Don’t get me wrong, Bratislava is great. Spending a day or two in the capital of Slovakia is definitely a wonderful introduction to this Eastern European country. However, that’s what it merely is — an introduction. One thing is for sure: only seeing Bratislava definitely does not do this spectacular country justice.
There are so many other things to do in Slovakia, such as exploring hidden fairytale castles, untouched traditional villages, and mystical caves — experiences that will truly allow you to see the heart and soul of this country. So if you’re wondering about what to see in Slovakia aside from its capital city, then this guide is for you!
From the majestic mountaintops to the colorful medieval cities of Slovakia, there is definitely enough in this country 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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Planning Your Trip to the Attractions in Slovakia
- ✈️ Find the best flights to Slovakia with Skyscanner / Kayak.com / Kiwi.com
- 💸 Get reliable travel insurance from World Nomads
- 🚖 Book your private transfer from the airport with Expedia
- 🏡 Find the best accommodations on Booking.com or Expedia
- 🧔🏻 If you’d like a tour guide, here’s the best Full-Day Slovakia Castles Tour (⭐️ 5/5)
- 🚗 Rent a car to visit the best places in Slovakia with Rentalcars.com
- 🎒 Pack a pair of durable hiking shoes, a universal adapter, and a power bank
- 📚 Read Rick Steves Eastern Europe and Lonely Planet Eastern Europe
🇸🇰 24 Best Places to Visit in Slovakia
1. Orava Castle
Did you know that Slovakia has the highest number of castles per capita in the world? With a total of 180 castles and 425 châteaux, this tiny country is definitely a paradise for history and fairytale lovers.
Orava Castle is hands down one of the most beautiful and impressive medieval castles in the country. Situated on top of a rocky cliff, this picturesque structure dates all the way back to the 13th century and is still very well-preserved today.
What will impress you the most about visiting Orava Castle is how engaging and educational the experience is. You can get an English audio guide by downloading a free app on your phone, and it will give you a very captivating and easy-to-understand summary of the castle’s history, along with many interesting facts.
From the get-go, the castle’s beauty will draw you in. As you climb up the stairs to the Terrace of the Western Bastion, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the buildings inside the complex and the rolling green hills nearby.
Once you get to the Middle Courtyard, you’ll be greeted with actors in medieval costumes putting on entertaining live performances that showcase what life was like back in the Middle Ages! These skits definitely made the visit very engaging.
There are many rooms inside the castle worth exploring, such as the knight’s hall, the armory, and the archeological exhibition rooms. The highlight of our visit, though, was definitely climbing up to the Upper Castle (AKA the Citadel). The view along the way is absolutely breathtaking; you’ll not only get a bird’s-eye view of most of the castle but also of the Orava River and the surrounding greeneries!
⏰ Opening hours: 9:30 am - 3 pm daily 💸 Entrance fees: €7 ($8.50 USD) + €3 for photography & video-recording 🚗 How to get there: Orava Castle is within walking distance of the railway station Oravsky Podzamok, which is 3 hours by car or train from Bratislava. Click here to see train times. 🏡 Where to stay: Holiday Park Orava Apartments (⭐️ 8.6) | Apartmán 80 (⭐️ 9.7)
2. Banská Štiavnica
If you’re a fan of green rolling hills, pastel-colored buildings, and medieval architecture, then you’d love 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.
Wandering around its picturesque Old Town, you can find tons of charming and colorful Gothic and Renaissance buildings that will make you feel as though you’ve stepped inside an ancient fairytale.
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. Catherine’s Church, and the Slovak Mining Museum. You’ll also find rows of restaurants and cafes lining the atmospheric streets of the Old Town; be sure to stop by 4sochy Cafe for a delicious meal and dessert!
Don’t limit your visit to the city center, though. There are tons of volcanic hills surrounding the city and you can climb them to get incredible views of the colorful cityscape. The Kalvária Banská Štiavnica is situated on top of one of these hills, and you can easily make your way up there for some stunning scenery.
🚗 How to get there: Banská Štiavnica is 173 km (107 mi) from Bratislava; around a 2-hour drive. 🏡 Where to stay: Divná pani Luxury Gallery Rooms (⭐️ 9.3) | Boutique Apartments (⭐️ 8.5)
3. Košice — One of The Best Cities in Slovakia
Košice, the jewel of Eastern Slovakia, is the second-largest city in the country and an unmissable attraction for foodies and history lovers. It is definitely one of the must-see places in Slovakia.
The charming Old Town of Košice has the largest concentration of historic monuments in the entire country and is definitely the main highlight of the city. Wandering around the central square there, you’ll be surrounded by a sea of beautiful medieval bastions, Gothic towers, and baroque sculptures.
During your time in Košice, be sure to also visit St. Elisabeth’s Cathedral and climb up its North Tower to see a spectacular 360° view of the whole city. You can get a ticket right inside the cathedral, which is actually the biggest cathedral in Slovakia.
