Make the most of your stay in Slovakia and reserve more days forexploringthis hidden gem in the heart of Europe. Thanks to its central location, the town of Žarnovica is the ideal starting point for trips across the country. Picturesque nature, rich in unusual finds and rarities; charming cities, where history meets the modern present;fascinating UNESCO sites that you will not find anywhere else –the beauties of Slovakia are rich and varied.Come and get the real first-hand experiences!
Discover mining treasures of Central Slovakia
If you like to wander through the old towns with historical buildings and scenic walks, you will fall in love with Central Slovakia, which is famous for its mining tradition. Discover the historic townBanská Štiavnica listed in UNESCO which glittered with silver and gold in its best days. Do not miss the chance to explore the remaining underground mining shafts, where you will descend with your helmet and lantern into the illuminated tunnels. You can feelwhatthe life of miners was like in ancient times. After visiting the mines, you will be ready for a swim in one of many artificial water reservoirs called „tajchy“, built to provide energy for mines and are now popular as recreation areas. Or explore the region from your bike saddle – there are many interconnected scenic cycle routes in the Štiavnické vrchy mountains.The tallest peak Sitnohas become not onlya subject of numerous legends but also a great place to hike. The shortest, steepest, and a most popular trail to this extinct stratovolcanois from Počúvadlo Lake. Or you can goto the nearby town of town Kremnica and visit the Kremnica Mint. Minting coins since 1328, it’s one of the oldest permanently functioning businesses in the world. If you are interested in climbing, you can visit the recreation center Skalka, where the hardest ferrata route in Slovakia, marked with the letter F, islocated.
Enter the waterfall-kissed paradise
Constant sunlight, loud songbirds, and fragrant flowers in full bloom – of nine Slovak national parks, none attracts the photographer’s attention as quickly as the aptly named Slovenský raj or Slovak Paradise, another breathtaking place not far from Žarnovica. The park has more plant species per square meter than anywhere else in Europe, and it will enchant you with its incredible diversity. You can hike through beautiful gorges full of jungle-like greenery, such as Suchá Belá or Veľký Sokol. Visit the natural rock gallery named Tomášovský view, which offers one of the best photo opportunities in the park, and be moved by nature’s performance at Závojový waterfall with a total drop of 75 meters. You can also enjoy the park charm from a river point of view – go rafting in the 12 km long canyon Prielom Hornádu, or visit a meadow in the hamlet of Biele vody, not far from the park, that is full of European ground squirrels. You can buy sunflower seeds in the village and feed these cuterodents by hand.
Hike in the top summer destination in Europe
Speaking of Slovak national parkswe need to say that hiking in „the smallest alpine mountains in Europe”, as the High Tatras are often called, is simply a „must do“ for every outdoor enthusiast. In 2019 the Lonely Planet Travel Guide named them the most significant summer destination in Europe. Majestic rocky peaks (26 of them are over 2,500 m), deep valleys, pine forests, waterfalls, and gorges are here for you to discover. Reach the peak of Gerlach with a local mountain guide and be rewarded by hypnotizing views from Slovakia’s highest mountain. Boat on the glacial lake of Štrbské pleso, try to spot chamois and marmots, or get above the clouds in a funicular to Lomnický štít, where you can relax in the stylish Dedo café. Your coffee served at an altitude of 2,634 meters will have a very special flavor. Visit the highest located botanical garden in Europe, stay overnight at one of two luxury rooms located right here, or be sure to „taste“ traditional hospitality offered by several high-altitude mountain huts.
Replenish energy in healing waters
If you seek to relax and refreshment, you are in the right place! Slovakia is a country blessed with immense subterranean wealth, namely plentiful mineral and thermal springs with healing effects, with many spas andaquaparksscattered throughout the country. Enjoy the royal care on the island of peace in town Piešťany, the most sought-after spa town in Slovakiawith a long and highly-regarded reputation. Its procedures willspeed up your muscle healing and the workout recovery process.Or enjoy your stay in the Vadas Thermal Resort in Štúrovowhichoffers 12 adventure pools, a slide park, multi-functional sports fields, carousels, and a fishing lake operating all year long. If you decide to go north, be sure to visitAquaPark Tatralandia, situated in the Liptov region, just 2 km from the town of Liptovský Mikuláš, right within a gorgeous scenery of the West Tatras on the northern shore of the dam Liptovská Mara.
Explore the underground wonderland
Did you know, that Slovakia is rich in underground beauty with thousands of caves? Six of them are even inscribed on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List.The most unique onesare just a stone’s throw from Žarnovica. Take advantage of it! Discover one of the largest ice caves in Europe called the Dobšinská Ice Cave. Admire the rich and varied needle, spiral, and kidney-shaped aragonite filling similar to sea corrals in the Ochtinská Aragonite Cave, one of only four of its kind in the world.With the helmet, headlight , and protective clothing, try adrenaline speleotreking in the Cave of Dead Bats.Enjoy a boat ride on the river Styx in the Domica Cave. Or explore majestic domes, hundreds of stairs and a roaring stream inside the Demänovská Cave of Liberty, which is the most visitedcave in Slovakia.
Experience the capital
Your visit to Slovakia will not be complete without the trip to Bratislava, its capital city. Discover the most famous sights of the „Beauty on the Danube“,located on the very west border of the country. Starting with the most obvious – visiting the Bratislava Castle is a „must-have“for first-time visitors. The castle is rich with its history, dating back to the Stone Age. On the walk in the picturesque Old Town, situated directly underneath the castle, be sure to take a selfie with the most photographed bronze statues of Napoleon’s Soldier or quirky Čumil („Watcher“), looking out from beneath a canal cover.And don´t forget to visit the St. Martin Cathedral, where 18 Hungarian kings and queens were crowned in the past. One of the mosticonic places in Bratislava is the architectural unique Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising. It incorporates a fully functional restaurant in the top part, shaped like an UFO (hence the nickname UFO Bridge), that provides an astonishing view of the city.
Taste eastern Slovakia
If you travel to Žarnovica from Košice, do not miss the chance to visit this metropolis of eastern Slovakia.Follow the water stream running down the middle of the lens-shaped Main Street, that will lead you to the St Elizabeth’s Cathedral.Get ready to be amazed bythe original medieval style of this largest church in Slovakia and the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe. After that,you are welcome to sit on a bench in the near park thathouses a fabulous singing fountain, that turns into a magical place with the addition of different colored lights every evening.If you are one of the UNESCO World Heritage hunters, we have excellent news for you:from Košice you can easily reach in just 100 minutes 18 of them. Start at the Spiš Castle, one of the largest castle complexes in Central Europe and probably the most photographed place in Slovakia. Enjoy town Levoča with the world’s largest late-Gothic wooden altar and the beautiful historic center surrounded by medieval city walls, where you can have a cup of coffee in a cozy café. Or go for a trip to the village of Ruská Bystrá, where one of many region’s unique sacral wooden treasures is located.Sprinkle all this with tasting the noble king´s drink in the wine region of world-famous Tokaj and your unforgettable trip is done!
But there is much more to find in Slovakia. Get inspired and visit places that will turn your idea of a perfect vacation into reality. All you have to do is choose from a wide range of destinations on the National Tourism website www.slovakia.travel.
Photos: © SLOVAKIA TRAVEL