Tip Travel Slovakia – Don’t get me wrong, Bratislava is definitely worth visiting. The charming capital of Slovakia is a wonderful introduction to this country. However, that’s just what it is – an introduction. Seeing Bratislava alone definitely doesn’t do Slovakia justice.
There are so many other things to do in Slovakia, such as discovering its hidden fairytale castles, untouched traditional villages, and mystical caves – experiences that really allow you to see the heart and soul of this country. So if you are wondering about what to see in Slovakia apart from its capital, then this guide is for you.
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From majestic mountain peaks to colorful medieval towns, there is enough to see in Slovakia to keep you busy for weeks. So without further ado, here are the absolute best places to visit in Slovakia – the remarkable hidden gems that most tourists overlook.
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Did you know that Slovakia has the highest number of castles per capita in the world? With a total of 180 castles and 425 castles, this small country is definitely a paradise for history and fairy tale lovers.
Orava Castle is one of the most beautiful and impressive medieval castles in the country. On top of a cliff, this picturesque structure dates back to the 13th century and is still very well preserved today.
What will impress you most about visiting Orava Castle is how engaging and educational the experience is. You can get an English audio guide from a downloadable free app on your mobile phone, and it will give you a very fascinating and easy-to-understand summary of the castle’s history, along with many interesting facts.
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From the beginning, the beauty of the castle will draw you in. As you climb the stairs to the terrace of the western bastion, you are rewarded with stunning views of the buildings in the complex and the rolling green hills nearby.
When you enter the Middle Court, you will be greeted with actors in medieval costumes who will be doing exciting live performances showing what life was like in the Middle Ages! These sketches definitely made the visit very engaging.
There are many rooms in the castle worth exploring, such as the knight’s hall, the army, and the archaeological exhibition rooms. The highlight of our visit, however, was definitely climbing up to the Upper Castle (AKA the Citadel). The view along the way is absolutely breathtaking; You will not only get a bird’s-eye view of most of the castle, but also of the Orava River and the surrounding greenery!
If you are a fan of green hills, pastel-colored buildings and medieval architecture, you will love the charming Banská Štiavnica. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Banská Štiavnica is Slovakia’s oldest mining town and definitely one of the country’s best kept secrets.
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If you wander around its picturesque old town, you can find tons of charming and colorful Gothic and Renaissance buildings that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into an ancient fairy tale.
Banská Štiavnica is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Slovakia. Some of the key places to see there are the Old Castle, St. You will also find rows of restaurants and cafes in the atmospheric streets of the Old Town; be sure to stop at 4sochy Cafe for a delicious meal and dessert!
Don’t limit your visit to the city center though. There are tons of volcanic hills around the city and you can climb them to get an incredible view of the colorful cityscape. Kalvária Banská Štiavnica is located on the top of one of these hills, and you can easily walk up the path for a stunning landscape.
Košice, the jewel of Eastern Slovakia, is the second largest city in the country and an unforgettable attraction for foodies and history lovers. It is definitely one of the must-see places in Slovakia.
Jakab’s Palace, Košice, Slovakia
The charming old town of Košice has the largest concentration of historical monuments in the whole country and is definitely the main point of the city. Wandering around the central square there, you are surrounded by a sea of beautiful medieval bastions, gothic towers and baroque sculptures.
During your time in Košice, be sure to also visit the Cathedral of St. You can get a ticket right inside the cathedral, which is actually the biggest cathedral in Slovakia.
When you’re done admiring the Gothic architecture there, be sure to also stop by Crafts Lane (Hrnčiarska) to collect a unique souvenir to bring home. On the cobblestone streets there are various craft shops selling traditional ceramics, artsy metalwork, precious stones, local herbs, and more. It is definitely one of the most interesting places to see in Košice!
Košice is also the best place to visit in Slovakia for foodies and anyone interested in tasting the best of Slovak cuisine. There are tons of traditional Slovak bistros and pubs in the city serving delicious national dishes such as bryndzové halušky (knuckles with sheep’s cheese), bryndzové pirohy (sheep’s cheese pierogi), and goulash.
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You can also find many hipster international fusion restaurants in Košice, such as Le Colonial – one of the best places to eat in the city!
One cannot talk about the best places to visit in Slovakia without mentioning Špania Dolina. This historic village is extremely picturesque thanks to its Gothic/Renaissance buildings and iconic wooden houses. Mostly known only among Slovaks, Špania Dolina is truly an undiscovered treasure.
Speaking of treasures… back then, Špania Dolina was actually a mining town. In fact, most of the houses there today are former miners’ dwellings from the 17th and 18th centuries.
There is also a beautiful church in the village as well as a special bell tower that used to call miners to work. Today, the small Špania Dolina is inhabited by only 200 people!
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The best way to see Špania Dolina is to discover its various beautiful hiking trails that start right at the parking lot where visitors arrive.
There are several different paths you can take, and they will all take you through a sea of trees and flowers (you might even see some butterflies!). If you are into more outdoor fun, you can even go mountain biking and cross-country skiing there.
The trail we took was a pleasant 1-hour walk, and there is a very rewarding postcard-worthy view of the city along the way. At the end of the trail we also saw some locals renovating their charming little townhouses by hand!
Very few tourists were around, which made it a very pleasant and authentic experience. When you’re done hiking, you can also grab a drink and catch a mini-exhibition of this mining town at the very bottom of the trail.
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Bojnice Castle is one of the most famous places in Slovakia. In fact, it is one of the most magical fairytale destinations not only in Slovakia, but in all of Central Europe. It is not difficult to understand why; The dreamy facade of this castle is bound to capture your imagination.
Built in the 12th century, the Romanesque Bojnice Castle also features some Renaissance and Gothic elements. It is surrounded by the fantastic castle park, which is connected to the forest and the Strážov mountains.
Walking around the castle park was definitely the highlight of our visit. You get to see the castle from all different perspectives, and the scenery is breathtaking no matter the angle. The park is also very family friendly and is a great place to enjoy a picnic.
We actually enjoyed walking through the castle park even more than driving through the interior of the castle – which was nice, but in our honest opinion, not really worth the rather expensive entrance fee (€13 / $15 USD). Like many tourist places in Slovakia, prices are a bit stiff here.
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With that said, if you are a big history fan, then by all means – check out the interior of the castle. If you are not necessarily a history buff and have already visited other famous fairytale castles in Europe (such as Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany or Pena Palace in Portugal), then you will not find anything new or surprising in Bojnice Castle.
In that case, it might be better to save yourself the entrance fee and simply spend more time enjoying the beautiful view from the castle park.
Of all the places to see in Slovakia, the small medieval town of Bardejov is the one that captured my heart the most. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage, Bardejov is considered the “Gothic” and one of the oldest cities in Slovakia. It is extremely well preserved from its medieval days, and nothing makes this more evident than its incredibly picturesque market square in the old town.
Standing in the middle of the market square, you are surrounded by rows of pastel-colored houses and Gothic buildings, each more impressive than the other. It really is a postcard-worthy scene, so definitely get yours