Do you feel like visiting the town of fairy tales? Bojnice is a historical town in central Slovakia. The Nitra river separates it from the neighboring and much larger town of Prievidza. The town is famous for having of the most visited castles in Slovakia, the oldest zoo in the country is here and it is also one of the oldest spa towns. With a population of around 5.000 people, the town itself is limited to a smaller area and most parts are easily reachable by foot.
Bojnice: A Short History
The history of the town is closely knitted to that of the castle. The castle was first mentioned in 1113 and the town has since seen several influential families reside in the impressive building overlooking the center of the town.
It’s first known owner was Csák Máté who received it from the Hungarian king in the beginning of the 14th century. In the 15th century, the owner changed and the castle moved hands to the Hungarian king Hunyadi Mátyás and after him his son Corvin János. After the death of Hunyadi Mátyás the castle became the property of the c and thereafter the Pálffy family. These are some well-known families in this part of Europe. As the name of the owners indicates, this was a time when Slovakia formed part of Hungary.
Bojnice formally received its town privileges as late as 1966.
4 Things to Do In Bojnice
Bojnice Castle / Zámok Bojnice
The castle is one of the first things you will see as a visitor and probably the one sight that will remain in your memory. This medieval castle has its origins in the 12th century. Upon entering the town the castle looks like something picked up from a Disney movie. It is only possible to enter the castle with guided tours for the cost of 8 euros per person. Be prepared that the tours are mainly in Slovak unless you have arranged otherwise in advance. The tour shows several rooms around the castle with the historical furniture and paintings. The tour also takes you down to the caves beneath the castle.
The castle is famous for its events and festivals, such as the International Festivals of Ghosts and Spirits. Now, who wouldn’t like to participate in that one? The castle also houses the single most popular museum in Slovakia.
Bojnice Spa / Kúpele
You might not know that Slovakia has a lot of spas. For the ones who would like to relax during a visit to Bojnice, there is also the possibility to visit the thermal bath. The thermal waters were used already in medieval times by the noble families of Thurzo and Pálffy.
Bojnice Zoo / Zoologická záhrada Bojnice
Slovakia might be a country of spas, but a country of zoos it is not. There are only four zoos in the whole country, in Bojnice you can visit one of them. Considering the small size of the town, the zoo is big. The zoo has more than 2700 animals of more than 400 species. It was opened already in 1955, which makes it the oldest zoo in Slovakia. The zoo lies in the castle park.
Hurbanovo Square / Hurbanovo námestie
This is the main square in the town. Once you have seen the castle and zoo this is probably one of the best areas to look for something to eat. A plate of halušky, perhaps? It is a small but cozy square that offers a nice view back towards the castle.
Bojnice: How to Get There?
The easiest way to go to Bojnice is either by road or rail to the neighboring town of Prievidza. From there it is easy to go the last kilometers to Bojnice. The two towns share the same public transport system.
Car: The road E572 connects Bojnice with two of the major roads in Slovakia, with E75 in the vicinity of Trenčín and with E58 at Žiar nad Hronom. These two roads go through most of Slovakia. Road 64 also connects the town with Žilina.
Bus: It is possible to take a bus to the town of Prievidza, just next to Bojnice, from several destinations around Slovakia. From there it is just a short ride with a second bus or a taxi before entering the town.
Train: There are trains to Prievidza from Nové Zámky via Nitra and a few other towns. There are also trains to Horná Štubňa.
The driving distance to Bojnice from 3 major Slovak cities, according to Google Maps:
Bratislava– 183 kilometers (2 h 5 min)
Žilina – 64 kilometers (1 h 11 min)
Košice – 287 kilometers (3 h 29 min)