Old Celje Castle

  Cesta na Grad 78      +386 (0)3 544 36 90     more than a year ago
Arguably the grandest castle in all of Slovenia, while it isn’t as completely restored as Ljubljana castle in the capital and doesn't possess the breathtaking alpine cliff top location of that in Bled, its sprawling grounds, eventful history, sweeping views over the city and surrounding countryside, and the generally imposing appearance of its partially restored fortress walls and towers are truly unique amongst any and all of its domestic rivals.
Originally built by the Heunburg family on the hills to the southeast of the bustling medieval market town of Celje in either the late 12th or early 13th centuries, the oldest parts of the castle are the fortified western walls and the central residential buildings which were surrounded by inner walls as well as a moat. Most of the original castle was destroyed in fighting between competing families not long after its initial construction, and eventually came into the possession of the Lords of Sanneck in 1333 - who became known as the Counts of Celje from 1341 onwards and were the most important medieval aristocrats in the territory of present-day Slovenia. Over the next hundred years the Counts rebuilt, expanded and greatly improved the castle and its grounds, however, when their rule ended with the murder of the last male heir in 1456, the property was bequeathed to the Habsburg monarchy in accordance with a previously signed inheritance agreement.
After the change in ownership, the castle managed to maintain its position as one of the most important fortresses in all of the eastern Alps for some two hundred years, but slowly began to fall into disrepair towards the latter half of the 16th century. It ceased to be a residence in 1795, and was purchased by a farmer eight years later, who began to use the site as a quarry. In 1846 the ruins were bought by the regional governor, and restoration work began which continues to the present day - making it easily the longest ongoing renovation project in Slovenia.
Today the castle is the most visited tourist site in Celje with over 70,000 visitors per year, and is also popular with locals, especially during the weekends and for weddings. The grounds are entered from a gate in the southernmost fortifications, where there's a fully-stocked branch of the Celje Tourist Infomation Office and a little further along a pleasant café. The central part of the site is dominated by the rebuilt Fredrick's Tower and an open air theatre, which is the main venue for the various performances that take place during the summer long Living History medieval festival. After crossing a wooden bridge over the one-time inner moat, you reach the upper part of the castle, where most of the buildings are located and where you'll find mesmerising views of the city below and rolling hills and valleys stretching to the alps in the distance. The entire grounds, including some dozen or more sites, are well marked with informative signs giving information and history in both Slovene and English.
To reach Celje's old castle, take the first turn south of the main train station passing under the tracks, cross the bridge and at the roundabout go right and follow the signs up into the hills. While many people recommend walking to the top, be aware that it's a deceptively lengthy undertaking (around 45 minutes) and the winding road is largely without pavement. Alternatively, a taxi is only around €4 and for our money is a worthwhile expense.


Facilities for disabled
Outside seating
Guarded parking
City centre location


January Mon- Thur 10:00-16:00, Fri-Sun 10:00-17:00
February, November 10:00-17:00
March, October 09:00-18:00
April 09:00-19:00
May, September 09:00-20:00
June, July, August 09:00-21:00
December 10:00-16:00

Price/Additional Info

Admission €2, which includes a €1 discount at the café. Group tours starts, by prior arrangementstart from €40 and last around 45 minutes.


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