Slovakia is a land of rugged mountains, lakes, and forests. It is home to wild boars, lynx, and bears. Slovakia’s natural resources are timber, iron ore, and the rich farmland around the Danube River. Here, farmers grow cereal crops and raise pigs. Around 40% of Slovak’s work in industry, which is centered in Bratislava and Kosice. During the communist era, most factories produced heavy machinery, but today more are producing consumer goods.
These are the top ten not to be missed places when in Slovakia:
Bratislava Old Town
The historic center of the Bratislava Old Town is one of most the interesting parts of this town because it exudes both decadence and the communist sadness of yore. Everything can be absorbed in no time as it is full of lovely views and cafés where guests can have a good coffee, drink a good beer, eat a good Slovak meal and relax a little. A full day is more than enough to visit Bratislava. Vienna and Bratislava are connected by trains departing every hour from morning till night. This wonderful and well-maintained old town provides a fascinating atmosphere and many opportunities to sit outside especially in summer. In December, a beautiful Christmas market takes place here.
Many sights around the Old Town are easily reachable on foot, although the city offers a variety of rides in an efficient public transport circuit. Through the door of St. Michael, you will experience a blast from the past when coming into the old city. The people you meet around here are amiable and willing to give information to tourists. The impact of communism is very evident and some parts of the city are in the process of restoration. You cannot compare it with the other cities that are located in the same area because Bratislava did not run with the same fate at historic levels. The potential is considerable. The town certainly needs restructuring, but, all in all, the Old Town is a pleasant discovery.
St. Elizabeth’s / Blue Church
The St. Elizabeth’s / Blue Church is located near the city center and was built in memory of unborn children. Near the church, there is a monument dedicated to the same theme. The church is beautiful, unusual, and entirely different from anything else that is in Bratislava. A lot of Slovak girls dream of getting married in this church, so they make reservations here about a year before their planned wedding day.
This Catholic Church in Bratislava was so named because of its color. The Church is in an architectural style that compliments the building of the nearby Catholic school. The unusual architecture of the church (Round Tower) was inspired by the design of a castle. The height of the steeple’s spire is more than 36 meters. The clock in the tower serves as a reminder that life is running and to think about eternity. But most importantly, it has a raised small monument stone with blue tiles.
Upstairs, there is a monument of a snake that suffocates chicks and the inscription “for the unborn children”. It is always covered with wreaths and candles as offerings. From afar, the Blue Church looks like a cake topper but it is truly beautiful both outside and inside. You can only get inside during a church service. Outside, there is a cute garden that was built in honor and as a form of repentance for the unborn children.
The market square in Bratislava is called Hlavne Namestie and, just like the rest of the city, it is small but very cozy with beautiful architecture, pleasant cafes, shops, and a winter skating rink. There is a statue of Napoleon with a cocked hat, and many women love to be photographed next to him. In the evening, when it is illuminated, it becomes a spectacle that is not to be missed. The square encloses the charm of this city that is definitely worth a visit and a photo. A Church, a fountain, and an old chocolaterie serve as the backdrop for photos in memory of a pleasant stroll in Bratislava. The square matches the facades of several buildings that join together with continuity and harmony.
The town hall fits perfectly into the context as well. As the markets of local products, it is easy to find a design or a local ceramic production. At the flea market, you can buy all kinds of souvenirs, scented soaps from cinnamon, to small objects carved in wood. At all hours of the day, the square expresses elegance and charm. Located at the edge of the old city, the square can be reached through a wide leafy avenue where the walk is pleasant and relaxing. It is punctuated by a lovely fountain in the square and a nearby historic theater.
The Devin Castle is located in a suburb of Bratislava where buses stop on their hourly schedule. These ruins of a former castle are idyllic and colorful. There is a corresponding entrance fee to be paid at the gates and you can take pictures all around. The castle is located at the confluence of two rivers; the Danube and Morava.
Here the Danube looks blue and you’ll be able to see it clearly. At the Devin castle, you can buy delicious wines that are made from red or black currant. The prices are affordable, and the allure of the wine quietly takes you to the house to discover more about it. You can also have a meal at their outdoor cafe. It is a very interesting place on the border of Slovakia and Austria. It certainly remains as beautiful as it has ever been, because most of its important parts are preserved very well.
The main towers are consistently maintained and sometimes under construction. It is also the most ideal place for those who wish to stay physically active during their vacation because it offers excellent conditions for running, cycling, and even a small picnic. It is highly recommended to take a stroll around the castle in the evening as it evokes a feeling of mystery when it is beautifully illuminated at night.
