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20 Best Places to Visit in Slovakia

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If you’re planning a trip to Central Europe, don’t miss out on Slovakia, one of the hidden gems and best destinations in Eastern Europe. This captivating country in the heart of the Slovak Republic offers a wealth of places to visit and experience.

The picturesque landscape in Eastern Europe’s heart has the most beautiful castles, rolling hills, national parks, and medieval towns. Every corner of this country embodies its rich history and intriguing cultural heritage.

Slovakia’s past is a tapestry of conquests and rulers. It has been under the domain of various empires, such as the Mongols, Hungarians, Ottomans, and Czechs. But in 1993, the independent nation of Slovakia emerged. 

Bratislava, Slovakia’s charming capital, has historical landmarks, charming streets, and lively cultural scenes. As one of the key destinations in Slovakia, Bratislava offers a blend of modern amenities and rich history, making it a perfect starting point for your Slovakian journey.

Slovakia’s numerous castles, such as Orava Castle and Spiš Castle, are spectacular destinations for those passionate about history and architecture. These historical sites, set against dramatic backdrops, are not just places to go but are also windows into the nation’s past.

Today, Slovakia entices thousands of travelers, each seeking opportunities for its fairytale castles, outdoor activities, historic museums, iconic spa towns, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This charming European country is ideal for adventure, culture, and relaxation.

Best Places to Visit in Slovakia

1. Calvary of Banská Štiavnica

Banská Štiavnica Calvary

Address: Pod Kalváriou, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

The Banská Štiavnica Calvary is among the most stunning historical landmarks in the entire country. It is a baroque-style calvary monument perched on the hill of Scharfenberg. Due to its location, it is a fascinating sight to see from afar and a great place to admire the stunning scenery.

The beauty of this historical landmark and its history should not be missed. Banská Štiavnica Calvary is among the landmarks in the region that gets the most visitors. This is home to various exhibits from one of its churches and provides an engaging tour of the region’s past.

The calvary is a gem that Banská Štiavnica owns and preserves. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996 for its unique beauty and historical significance.

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2. Slovak Paradise National Park

A Trail in Slovenske Rudohorie Slovak Paradise National Park

The Slovak Paradise National Park is a hidden treasure that every first-time visitor to Slovakia should explore. It is one of Slovakia’s most beautiful national parks and among its most visited national landmarks. The park is part of the Slovenské Rudohorie Mountains (Slovak Paradise Mountains), which run along the Czech border in northern Slovakia, in the northeast corner of the range.

Slovak Paradise National Park has 277 km of marked hiking trails stretching, and nature lovers flock to this place for good reason. The national park is true to its name; it is a verdant paradise, straight out of an adventure novel or Disney movie.

It is among the best places in Slovakia to enjoy green space and an array of exciting outdoor activities, even beyond hiking trails and mountains. Dabble in climbing through its rocky gorges to reach the highest rocky outcrops to stare at beautiful scenery for miles. Even more impressive are the estimated 350 underground caves in the area waiting for you to explore!

In addition to more active excursions, it’s also a great place to take relaxing walks to take in the view. Or take the opportunity to delight in the most sightly picnic you’ll ever munch on.

See Related: Hiking Apps for Your Next Adventure

3. Dobšinská Ice Cave

Inside the Dobšinská Ice Cave
Milosz Maslanka / Adobe Stock

Address: Dobšinská Ľadová Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa, 049 71 Dobšinská Ľadová Jaskyňa, Slovakia

On the southwestern border of the Slovak Paradise National Park is the icy grotto of the Dobšinská Ice Cave. It is a popular tourist destination that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2000.

The ice cave is formed from two distinct ice walls separated by open water. There are an estimated 125,000 cubic meters of ice, with a possible thickness of up to 26.5 meters. The cave has a length of 1,491 meters, with some sections offering magnificent views.

As a result, the ice cave became a prominent tourist attraction and the world’s largest. The Dobšiná Ice Cave is the finest location in Slovakia to undertake a lengthy walking adventure in an ice cave.

