When you recall images of Slovakia in your mind’s eye, you most likely think of Bratislava. However, there is more to Slovakia than its charming capital city. There are hundreds of epic things to do in Slovakia, and it is hard to pick only a few.
This small central European country has fairy-tale castles, colourful medieval cities, untouched traditional villages and open-air museums. Slovakia is also known for its national parks with scenic hiking trails, ski slopes, spas and geothermal waters. It also has collapsed volcanoes and thousands of caves – some of which are UNESCO protected sites. Yes, that is right – Slovakia is steep in culture. It is also a dream destination for outdoor lovers.
Spectacular places to visit in Slovakia
Wondering what are the best things to do in Slovakia that aren’t Bratislava? Here are some of the gorgeous places you’ve got to check out in Slovakia.
Things to do in Slovakia for UNESCO lovers
1. Spiš Castle
Did you know that beautiful Slovakia has the highest number of castles per capita in the world? This small country in the heart of Europe has more than 600 castles and châteaux. One of them is Spiš Castle – it is one of the 1000 most important monuments in the world. You are quite right to think that Spiš Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Spiš Castle in Slovakia
The construction of this fortification dates back to the 12th century. Throughout the centuries, the castle became an important economic and cultural centre for this part of the Kingdom of Hungary. Spiš Castle kept growing and expanding for centuries. Today ruins of Spiš Castle are the largest castle complex not only in Slovakia but also in Central Europe.
Due to its dramatic locations, it is possible to see the remains of Spiš Castle from far away.
Despite its ruined state, Spiš Castle is one of the best places to visit in Slovakia. The remains of the castle sit on a travertine hill overlooking Spišské Podhradie village. Once here, climb the ramparts of the fortification. Also, visit the high tower for the beautiful views. Don’t miss an exhibit of torture devices once used at the castle. You will also find here Spiš Museum.
Climbing the ramparts of the largest fortified castle in Central Europe is one of the best things to do in Slovakia. Spiš Castle is one of the most visited sites in the Kosice region. Therefore, it is one of the popular day trips from Kosice.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Driving from Kosice to Spiš Castle takes about 1 hour (75 km /46mi). Bear in mind that Spiš Castle is closed between November and March. The castle is open daily from April to October, and the entrance fee is € 8. Guided tours and audio guides are also in English. If visiting during the summer months, check out the castle’s schedule. They are often medieval festivals and night tours in the summer.
What to see near Spiš Castle
After exploring Spiš Castle, stop at nearby Spišská Kapitula, which many people call the ‘Vatican of Slovakia’. You will find beautiful Romanesque churches, gothic architecture, and baroque decorations on houses there. Also, visit St Martin’s Cathedral. It is one of the largest and most beautiful Romanesque monuments in Slovakia.
2. Banská Štiavnica
For those who would like to explore further afield, Banska Stiavnica should be your next stop. UNESCO-protected Banska Stiavnica is not only one of the most picturesque Slovak towns but is also rich in history. It also has a unique position – this historic town sits right in the middle of a caldera from an ancient volcano that collapsed a long time ago. But there are more reasons to visit this Slovak town.
Banska Stiavnica is one of the epic places to visit in Slovakia. It is because this town will make you feel as if you’ve stepped inside the ancient fairy-tale. Moreover, Stiavnica is also an ideal destination for recreation and a romantic getaway.
This charming romantic town in the central part of the country is Slovakia’s oldest mining town. What’s more, this mining town used to be “Europe’s El Dorado”. You are quite right to think that many years ago, Banska Stiavnica was one of the richest cities in medieval Europe. This town was a producer of silver and other metals for many centuries.
Banska Stiavnica, also called the “Silver Town”, got rich thanks to the extractions of silver and minerals.
In addition to all this, medieval Stiavnica has beautiful colourful buildings and palaces from the late Gothic and Renaissance periods. Two fortifications and the Calvary are some of the top attractions in the town. The Calvary with over twenty chapels and churches offer stunning views of the preserved town and green rolling hills.
Today, exploring Banska Stiavnica is one of the best things to do in Slovakia if you want to learn more about mining history. Make sure you visit the open-air museum, where you can walk deep underground to see what life in the mines was really like.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Driving to Banska Stiavnica from the capital takes about 2 hours (173 km, 107 mi). You can pair it with a trip to Bojnice Castle, which you can find about a 1-hour drive from Stiavnica.
3. Dobšinská Ice Cave
Don’t miss a trip to the spectacular Dobšinská Ice Cave in the Slovak Paradise National Park.
