Slovakia travel guide

Discover the captivating charm of Slovakia, a landlocked nation in Central Europe. From majestic castles and mountains to charming towns and national parks, Slovakia offers an unforgettable travel experience.

General Information

Nestled in the heart of Central Europe, Slovakia is a country of remarkable natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. Officially known as the Slovak Republic, this landlocked nation is bordered by Austria to the west, the Czech Republic to the northwest, Hungary to the south, Poland to the north, and Ukraine to the east.

Slovakia’s landscape is a captivating tapestry of towering mountain ranges, verdant valleys, and meandering rivers. The High Tatras, a majestic mountain range, dominate the northern part of the country, offering breathtaking alpine scenery. The Carpathian Mountains, which extend across a large portion of Slovakia, are home to dense forests, picturesque valleys, and charming villages.

Steeped in history, Slovakia boasts a rich cultural heritage. The country’s territory was once part of the Great Moravian Empire, one of the first Slavic states. Over the centuries, Slovakia was ruled by various empires, including the Kingdom of Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy, leaving behind a legacy of architectural wonders and cultural influences.

Today, Slovakia is a modern and democratic country with a growing economy and a high standard of living. The Slovak people are known for their hospitality, warmth, and love of their traditions. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, or simply a relaxing getaway, Slovakia has something to offer every traveler.

Best Time to Visit

Slovakia’s diverse landscape and continental climate offer distinct experiences throughout the year, making it an appealing destination in every season. The optimal time to visit depends on your interests and preferred activities.

Summer (June – August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Slovakia, characterized by warm, sunny weather, ideal for hiking in the High Tatras, exploring castles, and enjoying outdoor festivals. Temperatures average between 20-25°C (68-77°F), making it pleasant for sightseeing and outdoor pursuits. Be prepared for larger crowds and higher accommodation prices during these months.

Shoulder Seasons (May & September): The shoulder months of May and September offer a delightful balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Temperatures are mild, averaging 15-20°C (59-68°F), making it comfortable for hiking, exploring cities, and enjoying the autumn foliage.

Winter (December – February): Winter transforms Slovakia into a winter wonderland, perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and other snow-related activities. The High Tatras come alive with skiers and snowboarders enjoying the slopes. Temperatures can drop below freezing, so pack accordingly.

Visa and Entry Requirements

Slovakia is a member of the Schengen Area, which comprises 27 European countries that have abolished passport and border controls at their mutual borders. If you are a citizen of a Schengen country, you can enter Slovakia with a valid national identity card. Citizens of many other countries can enter Slovakia visa-free for a limited period.

Schengen Visa: If you are not a citizen of a Schengen country or a country with a visa-free agreement with Slovakia, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa. The Schengen visa allows you to stay in Slovakia or any other Schengen country for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.

Visa Requirements: To apply for a Schengen visa, you will typically need a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining, a completed visa application form, a recent passport-sized photograph, travel insurance covering medical expenses of at least €30,000, proof of accommodation, proof of sufficient funds for your stay, and a return flight ticket.

Long-Term Visas: If you plan to stay in Slovakia for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a long-term visa or residence permit from your nearest Slovak embassy or consulate. The specific requirements for long-term visas vary depending on the purpose of your stay, such as study, work, or family reunification.

Currency and Budget

The official currency of Slovakia is the euro (€), which is divided into 100 cents. You’ll find a wide range of ATMs throughout the country, and credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments, particularly in urban areas. However, it’s always advisable to carry some cash for smaller businesses, markets, and rural areas.

Slovakia generally offers good value for money compared to other European destinations. Your budget will vary depending on your travel style, accommodation choices, and spending habits. Here’s a general overview of typical daily expenses:

  • Budget: €50-€80 per day
  • Mid-range: €80-€150 per day
  • Luxury: €150+ per day

Accommodation: Hostels and budget-friendly guesthouses offer affordable options starting from €20 per night. Mid-range hotels typically cost between €50 and €100 per night, while luxury hotels can exceed €150 per night.

Food and Drink: Slovakia offers delicious and affordable cuisine. A meal at a local restaurant can cost between €8 and €15, while a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant will set you back around €20-€30. Street food and snacks are widely available and cost around €3-€5.

Transportation: Public transportation in Slovakia is efficient and affordable. A single bus or tram ticket typically costs around €1. Taxis are readily available in cities, but it’s recommended to use a reputable company or app to avoid overcharging.


Slovakia boasts a well-developed and efficient transportation system, making it convenient to navigate the country and explore its diverse regions. Whether you prefer the convenience of public transport, the freedom of driving, or the scenic routes of trains, Slovakia offers various options to suit your travel preferences.

