Seven day itinerary, including an alternative programme.
Slovakia has the advantage of being a geographically small country while also offering diverse possibilities for tourists with different interests including history, nature or gastronomy. The country is accessible, and tourists can enter not only through the Bratislava or Košice airports but also fly into Vienna, a major international airport just a 50-minute drive from Bratislava.
When planning a visit, it is good to remember two things: Monday is the day when most of the monuments and sights are closed, and on the very first Sunday of the month admission into state museums and galleries is free. Look for the rich offering of seasonal events.
Day 1: Bratislava
Start exploring Bratislava by hopping on one of the popular tourist trains (www.tour4u.sk; www.blavacik.sk) which offer rides around the historical part of the city and its wider surroundings. At the end of sightseeing, a walk through the Old Town can nicely complement the touring experience while St Martin’s Cathedral, Old Town Hall and the Bratislava Castle should not be missed. In past years, the possibility of boat trips to Devín, a historical castle ruin, or Danubiana art museum in Čunovo has been added to the offerings. If a visitor wishes to indulge in the Slovak wine tradition, there is an option to review some of the country’s best wines (www.nsvsr.sk) directly in Bratislava. Dinner at one of the restaurants (www.u-f-o.sk, www.skybar.sk, www.lindner.de, www.restauraciahrad.sk) offering spectacular views of the city could be a nice wrap-up to the day.
Day 2: Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica, in central Slovakia, is a mediaeval city on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The town represents the region’s rich mining tradition, which is reflected in the architecture and several attractions for tourists. There are a number of mines open for visitors while the local open-air museum offers a diverse selection of technical monuments. The town is also famous for its Calvary. Stop by the local brewery Erb or café Divná Pani for a refreshment.
Bratislava-Banská Štiavnica 170 km / 107 miles (108 min)
Day 3: Caves
The earliest entry into the Domica Cave is at 9:00 in the summer season. We recommend buying the more expensive ticket, which includes a short boat trip in the cave. A visit to the cave may be combined with a tour of the elegant Betliar Manor House, lying 34 km / 21 miles from Domica. We also suggest a visit to the Ochtinská Aragonite Cave or Krásnohorská Cave, which are in the same region. At the latter, thanks to the speleological equipment available, a visitor can get a totally different experience. The whole tour lasts about three hours.
Banská Štiavnica-Domica 163 km / 101 miles (133 min)
Day 4: Košice
The Košice Gold Treasure is an interesting start to a tour in Slovakia’s second largest city and the Kunsthalle / House of Contemporary Arts and the St Elizabeth’s Cathedral are also must-see attractions. By buying a combined ticket for entrance to the cathedral, visitors can get into the main nave, the crypt, the royal gallery, two church towers, and the adjacent St Michael’s Church and its ossuary. While in Košice Region, do not miss out on a Tokaj wine tasting.
Betliar-Košice 76 km / 47 miles (63 min)
Day 5: Spiš region
Spiš Castle is the country’s most extensive castle complex, while offering picturesque scenery. It has caught the attention of foreign filmmakers. The castle along with the town of Levoča and Spišské Podhradie are UNESCO protected. Levoča boasts many examples of well-preserved gothic architecture, particularly altars.
Košice-Spiš region 91 km / 56 miles (75 min)
Day 6: Hiking
Physically active tourists can opt for hiking in northern Slovakia in such places as Slovenský raj with its waterfalls, canyons and ladders or nearby Liptov and Orava regions, which offer a number of trails. Those who prefer a more passive natural beauty can opt for a number of cable cars available in the High and Low Tatras. We advise ending the day with a soak at one of the aquaparks in the region.
Levoča-the High Tatras 50 km / 31 miles (67 min)
Day 7: Architecture
Visitors can spend their last day by touring Slovakia’s wooden churches or by visiting one of the traditional villages to observe folk architecture and art. There are also a number of castles that can be visited on the way back to Bratislava. One option is to visit the village of Vlkolínec, then the wooden church in Leštiny. It is worth making a stop at Orava Castle, about a three-hour ride from Bratislava. A second alternative for this day is to visit the wooden church in Svätý Kríž then the village of Čičmany while making a stop in Bojnice to see the castle. One of the stops in both alternatives can be replaced by rafting on wooden rafts in Strečno or nearby Orava Castle. Be aware that you will need to wake up very early and move quickly to fit either of these itineraries into a single day.
the High Tatras-Bratislava 334 km / 207 miles (240 min)