Did you know that Slovakia is home to almost 2,500 caves? Yes, that is correct – Slovakia has not only many castles but also caves. Some of them even have UNESCO World Heritage status. One of them is the Dobšinská Ice Cave.
What makes the Dobšinská Ice Cave unique? As the name suggests, this cave is covered with ice – even on a hot summer day. Here you can see stunning natural ice formations, such as ice stalagmites, and semi-frozen waterfalls. In some places, the ice thickness reaches over 26 metres (85 ft). The Dobšinská Ice Cave is one of the largest ice caves in the world. Moreover, it is also one of the first caves in Europe with electric lighting.
The Dobšinská Ice Cave ranks among the largest ice caves in the world. The total ice volume is about 125 000 cubic metres. Until the year 1946, the public could ice skate in the cave.
Exploring the Dobšinská Ice Cave is one of the best things to do in Slovakia because this cave is one of the most valuable natural sites in the country. Moreover, the UNESCO Dobšinská Ice Cave is a part of the Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst site.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- You will find the Dobšinská Ice Cave near the mining town of Dobšiná in the eastern part of the country.
- The Dobšinská Ice Cave is open to the public between May and September.
- The walk up to the cave from the car park takes about 25 minutes. It also requires a hike up a hill.
- The temperature stays below the freezing point all year round. Hence, wear warm clothes.
- Even though the guided tour is only in the Slovak language, it is definitely worth visiting this unusual cave.
4. Ochtinska Aragonite Cave, Slovakia
Ochtinska Aragonite Cave is the only cave of its kind in Europe.
It is well worth taking a trip to one more cave, which you can find in southern Slovakia. Ochtinska Aragonite Cave in Slovakia is only one of three aragonite caves in the world. The other two are in Argentina and Mexico. Therefore, visiting Ochtinska Aragonite Cave is one of the unique things to do in Slovakia.
What makes Ochtinska Aragonite Cave unique is its rare aragonite formations and ornamentations. Although Ochtinska Aragonite cave is not large, it is one of the unique places to visit in Slovakia. Even UNESCO included this unusual cave on its list.
GOOD TO KNOW:
It takes about 1 hour and a half to get to Ochtinska Aragonite Cave from Kosice by car (94 km / 58 mi). The temperature in the cave is about 7 ºC.
While visiting central Slovakia, you should make time for a detour to Vlkolinec in the Liptov region. This tiny mountain hamlet is one of the few remaining folk villages in Central Europe. UNESCO World Heritage Vlkolinec is world-famous for folk architecture from the 14th century. Here you can see 45 traditional log houses, the beautiful Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, and the bell tower. Also, visit the museum and buy some handicrafts from the locals.
Wandering the colourful streets of peaceful Vlkolinec is one of the best things to do in Slovakia because this UNESCO site is one of its kind in Central Europe. This authentic open-air museum, surrounded by nature, is still home to about 30 locals. It is a rarity that such an old village is still alive.
Vlkolinec is not only famous for fine folk architecture but also for its laidback atmosphere. Also, there are some epic hikes nearby.
This mountain village is one of ten Slovak villages with the status of folk architecture. Therefore, visiting Vlkolinec is one of the best places to visit in Slovakia if you are interested in folk architecture.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The closest town to Vlkolinec is Ruzomberok – it is well connected with Bratislava and Kosice. You can reach Vlkolinec from Bratislava in about 2 hours and 45 minutes by car (259 km/ 160 mi). From Kosice, it will take you about 2 hours by car (197 km / 122 mi). If travelling by train, it takes 3 and half hours from Bratislava. A single train ticket costs €12. The entry fee to Vlkolinec is €3 – they accept cash only.
Bardejov – ‘little Germany’ within Slovakia
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Slovakia is undoubtedly Bardejov. This pretty town in the northeastern part of the country is not usually on the bucket list of many international visitors. But don’t fool yourself – Bardejov is well worth visiting.
Once here, get your camera ready and start exploring its town centre. It is well preserved fortified medieval town, and most people visit it because of its architecture. You probably don’t know it, but many years ago, trading routes from the Balkans to the north crossed through the town, and this town became important. During the Middle Ages, this town was one of the most prosperous places in Upper Hungary.
Today, Bardejov, with Germanic influences, is one of the most gothic towns in the country. Bardejov is well preserved from its medieval days, and, therefore, UNESCO put it on its list. And they are not wrong. Bardejov is a perfect example of a fortified medieval town – and you can still see the original city walls.