Once you’re done admiring the Gothic architecture there, make sure to also stop by Crafts Lane (Hrnčiarska) to pick up a unique souvenir to bring home. Lining the cobblestone streets there are various craft shops selling traditional pottery, artsy metalwork, precious stones, local herbs, and more. It’s 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 town serving delicious national dishes such as bryndzové halušky (dumplings with sheep’s cheese), bryndzové pirohy (sheep cheese pierogi), and goulash.
You can also find plenty of hipster international fusion restaurants in Košice, such as Le Colonial — one of the best places to eat in town!
🚗 How to get there: You can fly into Košice International Airport (KSC) if you're coming from other countries. Košice is 400 km (250 mi) from Bratislava, which is a 4.5-hour drive. You can also take a FlixBus from Bratislava which costs around €25 ($30 USD) and takes 5 hours. 🏡 Where to stay: Boutique Hotel Maraton (⭐️ 9.0) | Boutique Hotel Bristol (⭐️ 9.0)
4. Špania Dolina
One cannot talk about the best places to visit in Slovakia without mentioning Špania Dolina, the true hidden gem of the country. 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 in the days, Špania Dolina was actually a mining town. In fact, most of the houses there today are former miners’ dwellings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. There’s also a lovely church in the village as well as a special bell tower that used to call miners to work in the morning. Today, tiny Špania Dolina is inhabited by only 200 people!
The best way to see Špania Dolina is to explore its several gorgeous hiking trails. The beginning of the hiking routes starts right at the parking lot where visitors arrive. There are several different trails you can take, and they’ll all take you through a sea of trees and flowers (you might even spot some butterflies!). If you’re 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’s a very rewarding postcard-worthy view of the town along the way. Towards the bottom 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. Once you’re done with the hike, you can also grab a drink and catch a mini-exhibition of this mining town at the very bottom of the trail.
🚗 How to get there: Špania Dolina is 220 km (136 mi) from Bratislava, which is roughly a 2.5-hour drive. 🏡 Where to stay: Apartman Ema (⭐️ 9.7) | Penzion Klopacka (⭐️ 8.4)
5. Bojnice Castle
Bojnice Castle is one of the most famous places in Slovakia for a simple reason: it is considered one of the most beautiful castles not just in the country, but in the entire Central Europe. It’s not hard to understand why; its dreamy facade is bound to stir the most magical fairytale fantasies. In fact, Bojnice Castle is a perfect destination for a quick romantic getaway.
Built in the 12th century, this Romanesque castle has some Renaissance and Gothic elements too. It’s surrounded by the stunning castle park, which is connected to the forest in 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 strolling through the castle park even more than touring the interior of the castle — which was nice, but in our honest opinion, not really worth the rather pricey entrance fee (€13 / $15 USD). Like many tourist places in Slovakia, prices are a bit stiff here.
With that said, if you’re a big history fan, then by all means — check out the interior of the castle! On the other hand, if you’re not necessarily a history fanatic and have already gone inside other famous fairytale castles in Europe (such as the Schloss Neuschwanstein in Germany or the Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal), then you won’t find anything new or mind-blowing inside Bojnice Castle.
In that case, it might be better to spare yourself the entrance fee and simply spend more time soaking in the beautiful views from the castle park.
⏰ Opening hours: Varies a lot depending on the time of the year — see here 💸 Entrance fees: €13 ($15 USD) for the castle + gallery | €10 ($12 USD) for the castle only 🚗 How to get there: Bojnice Castle is 160 km (100 mi) from Brastilava, which is roughly a 2-hour drive. 🏡 Where to stay: Penzión Meridiana Bojnice (⭐️ 9.4) | Ubytovanie Alej Bojnice (⭐️ 9.6)
6. Bardejov — One of the Best Places in Slovakia
Out of all the places to see in Slovakia, the tiny medieval town of Bardejov is the one that most captured my heart. A part of the UNESCO World Heritage, Bardejov is considered the “most Gothic” and one of the oldest towns in Slovakia. It has been extremely well-preserved from its medieval days, and nothing makes that more apparent than its incredibly picturesque Market Square in the Old Town.
Standing in the middle of Market Square, you’ll be surrounded by rows of pastel-colored houses and Gothic buildings, each one more stunning than the other. It’s truly a postcard-worthy scene, so definitely get your camera ready! The atmosphere is also incredibly authentic; you’ll see some locals and families with kids, but barely any tourists.
Take a good walk around Market Square, stopping by the Town Hall, the Basilica of St. Egidius, and the Franciscan Monastery. For the best view of the city, climb up the tower of the Basilica of St. Egidius!
Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning bird’s-eye view of the colorful medieval rooftops lining the Old Town and the surrounding rolling hills. It’s definitely one of the most breathtaking things to see in Slovakia!
If you like museums, be sure to also check out Šariš Museum inside Market Square. It’s home to one of the largest and most impressive Carpathian icons galleries in Europe. You’ll also get to see a charming wooden church in the open-air section of the museum! Its style is typical of Eastern Slovakia, Western Ukraine, Southern Poland, and Romania.
