Devinska Kobyla Missile Base – Bratislava, Slovakia - Atlas Obscura

Built between 1979 and 1983, this abandoned missile base combines a pleasant forest hike with urban exploration.  The base was built as a part of the Warsaw Pact to provide defense against air attacks from NATO. It was abandoned around 1996 and the mostly concrete structures are being reclaimed by nature. There are at least 15 buildings and missile storage bunkers remaining. Some are easy to find as you follow the paved paths, and others are hidden in the woods. 

During the base’s peak operation, there were 16 anti-aircraft missiles housed in the bunkers. Now the bunkers are concrete shells, some of which have narrow hallways with dark, windowless empty rooms where a flashlight is necessary. Many of the buildings are covered in graffiti, and it appears that the larger pieces are updated regularly. 

If you continue just above the highest point in the base, there is also a new lookout tower with sweeping views of Bratislava and eastern Austria.  On clear days, you can also see Czechia and Hungary.

Know Before You Go

The easiest way to reach the base is from the Dubravka neighborhood.  Follow Plachého street to Vojenská Cesta and continue going uphill until you reach a gate.  No cars are allowed beyond this gate. Near the gate, there is space for parallel parking on the sides of the road. You then need to walk up the paved road beyond the gate for 30-45 minutes (depending on your speed) and you will reach the remnants of a fence with a large abandoned building on the left. The paved road loops around the outside of the base and you can reach many of the abandoned structures from that road.

If you prefer to walk, there is an unpaved trail that stays close to the paved road for the majority of the walk to the base. You can also approach the base on foot from Devín or Devínska Nova Ves. Online guides to hiking trails on Devinska Kobyla are available.

Take care while exploring—there are several man-made holes in the ground that are not covered. And in some of the buildings there are also holes in the floors that can be hard to spot. Around some of the buildings, there is a lot of broken glass and rusty metal on the ground.  Sturdy footwear is recommended. If you choose to explore inside the bunkers, a flashlight is needed.

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July 2, 2021

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