Hotels in Slovakia
  • Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, is the country’s political, economic and cultural centre, located on the River Danube (Dunaj in Slovak). The centre of the Old Town (Stavé Mesto) is compact with much that is worth seeing near the Old Town Square; Trinity Church is noted for its magnificent trompe l’oeil frescos and the nearby Corpus Christi Church (kaplnka Bozieho tela) is now a museum packed with icons, jewellery and other aspects of ecclesiastical wealth. The Town Hall (Stará radnica) is a delightful mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and 19th-century styles, and the nearby Jesuit Church and the wonderful stucco decor of the Mirbach Palace are major tourist sites. The 15th-century hrad (Bratislava Castle), on the hill above the city, was burnt down by its own drunken soldiers in 1811; recently restored, it houses half of the Slovak National Museum, but visitors’ time is better spent with the wonderful views across the Danube plain. The Slovak National Gallery on the waterfront houses Bratislava’s most important art. The only other important site near the waterfront is Ödön Lechner’s Modr´y kostolic (Little Blue Church), an Art Nouveau masterpiece dedicated to Bratislava’s one important saint, Elizabeth, born in 1207. The controversial Most SNP (Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising) with its single support column dominates the area; views from the restaurant at the top are superb. Between the Old Town Square and the Bridge is the graceful boulevard, Hviezdoslavolo námestie; at the eastern end are the great late-19th-century Slovak National Theatre and the more Sessionist Reduta Theatre.

  • Bratislava Castle & Historical Museum (Slovenske Narodne Muzeum & Historicke Museum)
    Situated 82m (270 feet) above the Danube, this 17th-century Habsburg castle is often called ‘the upturned table’ due its four octagonal corner towers, and contains an excellent Historical Museum with musical instruments, silver coronation gear, period furniture, clocks, folk art, and reconstructed workshops of different trades and crafts of the Middle Ages.
    Beblaveho Street from the Old Town or from Mudronova Street
    Tel: (02) 5441 1444 or 5934 1601.

  • St Michael’s Tower (Michalska Veza)
    The best views in Bratislava are from the viewing platform of St Michael’s Tower, which dates from the 14th century. To the south, you can see the Baroque town houses of Michalska Street, and to the west the red tiled houses at the foot of the castle. This is also a small museum of old weapons and firearms.
    Michalska Ulica 22
    Tel: (02) 5443 4742.

  • Old Town Hall & City Museum (Mestke Muzeum)
    With sections dating back to the 14th century, the Old Town hall offers a mix of architectural styles, including a renaissance courtyard from 1581. It also includes the Bratislava City Museum, which offers treats such as dungeons and torture devices as well as a winemaking museum. On summer evenings there is a laser light show on the front wall.
    Primacialne namesti 3
    Tel: (02) 5920 5111.

  • St Martin's Cathedral (Dom svateho Marina)
    From the 16th to the 19th centuries, this 13th-century Franciscan cathedral was the coronation place of Hungarian monarchs, including Empress Maria Theresa, and includes a gothic masterpiece, the Chapel of St John. This is not a museum, but the cathedral accepts visitors by prior arrangement or between mass times.

  • See the famous ruined castle, Devín, 9km (6 miles) northwest from Bratislava. Near here the Germans were heavily defeated in 864 and 871 and the area is of immense Slovak Nationalist importance.

  • Behold the relatively intact medieval walls of Trnava, which was the centre for Hungarian church administration from the 16th to the 18th century. Near the Polish border, Bardejov also offers the chance to gaze upon some almost perfectly preserved walls.

  • Visit Nitra, the country’s agricultural capital. Walk up to the ruined hrad (castle) where you will find statues of saints, a fine plague column and two enormous gateways. The Gothic katedrála (cathedral) at the castle contains the remains of two 10th-century saints; next door is the Baroque Palace of the Bishop of Nitra.

