Slovakia: 28 Amazing Places You Will Love

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Slovakia may be a small and unknown country, but it has hundreds of interesting places to explore. Though the people's behavior is weird - to say the least - amazing nature, culture, and the history make up for it. Here's my personal list of sights, attractions, and cities I liked the most and I think you will too. And by the way, Slovakia is part of Central Europe, not Eastern Europe as many ignorant westerners like to think. Enough for the geography lesson, here's the list.

Bratislava

It's the capital city of Slovakia and probably your entry point to the country. You may be surprised (horrified) by communist-looking train and bus stations but don't let this deter you from exploring the city.

Bratislava has one of the most beautiful old towns in Slovakia with the castle (Bratislavský Hrad) overlooking it from the hill.

Bratislavský Hrad - Photo courtesy of wavescentraleurope.com

Old Town Hall - Photo courtesy of visitbratislava.com

The old town area is basically everything you need to see. However if you want to experience more of the city you can visit UFO restaurant, Slavín Memorial or you could just have a walk along Danube river.

UFO restaurant on SNP Bridge - Photo courtesy of traveloutthere.com

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The Pieštany Spa

The Piestany Spa (Kúpele Pieštany) is a very favorite "tourist attraction" mostly for foreign visitors. You can enjoy hot springs and the healing mud that treats all kinds of chronic rheumatic and arthritic diseases.

The Napoleon Spa

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Trenčín Castle

Trencin Castle (Trenčiansky Hrad) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia. It futures many exhibition halls and beautiful view on the whole city from one of its towers.

Trenčiansky Hrad - Photo courtesy of markiza.sk

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Trenčianske Teplice

Trenčianske Teplice is a small yet famous spa town renowned for its sulphuric and thermal springs. It provides treatment for rheumatism and post-traumatic disorders.

The Trencianske Teplice Spa - Photo courtesy of extraslovensko.sk

It's only a short ride from Trenčín so it's a worth to pay a visit if you're nearby.

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Kľak

Kˇľak is a part of the mountain range Small Fatra (Mala Fatra) which is a very popular tourist spot among hikers. I hiked the mountain many times as a kid and I was always blown away with the views.

Photo courtesy of dobrodruh.sk

There's a double cross on top and a little bit of history explanation with it. The area was used as a landing site for paratroopers during the second world war.

Photo courtesy of panoramio.com

  Location

Strečno

Strecno is a small town near the longest river in Slovakia - Váh. Behind the village sits a reconstructed ruin of the medieval castle on top of a steep hill overlooking the river.

Photo courtesy of reddit.com

Behind the castle, there's an open-air museum of the folk culture and a restaurant with all kinds of unusual beers. If this is not enough I'd recommend you to do a traditional rafting on the river to experience what the public transportation was like in the past.

Photo courtesy of regionmalafatra.sk

Terchová

Terchova is one of my most favorite places in Slovakia. Not only because there was The Offspring show held in one of its mountains, but because of amazing traditional food and countless hiking options.

Bryndzové Halušky (potato dumplings with cheese and bacon) - Photo courtesy of janosikovakoliba.sk

It has the largest statue of a national hero Janosik (Juraj Jánošík) overlooking the town. Though according to many he wasn't a hero but a thief and possibly a murderer, the view from the hill is absolutely stunning.

Statue of Janosik - Photo courtesy of terchova.info

If you are a fan of hiking the whole area is surrounded by hills. My absolute most favorite is Vrátna Valley (Vrátna Dolina). It's a valley situated in Malá Fatra with a ski resort and lot of hiking options.

Vratna Dolina

You're able to rent an engine-less scooter and scoot down the trail along the creek surrounded by mountains all the way down to Terchová.

Me and my friends in Vratna Dolina

There is a "must hike" system of canyon paths nearby called Jánošikove Diery with lots of waterfalls and rocks that you have to climb. If you haven't done it it's like you've never been to Terchová.

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Bojnice

Bojnice is my hometown so I may be a little biased here. It's a home of the most beautiful castle Bojnický Zámok. You can walk inside and see beautiful chambers, a courtyard where they hanged criminals, a pond with a park, a cave beneath the castle and much more. They organize numerous events throughout the year.

Photo courtesy of iaeste.sk

The town also has the oldest zoo in Slovakia with the highest numbers of animals and species from all around the world.

  Admission Fee

Photo courtesy of panoramio.com

Behind the castle, there's a thermal public swimming pool and further to the woods you can find a thermal spa. For the town of its size, it offers more than enough attractions that will keep you busy the whole day.

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Dražovce Church

Drazovce Church (Dražovský Kostolík) is one of the oldest churches in Slovakia. It's around 1000 years old. You can't go inside but you get an epic view from the top. The church sits on the edge of a mountain and is visible from far away.