🚗 How to get there: The easiest way to get to Bardejov is to drive from the city of Prešov. The journey is 41 km (25 mi) long and takes roughly 40 minutes. Alternatively, from Košice (the second largest city in Slovakia), the journey is 96 km (59 mi) long; roughly 1.5 hours by car. 🏡 Where to stay: El Cafe Restaurant Guest House (⭐️ 8.7) | Hotel Pod Bránou (⭐️ 8.9)
Only a 12-minute drive from Bardejov lies the tiny village of Hervatov, and it is totally worth stopping by there for a quick visit if you have some extra time.
The main thing to see there is the Gothic-style Church of Saint-Francis of Assisi, the oldest and best-preserved wooden church in Slovakia. Eastern Slovakia is quite famous for its many traditional wooden churches, and many of them (including this one) are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Inside this 15th century church, you can find some splendid frescoes, murals, and icons.
The entrance fee for this wooden church is €2 ($2.50 USD), and it is open from Mondays to Fridays between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm; on Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm, and on Sundays between 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm.
Usually, the church is locked. But during opening hours, you can request a visit by calling the number posted on the door.
🚗 How to get there: Hervartov is only a 12-minute drive (9.4 km / 5.8 mi) from Bardejov. 🏡 Where to stay: TIC Hervartov (⭐️ 9.0) | Penzión Čergov (⭐️ 9.3)
8. Šomoška Castle
As you’ve most likely gathered by now, Slovakia is the land of castles. And while the castles you’ve encountered so far in this guide are well-preserved, there are also tons of castle ruins in this country that are worth exploring.
The ruins of Šomoška Castle are definitely one of the best places to visit in Slovakia. Situated right on the border between Hungary and Slovakia, this 13th-century castle can be reached after a pleasant 45-minute hike.
Today, it is largely in ruins, which makes the visit even more interesting. First of all, there are very few tourists around, so you’ll have most of the eerily beautiful ruins to yourself, which is quite a special experience.
You can walk inside the West Tower to see the ruins inside it before heading to the South Tower for a spectacular view of the West Tower and the green hills in the backdrop. This is a wonderful photography spot too!
At the beginning of the hiking trail to the castle, you’ll also see a unique natural phenomenon: a stone waterfall. It was formed 4 million years ago when lava solidified beneath the earth’s surface, and it now resembles liquid rock pouring into a sea of stones. It is quite a fascinating sight!
⏰ Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm | Saturday & Sunday: 9 am - 6 pm 💸 Entrance fees: €1.50 ($1.80 USD) 🚗 How to get there: Šomoška Castle is 172 km (106 mi) from Košice, which is roughly a 2.5-hour drive. It's also 122 km (75 mi) from Budapest, which is a 1.5-hour drive. 🏡 Where to stay: Vila Mária Rapovce (⭐️ 9.2) | Privát Ľubica (⭐️ 8.9)
9. Banská Bystrica
Though rarely visited by foreigners, Banská Bystrica is a great city in Slovakia to learn about the history of the country, particularly its involvement in WWII. In fact, one of the main attractions in town is the SNP Museum, which commemorates the Slovak National Uprising, an antifascist revolt that took place during WWII.
Inside the museum, you can learn about the atrocities Slovakia faced at the hand of the Nazis as well as the deportation of Jews in Slovakia to concentration camps.
A 5-minute walk from the museum is the beautiful Slovak National Uprising Square, the main square in town. It is surrounded by colorful buildings and plenty of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. The jewel of the square is the Clock Tower, which you can climb up to get a nice bird’s-eye-view of the city. You can also enjoy some ice cream right underneath the tower!
🚗 How to get there: Banská Bystrica is a 15-minute drive from Špania Dolina, so it's a great idea to see both of those places in one trip. It's around a 2-hour drive or 3.5-hour direct train ride from Bratislava (212 km / 131 mi). Click here to see train times. 🏡 Where to stay: Hotel Kuria (⭐️ 9.1) | Lenkas Apartment (⭐️ 9.6) | Villa 27 (⭐️ 9.1)
If you want to get a little taste of Hungary in Slovakia, then Komárno is definitely the place to see. As one of the oldest medieval towns in Slovakia, Komárno has a very interesting history. It used to be made of two parts: the “old town” and the “new town”. However, after the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, the city split up across the Slovak-Hungarian border.
Today, the former “old town” is present-day Komárno, while the former “new town” became the city of Komárom in Hungary. These two cities are still connected by the Elisabeth Bridge, which offers stunning views for visitors.
Given Komárno’s vicinity to Hungary, 60% of its population today is actually Hungarian. In fact, this city is the center of the Hungarian community in Slovakia! There’s also quite a rich cultural and social life in town; local visitors are attracted to its many festivals and thermal swimming pool.
During your time here, be sure to take a stroll at the stunning Courtyard of Europe, a charming and peaceful square with tons of unique and colorful buildings. Each one of them represents a different style of European architecture, and as an ensemble, their quirky, clashing styles give off major Disneyland vibes!