Air Travel: Slovakia has several international airports, with the largest and busiest being M.R. Štefánik Airport (BTS) in Bratislava, serving as the main gateway to the country. Other international airports include Košice International Airport (KSC) in eastern Slovakia and Poprad-Tatry Airport (TAT) serving the High Tatras region.

Train Travel: Trains are an excellent way to travel between cities and towns in Slovakia and to neighboring countries. The railway network is operated by Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK), and trains are generally comfortable and reliable. You can purchase tickets online, at train stations, or through the ZSSK mobile app.

Bus Travel: Buses are a cost-effective and extensive mode of transport, connecting even the smallest villages. Several bus companies operate throughout Slovakia, including Slovak Lines, RegioJet, and FlixBus. Bus tickets can be purchased online, at bus stations, or directly from the driver.

Top Attractions in Slovakia

From towering mountain peaks and enchanting castles to captivating caves and preserved folk villages, Slovakia offers a treasure trove of attractions for every traveler.


Perched on the banks of the Danube River, Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, seamlessly blends a captivating history with a youthful energy. Its compact Old Town, easily explored on foot, is a charming tapestry of cobblestone streets, pastel-colored buildings, and lively squares.

Dominating the city skyline, Bratislava Castle, a majestic symbol of the city’s past, stands proudly on a hilltop. Its expansive courtyards offer panoramic views of the Danube River and the city below. Explore its history museum, wander through the Baroque gardens, and be captivated by its grandeur.

Stroll through the enchanting Old Town, where you’ll find architectural gems such as St. Martin’s Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece that once served as the coronation church for Hungarian kings, and the Old Town Hall, a complex of buildings dating back to the 14th century. Discover hidden courtyards, charming cafes, and vibrant street art, adding to the city’s unique charm.

For a modern twist, venture across the SNP Bridge, a distinctive UFO-shaped structure offering spectacular city views. Enjoy a meal or drink at its revolving restaurant, marveling at the city lights. Bratislava’s vibrant nightlife, affordable prices, and friendly atmosphere make it an unforgettable destination.

High Tatras Mountains

The majestic High Tatras Mountains, often referred to as the “smallest alpine mountains in Europe,” are a breathtaking natural wonder that will captivate your senses. As the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains, the High Tatras offer a stunning landscape of jagged peaks, pristine glacial lakes, cascading waterfalls, and lush valleys.

Lace up your hiking boots and embark on unforgettable trails that wind through dense pine forests, leading to panoramic vistas that will take your breath away. Challenge yourself with a climb to the summit of Gerlachovský štít, the highest peak in Slovakia, rewarding yourself with awe-inspiring views from its peak.

Discover the tranquil beauty of Štrbské Pleso, a picturesque glacial lake nestled amidst towering peaks. Take a leisurely stroll along its shores, rent a boat and glide across its crystal-clear waters, or simply soak in the tranquility of the surrounding nature.

During the winter months, the High Tatras transform into a winter wonderland, attracting skiers and snowboarders with its slopes of varying difficulty. Cozy mountain huts offer respite and refreshments, while traditional villages at the foot of the mountains provide charming accommodations and a glimpse into local life.

Spiš Castle

Perched majestically atop a travertine hill overlooking the town of Spišská Nová Ves, Spiš Castle stands as a testament to Slovakia’s rich history and architectural prowess. As one of the largest castle complexes in Central Europe, Spiš Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, captivating visitors with its grandeur and commanding presence.

Dating back to the 12th century, Spiš Castle has witnessed centuries of history, evolving from a Romanesque fortress to a Gothic palace and later a Renaissance residence. Its strategic location, perched on a hilltop, provided formidable defenses against invaders, playing a pivotal role in the region’s history.

Today, visitors can step back in time as they wander through the castle’s well-preserved ruins, exploring its courtyards, towers, and ramparts. Imagine the lives of the kings, nobles, and soldiers who once inhabited this grand fortress. Marvel at the architectural details, from the Romanesque chapel to the Gothic palace and the Renaissance loggia.

The castle’s museum houses a collection of artifacts unearthed during archaeological excavations, offering insights into the daily life and culture of the castle’s former inhabitants. Climb the castle’s tower, and on a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, stretching as far as the High Tatras Mountains.

Bojnice Castle

Rising above the charming town of Bojnice, perched on a travertine hilltop, Bojnice Castle seems straight out of a fairytale. With its romantic architecture, captivating history, and enchanting setting, Bojnice Castle is one of Slovakia’s most visited and beloved castles, capturing the hearts and imaginations of travelers from around the world.

