The 15 best places to visit in Slovakia

 

On the Hungarian/Slovakian border, almost directly between the countries capital, Bratislava, and the Hungarian capital, Budapest, is the town of Komárno, which following World War I was split in two, as the border of the newly created Czechoslovakia cut the historical, unified town in half, creating two new towns across the Danube River. Falling within the Slovakian half are some of the most significant fortification complexes of Europe, the Old and New Fortress with a connected bastion system with Roman engravings.

 

Pictured is the newly built Courtyard Of Europe.

15. Komárno

 

Constructed in the 12th century, in the east of the country north west from the city of Košice lies the enormous Spiš Castle, destroyed by fire in 1780 AD and mostly reconstructed in the 20th century. Situated above the town of Spišské Podhradie and the village of Žehra, it is one of the biggest castles in Europe. As one of the largest ensembles of 13th and 14th century military, political and religious buildings in eastern Europe, Spiš Castle and the Associated Cultural Monuments have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

14. Spišský Hrad

 

In the western centre of the country, east from the capital, Bratislava, is the town of Nitra, dominated by its hilltop fortress of Nitra Castle. Dating from the 11th century, the oldest surviving part of the castle is the Romanesque Gothic Church of St. Emmeram, housed entirely within Nitra Castle much like Prague Castle. Listed as a national cultural monument, Nitra is a town often overlooked by most tourists.

13. Nitriansky Hrad

 

Discovered in 1901 in the northern centre of the country is the Demänovská Cave of Liberty, a karst cave in the Low Tatras Mountain Range. The entrance of the cave is at an altitude of 870 metres (2,850 ft) above sea level, and of the caves 8.1 kilometre length, 1.8 kilometres is open to public. Highlights for visitors include the Emerald Lake and the Great Dome, a stalagmite that stands at 41 metres (134 ft) high.

12. Demänovská Jaskyňa Slobody

 

Formed in 1744 AD in the southern centre of the country, just outside the town of Banská Štiavnica is the Calvary of Banská Štiavnica, a Baroque calvary considered the most important Baroque calvary in Slovakia and the whole of Europe. The site is composed of a complex of 3 churches and 22 chapels with precious paintings furnished by wooden painted reliefs. All the buildings are set into a solid lava column in the middle of an ancient volcano. Under the listing 'Historic Town of Banská Štiavnica and the Technical Monuments in its Vicinity', the town and the calvary have been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

11. Kalvária Banská Štiavnica

 

Built in the 12th century in the western centre of the country is Bojnice Castle, a fairy tale Romanesque castle with Gothic and Renaissance influences. Surrounded by Castle Park, the picturesque Bojnice Castle is the prettiest castle in Slovakia, and also the most visited. Surrounded by tall trees it is often very difficult to get a great view of the structure.

10. Bojnicky Zamok

 

Discovered in 1870 AD in the eastern centre of the country is the Dobšinská Ice Cave, which according to people who know about this sort of thing is one of the most important ice caves in the world. Open to the public with a number of walkways and ladders leading to different hollows, the total volume of ice is estimated at 125,000 cubic metres, with thicknesses up to 26.5 metres (87 ft). As part of the Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst site, the ice cave has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

9. Dobšinská ľadová Jaskyňa

 

In the east of the country close to the Hungarian border is the city of Košice, the largest city of Eastern Slovakia. The well preserved historical city centre, and most historical monuments are located in or around the Main Street, lined with aristocratic palaces, Catholic churches, and townhouses it is a thriving pedestrian zone with many boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. With the largest number of protected historical monuments in Slovakia and many heritage protected buildings in Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau styles, the jewel of the city is St. Elizabeth's Cathedral. Completed in 1508 AD, adorned with intricate detail and gargoyles, it is Slovakia's biggest church as well as being one of the most easterly located Gothic cathedrals in Europe.

 

Pictured from St. Elisabeth Cathedral.

8. Košice

 

In the eastern centre of the country, north west from the city of Košice is the 198 square kilometre (76 square mile) Slovak Paradise National Park, protecting an area of the Slovak Paradise Mountain Range. Perfect for hiking with over 300 kilometres (186 miles) of hiking trails, equipped with ladders, chains and bridges it is like a huge adventure park.

7. Národný Park Slovenský Raj

 

First built in the 13th century in the far northern centre of the country is the Orava Castle, today one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia. Perched upon a 520 metre (1,706 ft) high rock this wonderful Neo-Gothic Renaissance structure appears part of the natural landscape. Housing one of the oldest museums in the country, visitors will be wowed by the castle chapel, the knights rooms and the incredible views over the surrounding countryside.

6. Oravský Hrad

 

In almost the dead centre of the country is the relatively unknown city of Banska Bystrica, which holds at its heart the picturesque Slovak National Uprising Square. This large central square is surrounded by colourful Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque buildings, dotted with street cafes that are filled with people and flowers throughout the summer. Visitors should climb the 101 steps of the clock tower for a great view of the square, the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and the very beautiful onion towered Barbakan known as the Castle of Banska Bystrica.

5. Banská Bystrica Námestie SNP

 

In the northern centre of the country, encompassing some 226 square kilometres (87 square miles) in the Western Carpathian Mountains is Malá Fatra National Park, basically one large karst feature made up of crystalline rocks. Covered in beech forests and pine woods, the mountainous terrain has become a favourite among hikers, with easily accessible trails taking visitors over mountain tops and valley ridges.

 

Pictured is the Kriváň ridge with the Veľký Rozsutec, situated at 1,609 metres (5,281 ft) above sea level.

4. Národný Park Malá Fatra

 

In the south west of the country on the banks of the river Danube along the border with both Austria and Hungary is the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, the largest and most populated city in the country. From the narrow streets of the bustling old town with its busy bars and restaurants that give way to big open squares and the occasional statue, it remains the lesser trodden capital city of the region. The best views in town can be had from the iconic white Bratislava Castle, the well preserved medieval Michael's Gate or the unusual flying saucer shaped restaurant on the Bridge of The Slovak National Uprising.

3. Bratislava

 

In the high Tatra mountains with a peak altitude of 2,634 metres (8,641 ft) above sea level is the Lomnicky Peak, the second highest mountain in the High Tatra's. The viewing platform is accessible by cable car, and whether in winter or summer it is undoubtedly one of the most incredible panoramic mountain views anywhere in Europe.

2. Lomnický Stít

 

In the northern centre of the country, crossing the border into Poland is the 738 square kilometre (285 square mile) Tatra National Park, encompassing part of the Tatra Mountains. Home to 42 mammal and 8 reptile species, the park is also home to all the highest peaks in Slovakia, over one hundred lakes, numerous waterfalls and over 300 cave systems. With more than 600 kilometres of hiking trails, this vast and beautiful landscape is easily the most impressive in Slovakia.

1. Tatranský Národný Park

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