Decades after its split from Czechoslovakia, Slovakia has since transformed itself into a welcoming, independent nation teeming with attractions, landmarks, and activities. Found in the very center of Europe, Slovakia is blanketed in wide-open spaces, imposing mountains, and romantic castles, with the occasional urban area thrown in to balance things out.
Whatever type of vacation you’re looking for, you’ll never be stuck for what to do in Slovakia. Bratislava, the country’s capital, is famous for its pedestrian Old Town and fortress, which watches over the city, while the rugged countryside is known for its remarkable hiking trails and epic viewpoints.
Few people visit the east side of the country, making it one of Slovakia’s truly hidden gems. This region is dotted with charming chapels and sprawling national parks, as well as the Tokaj wine region bejeweled with dreamy vineyards and family-run wineries.
With so many amazing things to see and do, you may not know where to begin. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of the absolute best things to do in Slovakia. Add these fun activities and attractions to your Slovakia bucket list, and you’re sure to have a fantastic time exploring the land of mountains and castles!
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25 Fun and Unique Things to Do In Slovakia
1. Walk Above the Treetops at Via Ferrata Skalka
Do you have a head for heights? Then make sure Ferrata Skalka is on your vacation itinerary. Found in the heart of the country, close to the town of Kremnica, Via Ferrata Skalka is home to a terror-inducing suspension bridge that takes you high above the treetops in one of the most stunning parts of Slovakia.
If you take on the challenge of the walk, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views that seem to stretch on forever. The longest suspension bridge in Slovakia, the overpass is 263 feet long and sways high above a dramatic gorge that plunges far down below.
Via Ferrata Skalka isn’t just for the brave and daring. This gorgeous part of the country offers a number of scenic routes ideal for beginners as well as experienced climbers. Here you’ll also find a number of rock climbing opportunities designed for people of all levels.
2. Give Uphill Skiing a Try
One of the most fun things to do in Slovakia during winter is to have a go at uphill skiing. This sport is hugely popular throughout Slovakia, and with countless ski resorts scattered across the country, you’ll be spoiled for choice with places to start.
Experts in Slovakia combine their love of zooming down snow-covered slopes with climbing up them. This activity is known as uphill skiing and involves walking up snowy slopes before sliding back down them at incredible speeds.
As you’d imagine, getting up the hill is tricky and requires special bindings to stop the skies from sliding back. These pretty much transform them into long snowshoes, giving you plenty of grip.
The Low Tatras and the High Tatras mountain ranges offer some of the very best skiing in the country. If you want to check out the biggest ski resort, you’ll find it in Jasná in the Low Tatras. Here you can ski along more than 30 miles of marked trails.
3. Admire the Folk Architecture at Čičmany
Located in northern Slovakia, Čičmany invites you to step back in time and find out what it was like to live in the region almost 50 years ago. Opened in 1977, this magical place looks more like a gingerbread village than a real working village. The place is teeming with wooden houses decorated with intricate white designs, just like icing on gingerbread!
Although the homes are only five decades old, they’re modeled on traditional homes from around 200 years ago. Back then, women would spend hours painting intricate designs on their homes, making them unique and special. Take a close look at the patterns today, and you’ll spot things like hearts, arrows, kisses, and text.
The paintings were originally done to protect the wood. Today they’re done to keep the tradition alive and add cheerful decoration. Make sure you check out the Gregorov dom and the Radenov dom. These are the two best-preserved homes in the village and they look spectacular.
4. Go Dog Sledding With Adorable Huskies
If you’re planning on traveling in winter, one of the coolest things to do in Slovakia is to sign up for a dog sledding tour. The Tatra Mountains are the best place for this type of excursion, and at the end of your experience, you’ll be left with all kinds of wonderful stories you’ll be telling people about for years.
Your trip begins with learning how to drive the dog sled. You’ll find out how to turn left and right, as well as how to understand the Siberian huskies’ behavior. When you’re confident with the beginner circuit, you’ll move on to the real part of the trip.
You’ll get to explore the snowy wilderness with your pack of dogs, just like a real Slovakian musher! When you’re done, it’s time to relax and cuddle up with your new furry friends. The whole thing lasts just two hours, making it a great choice – even if you don’t have much time to spare.
5. Explore the Museum of the Slovak Village
Learn more about the local culture in Slovakia by spending a few hours at the Museum of the Slovak Village. Much more immersive and entertaining than a typical museum, this popular attraction in Martin really brings history to life and invites you to get involved.
The biggest ethnographic open-air museum in Slovakia, the Museum of the Slovak Village is a great place to see traditional folk architecture. Here you’ll find 129 individual buildings that cover everything from a church and firehouse to a pub and village store. The buildings are full of typical items, too, giving you a great idea of what life was like in rural Slovakia in the 19th century.
Check out the website before you plan your visit to see what’s happening. There are exciting events held throughout the year, including music concerts, agricultural exhibitions, and live reenactments.
6. See Slokavia’s Oldest Wooden Church in Hervartov
For one of the best sights in Slovakia, head to the tiny village of Hervartov and seek out the iconic church. The oldest and best-preserved wooden church in the country, the Gothic-style Church of Saint-Francis of Assisi is definitely worth going out of your way for.
If you travel throughout eastern Slovakia, you’ll come across a number of traditional wooden churches. A lot of them (including the one in Hervartov) have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites. Not only is the church fascinating on the outside, but it’s also home to a number of sparkling treasures inside that you won’t want to miss.
Step through the entrance of the 15th-century church, and you’ll be surrounded by ancient artwork. Gleaming icons, spectacular murals, and tremendous frescoes line the walls.
The doors to the church are closed most of the time. But if you call the number posted on the door during opening hours (Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5:30 pm, Saturdays 9 am-5 pm, and Sundays 1:30 pm-5:30 pm), someone will open it up for you!
7. Snack on Slovakia’s National Dish
Slovakia boasts a number of national dishes, and bryndzové halušky is one you’ve absolutely got to try. This unusual dish is made up of halušky (small potato dumplings) and bryndza (a type of soft sheep’s cheese).
The soft dumplings and creamy cheese are mixed together and ladled into a bowl. The dish is then sprinkled with cooked pieces of bacon or smoked pork fat, along with spring onions or chives. It sounds a little strange, but the flavors and textures work really well together.
Bryndza is what makes this dish so special. It’s a top-quality type of smooth, velvety, and rich cheese that’s unique to Slovakia. While neighboring countries claim to make it, none of the recipes are quite the same as what you get in Slovakia.
For some of the best bryndzové halušky, make a reservation for the Slovak Pub in Bratislava. The biggest pub in Bratislava, this popular spot serves five different varieties of this classic dish, giving you plenty to choose from.
8. Go Hiking at the Slovak Paradise National Park
You’ll find some of the best things to do in Slovakia inside the Slovak Paradise National Park. Although it’s not the biggest in the country, this stunning example of nature is made up of 19 beautiful nature reserves, more than 350 mysterious caves, and hundreds of gorges and canyons just waiting for you to explore.
If you’re a fan of hiking, you’re in luck. The Slovak Paradise National Park is home to around 186 miles of hiking trails. While there are some trails ideal for beginners and moderate hikers to discover the area, most of the hiking trails are difficult and best left to the experts.
Some of the most challenging trails are known for their rugged paths and come with all kinds of interesting features, like plank walkways, ladders, and suspension bridges.
The 9-mile-long Prielom Hornádu is one of the most popular routes. It’s got a lot of uneven terrain, which means you need to hold onto chains, climb up swaying ladders, and cross precarious footbridges to complete it!
9. Feel Like a Whole New You at Piestany
Traveling can really take it out of you. If you need a break from all the exploring, spend a few days at Piestany. One of Slovakia’s many spa towns, Piestany is built on top of healing mineral springs and provides you with a peaceful haven to chill out and take care of yourself.
Piestany is hidden away in a quiet part of the country and boasts a number of different spas. Spa Island is one of the most popular and has a laid-back resort-like atmosphere. Known as Kúpeľný ostrov in Slovakia, this pampering attraction invites you to relax with a thermal swimming pool filled with mineral water designed to heal everything from osteoporosis to rheumatism.
For something a bit more out there, consider seeking out a mud treatment in Piestany. The mud in this small town is cured in thermal water for weeks, infusing it with all kinds of healing powers. You can treat yourself to a mud facial, full mud body wrap, or a mud pool bath!
10. Get Lost In the Streets of Bratislava
The capital city of Bratislava is home to some of the top Slovakia attractions. Despite its small size (only half a million people live there), the city is overflowing with captivating galleries, museums, palaces, and ruins.
Walk down Bratislava’s whimsical cobblestone streets, and you’ll discover spectacular palaces, including the Rococo Presidential Palace and the Primate’s Palace, with its famous Hall of Mirrors. The city is also home to a number of quirky statues hidden in sewers that greet you as you walk by.