WHAT TO SEE IN BARDEJOV
Strolling Market Square in the Old Town is one of the best things to do in Slovakia. It’s because this square is famous for rows of pastel-coloured houses and a beautiful town hall. Townhall, which lies in the middle of the square, is home to Šariš Museum. Don’t miss the old synagogue, a small Jewish quarter and also the Roman Catholic Basilica of St Gilles. For the best views of the town don’t forget to climb the tower of the Basilica of St Giles.
Open-air museum in Bardejov
Afterwards, visit Bardejovske Kupele. This spa town is about a 10-minute drive away from the centre. Nearby is also an open-air museum with wooden architecture typical for two ethnic groups – Slovaks and Rusyns. The museum is one of the top attractions in the region because it has typical residential timber houses and sacral buildings. This open-air museum presents the folk culture and architecture from eastern Slovakia. It is a great place to visit during the summer.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The journey from Kosice to Bardejov takes about 1 hour and a half (96 km/ 59 mi). Visiting Bardejov is one of the best day trips from Kosice because UNESCO Bardejov is one of the prettiest Slovak towns.
The Old Town of Levoca
It is easy to see why Levoca is one of the popular day trips from Kosice. This former free royal town experienced boom and prosperity during medieval times. As a result, the Master Pavol’s Square is home to more than sixty Gothic and Renaissance townhouses. This gorgeous rectangular square is also famous for the Town Hall and the St. James Church.
The St. James’ Church is one of the most famous sacral buildings in the country. It has the highest wooden altar in the world (18.62 m). It is the work of Master Pavol.
After exploring the church’s interior, climb the tower to see the famous square with the colourful burgher’s houses (where the wealthy people lived).
If possible, visit the picturesque Town Hall, which is one of the highlights of the town. It is one of the finest Renaissance buildings in Slovakia. The Old Town Hall is now a museum. Also, don’t miss ‘the Cage of Shame’ which was used for punishing criminals in the past.
Exploring UNESCO Levoca is one of the best things to do in Slovakia for everyone interested in history and architecture. It is also a perfect day trip if you are after a quiet getaway. The Old Town of Levoca still has its original town walls dating back to the 13th century. The fortifications are well-preserved.
The Marian Hill (Marianska Hora) above the town is one of the oldest and the most famous pilgrimage sites in Slovakia.
GOOD TO KNOW:
After exploring Levoca, visit nearby Spis Castle and the High Tatras. It is only a 20-minute drive to Poprad (32 km/ 19 mi). If driving from Kosice, then it takes about 1 hour (90 km /55 mi).
8. Domica Cave in Slovakia
If you spend more time in the Kosice region in Eastern Slovakia, don’t miss the Domica Cave. It is the largest cave in Slovak Karst National Park and is very beautiful. It is also very close to the Slovak – Hungarian border. This cave is a part of a 25 km long cave system, out of which a quarter is in Slovakia. No wonder UNESCO has added the Domica Cave to its list. Therefore, Domica Cave is one of the best places to visit in Slovakia.
The tour in the Domica Cave lasts up to an hour and is definitely worth a visit.
The scenery in the Domica Cave certainly is unique. Not only you will see photogenic stalactites and stalagmites, but you can also take a romantic boat tour. For those reasons, visiting the Domica Cave is one of the best things to do in Slovakia.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- the closest town to the Domica Cave is Rožňava -it is about a 1 hour and 15 minutes drive away from Kosice. Due to its close proximity, the Domica Cave is one of the best day trips from Košice. The parking is right outside the entrance.
- the Domica Cave is not open on Mondays and all of January.
Pair your trip to the Domica Cave with nearby Šomoška Castle and Gomasek Cave (Gombasecka jaskyna).
If you have an extra day during your trip to the High Tatras in Slovakia, visit nearby Kezmarok. This town in eastern Slovakia is a getaway to the Tatra Mountains. It may be small, but it is famous for pastel-coloured buildings, Kezmarok Castle and its UNESCO wooden church. Yes, that is right, this small town is home to the wooden articular church. It is one of only five Lutheran wooden churches remaining in the country. This white protestant church is unique because the interior is all of wood. It was also built without using any metal nails. Everything in the church is wooden, even nails and church organ with pipes. For those reasons, visiting Kezmarok is one of the unique things to do in Slovakia.
After exploring the Protestant wooden articular church, stop at the nearby evangelical church, which is also beautiful.
GOOD TO KNOW:
When visiting Kezmarok from Strbske Pleso in the High Tatras, it will take you about 40 minutes to get there (42 km / 26 mi). Alternatively, the High Tatras mountain resorts of Tatranska Lomnica and Stary Smokovec are only a 20 minute drive from Kezmarok (15 km /9.3 mi).
