Tourist Regions of Slovakia
Bratislava and Surroundings offer historical and cultural attractions, sightseeing tours as well as various sporting and outdoor activities: paddle trips on the Danube River, whitewater rafting in Bratislava-Cunovo, Maly Dunaj or Morava River canoe trips, bridge swing jumps, and other activities.
There are ruins of medieval castles in the Small Carpathians Mountains (Male Karpaty).
The region around Bratislava is known by its viticultural tradition. Lovers of a good wine are invited to visit a route known as the Wine Road of Male Karpaty (Malokarpatska Vinna Cesta).
Zahorie region lies at the West side of the Small Carpathians. The pine forests in Zahorie are known as the mushrooms collector`s paradise.
The Danube region with its special landscape is situated in the East of Bratislava. There are hot springs and out-door swimming pools open for whole year round.
Another attraction is sailing on the Danube River on holiday boats.
The marked cycling route is running from Bratislava to Komarno. It is the part of the international Danube Cycling Trail starting at Passau in Germany, which leads as far as Budapest in Hungary.
The region of Povazie has assumed the name of the Vah river flowing through the territory from north to south.
Trnava with numerous sacral monuments and Piestany with world famous spa are situated in Dolne (Lower) Povazie. The mountain ranges of the Biele Karpaty, Male Karpaty, Strazovske vrchy, Povazsky Inovec, and Myjavska pahorkatina are ideal for hiking, skiing, cycling and water sport, skirt the area of Stredne (Central) Povazie. There are several ruins of medieval castles in this area: Tematin, Beckov, Cachtice.
The traces of Roman legions you can find below the Castle of Trencin. Mineral and thermal springs occur in Stredne (Central) Povazie and its spas in Trencianske Teplice and Nimnica are are also fairly known and visited.
Horne (Upper) Povazie has te unique natural setting and several historic and cultural monuments. The most valuable natural assets are the National Park of Malá Fatra, the Protected Landscape Areas of Kysuce, the Strážovské vrchy Mts., Sulovske vrchy Mts.
The oldest historic architectural monuments are the ruins of numerous medieval castles usually situated on top of hills. The Castles of Strečno, Starý hrad, Lietava, Hričovský hrad or Súľovský hrad inspire admiration of skills of old builders. The spa Rajecké Teplice are among traditional Slovak spa towns.
Ponitrie region has its biggest tourist attraction in Bojnice which is famous for its beautiful chateau, ZOO, spa and thermal baths. Topolciansky Castle and Uhrovecky Castle or the house in Uhrovec where Ludovit Stur and Alexander Dubcek, two of the significant personalities in Slovak history, were born, are also interesting tourist destinations.
The river Hron, which gave the name to the Horehronie region, springs in the southern hillside of the majestic Kralova hola Mt. The mountain ranges Nizke Tatry and Velka Fatra are a kind of paradise for hikers and cyclists. Skiing is wonderful and widely popular in Donovaly, Turecka, and Myto pod Dumbierom or in environs of Cierny Balog and cross-country skiing above Banska Bystrica. Attraction near Cierny Balog is the mysterious virgin forest and romantic Ciernohronska lesna zeleznica (forest railway). The spa town Brusno is not far away.
Volcanic heritage is awarding for the inhabitants of the central Pohronie . The local mountains contain large mineral riches, iron, gold, silver, and copper deposits. One of the most important mining regions in Europe developed here in the Middle Ages, with famous mining towns Banská Štiavnica (inscribed in the UNESCO List of the World Natural and Cultural Heritage) and Kremnica. Several spas (Sliač, Kováčová, Sklené Teplice) offer relaxation and therapy for those who need it.
Poiplie / Novohrad region bears the name of the Ipel river, great part of which flows along the frontier between Slovakia and Hungary. Apart from once famous mining towns like Krupina or Pukanec, the region also boasts great many castle ruins (Filakovo, Divin, Modry Kamen, Cabrad) and forts of the anti-Turkish defence line (Bzovik). There are hot water springs in spa Dudince.
The Podpolanie region is one of the most specific ethnological regions of Slovakia. The region is famous with fujara, typical Slovak folk music instrument (an awesome overtone flute of four to seven feet in length made from wood, fujara is among the 43 new masterpieces designated as UNESCO heritage items on November 2005).
Detva is a district center of the region. The visitors of Detva are most of all attracted by the highlands and the traditions of the folk culture. It’s been a place for organising the Folklore Festival Polana.
The structured countryside around Detva has been considered for the remaining of the volcanic activity of Polana (altitude of 1458 meters). From the numerous rock-like formations in the Polana area (included in the world biosphere reservation network UN World Heritage Sites), Melich’s cliff generates significant interest.