Originally built as a wooden fortress in the 12th century, Bojnice Castle underwent several transformations throughout the centuries. Its present fairytale-like appearance is largely attributed to the late 19th century when Count János Ferenc Pálffy, inspired by French romantic castles, commissioned a significant reconstruction.

Today, visitors can step into a world of fairytales and legends as they explore the castle’s opulent interiors, adorned with elaborate decorations, period furniture, and exquisite works of art. Wander through its grand halls, marvel at the intricate carvings and frescoes, and discover the legends and tales associated with the castle and its former inhabitants.

The castle’s grounds are equally enchanting, featuring a picturesque lake, a romantic French garden, and a charming zoological garden. Be sure to explore the nearby Bojnice Castle Cave, a fascinating limestone cave system beneath the castle hill, adding an element of mystery and adventure to your visit.

Slovak Paradise National Park

Escape to a realm of natural wonders at Slovak Paradise National Park, a breathtaking tapestry of canyons, gorges, waterfalls, and lush forests in eastern Slovakia. True to its name, Slovak Paradise offers a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and adventurers seeking to immerse themselves in the untouched beauty of the Slovak countryside.

Embark on unforgettable hikes through the park’s network of trails, traversing narrow canyons with towering cliffs, crossing wooden bridges over cascading waterfalls, and navigating ladders and chains secured to rock faces. The park’s trails offer varying difficulty levels, catering to both casual hikers and experienced adventurers.

Discover the awe-inspiring Suchá Belá Gorge, a highlight of Slovak Paradise, where you’ll navigate wooden walkways bolted to the cliffs, ascend steep ladders, and marvel at the power of nature as water has carved its way through the limestone rock.

Explore Dobšinská Ice Cave, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and witness a subterranean world of ice formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. The cave’s constant sub-zero temperatures create a mesmerizing spectacle that will leave you in awe of nature’s artistry.


Step back in time and immerse yourself in the charm of Vlkolínec, a remarkably well-preserved folk village nestled amidst the picturesque hills of northern Slovakia. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, Vlkolínec offers a captivating glimpse into traditional Slovak rural life and architecture.

Wander through the village’s narrow, car-free lanes, lined with charming wooden houses dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Admire the intricate details of the log cabins, their gabled roofs, wooden balconies, and colorful facades adorned with folk motifs. Each house stands as a testament to the craftsmanship and traditional building techniques of the region.

Explore the village’s open-air museum, housed in several of the traditional buildings, offering insights into the daily life, customs, and traditions of the villagers. Discover how they lived, worked, and celebrated, from weaving and woodworking to farming and beekeeping.

Soak in the tranquil atmosphere of Vlkolínec, surrounded by rolling hills and verdant forests. Enjoy a meal at the village’s traditional restaurant, savor the flavors of Slovak cuisine, and embrace the slower pace of life in this captivating village frozen in time.


Nestled in the foothills of the Beskydy Mountains in northeastern Slovakia, Bardejov is a captivating town steeped in history and architectural grandeur. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Bardejov enchants visitors with its remarkably preserved medieval town center and its legacy as a spa town.

Step back in time as you wander through Bardejov’s main square, Rákociho námestie, surrounded by a harmonious ensemble of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings. Admire the ornate facades of burgher houses, their colorful pastel hues and intricate details whispering tales of the town’s prosperous past.

Visit the Basilica of St. Giles, a magnificent Gothic church dominating the square with its soaring tower and richly decorated interior. Step inside to marvel at its intricate altarpieces, late-Gothic sculptures, and well-preserved frescoes.

Discover the town’s rich Jewish heritage at the Bardejov Jewish Suburb, a complex of historic buildings that once formed a thriving Jewish community. Explore the Old Synagogue, a Renaissance gem, and stroll through the former Jewish quarter, a poignant reminder of the town’s multicultural past.


Encircled by medieval walls and steeped in history, Levoča, a captivating town in eastern Slovakia, transports visitors to a bygone era. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, Levoča boasts a remarkably well-preserved town center, renowned for its architectural treasures and its legacy as a center of religious art.

Step through the town gates and find yourself in a time capsule of cobblestone streets, colorful burgher houses, and grand churches. At the heart of Levoča stands St. James’ Church, a magnificent Gothic masterpiece home to the world’s tallest wooden altarpiece, a towering masterpiece carved by Master Pavol of Levoča in the early 16th century. Marvel at its intricate details, life-sized figures, and gilded surfaces, a testament to the artistry of the late Middle Ages.