You cannot take a trip to Slovakia without sampling the local cuisine in one of the restaurants. Be sure to try Bryndzove Halusky – potato dumplings with sheep’s cheese and bacon on top.
Things to do in Slovakia for castle lovers
10. Orava Castle
Beautiful Orava Castle set on a hill above the Orava River in northern Slovakia
If you find yourself in Slovakia, make time to visit Orava Castle. It is one of the most impressive castles in the country. This beautiful medieval castle, which sits on top of a rocky cliff, dates all the way back to the 13th century. Yes, that is correct, this fortification remembers the Hungarian Kingdom, which Slovakia was once part of. Many years ago, this castle protected the main road to Poland.
Each generation of aristocrats and noblemen added its own touches and additions to the castle.
Today, Orava Castle is one the best places to visit in Slovakia. It’s because this gorgeous fortification is one of the top attractions in the country. Moreover, Orava Castle is well-preserved and offers stunning views of the complex and the hills. But that is not all, though – there are entertaining live performances that showcase what life was back in the Middle Ages. The castle is also home to the Orava Museum, where you can see an exhibition that focuses on regional folk culture.
Therefore, exploring Orava Castle is one of the best things to do in Slovakia for castle lovers.
Download an English Orava Castle audio guide in the App Store or Google Play. Learn fun facts about the castle’s history.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Driving from Bratislava to Orava Castle takes under 3 hours by car. If travelling by train, it takes 4 hrs and 1 change. You will find the castle within walking distance from the railway station Oravsky Podzamok.
It is easy to see why Bojnice Castle is one of the best places to visit in Slovakia. This romantic castle with pink towers is a National cultural monument in Slovakia. But that is not all, Bojnice Castle will fulfil all your Disney fantasies.
More than 900 years old Bojnice Castle has a rich history, a medieval feel and a cave under the castle. It also has a beautiful park, which allows you to see the chateau from different angles. There are also numerous public events all year round.
The previous owner took inspiration from the castles of France’s Loire Valley. And he did an excellent job. Today Bojnice Castle is not only one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia – but it is also one of the most visited castles. The castle is also rich in legends.
Bojnice Castle stands on a travertine hill and overlooks the town.
Visiting Bojnice Castle is one of the best things to do in Slovakia for castle lovers. It is a perfect destination for romantic getaways. Taking an organised bus tour to Bojnice for the day is a must if you are in Slovakia for more than a few days. Alternatively, rent a car and explore Bojnice on your own.
Don’t miss the observation tower located in the mountains about the town – it offers beautiful views of the castle.
It is also worth taking a trip to Trencin, which you can find near the border with the Czech Republic. Trencin is one of the best cities to visit in Slovakia because this town is home to one of the most beautiful castles in the country. Medieval Trencin Castle, which lies atop a rock, guarded important trade routes in the past. Nowadays, Trencin Castle is a National Cultural Monument and one of the best places to visit in Slovakia.
Trencin Castle became the residence of Matthew III Csak – the legendary “Lord of the River Vah and the Tatra Mountains”. Yes, that is correct, Matthew Csak owned almost 50 castles at the end of the 13th century. He ruled the northwestern counties of Medieval Hungary. Today, you can explore Trencin Castle and see beautiful views from the tallest tower. Trencin Castle is also home to a museum where you can learn more about the region’s history. During the summer months, there is medieval entertainment for kids.
Trencin Castle, one of the most famous historical monuments of the Povazie Region, Slovakia
After visiting the castle, stroll along the charming Peace Square (Mierove Namestie), where you can find plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops. Don’t forget to climb the City Tower (Mestska veza). The tower offers stunning views of the castle and the old town. Also, check out the Synagogue and the nearby forest park Brezina. Those visiting Trencin at the beginning of July should not miss the POHODA Festival at Trencin airport. It is a three-day event and the most famous festival in Slovakia.
The history of Trencin Castle goes back to the age of the Roman Empire. Find Roman writing telling about the victory at Laugaricio (Roman for Trencin) on a rock below the castle.
GOOD TO KNOW:
A day trip to Trencin is an easy day trip from Bratislava. There are regular direct trains from Bratislava to Trencin (1 hour and 20 minutes). It also takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes if travelling by car, (130 km/ 80 mi).
13. Beckov Castle
Beckov Castle is visible from far away.