If you get hungry, head over to the nearby Cili Cafe, one of the best places to eat in town.
🚗 How to get there: Komárno is a 1.5-hour drive (126 km / 78 mi) from Bratislava, and a 1-hour drive (95 km / 59 mi) from Budapest. You can also take a train from Budapest which will get you there in 1.5 hours and costs €5 ($6 USD). 🏡 Where to stay: Apartmán Anna (⭐️ 9.5) | Hotel Banderium (⭐️ 9.0)
11. Súľov Rocks (Súľovské Skaly)
If you enjoy being outdoors, then hiking the Súľov Rocks is definitely one of the best things to do in Slovakia for you. These rock towers are some of the country’s best-kept secrets, and it’s likely that you’ll find sections of the trails with barely anyone else around.
There are several hiking trails at Súľov Rocks and they cover all difficulty levels, so whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find something suitable for you. You’ll get absolutely spectacular views from the highest ridges, and will also come across tons of rare orchids and beautiful rock formations along the way.
Because most visitors are local hikers and walkers, there isn’t much tourist infrastructure around, which will allow you to feel even closer to the beautiful nature itself. Don’t forget to stop by the ruins of Castle Súľov (yes, castles are literally everywhere in Slovakia!), the waterfall (Súľovský vodopád), or the 13-meter high Gothic Gate — a stunning rock formation.
⏰ Opening hours: 24/7 💸 Entrance fees: None 🚗 How to get there: The Súľov Rocks are a 30-minute drive (25 km / 15 mi) from Žilina. You can also take a bus from the Žilina train station. Žilina is very well connected to the rest of Slovakia by car, bus, and train (it's roughly 2 hours from Bratislava). 🏡 Where to stay: Koliba Pod Skalami (⭐️ 8.8) | Chata Panorama Sulov (⭐️ 10)
12. Halič Castle — One of the Best Places to Visit in Slovakia
In Slovakia, fairytale castles aren’t just for sightseeing — you can also stay in some of them! One such example is the stunning Halič Castle, AKA Castle Hotel Galicia Nueva (⭐ 9.6), situated in the mid-southern part of the country.
This building dates back to the 15th century and used to be inhabited by Hungarian kings. It was renovated in 2006 into the splendid 4-star hotel it is today, complete with a spa and a beautiful garden.
Despite its many modern amenities, this castle hotel still has an authentic and historic vibe. Enjoy elegantly decorated rooms with free WiFi and flat-screen TVs. There’s also a pool, a gym, and a sauna on-site, as well as a gorgeous view of the garden from some of the rooms.
🚗 How to get there: This castle hotel is roughly a 2.5-hour drive (248 km / 154 mi) from Bratislava and a 2-hour drive (134 km / 83 mi) from Budapest.
13. Domica Cave
Slovakia is not just all castles and medieval towns, it’s also home to 2400+ caves. Domica Cave is definitely one of the most gorgeous ones, and it’s not a surprise that it’s been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sitting on the Slovak-Hungarian border, Domica Cave is actually a part of a 25 km long cave system, and you can see it on a lovely little underground boat tour. Visiting this place feels both mystic and romantic, and the scenery is truly unique.
During your tour, you’ll learn about the people who used to build shelters in the cave back in the Stone Age and the ceremonies they performed. You’ll also see some interesting archeological findings and some incredibly photogenic stalactites and stalagmites.
The boat tour is roughly 1 hour long and is totally worth the €8 ($9.50 USD) ticket and the extra €7 photography fee — it is definitely one of Slovakia’s most beautiful places.
⏰ Opening hours: June - August: 9 am - 3 pm everyday except Monday | February - May, September - December: 9:30 am - 2 pm everyday except Monday 💸 Entrance fees: €8 ($9.50 USD) + €7 for photography 🚗 How to get there: The closest town is Rožňava, which is 25 mins (26 km / 16 mi) away by car. Budapest is 2 hours and 45 mins away by car (239 km / 148 mi). 🏡 Where to stay: Éden Vendégház (⭐️ 9.6) | Apartments Sárika (⭐️ 9.7)
14. Kremnické Bane
Fun fact: there are at least 6 countries in Europe vying for the title of ‘the geographical center of Europe’, and Slovakia is one of them. Its candidate is none other than Kremnické Bane — a tiny, tranquil village in Central Slovakia.
The village’s main attraction is the Church of St. John the Baptist (pictured below). It is said that the center of the church tower is the geographical heart of Europe. Other countries competing for this title include Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary, Estonia, and Belarus.
For this reason, Kremnické Bane is definitely one of the most interesting places in Slovakia. There’s a small hill opposite the church which you can climb to get a gorgeous view of the surroundings, and you’ll find tons of photo ops along the way too.
At the top of the hill, there’s a bench to relax on, although you can also just lie down on the slopes of the hill, on top of the soft and dense grass. The atmosphere there is incredibly soothing, and you’ll barely find another human in sight.
