Smolenice is a small village nestling at the foot of the Malé Karpaty, as they roll down towards the plain on which Trnava stands. It is a picturesque spot, with the romantic 19th-century Smolenice castle behind the village and Záruby, the Little Carpathians’ highest peak, rising above them both.
In the grounds of the village's 17th-century church is a family crypt of the aristocratic Pálffys, surrounded by statues of four missionaries, and bearing the familiar Pálffy emblem of a stag above a broken wheel (the same motif also appears in Trnava Region’s coat of arms).
It represents a family myth in which a deer ran under the family's carriage on a night-time journey, breaking its wheel and thereby preventing the carriage and its occupants from plunging into a crevasse. ¬Whatever truth there is in the tale, the crest which recalls it can be found right across western and central Slovakia, such were the family's huge property holdings.
Smolenice also has an 18th-century pillar of shame, used to tie up transgressors in order to persuade them to repent (and also, presumably, to provide some amusement for their neighbours) and a monument to the Slovak-born inventor of the first military parachute, Štefan Banič.
Banič was born in the village but actually designed the revolutionary device after emigrating to the United States, which was the first country to use it (in World War I). The monument conscientiously lists its US patent number. A room of the Molpír Museum behind it is dedicated to his memory.
Nearest urban centre: Trnava (21 km)
SNP 52 Tel: +421 (0)33 557-1125 Open Mon-Fri: 9:30-12:00 12:30-17:30,
Sat 9:30-12:00, Sun 13:00-17:00
Smolenický zámok (Smolenice Castle)
Tel: +421 (0)33 558-6191
The castle now serves as a congress centre and hotel.
Double rooms start at €59.75
Jaskyňa Driny (Driny Cave)
The only cave in western Slovakia,
located in the Smolenický kras (Smolenice Karst)
region southwest of Smolenice.
Tel: +421 (0)33 558-6200
Open Apr, May, Sep, Oct: 10:00-14:30,
Jul, Aug: 10:00-17:00