Bratislava Castle (Hrad)
The Bratislava Castle overlooks the beautiful Danube River. Built in the Middle Ages, the castle was home to the ruling emperors and empresses of Hungary. Hungarian rule lasted from A.D. 906 to 1918. From the airport, take a bus to reach the center of Bratislava, stroll through the Old Town and visit the castle. The Old Town is very similar to the center of Prague and the castle itself is situated on the hill like the Hradcany in Prague. It’s a lovely building that is worthy of attention. The castle is a bit rustic but up here it is all worth the effort, especially at sunset as it offers stunning views of the city, the red tiled houses, New Bridge, and the Danube.
If you need souvenirs from Slovakia, you can buy them in the store at the entrance to the Castle. They are two times cheaper there than in the old town. This old castle was rebuilt almost from scratch. It produces a strong impression and, compared with the Prague Castle, it is even more outstanding. It looks better when fully lighted at night. If the weather is not overcast, it is possible to see a bit of Austria.
Slavin is a majestic memorial/monument dedicated to the fallen soldiers of World War II. It is located on the mountain and only one bus goes there every hour from the Piazza Hodzovo Namestit (on the opposite side of the road from the Presidential Palace). The memorial is small but beautiful. Conversely, you can descend on foot in about 15 minutes and not wait for the arrival of the bus because twenty minutes is enough time to visit and learn everything. It merits a visit from anyone who is not indifferent to the history of Slovakia. It is still well maintained and the tombstone has photos where you can look at the faces of the soldiers buried here.
This huge monument overlooks the city and can be seen from the various points of Bratislava. It is a monument with considerable historical value that is both impressive and meaningful. At the foot of the memorial is a cemetery of the fallen soldiers of the Red Army in the battles in Slovakia. The memorial is imposing and looking at it makes you feel very small. From the hill, you can enjoy a splendid view of the city and the nearby attractions. The place never fails to evoke deep thoughts from every visitor.
Cathedral of St. Elizabeth (Dom svatej Alzbety)
The Cathedral of Kosice (Cathedral of St. Elizabeth) is an impressive Gothic structure built in the 1400s located right in the center of Kosice and serves as the heart of the whole square. You can also visit the interior of the church but only when there isn’t Holy Mass going on. The cathedral has an impressive tower. At the west wall, there are drawings of Jesus and other symbols of the Catholic faith. Inside the church, there is a beautiful altar and a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. Under the church, there is a park with bells that peal on the hour. In front of the cathedral, there are many restaurants, shops, cafes, and other sites of interest.
This most beautiful Gothic church in Slovakia was declared along with the Urban Storm and the St. Michael’s Chapel as the national cultural monument. Construction began in 1380. It holds many artistic novelties, including the Tympanum, and the Last Judgment – surrounded by five reliefs and 48 images on the altar with two pairs of wings and the life of St. Elizabeth. The cathedral is a diverse structure, and you should take your time visiting. There are many interesting details that truly show the craftsmanship of the time. We highly recommended climbing the 162 steps up the tower to see the view from the top. The entrance to the church is free of charge.
Jasna Nizke Tatry
The Jasna Nizke Tatry is an ideal place for winter recreation. It offers many trails of varying difficulty, plenty of parking, and lots of places to eat. The trails are not fenced in some areas and there can be ice.
This excellent location for skiing has lovely lifts, magnificent landscapes, and nice people. The slopes are well arranged and the ski trails map out an interesting route showing off the rest of the Liptovsky Mikulas region.
For a taste of relaxation, visit the Aquacity thermal park in Slovakia. It has lots of pools with different water temperatures. There are outdoor and indoor options for you to choose from. There is also an outdoor roller coaster for children. On weekends, many come to visit from other places in Slovakia, as well as from Poland. There is a cafe inside with pretty good food. It is advisable to buy the ticket that includes a sauna treatment.
The Strecno Castle is long enough to rise from the river. The small castle was completely restored in 1995 and offers a marvelous view of its surrounding area. The interior is very interesting with unique exhibits that not only tell the story of the castle but also the history. From the top, you can admire a beautiful view of the city and the River Vah. The castle is linked to the fate of Sophia Bosnian (Bosniak).
This is a story of her love for her husband, God, and the poor. Sophia died in 1644, and several years later in the crypt of the castle her body was found still intact. The remains were transported back to the church in the nearby town of Teplice nad Vahom, where in April 2009 it fell victim to vandalism and got burned. Currently, in the chapel of the castle there is a copy of the mummified corpses which you can enjoy while visiting the castle interiors.