🚗 How to get there: The closest town to Kremnické Bane is Kremnica, which is merely a 5-min drive (4.4 km / 2.7 mi) away. You can reach Kremnica from Bratislava either by car (2 hours) or by train (3 hours). Click here to see train times. 🏡 Where to stay: Penzión Stefanshof (⭐️ 9.6) | Apartmán s výhľadom (⭐️ 9.6)
15. Spiš Castle
The ruins of Spiš Castle are definitely some of Slovakia’s top attractions. In fact, it is one of the largest castles in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
The castle sits on top of a little hill, and making your way up there is a very pleasant and relaxing experience. The atmosphere along the way is very chill and laid-back (probably thanks to the lack of crowds), and you get a lovely view of the castle paired with all the pretty flowers on the hill.
Spiš Castle dates back to the 12th century and was used to shield Hungarian royals from enemies. You can see what’s left of it today by taking a stroll on the stone pathways and stairs that connect the castle ruins.
Your entry ticket will also grant you a free 90-minute English audio-guide, so you’ll have no problem understanding what you’re seeing. Be sure to climb up the 22-meter high tower to get a bird’s-eye view of the castle’s beautiful surroundings!
If you have a car, drive for 5 mins to the hidden gem of Sivá Brada after your visit to Spiš Castle. This unique spot is one of the few travertine hills in Slovakia today, and towards the top of this small hill, you’ll find a pond with bubbling water thanks to the high levels of minerals inside it.
Another place to see near Spiš Castle is the tiny town of Spišská Kapitula, nicknamed the ‘Vatican of Slovakia’. You’ll find lots of Gothic, Baroque, and Romanesque architecture there!
⏰ Opening hours: April - September: 9 am - 6 pm daily | October: 9 am - 4 pm daily | November – March: closed 💸 Entrance fees: €8 ($9.50 USD) for adults | €6 ($7.20 USD) for students between 19-26 🚗 How to get there: Spiš Castle is around 1 hour by car (75 km / 46 mi) from Košice, so it's a great idea to combine these two places in one trip. 🏡 Where to stay: Penzion St. Martin (⭐️ 9.3) | A+S Penzion Podzamok (⭐️ 8.2)
16. Čičmany — One of the Best Landmarks in Slovakia
Of all the Slovakia tourist attractions, the tiny village of Čičmany definitely stands out the most. With a population of only 204 people, this entire village feels like a time capsule — it looks just like it did hundreds of years ago and has been extremely well-preserved.
Čičmany is characterized by its iconic black timber houses, each one painted with white crosses, zig-zags, hearts, and other traditional patterns. The incredible folk art displayed on these houses is truly dazzling and unique; definitely not something you see every day!
Although Čičmany might look straight out of a fairytale, it unfortunately holds a dark past. Several fires have hit parts of the village in the early 20th century, leaving many locals relying on tourism money to stay afloat. That’s just another reason why Čičmany is an absolute must-see in Slovakia.
It costs only €3 ($1.20 USD) per person to enter two of these timber houses. Inside, you can learn interesting facts about what life was like back in the days for the villagers. You can also join a guided tour (highly recommended) and stop by the gift shop to get the houses’ traditional folk patterns on t-shirts and other souvenirs.
There’s also a restaurant in town that serves traditional Slovak food at about a third of the price of restaurants in Bratislava.
🚗 How to get there: Čičmany is a 2-hour drive (175 km / 108 mi) from Bratislava, so it's totally doable as a day trip. If you don't want to drive, you can book a guided Bratislava day trip to Bojnice Castle & Čičmany. 🏡 Where to stay: Čičmanský ľudový dom (⭐️ 10) | Penzion Javorina (⭐️ 8.8)
17. High Tatras (Vysoké Tatry)
It’s utterly impossible to talk about the best places to visit in Slovakia without mentioning the High Tatra Mountains — the source of national pride for many Slovaks.
Think majestic snow-capped peaks, turquoise mountain lakes, thundering waterfalls, and exceptionally clean air — that’s the High Tatras for you. It’s essentially like the Italian Dolomites or the Swiss Alps, only a lot less crowded and much cheaper.
Hiking is undoubtedly one of the best ways to explore the High Tatras. There are numerous breathtaking hiking trails suitable for people of all experience levels. From short easy walks to long strenuous treks, the mountains have something for everyone.
Some of the most beautiful hikes to do there are Zelené Pleso, Mount Rysy (which will take you from Slovakia to the highest peak in Poland), Mount Kriváň, Štrbské Pleso, and Popradské Pleso. Be sure to bring the best hiking gear with you and to check the weather before you go.
The High Tatras is also one of the top places to visit in Slovakia in winter for a simple reason: it’s a skier’s paradise too! Stay in one of the 3 resort towns of Štrbské Pleso, Tatranská Lomnica, and Starý Smokovec — all of them offer amazing pistes with winter wonderland landscapes!