Explore Levoča’s main square, Námestie Majstra Pavla, surrounded by beautifully preserved Renaissance and Gothic buildings. Admire the Town Hall, a striking Renaissance edifice with its distinctive arcades and sgraffito decoration, and the Cage of Shame, a poignant reminder of medieval punishments.

Climb the Town Hall Tower for panoramic views of Levoča’s rooftops and the surrounding countryside. As you stroll through Levoča’s enchanting streets, be sure to sample the local specialty, Levoča gingerbread, a traditional treat with a history dating back centuries.


Journey to the heart of Slovakia’s history and spirituality in Nitra, one of the country’s oldest cities, nestled amidst the rolling hills of western Slovakia. Known for its significant religious heritage, ancient fortress, and charming atmosphere, Nitra offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty.

Dominating the city skyline atop Zobor Hill, Nitra Castle stands as a symbol of the city’s rich past. Explore the castle complex, home to the Cathedral of St. Emmeram, a stunning example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and the Diocesan Museum, offering insights into the region’s religious heritage.

Wander through Nitra’s well-preserved Old Town, where you’ll find a harmonious blend of architectural styles, from Gothic and Renaissance to Baroque and Art Nouveau. Admire the ornate facades of burgher houses, discover hidden courtyards, and soak in the city’s relaxed ambiance.

Visit the Synagogue of Nitra, a striking Art Nouveau masterpiece, and learn about the city’s once-thriving Jewish community. For a glimpse into Slovakia’s agricultural heritage, explore the Agrokomplex Exhibition Centre, hosting agricultural exhibitions and events throughout the year.

Banská Štiavnica

Nestled amidst the picturesque Štiavnické Hills of central Slovakia, Banská Štiavnica is a captivating town steeped in mining history and architectural splendor. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, Banská Štiavnica offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of medieval mining and its lasting legacy.

Explore the town’s historic center, where you’ll encounter a harmonious blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Admire the grand Town Hall, the ornate Trinity Square with its plague column, and the charming New Castle, built as a watchtower against Turkish invasions.

Delve into Banská Štiavnica’s mining past at the Slovak Mining Museum, where you can descend into a real mine and learn about the town’s centuries-old mining traditions. Visit the Open-Air Mining Museum, a vast complex showcasing historic mining equipment, shafts, and tunnels.

Take a stroll to the Church of St. Catherine, a magnificent Gothic church perched on a hilltop overlooking the town, and enjoy panoramic views of Banská Štiavnica’s red-roofed houses and surrounding hills. For a relaxing experience, visit one of the town’s thermal springs, known for their therapeutic properties since the Middle Ages.


Embrace the vibrant energy of Košice, Slovakia’s second-largest city, located in the eastern part of the country. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and thriving cultural scene, Košice offers a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication.

At the heart of Košice lies Hlavná ulica (Main Street), a pedestrianized thoroughfare lined with grand buildings showcasing a mix of architectural styles, from Gothic and Renaissance to Baroque and Art Nouveau. Admire the ornate facades, discover hidden courtyards, and soak in the city’s lively atmosphere.

Visit St. Elisabeth Cathedral, a magnificent Gothic masterpiece and the largest church in Slovakia. Step inside to marvel at its soaring ceilings, stained-glass windows, and intricate sculptures. Explore the adjacent St. Michael’s Chapel, a haunting reminder of Košice’s medieval past.

Discover the city’s rich cultural heritage at the East Slovak Museum, home to a vast collection of artifacts showcasing the region’s history, art, and ethnography. Experience the city’s thriving arts scene at the State Theater Košice or the Košice State Philharmonic, offering world-class performances.

Food and Drink

Slovakia’s culinary scene is a delightful fusion of hearty Central European flavors with influences from neighboring countries, creating a unique and satisfying gastronomic experience. Prepare to be delighted by the country’s hearty meat dishes, flavorful soups, and comforting dumplings, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.


From charming guesthouses in the countryside to stylish hotels in bustling cities, Slovakia offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preference and budget. Whether you seek a cozy retreat surrounded by nature or a luxurious stay in the heart of the action, Slovakia has something to offer.

Safety and Health

Slovakia is generally a safe and welcoming country for travelers. However, it’s always advisable to exercise common sense and take necessary precautions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Language and Culture

Slovakia boasts a rich and vibrant culture, shaped by its history, traditions, and the warmth of its people. Understanding a bit about Slovakian culture and language will enhance your travel experience, allowing for a more immersive and meaningful journey.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply