With the summer months approaching, what better time than now to plan your next holiday? Why not take the opportunity to explore the underrated country of Slovakia? Located in Central Europe, Slovakia is a country known for its mountainous landscapes, medieval history, and beautiful architecture…definitely worth your visit!
Here are some of the must-visit travel destinations in Slovakia, to make the most out of your time in the country.
Known as the 72-hour city, Bratislava is Slovakia’s capital and largest city. The city has a medieval vibe, which is complemented by its Renaissance castle, narrow streets, and towers. The first landmark to visit in the city is the iconic Bratislava Castle, located on a hill overlooking the historic old town. On the grounds of the castle, you can take the opportunity to take a relaxing walk in the beautiful gardens or visit inside where there is the opportunity to visit the Museum of History, which also houses a 4,47 m high tower from which you will be able to see all the way to Austria and Hungary. But even without entering you will still be able to enjoy the castle as well as a panoramic view of the city.
Located downhill and within walking distance from the castle, St. Martin’s Cathedral is the largest and most important church in the country. It is a Gothic-Romanesque-style cathedral built in the 13th century, with a rich history as many kings from the Habsburg dynasty of Hungary were crowned there. The inside has beautiful medieval gothic décor and colourful mosaic-stained glass, and the best part is that there is free entrance so there is no excuse not to visit.
Walking deeper into the city, you can see the historic Michael’s Gate, which is the sole surviving gate from the city’s fortification during medieval times. This is the first monument you notice when you enter the old town, so it is the perfect starting point for your exploration of the rest of the city. After this, walk through the old town and visit the Maximilian Fountain, visit Hviezdoslavovo Námestie and take a picture of the ‘Čumil’ statue.
Finally, take the opportunity to visit Devin Castle. It is a medieval castle, sitting on a 212m high rocky cliff, which overlooks the Danube and Morava rivers. The unique point about the castle is that it is mostly in ruins, with no major reconstruction, which is a direct contrast to the Bratislava Castle.
An adventurous trip to Slovakia cannot be complete without visiting the High Tatra Mountain range, a national symbol of Slovakia. They are known as the smallest alpine mountain range in the world, but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting. During the winter the Tatras are an incredible destination for a skiing holiday, but during the summer they are just as amazing to visit.
It is a fabulous destination for hiking, with one of the most famous trails being the Tatranska Magistrala trail, which is a 73km trail and usually takes 4 days to hike. Here you will be surrounded by the very best that Slovak nature has to offer and be able to visit the village of Ždiar, which is filled with beautifully painted log houses. The best time to visit is between mid-June and late October, so make sure to plan your visit!
Holding the title as the European Culture Capital of 2013, Košice is a dynamic city in eastern Slovakia, with a rich history. Following a common theme amongst Slovak cities, Košice is decorated with medieval monuments containing many attractions including museums and galleries. Walking down the main street, you will be in awe of the beautiful and gothic historical centre, where many of cities must-see landmarks are located. The most important landmark in the city is located right in the centre the St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral, which has the title of being the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe, with it dating back to 1378. It neighbours the Urban Tower and Michal’s Chapel, which are both proclaimed national cultural heritage sites.
One of the biggest castles in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Spiš castle is worth a visit on your trip to Slovakia. Located in Northeastern Slovakia in a small town called Spišske Podhradie, the castle is mostly in ruins today, however, it is still very much so worth a visit, as it holds the title of being the largest castle complex in Central Europe. From the castle, you will be able to have a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area, and on a sunny day, you can even see the Tatra Mountains.
A visit to Bojnice Castle will surely make you feel like you have just entered a fairy tale. Sitting on a hill, the silhouette of the castle will give you a romantic feeling. It is also possible to visit the interior of the castle, where you will find a vast collection of artistic and historical artefacts, among which is the original furniture and artistic collection of the Hungarian Pálffy family, who owned the castle between the 19th and 20th centuries. The most valuable artefact is the Late-Gothic altar of Bojnice made by Nardo di Cione Ortagna. The International Festival of Ghosts and Spooks is held there annually between late April and early May, which makes this a must-visit spot for all supernatural lovers.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to interesting places to visit in Slovakia. For more tips and suggestions, please visit: https://slovakia.travel/en