If you have a spare hour (or two) while visiting the northwestern region of Slovakia, stop at Beckov Castle. Beckov Castle, which stands on a high cliff above the village with the same name, is a dominant feature on the horizon. For many years, the castle’s location helped to protect the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s borders. Eye-catching Beckov Castle was home to knights and noble families before the fire destroyed this fortress in the 18th century. Today Beckov Castle is one of the popular places to visit in Slovakia because these fortress ruins are a natural cultural monument. Also, this medieval castle is one of the most famous heritage sites in the country. Even though much of the interior is in ruins, it is safe to walk around. Discover the original purpose of each room and enjoy the views of the countryside.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Beckov Castle is about a 1-hour drive from Bratislava. It is a popular stop for many visitors because this fortress makes an easy pullover from the D1 motorway. The walk to the castle from the village takes about 10 minutes and is suitable for kids and the elderly.
14. Šomoška Castle in Slovakia
Slovakia is the land of castles.
One of the beautiful places to visit in Slovakia is also Šomoška Castle, which you can find close to the Slovak – Hungarian border. Šomoška Castle was once one of the Hungarian fortresses that defended the country against the Turkish threat. Even though Šomoška Castle is today in ruins, it is well worth exploring this place.
The ruins of this 13th-century fortress are well preserved and well worth checking if exploring the south of Slovakia. You will not find the crowds here, and there is a good chance you will have the ruins just to yourself.
Šomoška Castle is accessible from both sides – Slovak and Hungarian. Hiking from the Hungarian side is very easy, but the Slovak side is more interesting. It has a lovely educational hike where you can see unusual lava formations.
Exploring Šomoška Castle is one of the best things to do in Slovakia not only for castle lovers and outdoor lovers. Inside the Šomoška Nature Reserve, you will find ruins of the fortress, a stone sea and a stone waterfall, which are unique rock formations in the world. Therefore, Šomoška Castle is of the best places to visit in Slovakia.
Hiking to Šomoška Castle
With that in mind, you want to hike from the Slovak side. Drive to a parking lot in front of the Nature Reserve. Afterwards, continue on foot via a path following the green marks. A pleasant 45-minute educational hike is perfect even for families with children. On your way to Šomoška Castle, you admire a unique natural phenomenon – a stone waterfall and a stone sea. Yes, you read it right, a short walk from Šomoška Castle, you will see 9 metres (30 foot) high stone waterfall. It formed around 4 million years ago when basalt lava hardened into these unique columns. The Stone waterfall (Kamenný vodopád) is a unique attraction on a European scale. It is one of only seven stone waterfalls found in the world.
The Stone waterfall is an unusual rock formation and unique natural phenomenon, not only in Slovakia but also in the world.
But that is not all, just a short walk from Šomoška Castle, you will find another geological wonder – the stone sea. It is a large area that consists of shards and rocks that have cascaded from the formations. The previous owners of the castle used similar stones when building Šomoška Castle.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Šomoška Castle lies 172 km (106 mi) from Košice – it is about a 2, 5 hours drive. Šomoška Castle is one of the best day trips from Košice if you pair it with a visit to nearby caves (Domica cave and Gomasecka cave).
Things to do in Slovakia for nature lovers
15. High Tatras in Slovakia
One of the first tourist destinations most people head to is the High Tatras, and there is a reason for that. The national park located in the north of Slovakia along the border with Poland is, in fact, too beautiful to skip. The High Tatras mountain region is famous for majestic peaks, alpine lakes, thundering waterfalls and clear air. What’s more, the High Tatras are the most famous Slovak national park. Also, it is the smallest alpine mountain range in Europe. For those reasons, the High Tatras is one of the best places to visit in Slovakia for nature lovers.
This stunning mountain region is famous for beautiful hiking trails. They are suitable for people of all experience levels. There are many trails to follow, and you can easily spend a week here. Mountains receive a lot of snow, and most of the paths close during the winter months. During the winter, several ski resorts are a skier’s paradise.
Visit the highest and most visited peak in Slovakia – Lomnicky Peak (Lomnický štít). Reach more than 2,600 metres high peak by a cable car and spend a night at the highest situated apartment in Central Europe.
16. Špania Dolina
Špania Dolina is not only picturesque but also rich in history. It also has very few tourists around.
If you prefer something a little quieter, consider visiting Špania Dolina. Špania Dolina is a hidden gem of Slovakia. In fact, it is one of the best-kept secrets of the locals. Moreover, this tiny dot on a map seems more like a fairy tale than just a village in central Slovakia.
Back in the days, this historic village with a wood-topped church was, in fact, a mining town. The hills around Špania Dolina were rich with copper ore. Mining began here as early as the Bronze Age. Today, peaceful Špania Dolina is a living museum. It has crisp clear air and is perfect for those who want to heal their soul.