🚗 How to get there: The easiest way to get to the High Tatras is by car. Driving times are: 4 hours (335 km / 208 mi) from Bratislava / 2 hours (135 km / 83 mi) from Košice / 3.5 hours (158 km / 98 mi) from Kraków / 1.5 hours (70 km / 43 mi) from Zakopane (Poland) / 4.5 hours (278 km / 172 mi) from Budapest / 5 hours (408 km / 253 mi) from Vienna 🏡 Where to stay: Grand Hotel Kempinski (⭐️ 9.5) | Apartmánový Hrebienok Resort (⭐️ 8.8)
The well-preserved medieval town of Kremnica is definitely one of the best places to see in Slovakia for its incredibly picturesque Town Castle and its Gothic fairytale vibes. The historic center is also ornate with incredibly pretty and colorful buildings, many of which house cafes, pubs, and restaurants — be sure to stop by Silvanus for a delicious meal!
The top thing to do in Kremnica is to climb up the Town Castle to get a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the town and the luscious green rolling hills that surround it. The scenery is simply marvelous and totally worth the 227 steps and the €3 ($3.60 USD) entrance fee! The atmosphere there is very special too; you’ll feel like you’re traveling back in time.
Not too far from the Town Castle, you’ll see the Kremnica Mint (a coin-making factory). This is not just any mint though; it’s actually the oldest mint in the world that’s still operating today! In the Museum of Coins and Medals right next to it, you can find rare coins and medals produced in the mint.
In the summer, Kremnica really comes to life. This is partly thanks to the annual Kremnické Gagy, AKA the European Festival of Humor and Satire, that’s held there every August!
🚗 How to get there: Kremnica is 2 hours by car (189 km / 117 mi) and 3 hours by train from Bratislava. It's also 3 hours by car (244 km / 151 mi) and 3.5 hours by train from Košice. Click here to see train times. 🏡 Where to stay: Penzión Stefanshof (⭐️ 9.6) | Apartmán s výhľadom (⭐️ 9.6)
19. Šašov Castle
If you’re looking for a place in Slovakia that’s enchanting, eerie, and incredibly tranquil all at once, then be sure to visit the incredible hidden gem of Šašov Castle — or at least what’s left of it.
Sitting on a small hill above the Hron River in Central Slovakia, this castle dates back to the 13th century and served to protect the nearby mining towns. In the 1700s, it lost its importance, started to decay, and was eventually abandoned.
Today, you can do an easy 15-min hike from the village of Šášovské Podhradie to see this castle, and it is an extremely worthwhile experience.
Barely anyone visits this place, so you’ll get to have the fascinating ruins almost entirely to yourself! The atmosphere is very quiet, peaceful, and authentic. It truly feels like stepping back in time, and the eerie ruins leave a lot up to the imagination.
⏰ Opening hours: 24/7 💸 Entrance fees: None 🚗 How to get there: This castle is around 1 hours and 45 minutes (176 km / 109 mi) by car from Bratislava. 🏡 Where to stay: Hotel Luna (⭐️ 8.6) | Garni Hotel Fellini (⭐️ 8.9)
Home to a dreamy castle, a 900-year old historic center, and lots of hipster coffee shops, Trenčín is definitely one of the best cities to visit in Slovakia and is an easy day trip from Bratislava.
Most tourists are drawn to this city because of the majestic Trenčín Castle, which sits on top of a hill and offers gorgeous views of its surroundings. The castle is full of history, and you can learn all about the many sieges, sackings, and renovations that took place there. You’ll also see a dungeon inside called “The Devil’s Tower” that was used for medieval torture.
After seeing the castle, take a stroll in the charming Peace Square (Mierové Námestie), which is home to tons of restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops. You can also climb up the City Tower (Mestská Veža) inside the square for a breathtaking view of both the castle and the square!
🚗 How to get there: There are regular direct trains from Bratislava to Trenčín; the journey is 1 hr 20 min. It takes the same amount of time to reach there by car (130 km / 80 mi). You can also join a private full-day tour from Bratislava to see both Trenčín and Bojnice Castle! 🏡 Where to stay: Panorama Apartmens Trenčín (⭐️ 9.7) | Penzion da Giacomo (⭐️ 8.9)
21. Vlkolínec — One of the Most Beautiful Places in Slovakia
Vlkolínec is definitely one of the top places in Slovakia for history, culture, and folk architecture. This picturesque UNESCO village is made of 45 traditional log houses — the most complete set of its kind in Central Europe.
Today, there are only about 30 people living in Vlkolínec, but its centuries-long traditions have been very well-preserved. In fact, this historical village feels really untouched — much like a unique open-air museum! There are also few tourists around, so the experience is very authentic.
You can wander the streets of the village and admire the colorful traditional houses there. You can also visit the museum and buy some handicrafts as souvenirs from the locals. Walking inside the houses is not allowed, though, as locals still live in them.
Vlkolínec is also surrounded by nature, and you can do some cool hikes there as well.
