Best Places to Visit in Slovakia
Once part of Czechoslovakia, this mountainous, sparsely populated country has a lot to offer tourists. Known for its national parks, scenic hiking trails and hundreds of caves (some of which are protected by UNESCO), Slovakia is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination. However, history buffs and foodies alike will love visiting, as there are many opportunities to explore and sample food directly.
Slovakia’s open-air museums offer a unique opportunity to explore the country’s folk traditions, while a trip to Bratislava will give you the chance to experience a vibrant city steeped in dark history.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Slovakia and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Slovakia
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Slovakia:
1. Fairy-Tale Castles and Palaces
Slovakia is home to over 100 castles – some still standing, some in ruins and many in between. A popular setting for historical and fairy-tale films, the 12th-century Bojnice Castle began as a castle and has grown over the centuries into a stunning Romanesque royal residence in Gothic and Renaissance styles. Located on a hill overlooking the city, Bojnice is one of the most visited castles in Europe.
Another striking example is the neo-Gothic Orava Castle, considered one of the most beautiful castles in the country and famous as the filming location of the 1922 silent vampire movie Nosferatu. Located on the outskirts of Bratislava close to the Austrian border, Devon Castle has been partially rebuilt and now houses exhibits at the Bratislava City Museum. Strecno Castle, Blatnický Castle and Brekov Castle ruins are popular spots on Slovakia’s limestone cliffs and hiking trails.
2. Alpine skiing
With so many snow-capped peaks around, it’s no surprise that alpine skiing is extremely popular in Slovakia. But at many ski resorts across the country, sports enthusiasts combine their love of gliding down slopes with climbing. The practice, known as uphill skiing, requires people to walk up a snow-covered slope before skiing at full speed. This entails adding special bindings to the skis to prevent slipping, turning the skis more or less into long snowshoes.
Both Low Tatras and High Tatras are popular ski resorts. Jasná is the country’s largest ski resort with 49 kilometers of marked trails in the Low Tatras. Located in the High Tatras, Tatranská Lomnica has the steepest slopes in the country and offers separate high trails for advanced skiers.
Also located in the High Tatras, Štrbské Pleso is a popular destination for night skiing and cross-country skiing.
3. Open Air Museum
There is no better way to learn about the culture that has shaped a country than in a living museum where the history really comes to life and you have the opportunity to travel back in time. The Slovak Village Museum is the largest ethnographic open-air exhibition in the country and is an excellent example of traditional folk architecture.
The museum has 129 buildings containing everything from fire stations and churches to village shops and bars, and technical items that help visitors understand life in rural Slovakia in the 19th century. Agricultural exhibitions, all-day events and live performances are held here throughout the year.
Surrounded by mountains and lush meadows, the village of Cicmany is known for its hand-painted wooden houses, while the rock houses of the village of Brhlovce date back to the Turkish raids in the 16th century and were originally used as hiding places.
4. Slovak Paradise
Slovak Paradise National Park may not be Slovakia’s largest park, but it is definitely one of the most famous and should be one of the best places to visit in the country. The park has 19 nature reserves, more than 350 caves, and hundreds of canyons and canyons.
Most visitors come here for the 300 miles of hiking trails, known for their challenging and rugged trails that often include suspension bridges, stairs, and boardwalks. The 15-kilometer Prielom Hornádu route is particularly popular, partly because of its rugged terrain, which has to be navigated by holding on to chains, climbing unstable stairs and crossing footbridges. Another famous trail is the route to the 75-metre high Zavojovy waterfall, which can only be accessed by vertical metal stairs and suspended bridges.
Slovakia’s capital is a small city of only half a million inhabitants, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to see and do here. In fact, Bratislava is known as a great destination for art and history buffs, a great place to visit for foodies, and a photographer’s dream.
The city has two palaces (Rococo Presidential Palace and the Primate Palace with its famous Hall of Mirrors), the ruins of Devon Castle, a bridge with a circular viewing platform, and a series of eccentric statues jutting out of a sewer. Greetings passers-by towards them.
Perched on an isolated rocky hill, Bratislava Castle is the city’s most famous attraction and one of the most visited tourist attractions. Visitors can visit the gardens and explore the collections at the Slovak National Museum’s branch within the castle.
