This article is dedicated to top 10 things to do & see in Slovakia according to us. Although Slovakia is quite small country, there is a lot of to see here. In each town & village is something to see and behold. Slovakia is thanks to its cultural heritage and beautiful nature all year long destination. So let’s discover top 10 of this beautiful country with us.
One of the newest & smallest capital cities of European Union has a lot of to offer. Did you know that Bratislava was for 267 years the capital city of Hungarian Kingdom and 11 kings and 7 queens among them also famous Maria Theresa were crowned in Bratislava. Bratislava as the only European capital city lies on frontiers with two countries – Hungary & Austria. Proximity of Czech republic has caused that Bratislava always been an cosmopolitan city, where the people always have spoken three languages – Slovak, German and Hungarian. Now Bratislava is the 5th richest region of European Union, the young vibrant city with rich royal legacy. Although Bratislava is one of the smallest capital cities of Europe, it has a lot of to offer and while visiting Bratislava you will definitely fall in love with strolls in beautiful historical city center of Bratislava.
2. Small Carpathian Wine Road
Slovakia in total has 8 wine growing regions. One of the most famous is Small Carpathian Wine Road, which has about 50 km and starts in Bratislava’s outskirt Raca and ends in city of Trnava. The vineyards are located on the hills of Small Carpathian Hills. From Small Carpathian Wine Road was also the most popular wine of Empress Maria Theresa, Frankovka Modra. As the legend says every time she drunk it, she became pregnant. And in total she had 16 kids 🙂
Small Carpathian Wine Roads are not just vineyards, but also rich history and beautiful architecture. Most of all the “Slovakian capital of wine production” Pezinok, Modra and small town Svaty Jur. For this region is typical also traditional pottery Majolika & in autumn goose & duck feasts. Worth to visit is also fairy tale Red Stone Castle, with the biggest cellars in Central Europe.
Trnava also well known as “Little Rome of Slovakia” or “Slovakian Rome” thanks to great amount of cathedrals, churches and monasteries. In time when Bratislava was a capital city of Hungarian Kingdom, Trnava was a seat of Esztergom Archibishop. Located just 50 km from Slovakian capital, Trnava with St. Nicolas Cathedral and and Basilica of John Baptist in addition to Jewish synagogue is one of the hidden gems of Slovakia, worth of visit also as a day trip from Bratislava.
4. Slovakian Wooden Villages
Among top 10 in Slovakia definitely belongs traditional Slovakian wooden villages. The most famous one in Slovakia are Vlkolinec & Cicmany.
Vlkolinec is listed on UNESCO World Heritage list. It is an mountain village located close to city of Ruzomberok in Liptov Region. Vlkolinec is still inhabited, although the most houses are used as “summer house”.
Cicmany is one of the most famous Slovakian villages located in beautiful nature of Rajecka Valley. It is also famous thanks to ski slope. Cicmany are full of wooden houses, some of them are from 17th century painted by white ornament. The so called “Cicmany pattern” is very popular in Slovakia and Slovakian sportsmen wear it on their jerseys. Close to Cicmany is located also famous Slovakian wooden creche witch shows landscape and traditions of Slovakia.
5. Wooden Churches
Wooden Churches are most of all typical for East part of Slovakia. But you can find them also in Western part of the country for instance in Trnove, near Zilina, or in Lestiny close to Dolny Kubin or Hronsek near Banska Bystrica. The wooden churches of Slovakia are listed on UNESCO World Heritage List. Some of the wooden churches, mainly protestant one were built without using any nail. Wooden churches belong to three churches of Slovakia – catholic, protestant as well as Orthodox.
6. Region Spiss
Region Spiss is located in East part of Slovakia under the hills and peaks of High Tatras. This region is famous thanks to the great amount of gothic buildings. In 13th and 14th century this region was settled by the German settlers, who invited to Hungarian Kingdom king Belo IV. after the war with Tatars. They were very skillful builders and built a lots of mainly gothic monument, many of them listed on UNESCO World Heritage List. The most popular are Spiss Castle (UNESCO), the biggest castle in Central Europe, Spisska Kapitula Abbey (UNESCO) with cathedral of St. Martin, St. Jacob Basilica with altar of Master Paul from Levoca (UNESCO), the medieval cities of Kezmarok with wooden church (UNESCO) or medieval town Levoca and many more.
7. Trekking in Small Fatra
Slovakia is also well known as “New Zeland” of Europe thanks to its mountains landscape. For trekking lovers the paradise is Small Fatra National Park, which is not the biggest and also not with the highest peaks, but it has the best conditions for trekking for all trekking lovers, from beginners to the advanced. It offers one of the most beautiful peaks of Slovakia – Rozsutec as well adventurous Janosikove Diery with waterfalls and ladders.
Slovakia is full of caves. There are over 7 500 known caves, twenty of them can be visited. They include the most significant and most precious, the UNESCO listed Dobsinska Ice Cave, Domica, Gombasecka Cave, Jasovska Cave. Of special value is the Ochtinská aragonitová jaskyňa (Ochtiná AragoniteCave), the only cave of its kind in Europe. Its subterranean chambers are adorned with crystals of aragonite, formed in some places into the shape of fragile corals and snow white shrublets. In Domica we find the largest known cave of the Slovak Karst, where you can experience a trip on little boats down the River Styx.
9. Forest Railways
Slovakia is mountain and forest country with developed woodworking industry. At the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century among the woodcutters were popular forest railways, which were abandoned in 70th years of last century by the more efficient tractors. But they are still remains of famous history of forest railways in Slovakia, now as a very popular touristic activity mainly in summer. The most popular and famous are Oravska Forrest Railway, Kysucka Forrest Railway and Ciernohorska Forrest Railway which cross also along the football pitch.
10. Orava Castle
Slovakia is the leader of the castles per capita. There are 425 chateaus and 180 castles and castle remains. Most of them were built in 13th century after the war with Tatars. One of the most beautiful of them is Orava Castle located close to Polish border in north of Slovakia. Orava Castle was also built in 13th century, it’s most famous owner was a Hungarian nobleman Juraj Thurzo who was the second person in Hungarian kingdom after the king and was very popular among the ordinary people thanks to his kindness and generosity. Orava Castle is also known as “Dracula Castle” as the first Dracula movie, Dracula from Nossferatu was in 1922 filmed here. In the castle has taken place many films and fairy tales.