💸 Village entrance fee: €2 ($2.40 USD) 🚗 How to get there: The closest town to Vlkolínec is Ružomberok, which is a 15-minute drive away (9 km / 5.5 mi). You can also reach Vlkolínec from Košice, which is 2 hours by car (197 km / 122 mi) or from Bratislava, which is 2 hours and 45 mins by car (259 km / 160 mi). 🏡 Where to stay: Fatrapark 2 Apartments (⭐️ 8.8) | Apartmán Hrabovo 203 Fatrapak (⭐️ 8.8)
The UNESCO town of Levoča is definitely one of the best places to visit in Slovakia if you’re interested in history and architecture. In fact, its historic center is a treasure chest of Gothic and Renaissance monuments, filled with interesting mansions, churches, and a dazzling Town Hall. It’s worthwhile to spend a couple of hours discovering its beauty on foot.
Aside from the Renaissance Town Hall, other points of interest in Levoča are St. James’s Church, the colorful burgher mansions (where the wealthy used to live), and the Cage of Shame, which was used to condemn criminals and sex workers back in the 16th century. There are also some great restaurants and cafes in town, such as Restaurant U Leva!
🚗 How to get there: Levoča can be visited as an easy day trip from the city of Poprad, which is only a 20-min drive away (32 km / 19 mi). It's also very close to Spiš Castle, which is a 15-min drive away (19 km / 11 mi). You can also drive to Levoča from Košice, which would take roughly 1 hour (90 km / 55 mi). 🏡 Where to stay: Hotel U Leva (⭐️ 9.0) | Boutique Hotel Pracháreň (⭐️ 8.8)
23. Beckov Castle
If you’re looking for more fun things to do in Slovakia and aren’t sick of castles yet, then consider adding the dreamy Beckov Castle to your to-see list.
Built in the early 1200s, this is one of the oldest castles from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and has resisted attacks from both the Turks and the Tatars. It sits on top of a steep 60-meter high cliff that offers magnificent views of the White Carpathians mountain range.
Walking among the castle ruins, you can explore its many corridors, rooms, and Gothic staircases. There are also souvenir stores and cafes in the inner yard.
Below this picturesque castle, there’s a museum that displays the furniture, paintings, and other historical items that belonged to the kings and knights who used to live there. Overall, a quick visit to Beckov Castle is definitely worth it, especially if you’re seeking a romantic atmosphere!
⏰ Opening hours: Varies a lot depending on the time of the year — see here 💸 Entrance fees: €4 ($4.80 USD) for adults | €3 ($3.60 USD) for students between 15-26 & seniors 🚗 How to get there: Beckov Castle is roughly 1 hour by car (112 km / 69 mi) from Bratislava. 🏡 Where to stay: Kúria Beckov - Penzión (⭐️ 9.0) | KiVi (⭐️ 9.7)
Right below the High Tatra Mountains lies peaceful Kežmarok, one of the best towns in Slovakia thanks to its dreamy 15th-century castle and pastel-colored buildings. If you have some extra time during your trip to the High Tatras and are looking to relax in a historic town nearby, then it’s definitely worth stopping by Kežmarok for a day (you won’t need longer than that).
Kežmarok used to be a hub for craftsmen and traders back in the 17th century, and you can still see many Renaissance merchant houses in the historic center today.
Some other cool places to check out during your time here include the Kežmarok Castle, the wooden articular church (Drevený Artikulárny Kostol), the historical Reduta building, and the New Evangelical Church.
🚗 How to get there: Kežmarok is only a 20-minute drive (15 km / 9.3 mi) from the High Tatras mountain resorts of Tatranská Lomnica and Starý Smokovec. From Štrbské Pleso (another popular resort in the High Tatras), it's a 40-minute drive (42 km / 26 mi). 🏡 Where to stay: Boutique Hotel Hviezdoslav (⭐️ 9.1) | Penzion Albrechtt (⭐️ 9.7)
🥘 More Unique Things to do in Slovakia
Those were 24 amazing places in Slovakia to visit, but here are some more ideas for fun and unusual activities to do during your time in this country:
- Take a fun and scenic walk at Slovak Paradise National Park (Slovenský raj)
- Visit the unique rock dwellings in the tiny village of Brhlovce
- Explore the fairytale castle/museum of Zámok Marcus in Repište
- Enjoy a spa day at the Aphrodite Thermal Spa in Rajecké Teplice
- Learn about culture & tradition at the annual Východná Folklore Festival
- Have a glass of Kofola, the Coca-Cola of Slovakia and the Czech Republic
- Taste the popular national dish — bryndzové halušky (dumplings with sheep’s cheese)
✈️ Getting Into Slovakia
The best way to reach the most beautiful spots in Slovakia is to fly into Bratislava or Košice, the two biggest cities in the country.
You can find plenty of direct flights to Bratislava Airport (BTS) and Košice International Airport (KSC) from many big cities in Europe including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Prague, Madrid, and Berlin (in fact, Slovakia is a great destination to head to after 2 days in Berlin).
