Table of contents
Places to visit in Slovakia
The second biggest Slovak city and surely the capital of the east part of the country. Košice dates back to the 13th century and the rich history can be widely seen in it. The city center (that consist of the historical part of the town) is located in and around the Hlavna ulica (Main street) and has the largest number of historical monuments in Slovakia. Great examples of buildings from various periods of history can be found there: gothic, renaissance, baroque and art-nouveau. The most important building in Košice is the largest church in Slovakia – St. Elisabeth Cathedral – it stands proudly in the very center of the city and dominates the area with its high towers. It is also the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe. In the summer on the square between the Cathedral and the Theatre the dancing fountain can be found – you can see this in the great movie about Kosice my friends at Visegrad Hostels did!
I personally prefer Košice over Bratislava big time. It’s really beautiful with it’s long Hlavna ulica and narrow streets going out of it. That’s also one of the cities where I feel like I really am in Eastern Europe. It definitely has the charm that is unique in that part of the world. In 2013 Košice was the European Capital of Culture title.
The small town located in the Spiš region that hides two true gems: Spišsky Hrad and Spišska Kapitula – both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The castle stands proudly above the town and can be seen from almost every corner of it. It was built in XIIth century and is one of the largest castles sites in Europe. It burnt down in 1780 and never was fully rebuilt, these days only ruins can be visit but it’s not hard to imagine how magnificent and important it used to be – it still is really huge! It takes around half an hour to hike to the castle from the town and besides the possibility to visit the ruins you’ll be rewarded with the breathtaking view of the Spiš region and even Tatra mountains if you’re lucky with the weather. Just don’t make my mistake and check out the opening hours before hiking up there!
On the other side of Spišske Podhradie the Kapitula can be found. It’s an exceptionally well-preserved town that, thanks to being the main seat of the church administration, is often called “Slovakian Vatican”. Spišska Kapitula is surrounded by wall with St. Martin Cathedral, a former monastery and one street inside. The whole town is a great example of medieval construction.
Spišske Podhradie itself is worth wandering around too. The colorful, Renaissance merchants’ houses make it a pleasant place for the a walk.
Located 15kms away from Spisske Podhradie this another charming town is a must in your visit in Slovakia. The historic center is surrounded by the well-preserved wall, walking inside it is like stepping back in time. Narrow streets with small, colorful houses led to the main square – Namestie Majstra Pavla. Three really important buildings are located there – the Old Town Hall (dates back to XVth century), the Evangelican Lutheran Church and St. James Church. The last one hides a real treasure – the highest wooden altar in the world. Even if Levoča is a small town it takes at least few hours to see all gems that it has. Since 2009 it is the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Yet another beautiful town with long history that dates back to XIIIth century. The name of it comes from the German “Kasemarkt” which means “cheese market” – back in the old times Kežmarok had the right to organize this kind of markets. It used to be a strongly international town, with Slovak, German, Hungarian and Jewish inhabitants, also among the mangats of the town. That, together with its rich whereabouts resulted in many interesting monuments. Some of the main ones include wooden articular church (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Gothic castle, the Town Hall, Baroque church and many Renaissance merchant houses. The city is located on the footsteps of Tatra mountains that can be seen through the arches of narrow streets.
Among all the Vysoke Tatry (High Tatra) towns that is my all time favourite. Located at the end of the railway line from Poprad it’s the most famous thanks to the lake that is in the middle of the town. Walking around it takes around half an hour and is definitely one of the most pleasant things to do there. In the wintertime the lake can be frozen until May and the cross country tracks lead through and around it. The most famous landmark in Štrbské Pleso is the ski jumping hill that was built for the FIS Ski Championships in 1970, sadly it’s not used anymore.
The town is a great starting point for breathtaking hikes in the Tatra Mountains, including climbing to Kriváň (2.494ms above the sea level) – the national mountain of Slovakia. If you’re lazy there’re cable cars that can take you higher to the mountains from where you can start hiking. Or you can as well just sit on the lakeshore and admire the magnificent mountains in front of you.
In 3 years after writing this post I’ve managed to visit even more great places in Slovakia. Among them all two deserves more attention as I dare to say they’re one of the most beautiful towns in Europe, yet not known by many. So here you have even more great places to visit in Slovakia!
You might remember Bardejov from the post “29 most beautiful towns in Central Europe” I published here a while ago. I’ve been hoping to go there for such a long time yet it never has been on my way. When I finally had a chance to visit Bardejov I was enchanted! The town hall square with long rows of colorful houses and beautiful cathedral were just the prettiest, like from the painting! The view from the top of the cathedral tower takes the breath away! And the Icon Museum is a real gem, not only of the city but of whole Slovakia! The town made it to UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 as a perfect example of the medieval trading towns in Central Europe. The golden times are long gone but don’t be fooled by how still the town feels, there’re surprisingly many cultural events happening in Bardejov!
There’s one more reason to visit Bardejov – a nearby spa suburb Bardejovske Kupele. Even the famous Empress Sissi came here for the treatment! All kinds of mineral water from Bardejovske Kupele can help with curing more or less every disease!
Another UNESCO listed town in Slovakia, it’s so beautiful that it looks surreal! Once an important silver mining center of Europe, these days it’s one of the best place to visit in Slovakia. Even if getting there might be slightly challengig it’s so worth it! I bet you will fall in love with Banska Stiavnica as much as I did! I spent 3 days there and it wasn’t enough, it’s a perfect place to enjoy a slow life of Central Europe! Try to be there in mid July for the Live Chess festival, it was one of the most unique events I’ve ever attended! Read more about my time in Banska Stiavnica here!
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These are only very few examples of interesting places to visit in Slovakia that I truly enjoyed and I can easily recommend to everyone. But this small country in the heart of Europe hides many more gems and I’m really looking forward to discover them in future. And I suggest everyone to visit Slovakia as well, sooner the better, before too many people discover it. In the meantime, if you wanna learn more about delicious Slovak vegetarian food check out my latest post about it here
Have you been to any of these places? Would you like to visit Slovakia?
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If you think of visiting Slovakia or just want to read more about the country take a look at other posts I wrote about the country:
- Visit Kosice – a perfect city break destination in Europe
- Bratislava-more than just a day trip from Vienna
- Banska Stiavnica – one of the most beautiful towns in Europe
- and more!
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