The year 860 marks when the name of this dramatic castle was first written. The castle of Hochosterwitz crowns the top of a steep, isolated outcropping, looking as if it has just emerged from the pages of a fairy tale. It was in this castle that the forces of "Pocket-Mouthed Meg"—Margarethe Maultasch, were tricked by two slaughtered oxen dropped onto the heads of its soldiers. Those inside the fortress were starving, but the strategy succeeded, and, dispirited by such
apparent proof of abundant supplies, the Tyrolese abandoned the siege. The most recent fortifications were added in the late 1500s against invading Turks; each of the 14 towered gates is a small fortress unto itself. Inside, there's an impressive collection of armor and weaponry plus a café-restaurant in the inner courtyard. There's a glass elevator (accommodating wheelchairs) from a point near the parking-lot ticket office. The hike up the rather steep path to Hochosterwitz adds to the drama. Your reward at the summit is spectacular vistas from every vantage point. Get to the castle on the back road from Treibach or via Route 83/E7.