Bratislava is crowned by Bratislava Castle, towering over the city on the top of a rocky hill. Scale the mountain, and you can explore the inside of the castle and its beautifully-manicured grounds.
Other highlights of the city include the 14-century complex of buildings that make up the Old Town Hall, the aptly-named Blue Church, and the millennium-old Hviezdoslavovo Square.
11. Take a Scenic Train Ride
When you want to continue sightseeing, but you’re fed up with walking, hop onboard one of Slovakia’s trains and enjoy a scenic ride through the country. Because Slovakia is so naturally beautiful, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for a special scenic tour! You can catch the regular train, snag a window seat, and soak up all the dazzling views outside.
The most alluring scenic journey is from Bratislava to Kosice via Trencin, Zilina, and Poprad. Your adventure will begin with stunning vistas of the Vah River, followed by the mesmerizing mountains of northern Slovakia, including the intimidating High Tatras. There are many trains that follow this route, so you’ll never have to wait long for one.
Another option is to hop on a train from Margecany (near Kosice) to Dobšinská Ľadová Jaskyňa (Dobšiná Ice Cave) that goes via the Slovak Paradise National Park. The views are spellbinding for the entire trip. The only downside is that the trains that follow this route aren’t very frequent compared to others.
12. Get Spooked at the International Festival of Ghosts & Monsters
For one of the most unique things to do in Slovakia, plan to visit between April and May. At this time of year, Bojnice Castle transforms itself from a popular tourist attraction to a spooktacular setting for the International Festival of Ghosts and Monsters!
Located in the historic town of Bojnice, the 12th-century Romantic castle attracts around 50,000 people each year, all keen to experience the weird and supernatural. Each year, the festival is themed on a different story. So even if you’ve been before, it’s worth checking out again because it will be completely different.
Some of the scary things you can expect to creep up on you include alien invasions, witches’ ceremonies, vampires stalking the night, and the tales of tragic monster romances. Don’t worry about having to leave to find food and drink. There are loads of food stalls offering all kinds of eerie eats. Get dressed up in a spooky costume and join in with the fun!
13. Visit the Largest Fortified Castle in Europe
Slovakia is brimming with handsome castles, including the largest fortified castle in Europe. Although the once-powerful Spiš Castle fortification is now little more than a collection of ruins, it’s still a fascinating landmark to visit.
The remains of the 12th-century Spiš Castle are perched on the top of a tall hill in the village of Žehra and have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic attraction began hundreds of years ago as a simple Romanesque stone castle. But extra fortifications, towers, and walls were added over the centuries until it became the sprawling complex you can see today.
By the 14th century, the castle’s complex had doubled in size. In 1790, a lot of the castle was destroyed by fire, and it was never used as a fortress again. A number of sections have been restored, so you can imagine what they were like in their heyday.
The restored sections are where you’ll find an exhibit full of torture devices that really were used in the castle. You can also see a number of unique treasures that used to be stored in the Spiš Museum.
14. Warm Up with a Bowl of Cabbage Soup
Cabbage soup may not sound like the most delicious thing in the world. But digging into a great big bowl of the stuff is one of the must-do things in Slovakia when it’s cold out. Cabbage soup is traditionally served as an appetizer for Christmas dinner, but it’s so popular with locals that you’ll find it available throughout the year from pretty much every Slovakian restaurant.
To make the soup, a creamy vegetable base is livened up with tangy sauerkraut, fluffy potatoes, earthy mushrooms, chopped ham, punchy paprika, spicy black pepper, and aromatic garlic.
The ingredients aren’t blended. Instead, they’re kept whole, providing a new texture sensation with every mouthful. The soup is served piping hot and best enjoyed with freshly baked bread.
Koliba U sv. Krištofa in the city of Banská Bystrica dishes up some of the very best cabbage soup in Slovakia. This gorgeous guesthouse serves traditional Slovakian food, including generous portions of flavor-packed cabbage soup.
15. Discover the UNESCO-Protected Mining Town of Banská Štiavnica
One of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe, the UNESCO-protected mining town of Banská Štiavnica was built on the site of an ancient volcano. People in the area were already mining for silver ore here as far back as the 3rd century BCE.
Over the centuries, Banská Štiavnica became more and more popular as a producer of gold and silver. By the time the 15th century came around, the town was building powerful fortifications to protect the mines. By the mid-1600s, locals took advantage of the newly-discovered gunpowder, making silver and gold extraction even easier.
