What to do and where to go in Banská Bystrica

With the holidays already here, this section may help you to plan trips on free days to explore natural beauties, visit cultural events or just learn more about Slovakia

With the holidays already here, this section may help you to plan trips on free days to explore natural beauties, visit cultural events or just learn more about Slovakia

ONE DAY TRIP - Meeting the city

Visit the Stredoslovenské múzeum (Central Slovak Museum) which will introduce you to the region's important mining history.
Open: Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00, Sun 9:00-17:00. Admission: Sk10-20. Námestie SNP 4, Tel: 048/4125-897.
Then walk up the town's main SNP Square and climb the 35-metre City Clock Tower which, like Pisa, leans away from its vertical axis by 0.68 metres. Open: daily 10:00-18:00. While looking out over the town from a bird-eye perspective, try and pick out a restaurant to visit for lunch.

Walk several hundred metres south-east from the Clock Tower to a huge Slovak National Uprising memorial. Built as a memento of anti-fascist resistance in the country during WWII, the exhibition and film projections inside capture the battles fought by local partisans, while outside you can see heavy WWII artillery and weapons.
Open: Tue-Sun 9:00-18:00. Admission: Sk50, guides in English: Sk200. Kapitulská 23, Tel: 048/4123-258.

Walk up to the Hvezdáreň na Vartovke observatory and have a look at the nighttime summer sky. To get there, follow the yellow markers from the Uhlisko town suburb. Open: Fri 17:00-22:00, Sat 10:00-17:00. You have to announce your visit beforehand at 048/4156-144.
English-speaking guides in the town need to be ordered a week in advance at the local Information Centre on Nám. Š. Moyzesa 26. Tel: 048/161-86.

WEEKEND TRIP - Getting to know local folklore in Detva

Visit the Detva Folklore Festival in the nearby town of Detva under the Poľana mountain range, which presents traditional folk traditions. Also explore the Podpoľanie countryside, which is dominated by Poľana peak (1,458 metres), the highest extinct volcano in central Europe.

Friday evening
Attend the opening ceremony of the Detva festival, featuring folk customs that used to be practised during the winter.
Starts at 20:00. Detva Amphitheatre, follow the wooden markers. Tickets: Sk50 for a series of performances.

Learn the dance-step variations you saw last night with professional instructors from 8:30 to 10:30. Fun guaranteed.
Dom kultúry A. Sládkoviča (Culture House), Obrancov Mieru 1. Admission free. Tel: 045/5455-257.
Then, warmed up by the exercise, set out for easy, moderate or difficult hikes all leading in the same general direction but requiring different times to complete in the Podpoľanie area.
Start from Detva's SNP square, following the blue markers through Partizánska and Cintorínska Streets into the woods. The path leads to Melichova rock, a volcanic formation (1.5-hour walk). If you are determined to continue, another hour-long climb brings you to Detva peak. In another hour you can reach the Poľana forest hotel with restaurant.
Maps available at the Detva Information Centre (an info-stand is also in the Amphitheatre), Gazdovský dom. Open: Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00. Tel: 045/5457-692.

Visit the Craft Fair, part of the festival, where local craftsmen produce traditional wooden, ceramic or basketry crafts right in front of your eyes.
Open 9:00-18:00. Detva Amphitheatre.
Taste traditional Slovak cuisine at Salaš Detvan, to the east of Detva town towards Lučenec. Open daily 8:00-20:00.

Attend the closing ceremony of the festival, featuring all participing groups and culminating in the most beautiful local tradition - a Detva wedding.
Accommodation: Zlatý dukát, SNP 115, Zvolenská Slatina (10 km west of Detva). Tel: 045/5394-746. Or Hrochotský mlyn, Hrochotská dolina (20 km north-west of Detva), Tel: 048/4190-404.

WEEK TRIP - Walk the Gothic Route from Rimavská Sobota

The Gothic Route trail presents 24 villages and 9 towns dominated by churches built in the Gothic period and housing many valuable paintings. The entire 276-kilometre route winds across the Banská Bystrica and Prešov regions. It begins in the town of Rimavská Sobota in the south, an area encompassing national mountain parks in the Muránska planina region.

Sunday - Rimavská Sobota
Explore the historical centre and visit the Church of Sv. Ján Krstiteľ on Main Square. Open before and after masses. Tel: 047/5631-031.
Accommodation: Hotel Zlatý býk, Daxnerovo námestie, Tel: 047/5632-031.

Monday - Kurinec
Relax at the Zelená voda (Green water) reservoir. Swim, rent a boat or a paddle boat.
Hiking: The green trail leads to the Kubinská dubina reservation.

Have a peek at the gothic churches in the following villages:

Tuesday - Rimavské Janovce
Church of Sv. Ján Krstiteľ (medieval iconography), contact Anna Fačková, house #56, Tel: 047/5677-301; Rimavská Seč, contact Zoltán Kolozsi, house #5, Tel: 0907/351-491; and Žíp, a church with a unique altar, contact Štefan Barát, house #45, Tel: 047/5697-285.
Accommodation: Same as on Sunday.

Wednesday - Rimavská Baňa
A fortified church with medieval wall-paintings, contact Viera Fašková, house #26, Tel: 047/5495-293. Kraskovo, an early-Gothic church on a hill, contact Ján Boľf at the municipal office, Tel: 047/5690-158.
Accommodation: Hotel Robotnícky dom, Hlavná 374, Hnúšťa. Tel: 047/5421-561.

Thurday - Behind Kyjatice
See a 14th century church with a monumental Last Supper painting, and a site where pre-historic cremations were held, contact: Milan Cikrai, house #21, Tel: 047/5690-325. Rimavské Brezovo, see a church with a 13th century tower, contact Ondrej Kališka, house #18, Tel: 047/5495-420.
Accommodation: Same as on Wednesday.

Friday - Tisovec
The gate to the Muránska planina mountain park. A four-hour yellow-trail hike up to the Tisovec castle ruins is framed by limestone formations.
Accommodation: Chata u Janky, Hviezdoslavova 342, Tel: 047/5493-257.

Saturday - Tisovec-Zbojiská
Get on a historical train passing through the hilly Muránska planina area. Tickets (Sk30) available on the train, which leaves at 08:13 from Tisovec main station, Hviezdoslavova 432. Tel: 047/5494-568.

Also visit the Information Centre, Hlavné nám. 5, Rimavská Sobota. Tel: 047/5623-645.

Compiled by Michaela Melounová

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