  • The Slovak Republic’s greatest tourist sites are its mountains: the High Tatras receive the most publicity, but the Low Tatras and Malá Fatra, although less monumental, are also quite developed. Although only 26km (16 miles) long, the High Tatra Mountains in the north are noted for impressive alpine features. The High Tatra National Park (TANAP) has an abundance of wildlife and over 13,000 species of alpine plants – due to the great differences in elevation from 900 to 2655m (2953 to 8710ft). There are more than 85 mountain lakes, of which Great Hincovo Lake is the largest. The park has a good selection of accommodation and sporting facilities, climatic spas and 350km (220 miles) of marked hiking trails. Tatranská Lomnica makes an ideal starting point for the eastern Tatras. Founded in 1892 as a State climatic spa, it nestles in the foothills of Skalnaté Pleso (1751m/5745ft) which boasts the Tatra’s best downhill ski and bobsleigh tracks. The Low Tatras National Park covers the second-highest range within the western Carpathians. The park includes several ski and recreation resorts including Jasna, and the Demänová Valley, with its extensive ice-cave system. The Pieniny National Park is a bilateral national park shared with Poland, 30km (19 miles) northeast of the High Tatras. The Malá Fatra National Park is renowned for the scenic beauty of its valleys and gorges and its abundant wildlife. It is a favourite with hikers in both winter and summer; outside the park, the wooded spa town of Rajecké Teplice and the folk painted houses at Cicmany are important tourist sites.

  • Mining and coin minting have played an important part in many of the Central Slovakian towns, with skilled German miners ‘imported’ in the 13th century. Banská Bystrica flourished as the capital of the seven ‘Hungarian’ (actually German) mining towns and was the centre for the failed 1944 uprising. The Town Museum in the Renaissance Thurso Palace and the 13th-century Panna Márie church with its Gothic altar by Master Pavol of Levoca are the most important tourist sites. Banská Stiavnica had the world’s first Mining University (1762). The 11 buildings of the Mining and Forestry Academy, as well as a number of Renaissance burghers’ houses are among its chief attractions. The mixed Gothic and Renaissance hrad (town castle), and the small gallery houses of the miners are the major sites in Kremnica, once the site of the richest gold seams in Europe.

  • The Spis (Zips) region was resettled by Saxons after the 13th-century Tartar invasions; most villages combine Teutonic (including many Protestant churches) and Slovak traits. There are many religious sites to observe in this region. Here, you can see the world's highest Gothic altar (18.6m/61ft high and 6m/20ft wide) in the Gothic church of sv Jakub (St James), built by Master Pavol and complemented by 12 important side altars. Kezmarok is noted for its wooden Protestant Church, capable of seating 1500 worshipers. Walled Spiská Kapitula was the seat of provosts and later bishops from the 13th century. The Romanesque cathedral of sv Martin is featured in many postcards.

  • Amble around Spis Castle. Dating from the 12th century, it is the biggest medieval castle in central Europe. Nearby, the walled town of Levoca became the wealthy capital of the Union of Zips Saxons in 1271.

  • Southeast of Poprad, deep canyons cut through the Slovensk´y raj (Slovak Paradise) National Park. The pine forest landscape is riddled with basins and waterfalls, and the park contains Europe’s oldest ice-cave at Dobsiná (Dobsinská l’adová jaskyna).

  • The Andrássy Mausoleum at Krásna Hôrka is the Slovak Republic’s finest Art Nouveau building, and is well worth a visit.

  • St Elizabeth’s dóm is the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe and is also one of the most beautiful.

  • Northeast of Kosice is the Herl’any Geyser, which sprays cold mineral water as high as 30m (100ft) every 32 to 34 hours.

Tourist Information
Slovak Tourist Board
Slovenska agentura pre cestovny ruch, Namestie L.Stura 1, P.o. Box 35, 974 05 Banska Bystrica, Slovak Republic
Tel: (48) 413 6146/48.

Association of Information Centres in Slovakia
Namestie mieru 1 031 01 Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovak Republic
Tel.: (44 ) 551 4541.

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