Slovakia

Top places to visit in Slovakia

Kosice Slovakia
(Last Updated On: 05/02/2019)

…or at least in north-east Slovakia. This part of the country, located just across the border from Poland, hides some really amazing places.

I’m really glad I’ve managed to visit Slovakia again and return to some of the best places there. With all the fascination with Czech Republic recently I forgot how great Slovakia is and this small weekend away reminded me why I used to enjoy this country so very much. I’m already thinking about more weekend trips there, this time to discover places like Slovensky Raj, Banska Stavnica or Trencin.

But in the meantime here’s the list of 5 places to visit in Slovakia, some real highlights of the country. I’ve been to each of them more than once and I’m sure I’ll come back there again.

One of my favorite places to visit in Slovakia – Košice

One of the main cities in Slovakia 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 here: 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!

visit Slovakia

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.

places to visit in Slovakia

It’s good to stay in Kosice at least two days as it’s such an interesting city! Kosice makes also a good base to travel for a day to Slovak Paradise, Tokaj or Bardejov. If you’re looking for the accommodation in Kosice I can definitely recommend these two places I’ve stayed in:

Spišské Podhradie

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 the 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 visited 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!

places to visit in Slovakia

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 a 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 walk.

places to visit in Slovakia

Levoča

Located 15kms away from Spisske Podhradie this another charming town is a must in your visit to 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 Evangelical 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 a few hours to see all gems that it has. Since 2009 it is the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

places to visit in Slovakia

Kežmarok

Yet another beautiful town with a long history that dates back to XVIIIth 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 strong international town, with Slovak, German, Hungarian and Jewish inhabitants, also among the magnates 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.

places to visit in Slovakia

Štrbské Pleso

Among all the Vysoke Tatry (High Tatra) towns that is my all time favorite. 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.

places to visit in Slovakia

The town is a great starting point for hiking 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.

places to visit in Slovakia

Other places in High Tatras

Probably the biggest attraction of High Tatras is the cable car to Lomnicky Stit, located 2 634 meters above the sea level. To get there you actually need to take three different cable cars but the last one is the most exciting one.

I wish I could tell you how it was but I can’t – I was this close to getting to the top of Lomnicky Stit but the weather condition on that day was really bad and the last cable car didn’t operate – I’ve learned about it when I was ready to board it as that’s when they’ve decided to close it for the day! Oh well, I will be back there one day, I’m sure of it!

Just one bit of advice – book your ticket for the cable car in advance as the number of tickets is limited. You can do it here.

Visit Slovakia

But don’t worry if for some reason you can’t get to Lomnicky Stit – there are other options for nice views too. From Stary Smokovec, you can take the small-gauge train to Hrebienok and enjoy the beautiful mountains around. I was there in the middle of January – perfect timing for Tatry Ice Master championships!

Visit Slovakia

Some of the ice sculptures were incredible but the most impressive one was definitely the ice chapel – I literally can’t imagine how someone can create such a masterpiece from the ice! If you happen to be in the High Tatras during Tatra Ice Master don’t hesitate to visit it!

Tatra Ice Master

My base to explore the north-east Slovakia is usually Poprad – one of the main cities in Slovakia, short drive away from High Tatras, Levoca, Kezmarok or Spisske Podhradie. Recently I stayed there at Aqua City Hotel and can definitely recomment this place. It has the rating of 8.5/10 on Booking and offers spacious rooms and delicious breakfast and dinners. What makes it special is the large spa and swimming facilities, available all year round. It’s a perfect place to relax after the whole active day of sightseeing! You can check the availability and prices on Booking or HotelsCombined.

Bardejov

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 the beautiful cathedral was 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!

places to visit in Slovakia

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!

places to visit in Slovakia

Banska Stiavnica

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 places to visit in Slovakia. Even if getting there might be slightly challenging 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 in 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!

places to visit in Slovakia

These are only very few examples of interesting places to visit in Slovakia and main cities 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 discovering them in the future when I visit Slovakia again.

I suggest everyone 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

And here is the map of all the places mentioned in the post:

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO SLOVAKIA

With over 15 years of independent traveling, I’ve learned which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust the following websites:

Flights – I search for the best deals on either Momondo or SkyScanner. Both search numerous sites to find the best offers. I also really like the “everywhere” option when searching for the flights as it often gives me the inspiration, if not for this trip then for the next time.

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation through Booking.com. They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if your plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs. I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use a few times. Check the best deals on accommodation in Slovakia here!

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road (I’ve learnt my lesson). I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me. Check the insurance options for your trip here!

Guide books – I do like reading a guide book before and during the trip. Depending on the destination I usually buy either Lonely Planet or Bradt. You can get your guidebook for Slovakia here (Lonely Planet available only where Slovakia is part of Eastern Europe book)


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

  • Would you like to travel to Central/Eastern Europe or the Balkans? Let me help you with travel planning! Click here for more details!
  • If you don’t want to miss new posts and news from me click here to sign to my newsletter! You can also follow me on Bloglovin!
  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Slovakia too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!

LIKED IT? PIN THIS POST FOR LATER!