The region of Turiec spreads in the north-western part of Slovakia in the Turcianska kotlina basin surrounded by the mountain ranges of Mala and Velka Fatra, Kremnicke vrchy, and Ziar. The axis of the valley is the Turiec river. Turiec is known for abundance of mineral springs (for instance Fatra and Budis). The spa of Turcianske Teplice offers the complete spa cures.
The Mala and Velka Fatra Mts. are ideal for hiking, cycling paragliding and mountaineering.
The town Martin in the center of Turiec is known for the national and cultural history. Martin concentrates several cultural institutions of national importance.
The region of Liptov lies in the north of Slovakia. Region is typical for its picturesque variety of nature in a small area, contract of high peaks and green meadows and veldts, creating a presumption for the biggest natural playground in Slovakia.
The most part of its territory is mountainous, abounding with forests and beauties of nature. The most valuable parts of Liptov are protected under the Tatra National Park, National Park of Nízke Tatry and National Park of Veľká Fatra. Hiking and cycling in summer, down-hill and cross-country skiing in winter are the activities often pursued by tourist in Liptov. Tremendous underground resources - several caves open to the public and numerous medicinal and thermal springs.
Cultural and historic monuments of Liptov are also worth seeing. The whole region is exceptionally rich in architectural monuments from various historical periods. They include a number of mansions and manor houses that can be encountered in several villages. The oldest architectural monuments are ruins of medieval castles (Likava, Liptovský hrad).
Popular architecture can still be found in several villages in Liptov, for instance, there are several monuments in Vlkolínec (inscribed in the UNESCO List of the World Natural and Cultural Heritage) and the Open Air Museum in Pribylina. The unique wooden church in Sv. Kríž is one of the biggest wooden structures in Europe.
The region of Orava lies in the north-western part of Slovakia, on the border with the Poland. The border crossing in environs of the village Oravská Polhora is also the northernmost point of Slovakia.
The natural wonders of the Orava region have made it popular for outdoor lovers of all ages. Oravská priehrada (The Orava Dam) is an excellent location for water sports from June to September.
The mountains ranges Malá Fatra, Chočské vrchy and above all Západné Tatry - Roháče are the paradise for hikers, cyclists and visitors. The oldest and most famous national cultural monument in the region is Oravský Hrad (Orava Castle). The castle towers 112 meters above the village of Oravský Podzámok.
The High Tatras Mountains (Vysoke Tatry) are a concentration of nature beauties. The High Tatras Mts. are the most northern and the highest part of 1200 km long Carpathian bow. The whole High Tatras Mts. belong to Tatransky Narodny Park - the Tatras' National Park (TANAP). TANAP covers much wider area. The West Tatras (Zapadne Tatry) and eastern Tatras ridge of Belianske Tatry are parts of TANAP, too. The symbol of the High Tatras Mts. is the Tatra chamois, and the mountains are home to the marmot or the eagle. High Tatras Mts. is the most visited mountain range and important ski resort (Štrbské pleso and Tatranská Lomnica are some of the most famous ones). Thanks to its pure air the settlements Štrbské Pleso, Vyšné Hágy, Tatranská Polianka or Smokovce also provide services as climatic spas for the prevention and therapy of the respiratory system diseases.
The region of Spis is situated in the north-western part of Eastern Slovakia. The region, to the east from the Tatra Mountains is abundant with natural beauties (national parks Slovensky raj - Slovak paradise, Pieniny) and a great number of cultural and historical sites. There are many opportunities for hiking, climbing, and rafting.
The Castle of Spis and its environs was inscribed to the UNESCO List of cultural monuments in 1993. In June 2009, the historic town of Levoca was included in this group of Spis monuments. The Castle of Spis is the largest medieval castle compound in central Europe. The focus of ancient Levoca is the large Namestie Majstra Pavla square (The square of Maestro Pavol). In its centre the Roman-Catholic St Jakub church from 14th century stands. The 18,6 m tall Late Gothic main altar of St Jakub is the tallest of its kind in the world.
The National Park of Slovensky raj (Slovak Paradise) is situated in the eastern part of Slovakia, in the area area between regions of Spis and Gemer.
It contains one of the biggest ice caves in Europe (Dobsinska ladova jaskyna cave) and an attractive landscape of karstic plateaux, gorges, waterfalls and caves. Approximately one fifth of the National Park is object of even stricter protection in form of 11 National Nature Reserves and 8 Nature Reserves. The most visited gorges are Sucha Bela, Velky Sokol that proceeds into Rothova roklina gorge, Prielom Hornadu and Kysel. The rock protuberance providing wonderful views Tomasovsky view or Klastorisko with ruins of the Carthusian monastery are also among the most visited localities. Slovensky raj (Slovak Paradise) includes 177 caves and chasms, 16 state reserves and numerous other unique natural attractions.
