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 makes a perfect city break destination in Europe. It 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 and how perfect it is for at least a weekend trip. It just keeps surprising me, how come people don’t even consider visiting Kosice??
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Top Attracions 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 Kosice. The majority of the 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 culture 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.
Daytrips from Kosice
Not only the city is extremely interesting, it also has a lot of great day trips opportunities! 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 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!
-> Read more about top places to visit in Slovakia
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 UK and Italy and at the end of March 2016 the city will get a daily connection with Warsaw too thanks to LOT Polish airlines. There’re direct trains to Budapest (3.5 hours), Bratislava (5 hours) or Prague (8 hours) and bus services to Cracow (6 hours).
Where to stay in Kosice
The city offers various accommodation options for all tastes. If you’re looking for something more upscale Hotel Ambassador seems like a good choice, located right on the Hlavna ulica, in the heart of Kosice. For more budget friendly options Hostel Kosice (part of Visegrad Hostels) is the best choice – it’s hidden in the narrow street of the Old Town and the downstairs Club Madrid is apparently one of the favorite places of young Kosicans to hang out.
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 second oldest in the world, after 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.
Why should you 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 Kosice has to offer 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!
So, when are you going to visit Kosice? Have you been to Slovakia?
If you think of visiting Slovakia or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
Note: I visited Kosice in partnership with Visit Kosice however all the opinions are 100% mine, as always.
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