Slovakia is literally in the heart of Europe. Often overlooked by travellers who visit Slovakia’s better known neighbouring countries like the Czech Republic and Austria, one just needs to take the time to explore this small country to appreciate it. So what are the best places to visit in Slovakia?
Most people don’t even realise that Vienna is only 50km away or a 1-hour journey from Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia.
I’ve been wanting to explore this country for a few years now, and lucky for me I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks there. I’ve made a list of the ten best places to visit in Slovakia, some of my favourites were recommendations from Slovakian friends.
Slovakia is a small country, so if you are visiting for just a few days or a few weeks, these places are definitely worth visiting.
Košice has the looks and charm of a small cosmopolitan city. With one of the most well-preserved historical town centres in the country, it is definitely pleasing to the eye.
The Old town centre has been pedestrianised and the buildings and architecture have a cosy medieval feel.
Buzzing cafes and restaurants are sprinkled along the main street, with cobble-stoned alleys leading off in all directions. We found this city to be most beautiful in the evening time when the magnificent St Elizabeth gothic cathedral is lit up with many colours.
Creating the border between Slovakia and Poland, the Tatra Mountainsare considered to be the tallest mountain range in Slovakia. Because of its altitude, the High Tatras have become a very popular skiing destination in the country. The High Tatras offer a more affordable option for skiing vacation when compared to France, Austria or the Swiss Alps.
The place to be is the town of Štrbské Pleso. People have been skiing here for centuries because of the glacial lake found nearby. But it also offers something in summer, there are a few hiking trails to follow. Enjoy a drink or meal with a view at the end of the day.
We spent two nights in Štrbské Pleso and hiked up to Skok waterfall, around 3 hours roundtrip. The views were fantastic. The High Tatras MUST be on your list of best places to visit in Slovakia.
10 Best places to visit in Slovakia – The road to the High Tatras
Levoča is known for its visually pleasing town centre and the historical walls around the town.
Most of the Old town is considered a World Heritage site as there are countless buildings in the town that dates back to the Renaissance. All these buildings have been beautifully preserved.
It is definitely worth stopping in this town, even if it is just for an afternoon visit.
10 Best places to visit in Slovakia – Levoča
This preserved town with timber houses dates way back to 1272.
Čičmany is unique because of the specific white patterns painted on the exterior walls of houses that decorate them. The local folk music, costumes and folk dances of the village have been preserved too. This village has so much character and was highly enjoyable to explore.
You will need your own car to get here (Europcar offers great rental deals) and it feels so remote from the cities, despite being just a short drive. Since these houses are truly unique, I think it is one of the best places to visit in Slovakia.
5. Spiš castle
Located in the east of Slovakia, you must visit the remains of this magnificent castle, also, UNESCO listed. There are fantastic views of the countryside from the castle, and you can explore an authentic medieval dungeon, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and armoury.
There are many castles in Slovakia and I think they are definitely some of the best places to visit. But Spiš castle is the largest one. It gives you a very real experience of what life would have been like, back in medieval times.
10 Best places to visit in Slovakia – Spiš castle
The city of Trnava is situated along the banks of the Trnávka River and is only 50km from the capital city of Bratislava. This city has been referred to as the ‘Slovak Rome’ because of its many churches within its city walls.
Trnava has a very pretty and well preserved historical centre, perfect for enjoying coffee in the sidewalk cafes or a delicious local snack of lángos. I recommend visiting in June – September when the old town hosts many cultural events.
There are amazing cafes, such as Synagoga, great beer at Academia and if you are already missing Asian food try ENAK,
10 Best places to visit in Slovakia – Trnava
The historic town of Bojnice is located along the banks of the Nitra River. The oldest zoo in the nation is situated in Bojnice, just behind the Bojnice Castle. This is one of the most visited castles in Slovakia and for good reason.
A guided tour of the castle is highly recommended. The castle appears fairytale-like from the exterior and has been featured in many international films and it’s one of the best places to visit in Slovakia because it’s quite unique.
10 Best places to visit in Slovakia – Bojnice Castle
8. Banská Štiavnica
One of the oldest towns in Slovakia. In the past, it was also one of the wealthiest due to the huge deposits of gold and silver. Many beautiful buildings were built here by rich miners during the 16th and 17th centuries.
It is one of the cultural sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Today the town is very well preserved and has some wonderful cafes and small stores with Slovakian handicrafts and gifts. Many more reasons why it’s on our list of the best places to visit in Slovakia.
10 Best places to visit in Slovakia – Banská Štiavnica
The largest city in Slovakia and one of the youngest capital cities in the world. The population also seems young. Bratislava is a small metropolitan city and seems to have a buzzing social life, as well as a historic charm too.
Bratislava is found in the southwestern part of the country situated along both the Danube and Morava banks. It is here that the country borders Austria and Hungary. But many visitors might continue on a train across Europe to the neighbouring Czech Republic.
10 Best places to visit in Slovakia – Bratislava has some very cool statues
A quaint little village, situated in the centre of Slovakia, with views of mountains and rolling fields surrounding it. This village dates back to 1376, and in 1993, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a remarkably intact settlement with the traditional features of a central European village.
There are more than 40 log houses, all painted in bright colours and a very well-preserved chapel still stands proudly in the village. It really felt like a step back in time, wandering through this little piece of history.
Not only is this one of the best places to visit in Slovakia, but it’s also like no other place you’ve seen before in the world.
10 Best places to visit in Slovakia – Vlkolínec
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Did we miss mentioning your favourite place? Any other places we should’ve mentioned in our 10 best places to visit in Slovakia blog? Please share your thoughts and experience of this friendly country in the comments.
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Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.