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3 days to explore Slovakia (not including Bratislava)

Hello,
We are spending a day in Bratislava then are renting a car to spend 3 days exploring Slovakia. There is so much to see and I'm feeling overwhelmed. I've read every post on this forum for Slovakia but still can't nail it down.
Our potential plan is to spend 1 day in the Zilina region seeing folk village (ex. Cicamy or Vlkolinec) & Orava Castle (skipping Demanska Ice Cave based on mixed reviews), 1 day in the Presov region hiking in the High Tatras & seeing Spis Castle, 1 day in Kosice region hiking in Slovak Paradise Natl Park & visiting Dobsinska Ice Cave or Domica Cave.
Are we trying to fit too much in? Should we just focus on 1 or 2 regions instead of all 3? If so, then would you think Presov & Kosice?
When I look at what small towns to stay in for these regions, there are so many choices. Advice?
I appreciate any assistance in planning! Thank you in advance.

Posted by
4637 posts

Well, I think it's a little bit too much to see it all. My suggestion: 1.day - drive toward Banska Bystrica, make stop there, continue toward Ruzomberok via Donovaly - very nice mountain scenery, just before Ruzomberok in Biely Potok there is a turn toward Vlkolinec. After you see Vlkolinec, drive via Ruzomberok, Dolny Kubin to Oravsky Podzamok where Orava Castle is located. Then you would drive back to Ruzomberok, Liptovsky Mikulas, Podbanske, Strbske Pleso and so on. High Tatras (Vysoke Tatry in Slovak). Quite accomplishment for Day One. I assume that you are used to strenuous hikes when you want to hike in High Tatras and next day in Slovak Paradise N.P. Read my post about High Tatras here:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/slovakia/best-destination-in-slovakia
If you choose one of two hikes with the best scenery (IMHO) I would recommend to stay 2 nights (1 night before hike, the second one after hike) in Tatranska Polianka (for hike toward Lysa Polana) or Stary Smokovec (for hike Hrebienok - Mala Studena Dolina - Velka Studena Dolina - Hrebienok). If you prefer easier hike then stay in Strbske Pleso and hike toward Popradske Pleso and up to Hincovo Pleso or stay in Tatranska Lomnica, go by the cable car to Skalnate Pleso and hike on Tatranska Magistrala toward Hrebienok. There are many hikes to choose from. For scenery you want to be above tree line. Good place to get more information is Horska Sluzba (Mountain Rescue Service) in Stary Smokovec.
2.day hike in High Tatras - see above.
3.day - drive to Spis Castle (huge castle ruins). Stop on the way in historical town of Levoca. After Spis Castle drive back to Bratislava. Choose different road for the way back to Bratislava for more scenery.

Posted by
12 posts

THANK YOU so much for respond Ilja & giving your advice & recommendations! I will check all of that out! We will probably we looking for mellow hikes as we will have just finished the Alta Via 2 in the Italian Dolomites & this is to be our more relaxing part of our trip! LOL!! We were potentially looking at Skok Waterfall in the High Tatras and Sucha Bella Gorge in Slovak Paradise BUT will look at your other link to see what else you mention and look up what you mention in this post as well. Thanks again!!

Posted by
683 posts

Beth,
If you do end up going to Cicmany, can you send me a PM about it when you get back?
My husband's grandfather is from there. There are still a lot of folks with his last name there. (We are the only ones in our large city phone book here)
I would be interested to hear about your experience. Getting there is on my list.

thanks

Posted by
12 posts

Yes I will! What is your husband's grandfather's last name?? And I see you're from Ohio - I grew up in Cincinnati and went to college at OU!

Posted by
12 posts

Ilja - One more question. Based on your recommendations above, what small towns would you recommend staying in?

Posted by
4637 posts

I would say Levoca and Banska Stiavnica. Levoca is nearby Spis Castle and High Tatras. Banska Stiavnica on your way back to Bratislava.