Best of Slovakia Tour
Although Slovakia begins right beyond touristy Vienna, still only few know it. It remains a well-kept secret in the heart of Europe. Discover with us on a private tour the best Slovakia can offer and enjoy the wonders of this gem in Central Europe. We will customize all to your needs.
Slovakia is a small country that just like Switzerland lies at crossroads of different cultures, where for centuries numerous peoples, traditions, languages and religions would blend. The result is a great diversity of folk culture, architecture and customs.
Preserved medieval towns, folk architecture, hundreds of castles and chateaux, rich folklore, wooden churches – all examples of a wealth of cultural heritage recognized also by the UNESCO. Especially the region around the High Tatras mountains proves to be a real treasure chest. Nowhere else in Europe the concentration of national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites is so high in such a small area.
Every region of Slovakia has its own charm and typical landscapes. What impresses most, though, is the great diversity of peoples, languages, cultures, architecture and gastronomy in a small area. Something that is unique to the melting pot of Central Europe. For some maybe surprising will be how for 700 years the German and Slovak cultures lived side by side, influenced each other, leaving behind a great heritage.
In order for you to get an idea what a Best of Slovakia Tour can look like and plan accordingly, we have included a suggestion for your trip. It can be altered according to your wishes. In addition, we will be happy to assist you with planning your trip to Slovakia. Having local expertise and long experience we will take care of the following ensuring a memorable time in Slovakia:
- Creating a detailed itinerary
- Providing an experienced English-speaking professional driver-guide-interpreter
- Organizing accommodation tailored to your wishes
- Providing choice of traditional places to eat
The usual gateway to the Best of Slovakia Tour is Vienna or Vienna Airport conveniently located just 35 km from Bratislava. Alternatively, Budapest is also an option.
Day 1 - Arrival in Bratislava - Guided tour of charming Bratislava
You will enjoy a tour by car/bus to the recently restored Bratislava Castle bearing testimony to the city‘s rich past when it was the capital of the Hungarian Kingdom and the Royal Residence. The panoramic views of Bratislava from the Castle overlooking the city center are breathtaking.
You then continue to Bratislava’s exquisitely restored historical center brimming with cozy squares, narrow alleys and romantic courtyards. On a walking tour, wandering through the cobbled streets you absorb the unique atmosphere of Bratislava’s Old Town. You will see all the major sight like Opera House, Main Square with the Old Town Hall, Primate’s Palace, St Michael’s Gate as well as the St Martin’s Cathedral – former coronation church of the Habsburgs.
Day 2 - Devin Castle - Small Carpathians Wine Tasting - Grand Cellars of Cerveny Kamen Castle
Today you start by visiting the famous Devin Castle situated in the west of Bratislava right at the Slovak-Austrian border. This is where the Iron Curtain ran for 40 years. The former patrol road between the barbed wires is now a popular bicycle route along the river.
You continue into an important wine-growing region just outside Bratislava, where at the recently renovated Pezinok Castle you will have light lunch and taste some great Slovak wines. Afterwards you visit Cerveny Kamen Castle (Red Stone) built in the early 1500s as an untakable Renaissance fortress to store copper. In the end the vast cellars – Central Europe’s largest – were used for wine rather than copper.
Afterwards, enjoy a scenic two hour drive to Banska Stiavnica (Schemnitz in German), one of Central Europe’s most beautiful towns.
Day 3 - Silver Town Banska Stiavnica - Copper Town Banska Bystrica - Mountain Village Spania Dolina
Today a UNESCO protected quaint little town nestled up in the mountains, Banska Stiavnica was the center of silver mining for many centuries. Most of European silver was mined here before Columbus discovered America for the Spanish. Venue of the world’s first university of technology, it froze in time in the 19th century and therefore has been beautifully preserved in its original form. Enjoy a walking tour through the cobbled narrow streets of Banska Stiavnica, one of the highlights of our Best of Slovakia Tours.
After lunch enjoy a scenic drive to Banska Bystrica, which was in the 15-17th centuries one of the European center for mining copper. The rich merchants built beautiful palaces in the large main square that has an Italian feel. Further up in the mountains we visit the former mining village of Spania Dolina, where most of the copper came from a enjoy a little walking tour around the quaint village. After crossing the big mountains we descend to the Lipton region.
Day 4 - Liberty Cave - Liptov Sheep Farm - Scenic drive through the High Tatras - Moraine Lake
This morning you visit the Low Tatras National Park. The Demanovka Creek creates one of the longest cave systems in Europe underneath these mountains. You visit the Liberty Cave considered one of the most beautiful caves in Europe, where the creek flows right through.
Afterwards you will drive to a traditional sheep farm to experience how the tasty local sheep cheeses are made and enjoy the view of the whole Liptov region from above.
In the end you will enjoy a panoramic drive through the most scenic countryside in this part of Europe through the High Tatras National Park. You stop at a resort built by a beautiful moraine lake to enjoy the fresh mountain air and admire views the surrounding peaks. You continue though several resorts from the 1800s that were built to rival St Moritz in Switzerland.