Among the highlights to see while visiting the cave is the beauty of ice stalagmites. These share characteristics similar to flawless marble. The attraction is also close enough for a side trip to Stare Karpaty Castle.

4. Castle of Beckov

Castle of Beckov

Address: Beckov 180, 916 38 Beckov, Slovakia

The castle ruins of Beckov, in the Nové Mesto nad Váhom District, Trenčín Region, are a national cultural icon that has enjoyed preserving renovations since 2002. This ruined castle, perched on a cliff above the Váh River near the small town of Beckov, served as a strategic stronghold in Great Moravia.

The castle’s history is fascinating. Legend has it that a previous lord of the castle, Stibor of Stiboricz, threw his jester from the cliff because he dared to protect his child from being mauled by the lord’s favorite dog.

The jester cursed the lord as he fell, screaming, “A year and a day!” Supposedly, a year and a day after Stibor of Stiboricz had murdered his jester, he was taking a stroll along the cliff when a snake leaped at him out of nowhere. The creature bit him in the eye, causing him to fall to his death in the same spot he had flung the jester.

It’s likely all nonsense, but it’s all poetic justice! Tourists commonly visit the castle’s ruins, especially during the castle’s festival in July (Beckovské Slávnosti). Moreover, for a more enriching visit, a superb local history exhibition waits to impress you in the ancient Ambro Curia beneath the castle.

See Related: Best Castles in Slovakia

5. Castle of Spirits (Bojnice Castle)

Bojnice Castle (Castle of Spirits)

Address: Zámok a okolie 1, 972 01 Bojnice, Slovakia

Bojnice Castle, also known as the Castle of Spirits, is among the most visited and notable castles in the charming town of Bojnice. It sits 167 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Bratislava.

The exterior of this high-spired, spellbinding castle is remarkable, and its interior is just as spectacular. Little wonder this pretty fairytale castle is a common shooting location for many fantasy films!

The castle includes well-maintained chambers to explore. There are also fantastic exhibits of medieval arsenal tools, including swords, armor, and maces. Other highlights include the enormous ceramics collection and beautiful hand-painted Turkish tiles.

An excellent museum of art and local history can be found within the castle’s château. This exhibition includes authentic furniture and artwork. Its best pieces include the late Gothic collection Bojnice Altar from the 14th Century and many more hidden mysteries.

A tour of the Bojnice Castle includes a trip to the beautiful stalactite cave beneath the castle connected to the castle wall, which is 26 meters deep. Another attraction of this fairytale castle is the castle park, home to the Bojnice Zoo, Slovakia’s oldest zoo. The park also leads onto a forest park in the nearby Strážov Mountains, which is an excellent destination for keen hikers.

6. Ochtinská Aragonite Cave

Minerals in Ochtinská Aragonite Cave
Jojo, en:Jojo_1, pl:Jojo / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: Ochtinská aragonitová jaskyňa Ochtiná, 049 35 Ochtiná, Slovakia

The Ochtinská Aragonite Cave is only 300 meters long but has many aragonite formations. This exciting place is well worth the visit as it’s one of only three aragonite caves in the world and the only one in Central Europe. Worth noting, though, is that the cave is closed to visitors from November to March, so factor this into planning your visit.

The cave is home to three generations of aragonite, which you may see throughout your visit. Aragonite’s variety of forms extends from tips to branches to spirals, with many more curious variations.

It has taken millennia to produce this magnificent array of crystalline limestone. The oldest aragonite from this cave is believed to be the oldest on Earth at an estimated 138,000 years old.

The hall’s walls are white aragonite, and the fantastic cave ceiling formations are one of Slovakia’s most stunning sights. It’s a site not to be missed when visiting Slovakia!

See Related: The Traveler’s Guide to Europe: Exploring With A Flexible Itinerary

7. Orava Castle

Orava Castle

Address: Oravsky Podzamok 1, Oravsky Podzamok 02741 Slovakia

Orava Castle is a fine castle standing over the lands of Oravský Podzámok. It’s a magnificent old castle perched on a high rock about 120 meters above the Orava River. Orava Castle is an ideal destination for those who seek a scenic adventure in Slovakia.

