I guess not many of you have had the idea to visit Kosice. You might even want to google now what place I’m talking about. But let me tell you – this second biggest city in Slovakia is pretty amazing, incredibly underrated and with all the great things to do in Kosice it makes a perfect city break destination in Europe.
Kosice has everything you might wish for: a beautiful old town full of interesting monuments, some cool alternative spots, lots of great cafes and restaurants and some amazing day trip options! I’ve been to Kosice around 5 times by now, this summer I’ve spent 4 days there and I still can’t get over how wonderful this city is, how many options of things to do in Kosice there are and how perfect the place is for at least a weekend trip. It just keeps surprising me, how come people don’t even consider visiting Kosice?
Table of contents
Things to do in Kosice
There’re numerous things to see and do in Kosice, enough for few good days in the city!
The most important monument is St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral, preponderating the city. It’s the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe, works on it began in 1378. The building is stunning both inside and outside and the view from the tower is breathtaking and definitely worth taking 160 stairs up! St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral, together with next door Urban’s Tower and Michal’s Chapel, were proclaimed a national cultural heritage.
The whole Gothic complex is located in the heart of Hlavna ulica – Main street. This is the biggest historical area in Slovakia and walking up and down the pedestrian street, admiring beautiful bourgeois houses, or spending time in one of the numerous cafes and restaurants around is the highlight of every visit in the city and one of the best things to do in Kosice.
The majority of the Kosice attractions you want to see are around the Main street: next to the Gothic complex there’s the State Theatre with unique singing fountains just in front (such a cool thing!), grand palaces are built along the street, the narrow, charming lanes are hidden behind the arches on both sides and the East Slovak Museum (with the Gold Treasure hiding almost 3000 gold coins among few other things) can be found at the end of Hlavna.
Visit Kosice and its alternatice spots
Being the European Capital of Culture 2013, Kosice has a lot to offer also on the alternative front.
The city is the best street art gallery in Slovakia, with huge murals adorning walls of blocks all over the city. The former tobacco factory or military barracks now serve as cultural centers and the old swimming pool was transformed into the contemporary art museum!
Few steps away from the Main Street a charming lane – Hrnciarska – hides numerous craftsman stores.
Day trips from Kosice
Not only the city is extremely interesting, but it also has a lot of great day trips opportunities! Once you are done with Kosice sightseeing you should set off to see the region.
One hour drive from Kosice can take you to the Tokaj region known for its amazing wines and relaxing atmosphere. It makes a perfect day trip but you can easily spend a good few days there, just visiting (and enjoying) the wine cellars and discovering the area.
Every fan of active holidays will be delighted with nearby Tatra mountains and Slovak Paradise National park.
And if you’re looking for picture-perfect Central European towns you’re in for a treat too! Kosice can be a perfect base to explore eastern Slovakia! You can easily travel from Kosice to places like Bardejov.
-> Read more about top places to visit in Slovakia
How to get to Kosice
Kosice is easily accessible by train, bus or plane from numerous places around. The international airport is served by low-cost airline Wizzair with flights to the UK and Italy, there is also a daily connection with Warsaw thanks to LOT Polish airlines. You can look for the best flights to Kosice at SkyScanner (which is my personal favorite website when looking for flights).
Where to stay in Kosice
During my numerous trips to the city I could have checked numerous Kosice accommodation options. Places I can definitely recommend are:
- Boutique Hotel Bristol (9.1/10 on Booking), located a few steps away from the Cathedral, with spacious rooms and excellent service
- Hotel Ambassador (8,7/10 on Booking), located right on the main street, a very decent 4-stars hotel.
- Penzión Dobré Časy (8,2/10 on Booking), a budget-friendly option in the Old Town, not far from the main street and the train/bus station, with a really nice pub downstairs.
You can also search for the best place to stay in Kosice on the map below. The best location is along the Hlavna street and in the nearby back streets.
Where to eat in Kosice
Again, there’re numerous options for dining out. Some of the best restaurants include Primi, Villa Regia, Le Colonial, Camelot and Med Malina. And all of them serve some vegetarian options! Vyprazany syr might be one of my beloved food ever!!
Kosice has some really great cafes as well, like “Smelly cat”, named after everyone’s favorite tv show “Friends”. I found Foursquare to be the best source of information about places to eat and drink.
-> Read more about vegetarian food in Slovakia
Events in Kosice
Did you know that Kosice Marathon is the oldest one in Europe and the second oldest in the world, after the Boston Marathon? It takes place on the first Sunday in October every year and brings a big joy to the city.
At the end of November Main Street turns into the Christmas wonderland. For the whole list of events take a look at Visit Kosice website.
Is it worth to visit Kosice?
The second biggest city in Slovakia has everything you might look for in the perfect city break destination: beautiful monuments, interesting history, great day trips, and Central-European charm. It isn’t even half as crowded as nearby Prague, Cracow or Budapest and you get to enjoy all the best things to do in Kosice in the peace and quiet atmosphere.
And the best thing – Kosice is a really good money value! Make sure to take a look at Visit Kosice website to learn more about the city and plan your trip there! And you should watch this great video about Kosice made by my friends at Visegrad Hostels!
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Disclaimer: I visited Kosice in partnership with Visit Kosice however all the opinions are 100% mine, as always.
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