Day 5 - UNESCO Town Levoca - UNESCO Spis Castle - Impressive City of Kosice
This morning you drive further east leaving the big mountains. You visit the walled historic town of Levoca (UNESCO), which has been preserved the way it looked hundreds of years ago. Wander through Levoca’s large square, which is dominated by the 14th century St. James’ Church with a remarkably preserved Gothic interior. There are as many as 15 Gothic intricately carved altars. The main altar is with almost 20 m the world’s highest wooden Gothic altar.
Already from a distance you will recognize the silhouette of the enormous Spis Castle dating from the 12th century, one of Europe’s largest (UNESCO). It was used by Hollywood in numerous movies, among them the Last Legion or Dragon Heart. You climb the castle, admire the views and learn about the fascinating history of one of our favorite sites on Best of Slovakia Tours.
Upon arrival in Kosice, Slovakia’s second largest city and the capital of eastern Slovakia you will enjoy a stroll through its beautifully renovated Old Town with dozens of Gothic houses, Baroque palaces, magnificent State Theater and the Singing Fountain. In 2013 it was the European Cultural Capital. Kosice’s pride is the St. Elizabeth Cathedral from the 1400s, which is the country’s largest Gothic church. The town had formerly the largest Jewish community in the country and has three synagogues.
Day 6 - UNESCO Wooden Churches - UNESCO Town Bardejov - Log raft in Pieniny National Park - Historic Town of Kezmarok
After a scenic drive through hilly countryside dotted with little villages you come to a region known for numerous tiny wooden churches (UNESCO) mostly of eastern Catholic rite. You will admire the craftsmanship and the small size seating sometimes only two dozens.
Afterwards you visit the nearby historic town of Bardejov (UNESCO). It grew rich in the Middle Ages as it was lying on a major trading route. Bardejov has a large medieval square lined with colorful houses dating back many centuries. In the center of the square there is the Gothic Town Hall and St. Giles Church boasting numerous finely carved wooden altars from the 1400s. You will have the feeling that you stepped 500 years. Most of the town’s walls are still preserved.
Afterwards you continue on a scenic route and reach the Pieniny National Park at the border with Poland, known for the canyon of the Dunajec River. For centuries, timber was transported down the river to the Baltic See. Today, the log rafts have long become a tourist attraction. You will float down the 10 km long canyon to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Before ending the day you stroll through the historic town of Kezmarok, which saw its golden age in the 1500s as it controlled a part of an important trade route. Visit the unique wooden UNESCO listed protestant church that takes 1.500 worshippers and was built without a single nail and where even the organ is wooden.
Day 7 - Scenic drive through the High Tatras - Open Air Village Museum - Stunning Orava Castle
This morning you drive below the dramatic High Tatras through the mountains to visit the Orava Village Museum and discover this area’s traditional lifestyle and customs. Consisting of 100 historic wooden homesteads saved from villages of the region as well as a 15th century wooden church this is great place to experience how people in the mountains lived in the past.
A few miles away we you visit the impressive Orava Castle to see for a change how the nobility lived. Constructed from the 13th century on a 400-foot-high rock above the Orava River, the Orava Castle is one of the best preserved in the country. Numerous famous movies were filmed here including the first Dracula movie Nosferatu in 1921.
Before arrival at your next stop you visit the uniquely preserved quaint village of Cicmany isolated in the mountains. Dozens of wooden cottages with painted ornaments, rich folklore traditions and a beautiful natural setting make for a special old world experience.
Day 8 - Fairytale Bojnice Castle - Historic Town of Trencin
Today you visit a different world full of opulence of the elderly Count Palffy who built the magnificent Bojnice Castle to impress his 25 years junior fiancée’s parents from France. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the patience to wait for 20 years to be finished. It is considered the most fairy-tale castle in Slovakia with spires, turrets and towers surrounded by a lake. Below the castle is a cave connected to the courtyards through a well.
Afterwards you continue to the mountains until you reach the fertile Vah River Valley. It is lined with numerous castles and pretty towns. You visit the historic town of Trencin dominated by a medieval castle with panoramic views of the entire valley. You continue back to Bratislava or Vienna.
“All three of us were very, very pleased with the trip and your itinerary! Thank you for the great job that you did for us. Everything we saw was fabulous and well-chosen. You did an outstanding job of organizing everything! Your selection of castles and other attractions for us to visit was just perfect. We were all very pleased and we had a great time getting to know Slovakia better.”
C.B. California, USA
Best of Slovakia Tour
Discover Slovakia – one of Europe’s hidden treasures on our private tailor made Best of Slovakia Tour by Martin Sloboda.
Duration: 2-9 days, tailor made for individuals and groups
Why Martin Sloboda and his team?
- At Martin Sloboda we feel lucky to be in employ that fits our personality perfectly.
- Our passion for Slovakia, sense of humor and personal touch create memories of a lifetime.
- Thanks to our professional approach, profound knowledge and attention to detail our guests receive a very personal experience.
- We work with carefully selected and highly qualified guides who meet high personality requirements in order to build a powerfully successful team.