The fortress was constructed in the 13th Century while the region was under the reign of the Kingdom of Hungary. The castle is among the most remarkable landmarks in this impressive medieval town.

A blend of both beautiful and ominous, it is famous for its appearance in the classic 1922 vampire film Nosferatu. The castle is perched over the river and the town, offering a spectacular overlooking view of Oravský Podzámok.

The castle’s ownership changed hands many times over its long existence, and it has seen decades of damage and reconstruction. The worst damage was by fire in 1800, which gutted the castle, causing it to fall into disuse.

After a while, the castle underwent tremendous restoration and finally opened to the public in 1868. Since then, it has housed the Orava Museum, one of Slovakia’s oldest museums.

The castle is also a wonderful sight to behold from afar. The museum has various exhibitions within the complex. Wander through furnished rooms and chambers to massive halls, courtyards, and impressive arsenal.

See Related: Best Museums in Bratislava, Slovakia

8. Spiš Castle

Spis Castle in Slovakia

Address: Namestie Majstra Pavla c.40, Zehra 053 04 Slovakia

The Spiš Castle, located in Eastern Slovakia, is a ruined, imposing fortress once one of Central Europe’s largest castles. The castle ruins can be found near the town of Spišské Podhradie and the tiny village of Žehra in the Eastern part of the country in the region of Spiš.

Due to its magnificence and historical significance, the ruin became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Once a national cultural monument and a significant political, economic, and cultural center of the region of the Hungarian Empire, the fort was constructed atop a travertine hill at the beginning of the 12th century.

The castle is perched atop a travertine hill, providing visitors a breathtaking view of the region. Largely destroyed by a fire in 1780, rendering it uninhabitable, the castle began to see restoration efforts after the Second World War. Additionally, it welcomed numerous archeological parties uncovering relics from the castle’s heyday.

Highlights when visiting include several reconstructed rooms and chambers to explore. You might already recognize this place as the castle appears in several movies, such as Kull the ConquerorDragonheart, and The Last Legion. But to avoid disappointment, don’t plan to visit during winter as the castle is closed to visitors.

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9. Stará Ľubovňa Castle

Stará Ľubovňa Castle Skyline and Scenery
rado1979 / Adobe Stock

Address: Zámocká 22, 064 01 Stará Ľubovňa, Slovakia

The Stará Ľubovňa Castle is a beautifully magnificent monument in Slovakia. The Stará Ľubovňa Castle is a remarkable castle to see in Slovakia.

Constructed in the 14th century to defend trade routes to and from Poland, this massive stone fortress still stands strong. Over the years, it has functioned as a vital regional administrative area and a shelter for the Polish crown jewels.

Explore the Stará Ľubovňa Castle, which has stood above Stará Ľubovňa for centuries. Uncover old mysteries, kings’ footsteps, and hidden corners filled with medieval mystery. The impressive castle, which stands on a limestone cliff and commands the northeastern part of Spi, can be seen from afar.

In 1768, Maurice Benyovszky, a Slovakian, Polish, and Hungarian national hero, was imprisoned for ten months in the castle tower. This was likely where he started devising his wildly popular Memoirs and Travels of Mauritius Augustus Count de Benyowsky!

Permanent castle museum exhibitions are currently available to tour at Stará Ľubovňa Castle. The castle chapel and open-air museum are both located beneath the castle. The tour of the castle lasts around 2 hours. If you visit during summer, you can see some terrific live falconry displays.

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10. Hrad Devín (Devin Castle)

 Hrad Devín

Address: 10, Muránská 1050, 841 10 Bratislava-Devín, Slovakia

Of all the attractions in Slovakia, Hrad Devín (also known as the Devin Castle) is worthy of a spot on our list of the best places to visit in Slovakia to pop on your radar. It’s perched on a large sandstone outcrop, now in ruins, and has always maintained an important role in Slovak history.