Top places to visit in Slovakia       Top places to visit in Slovakia


love, kami 2

If you enjoyed that post why don't you share it with your friends? That would mean so much to me! Also be sure to join 27.000+ fellow travelers and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or Instagram for travel updates and even more pictures! If you don't want to miss new posts sign up to my newsletter or follow on Bloglovin!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  •  
    5
    Shares
  • 1
  •  
  • 4
  •  

24 Comments

  • Reply
    Eluned Kronacher-Edwards
    30/06/2015 at 19:44

    Haven’t been yet but am booked to go to Bratislava in December and will do day trip to Vienna. Kosice looks good for a short break too will add to the list. Do you have a post about Lublin please also just added to my list

  • Reply
    Vana Nik
    30/06/2015 at 20:53

    Visited Slovakia one month ago and I have to agree that it’s a really underrated country! Most people I know only have a day trip to Bratislava from Vienna. I really loved the countryside though! Great nature, breathtaking scenery, caves, lakes, castles, nice people and delicious food!

    • Reply
      Vana Nik
      03/07/2015 at 22:15

      I went to Liptovsky Mikulas and the nearby areas! I enjoyed nature, trekking and amazing views! Plus I visited one of the most impressive caves I have ever been, Demanovska Cave of Liberty! We also enjoyed a boat trip from Bratislava to Devin and its castle! Nice experience! :)

  • Reply
    Szymon Król
    30/06/2015 at 22:04

    Banská Bystrica, Donovaly, Ružomberok, Rožnava, Słowacki Raj, Tatry Wysokie… :) Słowacja jest piękna!

  • Reply
    Westwards
    01/07/2015 at 05:12

    Ruzomberok and Vlkolinec!

  • Reply
    Stephen
    01/07/2015 at 13:55

    Thanks for the Top 5 of Slovakia–especially because this is a lesser-traveled country that deserves some tourism attention. I’ve only been to Žilina and Bratislava, but would like to get back to explore more of Slovakia.

    • Reply
      kami
      28/07/2015 at 22:12

      you’re very welcome Stephen :) I hope you will be able to return there soon and discover more of Slovakia as it has so many great places to offer! Recently I was in Banska Stiavnica and that was such an incredibly beautiful town! I loved it!

  • Reply
    Obiektywnie
    01/07/2015 at 14:07

    W tym roku już w słowackich Wysokich Tatrach i kilku miejscowościach Spiszu oraz przejazdem przez Bratysławę.

  • Reply
    Jolanta Wicińska
    02/07/2015 at 07:58

    podoba mi się Słowacja i to bardzo …. podoba mi się tam klimat i ludzie… trzeba koniecznie tam zawitać!!!

  • Reply
    Agnieszka Szwed
    02/07/2015 at 08:51

    Miesiąc temu odwiedziłam Słowacki Raj. Pięknie było. Miło wspominam też Bańską Szczawnicę. Reszta kraju czeka jeszcze na odkrycie :)

  • Reply
    Abdullah Akbar
    11/09/2015 at 07:24

    Slovakia is truly beautiful, I am planning to visit in January.. I hope it’s not that cold…

    • Reply
      kami
      14/09/2015 at 15:14

      It’s possible it will be freezing cold but January should be good especially in Tatra Mountains. Hope you will enjoy Slovakia!

  • Reply
    Kristina
    01/12/2015 at 22:59

    Perfect post! I am so glad that you like my home country, it’s definitely stunning! I love the nature, castles, caves, cozy towns… In Slovakia is so much to do! Thanks for sharing this! :)

    • Reply
      kami
      07/12/2015 at 23:15

      thank you for your nice comment! Slovakia definitely has a lot to offer, too bad not many people know about it!

      • Reply
        G Singh
        05/08/2017 at 13:38

        Are you from SLOVAC….can you guide me 3-4 days to pent there in best way ??

        • Reply
          kami
          21/08/2017 at 20:04

          no, I’m not from Slovakia.

  • Reply
    Kinnar Dixit
    17/08/2017 at 13:36

    It was really a beautiful experience to go through your visit article. How good Bratislava is connected internationally? Do they have good airports? Can we get Vegetarian food in Slovakia?

    • Reply
      kami
      21/08/2017 at 20:05

      Thank you. Yes, Bratislava has an international airport, served mostly by low cost flights but the airport in Vienna is also very near. And yes, you can get vegetarian food in Slovakia :)

  • Reply
    A friend
    15/05/2018 at 14:59

    Hi Kami,

    greetings from USA/Canada. We are travelling to Slovakia in June. Found your top 5. What a gracious writer you are – appreciate all your insights.
    A pretty impressive and busy itinerary of your travel. Pardon the ignorance, I didnt read more of your articles but are you a professional traveller?

    • Reply
      kami
      23/05/2018 at 15:21

      Thank you for your lovely comment and kind words! No, I’m not a professional traveller. I have a regular, full time job and travel in my free time only. But it is my big passion and I enjoy it so much! All the best and happy travels!

  • Reply
    Eirene Oikonomou
    02/08/2018 at 06:29

    Great posts!Kami, You led me through Slovakia and I loved it!
    Beautiful Country!

    • Reply
      kami
      11/08/2018 at 13:17

      Thank you! Slovakia is such a beautiful and underrated country!

  • Reply
    Corina
    04/08/2018 at 11:48

    Hi Kami
    Lovely post.
    I arrive and have 2 nights, 1 full day in Bratislava and then I thought to take the train to Poprad to see the mountains for 3 nights and then 1 night in Kosice and back to Bratislava for my flight. I can only travel by public transport. Do you think Kosice is a better base than Poprad?
    Thank you for any advice. Much appreciated.

    • Reply
      kami
      11/08/2018 at 13:19

      If you’d like to see mountains then Poprad is better (or if you want to focus on Tatra then maybe Stary Smokovec or somewhere in that area?). From Poprad you can also go for a day to Levoca, Kezmarok and Spisske Podhradie. So I think this place is really fine! Have a great trip!

Leave a Reply

Let’s become friends!

Join me on Facebook for even more travel updates!