Take a look around today, and you’ll spot artificial water reservoirs that have been converted into modern swimming spots. If you’d rather see the authentic side of the town, you can pop on a helmet and head underground into a 17th-century mine to find out what it was really like to work down there.
16. Take a Plunge in an Icy Lake
One of the best things to do in Slovakia in summer is to find a quiet lake and go swimming. The country is full of absolutely gorgeous lakes. If you’re not sure which one to pick, we recommend the Liptovská Mara in northern Slovakia. This sparkling body of water stretches on for over 8 square miles and is the perfect place to spend the night if you’re traveling with your partner.
As well as swimming, there are loads of other things to do at the Liptovská Mara. Here you’ll find kiosks renting out all kinds of water sports gear. There’s also a windsurfing school if you fancy giving that a try, as well as mini-golf if you’d rather stay dry.
After you’ve worn yourself out during the day, you can cuddle up with your partner at night and fall asleep under the stars at the lake’s campsite!
17. Go Sub-Zero at the Dobšinská Ice Cave
Hidden away off-the-beaten-track close to the Slovak Paradise National Park, the Dobšinská Ice Cave is one of the country’s best-kept secrets and a must on your Slovakia bucket list. You can only reach this UNESCO World Heritage Site by hiking to the top of a hill that stands 2,953 feet above sea level. After you’ve conquered the initial challenge, it’s then time to slowly and carefully descend into the actual ice cave.
The spectacular ice cave is around one mile long, but you can only explore the first third of the cave. Down here, the temperature stays around the 32°F (0°C) mark, but it sometimes drops below – so make sure you’re dressed accordingly! As you explore, you’ll discover sheets of ice covering the mountain’s walls, floors, and ceilings. Some parts of the ice are estimated to be a whopping 85 feet thick.
The Dobšinská Ice Cave is only open between September and May, so make sure you plan your trip accordingly. Check the website for any temporary closures or changes before you make any commitments.
18. Go Wine Tasting in the Modra Vineyards
When you need a break from all the Slovakia sightseeing, take it easy for an afternoon and spend a few hours wine tasting in Modra. Tucked away in the foothills of the Little Carpathian mountain range close to Bratislava, Modra is a small and inviting town that has been making wine for centuries.
Each year on Modra Wine Cellars Day (the second Saturday of May), lots of the wine cellars host a daylong wine-tasting experience for visitors to enjoy. You’ll have the unique opportunity to visit modern and historical wine cellars, as well as find out exactly how wine is made in this part of the world.
For the small price of a single ticket, you get access to all 37 of Modra’s wine cellars. To save you from having to walk everywhere, the area puts on a local bus service so you can hop on and off at the wineries of your choosing.
Make sure you try Modra’s most popular wine – Frankovka modrá. This red wine is similar to pinot noir and tastes delicious.
19. Pet a Lion Cub at Zoo Kontakt
If you’ve always wanted to cuddle up with a lion cub, now’s your chance! Zoo Kontakt is a remarkable zoo in Slovakia that allows you to get up close and interact with all kinds of animals you’d never expect.
As well as a lion cub, you can also cozy up with a bear cub, snuggle with a tiger cub, stroke ancient tortoises, and hand-feed exotic birds. There are more than 400 individual animals that call the park home and provide you with an experience you’ll never forget.
Although you can’t cuddle up with the larger animals in the park, Zoo Kontakt does allow you to get closer to fully-grown llamas, bears, lions, tigers, wallabies, emus, and many other fascinating creatures than you ever thought possible.
If you’re wary about zoos that allow such close interaction with the animals, you can put your mind at rest. Zoo Kontakt isn’t something the Tiger King dreamed up. It has a great reputation and makes sure all the enclosures are safe for both visitors and animals.
20. Stumble Upon Forgotten Bunkers
If you want to learn more about the country’s captivating history, one of the top things to do in Slovakia is to explore the many bunkers hidden throughout the land. Following Nazi invasions and Soviet takeovers, Slovakia’s countryside is now dotted with abandoned concrete bunkers. You’ll even find some buried in the cities, too.
You’ll stumble upon the biggest group of bunkers in Slovakia in Bratislava, spread across a large field on the right bank of the Danube River. These bunkers were built in the 1930s to protect Slovakia from Nazi Germany. However, the bunkers were never actually used.