The striking ruin splits into two fascinating sections. The first section, located at the site of the original castle, features a fantastic museum that requires a ticket to visit.

It’s very easy to visit Devin Castle if on a city break in Bratislava; rent a car for the quick 20-minute drive. Otherwise, many tour operators provide great opportunities to enjoy a rest bite from the city to see the castle.

The second portion is a public walkway along the river’s edge that provides a tranquil stroll while letting you gaze at the great walls towering over the mighty sandstone bluffs. Built with defense as a priority, every nook of the massive castle grounds has a distinctive vantage point over the surrounding area.

The center portion of the complex, flanked by the Morava and Danube rivers, is almost panoramic in scope. Take advantage of an opportunity to climb to the topmost terrace in the building or get some snaps of the haunting Maiden Tower, where the two rivers meet!

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11. Hviezdoslav Square

Hviezdoslav Square Scenery
Andrey Shevchenko / Adobe Stock

Address: 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia

The lively Hviezdoslav Square in Old Town Bratislava is nestled between the Old Bridge and the Slovak National Theater. It was named for the ancient renowned poet Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, who lived from 1849 to 1921.

The Square is a public space perfect for sightseeing, relaxing, and a popular meeting place in the city. Upon visiting Hviezdoslav Square, you’ll most likely be welcomed by music. The Square is close to an open-air music theater, the Slovak Philharmonic, and the old Opera House, the town’s prime music venues.

Hviezdoslav Square is near several of the city’s most highly rated restaurants and high-end shops where you can stop before or after enjoying a tour of the Square. Festive Christmas markets adorn this historic Bratislava landmark during December. Because of this, it’s an unforgettable winter holiday destination to put on your to-do list.

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12. Nitra Castle

The Nitra Castle Tower

Address: Námestie Jána Pavla II. 1012/7, 949 01 Nitra, Slovakia

Nitra Castle is a proud and majestic castle in Slovakia, surrounded by natural beauty. It was built in the 11th century on the ruins of a once magnificent Slav fort in the charming Old Town of Nitra.

Mother Nature’s finest work enhances the castle’s striking beauty. Enjoy green meadows, rolling hills, and surrounding mountains.

If you haven’t gathered already, this is an incredibly picturesque destination. A photographer’s dream, Nitra Castle is an excellent spot for postcard-perfect views, so make sure to bring your best camera in preparation for a snap happy visit.

The castle’s heart is St. Emmeram’s Cathedral, which houses a Bishop’s dwelling. It is composed of multiple distinct components. The oldest remaining section is the Romanesque Church of St. Emmeram.

The cathedral’s remaining two sections are the 14th Century Gothic Upper Church and the 17th Century Lower Church. The castle of Nitra is considered high on the list of the most magnificent historical sites in the country.

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13. Sad Janka Kráľa

Address: Sad Janka Kráľa, 851 01 Petržalka, Slovakia

You must check out the picturesque region of Sad Janka Kráľa in Slovakia’s largest city, Bratislava. It’s a lovely, tranquil location and one of Central Europe’s oldest and most notable urban parks.

Construction of the park began in 1774 as a public place and meeting ground for people in town. Sad Janka Kráľa (the Janko Kráľ Park) is named for Janko Král, one of Slovakia’s most illustrious and daring writers, and his sculpture can be found in the park.

The park is a lovely retreat where you can walk about in its lush greenery. You can also participate in various leisure activities like leisurely picnics, jogging, or a spot of yoga.

Look for the lovely 15th-century Gothic tower on the perimeter of the garden’s boundaries. It’s often praised as a sterling example of Gothic architecture within Slovakia.

14. Trenčín Castle

Trencin Castle in Slovakia

Address: Matúšova 75/19, 912 50 Trenčín, Slovakia

Address: Matúšova 75/19, 912 50 Trenčín, Slovakia

The majestic Trenčín Castle looms over the charming town of Trenčín in western Slovakia, and it’s a must-see attraction. The castle is protected as a National Cultural Monument of Slovakia and sees tens of thousands of visitors yearly.