Drážovský Kostolík - Photo courtesy of ephoto.sk

If you are very bored you can go to nearby Nitra which was once a very important city in Slovak history. It has a castle but it's mostly closed to the public. Only the area around the castle is accessible. Unless you want to go for shopping in one of its shopping malls you can safely skip this city.

  Location

Mlyňany Arboretum

Arborétum Mlyňany is a protected area featuring thousands of trees and plants from all around the world. It's the largest collection of its kind in the country.

Photo courtesy of panoramio.com

  Location   Admission Fee (SK only)

Podhájska Spa

Podhájska is a small village but featuring one of the most visited spas in Slovakia. It's also my personal favorite mostly for their swimming pool bar.

Photo courtesy of tkpodhajska.sk

They have numerous pools both inside and outside with various water temperature ranging from very hot to very cold.

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Komárno

Komárno is a historical city connected with Hungary by Elisabeth Bridge. There are many well-preserved buildings from Austria-Hungary times such as county and town halls, the courthouse, St. Andrews Church and the Danube Museum.

Photo courtesy of extraslovensko.sk

If the history is not your thing you can go for some fun and relax. Komárno features a thermal spa with water healing rheumatics and women issues.

You can also visit the Hungarian part of the city called Komárom. Because of the Schengen Area, you don't need any visa. Just freely walk over the bridge.

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Banská Štiavnica

Banská Štiavnica was among the first places in Slovakia to make it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage. It has over 300 hundred well-preserved historical buildings.

Not only that. It's the mint town of Slovakia that dates back to Celts inhabiting the land. Because of the gold industry, the development in the town was booming. It was the first town in the World to have a technical university.

The town is very small and very easy to explore despite the sloped terrain. It has 2 castles that I recommend to visit. New Castle may be a bit of a walk, though.

Photo courtesy of panoramio.com

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There's also a beautiful baroque mansion not far from the town called St. Anton. Most of the mansion has the authentic interior which acts as an interior design museum. Nature lovers will also find a forestry museum inside.

Photo courtesy of kampolovat.sk

  Location

Once you are outside of the town you should visit a small village Štiavnické Bane. It has a mint museum in the nature that depicts the life and work in these mints. I'm not sure if the whole museum is still open to public but I remember we were given helmets and coats and went underground.

Photo courtesy of banskastiavnica.travel

The underground exposition shows you the tools miners used hundreds of yours ago as well as take you even further below the surface by a very sketchy lift. It's an unforgettable experience.

  Location

Kremnica

Despite its small size, Kremnica is a town with the oldest operating mint in the world. Part of the mint is a very interesting mint museum. After leaving the museum you can manually mint your own coin and take it home as a souvenir.

Photo courtesy of snm-em.sk

Kremnica isn't just all about gold coins. It has a very well-preserved castle which acts as a historical town center.

  Location   Admission Fee

Photo courtesy of panoramio.com

As with many cities in Slovakia, you can also visit its thermal spa. It has health benefits for your nervous system.

  Location   Admission Fee (SK only)

Banská Bystrica

Banská Bystrica is the largest city in central Slovakia and should definitely be on your bucket list. Not only I had the best burger in the world in one of its food stands, it also has a very large and beautiful pedestrian zone called SNP Square. Most main attractions (and restaurants) are concentrated at or around the square so you won't need to walk a lot.

Námestie SNP - Photo courtesy of Marek Novotnak

At the end of the square, there's a leaning clock tower with the top being 40cm off the perpendicular. You can take stairs to the top to have an amazing view on the city. The entrance fee is less than 2 euros.

  Location

There's a small castle just across the street from the tower. However, I've never been there so you may be disappointed.

The Town Castle - Photo courtesy of pravda.sk

If you want to learn a bit about Slovak history during the World War II you should visit Museum of Slovak National Uprising (Múzeum Slovenského Národneho Povstania). It sits in a UFO-like shaped building and is only 5 minutes walk from the clock tower.

  Location   Admission Fee (SK only)   Book a Hotel

Hronsek

Hronsek, along with 7 other villages is included in UNESCO World Heritage Site list for its fully wooden evangelical church.

Photo courtesy of Panoramio.com

Because bureaucrats were against this particular religion they made it hard for them to build churches. One of many conditions were to build a church without any metal.

  Location

Donovaly

Donovaly is a small town near Banská Bystrica but with equal importance for tourism. It's one of the largest and most visited ski resorts in Slovakia. It features many restaurants with traditional food, spas and tons of attractions.

Photo courtesy of slovakia.travel

Attractions include snow scooters, dog sledding, paragliding, skating rings and lot more.

The place may be overpriced during the season so renting a cottage instead of booking a hotel room is very economical and way more fun.

