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

 

  • Schloß Hof, Austria

    The splendiferous baroque palace (1725) in the Marchfeld was once the hunting lodge of Prince Eugene of Savoy and is now a Unesco World Heritage Cultural Site. Don´t hesitate to visit this great palace with its huge paradise gardens, restaurant and workshops! Bike locker and a luggage room are available.

  • Hartmut Tautz Memorial, Slovakia

    Hartmut Tautz was only 18 years old when specially-trained dogs killed him during his attempt to escape to Austria on 8th August 1986. He wanted to escape because he had not been able to develop his musical talent in Magdeburg in Eastern Germany due to his unsuitable political opinions and also due the fact that his relatives lived in Western Germany. He chose Czechoslovak–Austrian border near Bratislava in wrong assumption it was not guarded as thoroughly then in Germany. He cut several barbed wire fences but this launched an alarm so a couple of specially trained killing dogs were released into the border space. They caught him only 22 meters from the border line and savaged him to death. Names of politicians and soldiers responsible for this brutal murder were released in occasion of the memorial revealing in 2016. Nobody of them is punished yet, though most of them are still alive and they live their lives in our society... The memorial is located directly on the Iron Curtain Trail.

  • Sandberg, Slovakia

    Sandberg is an important paleontological site, the main feature of which is a large residuum of sandy sediments left over from a sea that existed in the Vienna Basin in the Tertiary Period. There are clearly recognizable layers of sediments of various geological age and many impressive sandstone boulders and cliffs. Paleontological finds of more than 300 species have been discovered here. The site is nice place for walking and resting with spectacular views of the lowlands of Austria. Though the site is not far from the Iron Curtain Trail, only 750 m on good asphalt streets, be aware it is mostly ascending on the way there.

  • Triple point of Slovakia, Czechia and Austria

    Scenic calm place at the confluence of the rivers Morava and Dyje. Picnic table. The distance from the Iron Curtain trail is 2,6 km. First 2 km is on good asphalt, last 600 m is on good field track with a few muddy spots after rain. The elevation profile is flat.

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

The countries

The stages