Trenčín Castle is the unmissable face of the city of Trenčín and characterizes the entire region of Povaie. It’s distinguishable for miles from its enormous, imposing tower, known as the Máté Tower. It is among Central Europe’s most significant and largest Slovak castles, alongside Devín Castle and Spiš Castle.

Originally a Roman army encampment on the edges of the town of Laugarito (the Roman name for Trenčín), the site saw significant development in the 11th Century when a residential tower and dome were built. The remnants of this may be seen in the castle’s upper courtyard. More additions were made in the 13th Century when it was made a more permanent fortress.

More expansions were added in the 14th and 16th Centuries due to the castle’s ongoing significance as a seat of power in a region vital to several nations’ economies. The castle would serve as the primary fortress and camp that protected trade routes connecting the regions of Northern Ugria and coal mines in Central Slovakia with Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia.

Today, it is home to the Trenčín Museum, where visitors can learn about the exciting history of Trenčín, local traditions, and the namesake castle. Several excellent exhibits feature old furniture, paintings, and archaeological relics.

15. Bratislava Castle

Castles in Slovakia

Address: Hrad, 811 06 Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava Castle, a symbol of Slovakia’s capital city, offers a blend of historical significance and modern charm. Perched on a hill, it provides panoramic views of the Danube River and the city’s old town, making it a must-visit for anyone traveling to Bratislava.

Bratislava Castle is a grand structure with four large turrets at its corners, which lies on an isolated steep hillside of the Little Carpathians. It commands views over the Danube River and Old Town Bratislava and can’t be missed!

The castle is an age-old symbol of Bratislava and has seen (at least) eleven kings’ and eight queens’ coronations, and their courts reside here. The place had particular strategic geographical importance in the period of the Empire of Moravian.

Its stark beauty and fascinating history make the castle a popular stop on sightseeing tours of the city. It is perched in a splendid location at an important intersection of historic routes. A strategically vital spot since ancient times, the first evidence of settlement on this hill dates back to the Stone Age.

Aside from the beauty and grandeur of the castle’s exterior aesthetic, it offers exhibitions across its complex. It also houses exhibitions from the Slovak National Museum featuring the Great-Moravian Basilica’s reconstructed remains.

16. Michael’s Gate

Michael's Gate

Address: Michalská ulica 22 806/24, 811 03 Staré Mesto, Slovakia

Located in the heart of Bratislava, Michael’s Gate is ideally near many of the city’s dining and retail establishments. This makes it a convenient stop for anyone interested in traditional Slovak food or a spot of retail therapy.

Once part of the city’s defensive city walls, Michael’s Gate is now home to a museum on the old town defenses. It also has several top-shelf retailers, such as Christian Dior and Swarovski.

Once you’re done shopping, you can enjoy some fine al fresco dining at Zrzky Wine & Tapas. If you want to hit the town, grab a beverage and a bite at the Goblin Pub! This pub is a source of unforgettable nights out with frequent live music and comedy events.

With its shops, bars, and restaurants, uncovering the beauty and interesting history of Michael’s Gate is a great day out. It provides the perfect break from your Slovakian adventures, or it serves as a great starting point!

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17. Old Town Hall

Bratislava Square Where the Old Town Hall Stands

Address: Hlavné námestie 501/1, 811 01 Staré Mesto, Slovakia

The Old Town Hall, located in the city center of Bratislava, is a magnificent, timeless treasure to behold. Old Town Hall comprises several historical buildings.

Each boasts magnificent architecture that houses some of Slovakia’s most famous antiquities and art galleries. It is a remarkable place in Slovakia and a significant tourist draw.

One of the city hall’s oldest stone structures is the tower of the Old Town Hall. Initially, it was a single city hall structure extended over time. Today, it provides a variety of intriguing possibilities for exploration as part of this landmark.