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Vlkolínec

Vlkolinec is an untouched traditional village and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It depicts the life in Slovakia as it was hundreds of years ago.

Photo courtesy of unesco.org

  Location

Orava

Orava is a region in the north Slovakia bordering Poland. As a castle lover, my most favorite place in this area is Orava Castle (Oravský Hrad). According to many, it's considered one of the most beautiful castles in the country. And I agree.

Photo courtesy of ahojslovakia.com

Be sure to visit before or around noon as the castle is closed at 3pm most of the year.

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High Tatras

High Tatras (Vysoké Tatry) is the highest mountain range in Slovakia and of the most visited tourist places. There's a shared Tatra National Park with our neighbor Poland that has many great hiking options and beautiful nature to explore. You can also climb the mountains and stay in one of the cottages with other climbers along the way to top.

Photo courtesy of don.vn.cz

If you like winter sports you can visit one of many ski resorts such as Štrbské Pleso, Ždiar or Tatranská Lomnica. If you're more of a laid back person, there's an aquapark and wellness center in Poprad where you can stop by for a bit of relax.

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Ochtinská Aragonite Cave

Ochtinská aragonitová jaskyňa is one of 3 aragonite caves in the world and on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a rare decoration of shiny white branches of aragonite in its main dome - Milky Way Hall.

Photo courtesy of slovakia.com

  Location

Slovenský Raj

Slovenský Raj (Slovak Paradise) is a mountain range in East Slovakia and to me the most beautiful national park. It has a huge network of caves, gorges, canyons, and waterfalls. No words are enough to describe what you're about to see.

Photo courtesy of Peter Dobrovsky

Prepare some quality footwear because those ladders you have to climb up are slippery.

  Location

Dobšinská Ice Cave

Dobšinska Ľadová Jaskyňa is one of the most important ice caves in the world because of the amount of ice it's covered in. It's part of Slovenský Raj thus should be on you bucket list if you're in the area.

Photo courtesy of slovakia.travel

Bring some winter clothes because it's cold inside - and I really mean it.

  Location   Admission Fee (SK only)

Košice

Is the second largest city and also one of the best developed and historically well-preserved ones (because its former mayor almost bankrupted it with huge debts). It was a European Capital of Culture together with Marseille in 2013.

I've only been to Košice once but I immediately felt in love with its pedestrian zone. It has lots of cafes, restaurants, historical buildings and a singing fountain that rings bells every hour.

Photo courtesy of bokosmart.com

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Spiš Castle

Spiš Castle (Spišský Hrad) is the largest castle in Central Europe sitting on a hill above a small village Spišské Podhradie (and few others). Though it's mostly ruined, it still feels somehow majestic. No wonder it's on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

It was closed during my visit so I could only make it to the main gate. But it was still worth it.

  Location

Demänovská Cave of Liberty

Demänovská Jaskyňa Slobody is the most visited cave in the country. It has beautiful domes, the largest being the Great Dome, many lakes, and an underground water stream.

  Location   Admission Fee (SK only)   Book a Hotel

Levoča

It's a small town with many renaissance buildings the most known being the St. James church. It has the largest wooden altar in Europe and the highest in the world carved by Master Paul of Levoča.

Photo courtesy of sme.sk

The other notable historical buildings are City Hall, County House, few other churches and the Cage of Shame - the punishment cage sitting just outside of City Hall.

Photo courtesy of arnikatravel.com

The town is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The Geyser of Herľany

If you happen to be in Košice you should pay a visit to Herliansky Gejzír. It's a very rare cold geyser that spouts every 34-36 hours to the height of 15-30 meters. The length of the eruption is around 25 minutes. During 1957 and 2006 it was the only active European geyser of its kind.

To get there you need to get a bus from Košice main bus station, platform #33. It's only 38 minutes bus ride and costs less than 2 euros.

  Location

As you can see there are many amazing places in the country with only 5 million people. I've only spoken from my personal experience so I mostly gave you tips on West and Central Slovakia - that's where I grew up. However, you should explore the east as much. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

How To Get Around

Moving around may feel a bit intimidating if you don't speak the language. Unfortunately, you can't get a local SIM card if you don't hold a residency in Slovakia. In that case, I strongly recommend you to download CG transit for your phone.

It's an offline trip planner for public transportation around the world. I remember the complete Slovak package costed less than 5 euros a year. Trust me, you will need it.

  iOS   Android

If you only want to rely on public WiFi (almost every cafe and restaurant has one) you can use a web-based trip planner instead. You can change the language in the bottom right area of the site. For booking train and bus tickets use one of these companies: RegioJet, SlovakLines, SlovakRail.

I hope you'll enjoy your trip! Also, let me know in the comments below what are your favorite destinations in Slovakia.

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