Visiting Špania Dolina is one of the unique things to do in Slovakia. It is because it is one of the cultural treasures of the country. Also, the nearby hills offer some of the best hiking in Slovakia. The area is also famous for mountain biking and cross-country skiing.
Exploring Špania Dolina
Start at the main square and stop at the white church – it’s a symbol of the village. Afterwards, explore the nearby streets with beautiful Renaissance wooden houses. In the past, they were the former miners’ houses. Also, do not miss the klopačka tower – it is a unique bell tower that used to call miners to work early in the morning. There is also a Copper Museum for those who would like to learn more about mining history.
There are several hiking trails you can take. Look at the map, it is at the main square. Take the educational Mine Trail. Not only it is an easy 1-hour hike, but the trail also offers breathtaking views of the area.
Špania Dolina is one of the unique places to visit in Slovakia because it is an authentic experience with a rich mining heritage.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Driving to Špania Dolina from Bratislava takes around 2.5 hours (220 km, 136 mi).
17. Slovak Paradise National Park (Slovensky Raj)
The Slovak Paradise National Park is famous for its stunning scenery.
If you find yourself in the Eastern part of Slovakia, don’t miss Slovak Paradise. Even though it is not the largest national park in Slovakia, it is one of the most famous parks. Sparkling waterfalls, deep rocky canyons, valleys and rivers make the Slovak Paradise one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
the famous Tomasovky View
There are about 300 kilometres of hiking trails to choose from – many of them feature ladders, chains and bridges. The hiking trails with hanging bridges and plank walkways have different difficulty levels. They are also well-marked (red, blue, yellow and green).
Tomašovský výhľad, the Slovak Paradise
The most famous hiking trails are the 15 km long Prielom Hornadu and the 75-metre high Zavojovy waterfall. Also, make sure you have time to visit Tomašovský výhľad (Tomasovsky view), which is famous for a 146 m high clifftop outlook with beautiful views of Hornad Gorge and the High Tatras. The Slovak Paradise is also famous for its many caves. Once here, don’t miss the UNESCO Dobsinska Ice Cave.
Exploring the Slovak Paradise is one of the best things to do in Slovakia for outdoor lovers. This national park is famous for hiking trails with metal ladders and footbridges above waterfalls.
18. Súľov Rocks (Súľovské skaly)
The Súľov Rocks situated within the Súľov Mountains region
If you want to escape the noise of the towns, we recommend you to go to the Súľov Rocks northwest Slovakia.
What are the Súľov Rocks famous for? The Súľov Rocks are one of the best-kept secrets in Slovakia, and many people refer to them as the “Slovak Dolomites. They are a national nature reserve with outstanding rock formations and spectacular views. Here you can see unique shaped towers, needles, gates and canyons.
The area has several hiking trails with all difficulty levels and stunning views from the highest ridges. Most visitors are local hikers, and on many sections on the trails, you will barely see anyone else.
It is easy to see why the Súľov Rocks are one of the best places in Slovakia.
Hiking the Súľov Rocks is one of the unique things to do in Slovakia because these beautiful rock formations offer you to see an unspoilt part of the country. During hiking, you can see bizarrely shaped rocks and also rare orchids.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Well-marked hiking trails are suitable for both experienced and less skilled tourists. Don’t miss the castle ruins, the Gothic Gate, a rock mushroom and Zbynovsky budzogan.
HOW TO GET THERE:
You can find the Súľov Rocks 30 minutes drive away from Žilina train station. It takes approximately 2 hours to get to Žilina from Bratislava.
Žilina is well-connected with the rest of Slovakia by train, bus and car. Afterwards, take a bus to Súľov-Hradná – there is also a parking lot.
19. Via Ferrata Skalka near Kremnica
Are you not scared of heights and not nervous around cliff edges? Then, there are a few places in Slovakia where you can climb high up. One of the famous Ferrata trails is in the heart of Slovakia. It is Via Ferrata Skalka, near the town of Kremnica.
If you feel brave, put a helmet on your head, walking shoes and a special Ferrata kit and explore one of the most popular Ferrata trails in Slovakia. Different secured routes with impressive views are perfect for beginners and experienced climbers. Walk on the longest suspension bridge in Slovakia – it is a part of the Ferrata. The cable bridge leads above the gorge and is almost 80 metres long.
Via Ferrata Skalka is another must for adrenaline junkies
Climbing via Ferrata Skalka in Kremnicke Mountains is one of the epic things to do in Slovakia because you can see a different view of the mountains. Moreover, Via Ferrata Skalka is one of the best climbing places in Slovakia. There are numerous Ferrata trails to choose from. They have various technical features (beam and rope bridges, bird nests, etc.).