You may visit the Unger’s House, Bratislava City Museum, and Pawer’s House as additional Bratislava attractions when you visit the town hall. Its city museum features several antique exhibits, armaments, dungeons, and art masterpieces.

The Old Town Hall is an excellent place to visit since it is conveniently located near several highlights in Old Town Bratislava. You can visit the tower using a Bratislava City Card! The card also includes free public transport and discounts on other museums, attractions, and things to do in Bratislava!

18. St. Martin’s Cathedral

Views of the St. Martin's Cathedral

Address: Rudnayovo námestie 1, 811 01 Bratislava, Slovakia

One of many excellent places to visit in Slovakia is St. Martin’s Cathedral, a must-see in Bratislava. This medieval church remains the cathedral for Bratislava’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

Built in the 13th Century, it stands at the western edge of the historic center, below Bratislava Castle. The church forms one part of the city’s three-nave Churches and cathedrals.

It was built on the site of a previous Romanesque church dedicated to the Holy Saviour, which was demolished in the 19th Century. This magnificent cathedral was the coronation church for Hungarian monarchs and their spouses from 1563 to 1830.

In the 18th Century, the Baroque Chapel of St. John the Merciful (now a mausoleum) and an updated altar were added. Also added was a sculpture of St. Martin on horseback decked out in full Hussar fig.

It depicts St. Martin slicing his cloak in two and offering half to a naked beggar. These additions were expensive and designed by famous Austrian sculptor Georg Rafael Donner.

The 150-kg gold-plated replica of the Crown of St. Stephen (the Holy Crown of Hungary) is a top-rated main attraction of St. Martin’s Cathedral. The crown sits at the top of the cathedral’s 85-meter neo-Gothic tower in the late 15th Century. This enormous replica and the giant gold-plated pillow it rests upon is nearly 4ft wide and 5.5ft in height – certainly too big for most heads!

This replica was added in the 19th Century to recognize the Cathedral’s role in coronating Hungarian royalty. Ten Habsburg kings, one queen, and seven royal wives were crowned in St. Martin’s Cathedral during the reign of the Habsburg Dynasty. The cathedral also contains some of the world’s earliest major works of Central European lead sculptures, dating back to the 13th Century.

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19. Levoca

Another deserving spot for our list of the best places to visit in Slovakia is the charming town of Levoca. Levoca, a captivating town, boasts a splendid historic main square surrounded by charming townhouses. Within its heart lie a stunning Gothic church and a 15th-century town hall.

Various architectural styles, including Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic, adorn the peaceful town. Despite its impressive town square, additional attractions make Levoca a worthy destination for a day trip or two.

Outdoor enthusiasts can venture beyond the central area to explore some genuinely stunning stops. For example, the breathtaking Spis Castle and the picturesque High Tatra Mountains are great options. Known for its serene ambiance, Levoca is a traveler’s haven for a peaceful retreat.

When visiting, enjoy a leisurely walk up to the Church of Marianska Hora. This is highly recommended for its majestic views and spiritual significance.

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20. High Tatras Mountains

High Tatras in Slovakia
Slovakian99 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

High Tatras National Park encompasses the tallest mountains in Slovakia. Moreover, the High Tatras Mountains, embodying the natural splendor of Slovakia, are not just beautiful places but also hubs for outdoor adventures, making them top spots to visit in the country.

Offering some of the best hiking trails in Europe, this area provides a fantastic setting for various outdoor activities. A wonder to behold, these mountains feature striking jagged peaks and alpine lakes spread amidst their slopes and valleys.

Regarded as a national symbol, the High Tatras’ most recognizable peak is the snow-capped Mount Krivan. The area is perfect for several outdoor pursuits, making it an ideal destination for adventure seekers. Visitors can enjoy an extensive skiing network for downhill skiing as well as cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and hiking trails with indulgent scenic views!

Visitors can also engage in rock climbing or explore the diverse ski resorts during the winter months. Notably, Štrbské Pleso serves as the High Tatras National Park’s heart. It is a popular area for tourists to experience the mountain range’s beauty.

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