🚇 You can also take a direct train to Bratislava from Vienna (55 mins / €5), Budapest (2.5 hours / €9), or Prague (under 4 hours / €16). You can drive to Bratislava from each of those cities too and get there in roughly the same amount of time. 👉🏽 Click here to search for trains to Bratislava
🚗 Getting Around Slovakia
The most efficient way to see Slovakia’s points of interest is to rent a car and drive around the country on a little self-guided tour. This will allow you to see not just Slovakia’s tourist spots but also the many small towns and hidden gems that would be hard to reach without a car.
While buses and trains connect the large cities of Slovakia, it would usually take several stops and many long hours to reach many of the country’s hidden gems via public transportation.
🏯 If you prefer guided tours, you can visit some of the most beautiful castles mentioned in this article on a Slovakia Castles Private Full-Day Tour which departs from Bratislava.
🔮 Travel Insurance for Slovakia
Having travel insurance gives me peace of mind, and I highly recommend getting it because let’s be real — the last thing we want on any trip is for accidents and mishaps to get in the way. I use a service called World Nomads and can highly recommend them — they offer affordable prices, great coverage, and a reliable 24/7 on-call service.
☀️ The Best Time to Visit Slovakia
☀️ The best time to go sightseeing in Slovakia is between May and September as the weather will be pleasantly warm. This is also a great time to go hiking if you enjoy basking in the sun.
❄️ If you prefer winter wonderland vibes and winter activities, then December to March is a great time to visit Slovakia for skiing in the High Tatras, hiking on snow, or bathing in the thermal pools.
🎉 There are also tons of festivals in the spring and summer, including the annual Košice Music Spring Festival in May and the Východná Folklore Festival in July.
🧛🏻♂️ If you’re into vampires and witches, you might also love the annual International Festival of Ghosts and Monsters that takes place in beautiful Bojnice Castle between late April to early May. It attracts over 50,000 visitors yearly and is truly something else!
🗓 How Many Days to Spend in Slovakia
One can easily spend multiple weeks hitting all the best places to visit in Slovakia. If you truly want to explore this country in-depth and get to know its heart and soul, I recommend spending 2-3 weeks in Slovakia. If you have limited time, though, here are some one-week itineraries that cover the absolute best things to see in Slovakia:
⭐ 1-week itinerary around Slovakia
Day 1: Bojnice Castle + Čičmany
Day 2: Súľov Rocks
Day 3: Vlkolínec + Orava Castle
Day 4-5: High Tatras
Day 6-7: Spiš Castle + Bardejov + Košice
1-week itinerary in Eastern Slovakia
Day 1: Orava Castle + Vlkolínec
Day 2-3: High Tatras
Day 4: Hervartov + Bardejov
Day 5-6: Košice
Day 7: Domica Cave + Šomoška Castle
🗺️ A Map of What to See in Slovakia
Here’s a map of all the best places to go in Slovakia aside from Bratislava. It includes all the attractions mentioned in this guide, and you can click here to see it in full on Google Maps.
💛 Is Slovakia Safe to Visit?
Slovakia is a very safe country to visit, even for solo female travelers. Crime rates are low, and violent crimes rarely happen.
Much like traveling in the rest of Europe, though, one thing to watch out for is pickpockets. The good thing is that they’re definitely not as common as they are in many other European cities such as Barcelona, Paris, or Rome. However, it’s always a good idea to take general precautions and keep an eye on your valuables especially in Slovakia’s tourist places and crowded areas like train stations.
💸 How Much to Budget for Slovakia
One great thing about traveling in Slovakia is that once you get out of Bratislava, everything is cheaper! Not that Bratislava is that expensive to begin with, but its prices definitely can’t compare with those of Eastern Slovakia, for instance.
Of course, the more touristy the place is, the more expensive it will be. Here’s a little breakdown of how much to budget for Slovakia in general:
🏡 Accommodation (per night): €15 ($18 USD) budget / €35 – €60 ($60 – $75 USD) comfort / €85 – €100 ($100 – $120 USD) luxury
🥘 Food (per person): €5 – €7 per meal
🚗 Car rental: Starting at €25 ($30 USD) a day
🎫 Admission to attractions: €1.50 – €8 ($1.80 – $10 USD) on average
Final Thoughts on These Things to See in Slovakia
I hope this guide has given you tons of ideas about where to go in Slovakia if you want to venture outside the capital city and discover some magical hidden gems. Whether it’s ancient folklore villages, dreamy fairytale castles, dramatic hiking trails, or well-preserved medieval towns, this country truly has something for everyone.
So if you’re planning a trip to Eastern Europe, remember: there are tons of nice places in Slovakia other than Bratislava!
📸 My Slovakia Photography Gear
This is the gear I used to capture the beauty of Slovakia. You can also see my tips for the best cameras for bloggers for more options other than the ones listed below.
- Cameras: Nikon D610 + Sony A6400 (check out the best Sony lenses)
- Main lens: Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8
- Wide-angle lens: Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8
- Prime lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G
- Tripod: Manfrotto Element Traveller Tripod (Ball Head)