you reach the capital of Bratislava, which is well worth a visit if only for its historic centre. This section of the Iron Curtain Trail ends just beyond Bratislava at the intersection of the borders between Hungary, Austria and Slovakia, which was the site of a large complex of barracks during the Cold War.

  • 93
    Length
    KM
  • 415,000
    population
    of Bratislava
  • 78 m
    the height
    of Devin Castle peak

 

  • Bratislava, Slovakia

    The Slovakian capital city is located in the South-West corner of the country on the Danube River and the border with Austria. This meant that the city, as part of Czechoslovakia, was literally situated on top of the Iron Curtain for nearly half a century. Thanks to the influence of the diverse ethnic and religious groups that have called the city home over the centuries, including Germans, Slovaks, Hungarians and Jews, Bratislava is a charming multicultural city, ideal either as a start or end point for those wanting to explore this part of the Iron Curtain Trail or as a taste of city life for those on much longer journeys. Photo credit: Jonik

  • Schloss Niederweiden, Austria

    The baroque palace "Schloss Niederweiden" used in former times as hunting lodge by the imperial family. Nowadays it is location of special exhibitions who change every year. The more, it can be rented for marriages or other events.

  • Haban House Museum, Slovakia

    This small rural museum showcases the local Haban culture. Habans (called also Hutterites and Neophytes) were members of the Anabaptist Church. They shared property, were good craftsmen and lived social lives in their communities. Typically they lived in houses built around a „haban yard“. The remains of one of such yard, dating back to the end of 16th Century, have been reconstructed in Veľké Leváre. One of the authentic houses built around the square forms the museum of Habans. It documents the life and culture of Habans through many items and documents. A visit of the museum has to arranged in advance (call +421 34 7794493, +421 34 7794107 or +421 34 7794316. The access route is 3.7 km long and it is along flat quality asphalt public roads.

  • Memorial of Iron Curtain, Devínska Nová Ves, Slovakia

    The Iron Curtain, a closely watched dividing line between free and communist parts of Europe, was the place of many personal tragedies. Citizens of communist countries were not allowed to travel to Western Europe at all, so many individuals and families attempted to escape illegally through the Iron Curtain. Unfortunately, border guards didn’t hesitate to open fire so there were many victims. This memorial shows the names of 42 victims killed in the region when trying to escape from communist Czechoslovakia. There is also barbed wire fence to symbolise the Iron Curtain. The memorial is located directly on the Iron Curtain Trail under the Cycle Bridge of Freedom, just next to the kids’ playground and a resting point with shelters.

  • Certified EuroVelo Route
  • Developed route with EuroVelo signs
  • Developed route
  • Route under development
  • Route at the planning stage

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