The largest bunkers, known as B-S 4, have been converted into a museum that highlights the genuine firearms used by soldiers, as well as an engine room and countless photographs documenting the events. In summer, volunteers host guided tours on Saturdays.
Take a look around, and you’ll also discover B-S 6 bunkers that once housed soldier crews, as well as B-S 8 bunkers where the most heavily armed soldiers were.
21. Treat Yourself to Chimney Cake
When you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, follow your nose until you find a street food stall and order yourself a chimney cake. Known locally as Trdelník, this sugary snack is made by wrapping dough around a metal stick and baking it over an open fire.
You’ll find tiny stalls all over the cities in Slovakia selling this local specialty. The traditional version is sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or stuffed with creamy Nutella. They’re pretty huge, making one easy enough to share between two people.
Chimney cakes are so popular throughout Slovakia that creative cooks have come up with all kinds of fun flavors. Today you’ll find them stuffed with ice cream, sprinkled with gummy candy, stuffed with fresh fruit, and even decorated with flowers.
Chimney Friends in Bratislava is one of the best places for chimney cakes. If you’ve got time, you can order one of their eat-in cakes, which are served on boards surrounded by all kinds of delicious toppings.
22. Say ‘Cheers’ at Junifest
Slovakia’s answer to Germany’s Oktoberfest, Junifest is definitely one of the top things to do in Slovakia. Whether or not you’re a fan of beer, this festival held each June always has a fantastic atmosphere that you’re guaranteed to get swept up with.
A huge number of breweries from all over the country come together for the 10-day festival to show off their best beers. Here you’ll find all sorts of brews to sip, from world-famous names you’ve seen at home to one-of-a-kind beers made just for the festival.
To appeal to a wider audience, Junifest also offers an incredible events program. There are hundreds of music performances held each year, along with fun beer games, captivating art displays, and all sorts of contests. Make sure you snap up a raffle ticket for the chance to win all kinds of cool prizes.
23. Go Caving Inside the Slovak Karst National Park
There’s no shortage of parks in Slovakia, but the Slovak Karst National Park stands out from the crowd. Located in the Slovak Karst mountain range in eastern Slovakia, this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts more than 700 caves scattered across the park’s impressive plateaus and plains.
The Domica Cave is one of the most incredible and forms part of a colossal cave complex that starts in Slovakia and extends across the border to Hungary. If you’re up for the challenge, you can sign up for a tour and explore its mysterious depths.
If you don’t really want to venture underground, there are plenty of other things to do in the Slovak Karst National Park. Here you’ll find magical hiking and walking trails that take you over wooden paths and footbridges and pasts the ruins of ancient castles, cascading waterfalls, and alluring gorges. In total, there are more than 310 miles of stunning cycling, hiking, and walking trails throughout the park to explore.
24. See a UFO In Bratislava
If you’re always on the lookout for quirky, weird activities, make sure you’ve got seeing Bratislava’s UFO on your list of things to do in Slovakia. This one-of-a-kind attraction stands more than 311 feet above the ground and is known as the Most SNP or the UFO Tower.
This sky-scraping tower is topped with a spaceship-shaped observation deck and restaurant. Ascend to the top, and your efforts will be rewarded with spectacular views that stretch all across the city. When the sky is cloud-free, you can see for 62 miles in every direction!
While the UFO Tower is a fantastic place to visit during the daytime, for views that are almost too good to be true, it’s definitely worth coming back on an evening and visiting the attraction after dark, too.
At night, the UFO part of the tower is illuminated so it really looks like a spaceship. It also provides you with a beautiful place to enjoy dinner with a view.
25. Fall in Love with Borovička
End your trip to Slovakia with a glass of borovička. This alcohol has a strong flavor that locals say you either love or hate. It’s made from the ripened fruit of the common pine tree, which gives the drink its characteristic juniper smell. Because it’s so powerful and usually described as an “acquired taste,” we recommend you start off with a tiny sip!
The drink is either clear or golden, depending on how it’s made, and has a similar taste to a really dry gin. It’s 80 proof and is often enjoyed slowly, with or without ice, or quickly as a shot.
You’ll find several brands of borovička that are only sold in Slovakia. Liptovská borovička, Inovecká borovička, and Spišská borovička are three of the most popular. You’ll come across bottles of the stuff on sale in alcohol shops and grocery stores, as well as in most bars and restaurants throughout the country.
There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Slovakia. What’s your favorite thing to do in Slovakia?
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