Walking on the longest cable bridge is one of the best things to do in Slovakia.
GOOD TO KNOW:
A well-marked hiking trail from Relax centre Skalka near Kremnica leads to nearby Ferrata. You don’t have to pay anything if you want to explore the Ferrata trail in Skalka. However, everyone needs to use special Ferrata sets for protection. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent out the Ferrata set at Relax Centre in Skalka.
After climbing Via Ferrata Skalka, visit nearby Kremnica and Spania Dolina.
Other Ferrata Trails in Slovakia
If you have any energy left, try different Ferrata trails in Slovakia. Don’t miss Via Ferrata Kysel in Slovak Paradise National Park. Ferrata Dve Veze near Liptovske Revuce offers beautiful views of the nearby mountains. Also, check out Ferrata Martinske Hole.
20. Liptov region in Slovakia
Kvacianska valley, Liptov
If you find yourself in the north part of the country, make sure you spend at least a few days in the region of Liptov. For many locals, Liptov is one of the most popular places to visit in Slovakia because of its natural scenery. Yes, that is right, Liptov is famous for its combination of natural attractions and cultural and historical heritage. Liptov is home to the largest mountain and ski resort in Slovakia – Jasna Nizke Tatry, where you can enjoy winter sports. But that is not all – Liptov has not only many ski resorts but also many scenic hiking trails. The local mountains are also a paradise for cyclists.
If you prefer water to snow, visit one of the large thermal parks TATRALANDIA, Water park Besenova or AQUA-VITAL PARK Kupele Lucky. Also, don’t miss the Liptovska Mara water reservoir, which evokes staying by the sea.
The Liptov region is, according to many Slovaks, the jewel of the crown of Slovakia.
Prosiecka valley, Liptov
Liptov region surrounded by national parks is a paradise for nature lovers. Because of that, exploring Liptov is one of the best things to do in Slovakia.
Also, check out local caves – Demänovská Cave of Freedom, Demänovská Ice Cave and Vazecka Cave they are among the most visited in the country. If you are interested in the local folklore, stop at sleepy Vlkolinec (UNESCO) or the open-air museum in Pribylina. The annual folklore festival in Vychodna also attracts thousands of visitors from all over Europe.
Things to do in Slovakia for city lovers
It is easy to see why many visitors put Bratislava high on their bucket list. Bratislava is the largest city in the country and one of the youngest capital cities in Europe. What’s more, Bratislava is the only capital bordering two independent countries (Austria & Hungary). Bratislava is also an excellent destination for history lovers. For many years, Bratislava served as the coronation site of the Kingdom of Hungary.
Once here, explore the beautiful historic town centre. See the baroque palace and medieval, gothic buildings and quirky statues. Don’t forget to see the area around Michael’s Gate. Not far from there is St Martin’s Cathedral – it is one of the oldest churches in Bratislava. This beautiful coronation church of the Kingdom of Hungary is one of the top attractions in the city.
Also, don’t miss UFO Observation Deck and Bratislava Castle overlooking the Old Town. Both are top attractions in the city. Visit the ruins of Devin Castle and the Blue Church if you have spare time.
One of the beautiful places to visit in Slovakia is also Trnava. This charming city in the western part of the country is an easy day trip from Bratislava. Getting to Trnava is pretty straightforward with a direct train from the capital. The city centre is also walkable. But that is not all – Trnava is very picturesque.
You may not know it, but Trnava became the first royal free town in Slovakia – it won the right to build ramparts. In the middle ages, Trnava was an important centre. Today you can see the impressive architecture of the many cathedrals and churches. Yes, that is right, Trnava has many churches within its city walls. For this reason, many people call Trnava “Little Rome” or “the Slovak Rome”.
Things to do in Trnava
Once here, wander the cobbled streets and soak up the impressive architecture in the old town. Explore the largest city fortifications in Slovakia, Lower Gate, city hall and Holy Trinity Square.
Not far from the main square is Saint Nicholas Basilica. The gothic style basilica with two towers is one of the oldest churches in Trnava. It is also one of the top attractions in the city. Moreover, Saint Nicholas Basilica is an important part of the life of the locals. It is also home to the painting of the Virgin Mary, which wept tears of blood in the past.
After exploring Saint Nicholas Basilica, visit the Cathedral of St John the Baptist. It is one of the most important churches in the city. The Cathedral of St John is the oldest religious building from the early Baroque period in Slovakia. What makes this church unique is the massive altar. It is entirely made of wood. Yes, that is right, you can see here one of the largest and the most beautiful altars of its type in Europe.