The National Park of Pieniny is located in the north of Eastern Slovakia in the mountain range of Spisska Magura and it partly forms a natural border with Poland. The river Dunajec passes through it. It is possible to hire a raft and admire the wonderful scenery of the Park navigating down the river. It is recommended to climb the tallest top of the Pieniny mountains Tri koruny lying on the Polish side of the Park. The beauty of these three sharp rocks though, can be also admired rafting down the river. The compound of limestone rocks, the Haligovske skaly, attracts with its numerous caves and cavities. A hiking trail, built by Italian craftsmen at the beginning of the 20th century, runs along the canyon valley.
Beside these natural jewels, visitors to the Pieniny will come across rich historical and artistic sights, as well as unique folklore and architecture. Right in the centre of the village of Cerveny Klastor, is located a cultural monument dating back to the beginning of the 14th century: a Carthusian-Carmelite monastery famous for one of its monks, named Cyprian, who devoted his time to growing curative herbs.
The Slovak Karst lying in the south of Slovakia next to the frontier with Hungary is the largest karstic area in the middle Europe (440 square kilometres) with the densest concentration of underground forms. There is 1100 caves and abysses, which are inscribed in the UNESCO List of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The most interesting places are the Zadielska tiesnava gorge and Domica cave. The area of the Slovak Karst is one of the richest botanical areas in Slovakia. Amongst others the Onosma tornensis, European dogtooth violet, Dianthus hungaricus and Arum alpinum all grow here. As well as natural beauties, the park also offers fascinating historical monuments such as the castle Krasna Hôrka or the chateau of Betliar.
Saris is situated in the northern part of eastern Slovakia. There are historical towns of Presov, Bardejov (inscribed in the List of the World Cultural Heritage) and unique technical monuments such as the salt mines in Solivar or the mines of Dubnik, which yielded unusually beautiful opals.
Saris is also the place where most of Slovakias old wooden churches are concentrated. Numerous military monuments here commemorate heavy fighting during the Second World War near the mountain pass Dukla on the border line with Poland.
Gemer and Malohont regions include natural beauties (The Muranska plain, the Slovak Rudohorie, the National Park Slovak Karst with caves which are listed as UNESCO World Natural Heritage site) as well as historical attractions: The Gothic Route, old mining town Roznava, Hrasna Horka Castle and the chateau in Betliar.
Kosice and Surroundings is situated in the east of Slovakia.
Almost all monuments of Kosice (the second largest town of Slovakia) are concentrated in the historical core of the town, size of which makes it the biggest Town Monument Reserve of Slovakia. The monumental gothic Saint Elizabeth Cathedral perches in the middle of a lens-shaped square. The Saint Elizabeth Cathedral is the largest church of Slovakia and the easternmost situated Gothic cathedral of western type in Europe. The Main square is lined with a number of notable palaces and burger`s houses.
The neigbourhood of Kosice offers many attractive destinations, such as a children`s train in Cermel, ZOO in Kavecany, a geyser in Herlany, Jasov monastery, blacksmiths and caves in Medzev, rocky gaps in the Slovak karst.
The center of the holiday resort is the water reservoir Ruzin, while the climatic spa Stos provides relaxation in natural setting. The bulky and forested ridge of the Volovske vrchy Mts. culminates in its dominant and majestic Kojsovska hola Mt. with excellent skiing and hiking conditions.
Horny (Upper) Zemplin is the most eastern region of Slovakia. It is the typical Carpathian landscape with original virgin forest and rare fauna spreads in the north of the region. The wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain were inscribed to the UNESCO List of cultural monuments in 2008.
The most visited tourist localities of the Upper Zemplin are the Domasa water reservoir, as well as the National Park of Poloniny - this easternmost Slovak National Park contains original extensive beech and fir-beech forest and the primeval forests of Stuzica, Rozok and Havesova, which were put on the UNESCO list of world natural heritage in 2007. Medzilaborce with unique Museum of Modern Art of Andy Warhol is one of its interesting towns.
Dolny (Lower) Zemplin is characterised by wide lowlands with many water bodies, river nooks and meanders and excellent Tokai wine. Most of the territory is a flat land with prevailingly deforested landscape of the Eastern Slovakian lowland. The most visited localities of the lower Zemplin are the Zemplinska sirava water reservoir, as well as the Protected Landscape Area of Vihorlat.
Published: August 25, 2010
Updated: December 2, 2014