Hello stranger or not-so-stranger! I hope you’re fine. The first autumn month passed and normally I had to write a post about September. I’m pretty sure however that it would be boring because, honestly that month wasn’t my favourite one. Of course I had some fun, met new people, had a great small trip to Prague etc. So, that’s why I’ve decided to write something I’m full of passion about: travelling.
I know that Slovakia doesn’t sound the ideal destination for travelling and I hope this post will somehow change your mind. As I already said, before I come to Slovakia I knew almost nothing about this country, which was good because I had no expectations. Participating in INEX Slovakia project gave me the opportunity to travel a lot all around Slovakia so now, after 7 months I have explored almost the whole country. So, time to have a look at my suggestions!
How to travel!
If you’re from Greece, you’re kinda lucky because Ryanair flies directly from Athens and Thessaloniki and the tickets are usually cheap (you still have a chance to visit me, you know). Vienna airport is less than an hour from Bratislava and Budapest is also close (2,5 hours by bus). Otherwise, a good choice is always flixbus not only to come to Slovakia but also to travel in Slovakia.
Unlikely to Greece, Slovak busses are on time and cheaper, so for me it’s the best mean of public transportation. Trains are cheaper and nice, but usually they have delays. So if you really want to explore Slovakia and go to more remoted places, renting a car is the best option for me.
Bratislava shouldn’t be the main place you’ll visit!
I live in Bratislava so I really know this city. Bratislava is great for living, but I think that as a tourist, there’s not much to see here. There are so many amazing places in Slovakia so I recommend you not to spend more than one day in Bratislava.
Bratislava is considered as a small big city and it’s true. As a capital, has all the comforts but it’s small. Personally , I love walking in the historical centre and taking a walk up to the castle or walking nearby the Danube river.
What and where to eat in Bratislava!
Slovaks are crazy about bryndzové halušky(try to read it!) which is something like tiny potato gnocchi with sheep cheese, sour cream and bacon but I personally love more pierohi , dumplings filled with sheep cheese , served with sour cream and bacon. If you’re brave enough and want to have a sweet meal for lunch or dinner I recommend you parené buchty which is more like huge steamed buns filled usually with jam, sweetened poppy seeds, sweetened cheese (tvaroh), or chocolate(my favourite one). Of course there are more traditional dishes but those three are the best in my opinion.
Where to eat traditional food in Bratislava? Go to Flagship which used to be a theatre in the past, Slovak Pub or Divny Janko (not sponsored unfortunately 😦 ). They all serve great food and the prices are also good! For ice cream , the best place is by far Luculos.
Fall in love with the Slovak nature!
The main reason you should visit Slovakia is the nature: you’ll be amazed by the mountains, the spectacular view and the forests. The three most famous places to visit are: the High Tatras, the Low Tatras and the Slovak Paradise. This doesn’t mean though that there are not other options. In fact, there are many possibilities for hiking all around Slovakia and in those places you can either go there for a day trip or you can stay in cottages up in the mountains or in the villages nearby. Slovaks are really proud of their mountains as they should be and you can visit all of them for free except the Slovak paradise where you have to pay a small fee, I think around 1-3 euros. Before you start hiking make sure that you have checked the weather forecast and that you have a bag to collect your trash and throw them in a bin when you’re back to civilisation because, you know, there are no bins in the mountains. Last but not least, the best season to go wild (or in the wild nature) is between May and November.
A few things about the three places I refered. The High Tatras are definitely impressive and steep, really steep. So if you’re a beginner like me and you want to reach the top, it’s better for you to go to the Low Tatras. About the Slovak paradise, well good luck with the weather, because I wasn’t that lucky and I couldn’t. Photos from the High Tatras and the Low Tatras(below).
Castles and Spa cities
Slovakia has more than 300 castles, but also some spa cities. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to many of them, but I could recommend you to visit Trenčianske Teplice and Komarno (spa cities). The castle in Trencin is also nice, but the most famous castles in Slovakia are: Spiš, Bojnice and Orava castle. Devin castle ruins have a spectacular view and they’re only 20 minutes with the local bus from Bratislava. If you want to have a small hike and visit castle ruins in the middle of nowhere go to Uhrovec in western Slovakia or Kapusiansky castle in eastern Slovakia. Make sure you won’t get lost though!
Other places to visit
Banska Stiavnica in central Slovakia is by far my favourite medieval town in Slovakia and it’s also proclaimed by the UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site. One hour from Banska Stiavnica is Banska Bystrica , also really nice. Kosice is the second largest city of the country and it’s located in Eastern Slovakia. It’s a beautiful city , but to be honest I had higher expectations. Bardejov from the other side, also in Eastern Slovakia , it’s worth visiting. Zilina in north west was a surprise for me (there’s also a castle there that I heard is worth visiting).Last but not least, don’t forget to visit Muran National Park for hiking and for feeding cute,tiny squirrels .
See you soon!
Well, I’m sure that there are many places that I forgot to mention and there are even more that I want to visit before I come back to Greece. If you have some questions or you want more info or just say hi to me, I would be glad to help you. And since this post is about Slovakia, I’ll close this post with a song from a Slovak band called PARA which I saw live and I LOVED them! Fun fact, one of the members is the major of Bratislava!
Until next time, listen to PARA band,