Also, do not miss Synagogue on Halenarska Street and Town Tower. It was once the tallest building in the city. Many years ago, the guard tower protected the city against the enemy. Today, the tower offers beautiful views of the city.
Stop at renovated Synagoga Café for a drink. This chic cafe was once Orthodox Synagogue.
You cannot take a trip to the eastern part of the country without visiting Košice. In the 15th century, Košice became the second biggest town in the Kingdom of Hungary (after Buda and Bratislava). Today, Košice is the second-largest city in the country and one of the must-see places in Slovakia. Košice has a lot of famous monuments – almost all are in the historic town centre. It has the longest historical promenade in Slovakia, a singing fountain and the biggest cathedral in Slovakia. Even the Pope recognised St Elizabeth’s Cathedral as a pilgrimage site.
Wander around the square, and see beautiful medieval bastions, Gothic architecture and baroque sculptures. Also, climb 160 steps in the northern tower of St Elizabeth’s Cathedral to see panoramic city views.
Wandering the streets of Košice is one of the best things to do in Slovakia because Hlavne namestie square is one of the most beautiful squares in Slovakia. The Old Town of Košice is famous for medieval architecture, a thriving art scene and the second oldest marathon in the world. Moreover, Košice is a perfect base for those who want to visit many UNESCO sites in Slovakia.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Driving from Bratislava to Košice takes about 4 and a half hours (400 km/ 250 mi).
Though you may not find it on the cover of a tourism magazine, Kremnica is also one of the most beautiful places to visit in Slovakia. This well preserved medieval town in central Slovakia was once one of the richest towns in the Kingdom of Hungary. Moreover, this picturesque town had abundant gold deposits in the Kremnica Mountains. Therefore, it has the nickname “Golden town“.
Today, Kremnica is a popular place for relaxation for the locals. Climb up the Town Castle – it is one of the main landmarks in the town. The church tower offers beautiful views of the town and the surrounding countryside. Also, don’t miss the Kremnica Mint – it’s the oldest still working mint in the world. There is also a museum of coins and medals in one of the old burgher houses where you can learn more about the craft of coinage. You can even strike mint here.
GOOD TO KNOW:
You can find Kremnica in central Slovakia, around 175 km (109 mi) from Bratislava (2 hrs by car).
Things to do in Slovakia for history lovers
Čičmany with wonderfully decorated log houses
Not many would place Čičmany high on their list of places to visit in Slovakia, but it would be a mistake. Did you know that Čičmany is the first-ever folk architecture reservation in the world? This tiny village with gingerbread houses decorated with white icing feels like a time capsule. It also looks straight out of a fairy-tale.
Čičmany is famous for decorating log houses with the typical white ornamentation, which women started painting about 200 years ago. Travel back in time and see how the Slovak people lived in the past. Look at the white geometrical patterns, spot hearts and other typical ornamentation. The tradition of painting white ornaments still continues to the present time in Čičmany.
In the past, women painted the patterns because they wanted to protect the wood. Today, they keep the tradition alive and paint the ornaments for decoration.
Once here, do not miss Radenov dom and the nearby Gregorov dom – they are the best-preserved houses in the village. The second mentioned house is home to the ethnographic exhibition, where you can learn more about the history and folklore of this region. If possible, join a guided tour and stop at the local gift shop.
Stopping in Čičmany is one of the best things to do in Slovakia because this small traditional folk village is famous for traditional patterns painted on houses.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Driving to Čičmany from Bratislava takes about 2 hours (175 km / 108 mi). There is not much to do, and therefore, you should plan your trip here with nearby Bojnice Castle. It is only about 45 minutes drive away from here.
26. Museum of the Slovak Village in Martin
Museum-lovers looking for things to do in Slovakia have plenty of options. There are 13 open-air museums to choose from, showcasing Slovak folk traditions, architecture and history. The largest of them is the Museum of the Slovak Village in Martin.
Step back in time and see traditional folk architecture from northwest Slovakia from the 19th century to the early 20th century. Wander between timber buildings and explore traditional houses, a village store, a church, even a firehouse.
The Museum of the Slovak Village is one of the best places to visit in Slovakia for everyone who would like to see traditional folk architecture. The Museum of the Slovak Village showcasing customs and Slovak folklore has many day events and live shows throughout the year.
The hardest thing about visiting Slovakia will be fitting everything in. Make an itinerary before you go and prioritise what you would like to see and do. Of course, whatever you don’t have time for will have to wait till next time!
Have you been to Slovakia? What was your favourite thing to do there? Let us know in the comments below 🙂
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