Other notable photography destinations in the city include the aptly named Blue Church; the 14th-century buildings that make up the Old Town Hall; and the 1000-year-old Hviezdoslavovo Square, surrounded by famous buildings and structures.
6. High Tatras
The High Tatras is a large mountain range and the highest mountain in the northern Slovakian Carpathians – a mountain range with towering cliffs, alpine habitats and more than a hundred alpine lakes.
At 2,655 meters above sea level, Gerlachovský štít is the highest peak and a favorite among hikers and mountaineers as it is relatively easy to climb with a certified mountain guide and hikers don’t experience it the way they usually do at this altitude. disease. At around 2,634 meters above sea level, Lomnicky Stit is a more popular destination, partly because it can be reached by cable car.
Above all, the High Tatras are known for their rugged hiking trails surrounded by limestone mountains and pristine alpine lakes. Most of the trails close in September or October because there is a lot of snow on the mountains and after that it becomes impassable. The Kriván Trail is one of the most scenic trails – it takes you through the mountains with stunning views of the park and is one of the few long climbs (about 7.5km) that does not require a guide.
7. Fortified Castle
The ruins of the 12th-century Spiš Castle sit on a gentle hill and cover more than 41,000 square meters, making it the largest castle complex in Europe. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Spiš began as a simple Romanesque stone fortress that grew stronger over the centuries.
In the 14th century, a two-story palace and a cathedral were added, and a large wall was built around the grounds, doubling the size of the complex. The castle was partially destroyed in a fire in 1790 and has not been inhabited since, although parts of it have been restored and more have been rebuilt.
Today, the castle contains artifacts from the Spiš Museum, which includes archaeological and ethnographic exhibits, as well as torture devices once used in the castle. The castle’s kitchen, bathroom and armory have also been restored, giving a unique perspective on royal life in the 18th century.
8. Old Mining Town
Banská Štiavnica, protected by UNESCO, is a well-preserved medieval town perched on an ancient volcano. The Celts were mining silver ore in the area as early as the 3rd century BC, and the town’s popularity as a silver and gold producer only grew from there. In the 15th century, the town was building fortifications to protect its mines, and by the mid-1600s they were using newly discovered gunpowder.
To aid mining and prevent flooding, a complex system of artificial cisterns and more than 100 kilometers of interconnected passages and tunnels were created – many of which today have been converted into recreational areas perfect for swimming.
While the mining industry in Banskastiavnica has long been abandoned, visitors can don a helmet and headlight and dig deep into the ground at the Open Air Mining Museum to explore a 17th-century mine.
While in town, don’t miss Old Town Square, with its many medieval buildings, as well as a plague column, a mineralogy museum, and a 14th-century town hall.
9. Dobšinská Ice Cave
Located near a mining town in the Slovak Paradise Region, Dobšinská Ice Cave is a UNESCO heritage site. To reach the cave, it is necessary to climb the mountain to a height of more than 900 meters and then descend slowly. From May to September, only the first 500 meters of the cave (its total length is about 1,500 meters) are open to the public, and visitors should always follow the designated paths and stairs.
If you’re looking for something to do on a hot summer afternoon, this is it. Inside, the temperature of the cave stays around 0 degrees Celsius throughout the year, and the walls, ceiling and floor are covered with ice. Ice thickness is estimated to exceed 26 meters in some areas.
As the cave can only be visited as part of a guided tour, you can be sure to see some of the most stunning natural features here, such as ice stalagmites, half-frozen waterfalls, and colorful swirls of light in the ice walls.
10. Communist-Time Slovakia
From 1948 to 1989, Czechoslovakia was under communist rule – a time when there was no freedom of the press, homes were routinely bugged to find traitors, religion was abolished, and ordinary items such as toilet paper and candy were often difficult to find. Slovakia and the Czech Republic broke up and became independent states in 1993, just a few years after the Iron Curtain fell and democracy returned.
Communism has shaped and changed both countries forever, and visitors can find communist-era buildings in Bratislava; by visiting underground bunkers; and learn about life “then” by visiting the Slovak National Museum of Uprising in Banska Bystrica, which plays a key role. in the Nazi resistance.
In recent years, the Iron Curtain border area has become a popular trail and bike route, with many companies offering tours for those wishing to visit parts of the area. Up close and personal.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Slovakia. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Slovakia, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.