Tourism in Slovakia
Welcome to a marvellous land of national parks, mountains, valleys, forests and rivers …
… to castles, churches and ruins…
… to mysterious underground caves …
… and to a rich variety of accommodations, eating facilities and recreational support to help you enjoy them.
Welcome to Slovakia!
Things to do in Slovakia
Most people spend their free time in Slovakia on one of three activities: outdoor recreation, arts and culture, and architectural sightseeing. All age groups enjoy all three of these at many different levels - and, at the top level, Slovakia can compare with the best in Europe and the world.
Arts and culture
Performance of traditional folk music is especially abundant. Many towns and cities have their own theatre companies and classical music concerts. Dance, especially ballet, and opera are generally found only in the largest cities, and this is also the case with jazz and other live music. Musical theatre performances and ballet and opera companies are based in the two largest cities, Bratislava and Kosice.
Graphic arts are of course displayed in a number of museums, the largest being the National Gallery in Bratislava. Often, though, the most interesting work appears in Slovakia's many private galleries and other exhibition spaces.
Slovakia's geographical position between two superpowers of the middle ages, Austro-Hungarian and Russian, has left its mark plainly in its historical architecture. Of the two, the traditions of Germanic Austria-Hungary dominate, often tied to the Roman Catholic faith with some hints of Protestantism. However, especially in the east, the Orthodox Christian religion of Russia and other eastern European cultures play a role in the architectural landscape.
Most towns have historic churches, and many of these have features of special signicance. For those seeking a truly eastern European experience, the centuries-old, still-functioning wooden churches of northeastern Slovakia are one of the country’s greatest treasures, though they are hard to reach.
The other significant historical influence came from Slovakia's role as an essentially underling nation for centuries. Wealth never accumulated here as it did in nearby centres such as Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow or even Kiev. Therefore the ornate "old town" sections of Slovak cities are more compact, though no less beautiful - in fact, many travellers find sightseeing more digestible in Slovakia, as the ornamentation is not so overwhelming.
For a quick but memorable architectural experience, check out almost any town square. Some of them (such as Bardejov and Banska Stiavnica) have UNESCO cultural heritage certification and big reputations, but most old town squares have some unique and well-restored aspects of beauty.
Slovak castles and ruins
Castles can be divided into those which have been restored, and those which have fallen into ruin. Every region of the country offers some of each. Restored castles, some of which were never fortified and therefore are in fact palaces, offer a glimpse of how the wealthy lived. Castle ruins are more interesting for those with explorer spirits, in part because they usually require significant walking or gentle climging; they have deliciously eerie atmosphere.