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anyone need help?...doing a road trip through Slovakia

Slovakia is awesome. People are great, as well as food and safest place so far in europe. once you visit “central europe,” you won’t want to visit the highly touristy places.

Posted by
8 posts

So you are back from Slovakia? How was the weather there? Were you able to do much hiking? Did you go to low Tatras? We are going in May.

Posted by
21 posts

Weather was great. The Sucha Bela hike was awesome...total of about 4-6 miles. Hiking up def requires hiking shoes and you climb a few ladders. If you have fear of heights, some of it could be scary but it’s not dangerous. We ended up staying one night in Bojnice, three nights in Kezmarok and one in Kosice. We also visited Banská Bystrica and Stary Lomnica. The gondola to Lomnicky Stit was very cool. We skipped Bratislava completely. We also saw Spis Castle. After Kosice we called an “audible” and drove south to Eger, Hungary. The wine caves here are very cool. Going to make our way to Budapest.

Posted by
21 posts

we planned to do some caves but i live in oregon and we have lots of them so we skipped them. regarding the castle in Bojnice....cool castle but two hour tour and castles/cathedrals are all about the same. however, you can hike up the hill from bojnice and climb a structure for a great view. small hike but the inside of the castle is...meh

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21 posts

definitely try the kapustnica in slovakia. also, pension berg in kezmarok was excellent and it’s an easy region to explore everything by car. the roads in slovakia are very good compared to other places...like romania

Posted by
21 posts

pension berg was by far the best hotel i have stayed in central europe....but i don’t stay in chain hotels. we stayed in hotel bristol in kosice and it was okay...typical hotel.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks, that's a lot of information. So where did you rent a car? Is it easy to drive in Slovakia without getting lost? What about parking? Do you have to have an international driving permit from AAA to rent a car in Slovakia?

Posted by
21 posts

rented the car in Vienna. You need to buy a highway pass at the first gas station in Slovakia. It was about 10 euro for ten days...or you can prob do online. driving in slovakia is easy compared to countries like italy/germany/france. As far as IDL, I have been driving in Europe since 2006 and have never gotten one and driven everywhere...personally, it’s nonsense...never been a problem...the one time it was..10 euros solved the problem.

Posted by
21 posts

we used our phones for gps and parking was easy compared to busier countries...granted we never visited bratislava. the biggest city was kosice...and it was cool...we stayed at hotel bristol and they had free parking

Posted by
308 posts

We are doing and bike and boat trip this summer, and we have a whole DAY in Bratislava. LOL. I'm generally not a fan of cruising in Europe because I've done it once and that was enough. But we do like physically active vacations (last year we did 7 days of the Camino). So this year, I found this bike tour and the appeal was getting to stay in the same accommodation for 8 nights (because last year's hike was great except packing/repacking every day).

So, now that the long-winded prelude is over, my question is:

What's fun in Bratislava that can be done in a day? I've got a few guidebooks for central Europe, but since you're offering advice, I thought I'd ask. We are two couples in our late 40s/early 50s and we have two sons along with us who are best friends - one is 18 and one is 19. I'm totally fine with the teens doing something on their own. We're not really the museum type. Love great food, great coffee, wandering down cobblestone streets, visiting historic sites, and photography (am an amateur photographer). We'll be there in July.

Thanks for any advice!

Posted by
308 posts

Ooops, just saw that you didn't visit Bratislava. Oh well! Maybe others will have suggestions. :)

Posted by
55 posts

Beaverdam213 - we will be travelling for 3 weeks in May with a car
As I've been reading while planning a trip to Prague (including other places there in Czechia), then to Budapest & Eger, then heading up to Poland, I have come across so many interesting sounding places in Slovakia. My list now includes Kosice, Presov, Bardejov, Spis Castle, Levoca, Tatra Mtns., Bojnicky Zamok, Tencin Castle, Cicmany, Vlkolinec, and Orava Castle. Whew! All of those places sounded interesting. I am about to eliminate Warsaw and Gdansk in order to do at least some of these places in Slovakia.

Can you give me your opinions on which of those places are really worth seeing, and possibly some idea of how long to spend in that area. And where would you base out of? Seems like most all of them are along or close to E50. Also, what is your opinion about Banska Bystrica and Banska Stiavnica? I hadn't included them yet because they are a little more off the beaten path of all the other places...but we won't be that far away!

We wanted to see the High Tatras, but now I've read that all hiking trails are closed until June 15. Do you have any suggestions on any way to see more of the High Tatras rather than just driving by...are there any scenic roads that go through there?

We enjoy small towns and countryside more than big cities, although we will enjoy Prague and Budapest. We do plan to make it to Krakow and Auschwitz.

Any information or suggestions you can give me would be much appreciated!

Posted by
21 posts

Slovakia is definitely worth spending some time in. There are a lot of caves, hiking, castles and beautiful scenery. I also love smaller towns and there are so many to pick from. Kosice is a good stop on your way to or from Eger. It's a bigger city but doesn't feel that big. We used the town of Kezmarok as our base in the High Tatras. There is a really cool hike in that area called Sucha Bella. It goes up a canyon and you climb letters and scale along steps on the rock. We are not huge hikers and I am 40 and it was quite doable if you are in decent shape. Lomnisky Stit was also a very cool gondola ride and view. I looked at staying in many of the towns you mentioned. For us, Kezmarok was small but not too small and made it easy to access the things we wanted to see. The only place I wouldn't recommend is Banska Stiavnica. It's okay but there are better places. Strbske Pleso is a cool little village with spas. I would probably start in either Prague or Budapest. If you start in Prague, Cesky Krumlov is a great little town but 2 hours south....but head toward auschwitz and stay in Krakow, then head south into the High Tatras, then to Kosice, then Eger and then Budapest....something like this...obviously, there are many small places you could stay a night or two along the way. In other words, make the trip a one way trip instead "round trip." Check the price on the rental car because ironically, sometimes it's way cheaper if you start in one town vs the other...no idea why. I drove once from Krakow through Czech to Vienna....had I driven Vienna to Krakow the car would have cost twice as much. I am happy to give you more insight on this entire area but it's too much to type. You are welcome to call me on my cell phone at 541-990-3312. Just leave a voicemail and I will get back to you. ;) In my opinion, if you haven't been to these places before, you have probably picked one of my favorite areas to visit in Europe....and another amazing place is Romania.

I tend to skip some major cities such as Bucharest and Bratislava. However, Krakow, Prague and Budapest are all worthwhile.

Have you done a road trip in Europe before?

Beaverdam213 - we will be travelling for 3 weeks in May with a car
As I've been reading while planning a trip to Prague (including other places there in Czechia), then to Budapest & Eger, then heading up to Poland, I have come across so many interesting sounding places in Slovakia. My list now includes Kosice, Presov, Bardejov, Spis Castle, Levoca, Tatra Mtns., Bojnicky Zamok, Tencin Castle, Cicmany, Vlkolinec, and Orava Castle. Whew! All of those places sounded interesting. I am about to eliminate Warsaw and Gdansk in order to do at least some of these places in Slovakia.
Can you give me your opinions on which of those places are really worth seeing, and possibly some idea of how long to spend in that area. And where would you base out of? Seems like most all of them are along or close to E50. Also, what is your opinion about Banska Bystrica and Banska Stiavnica? I hadn't included them yet because they are a little more off the beaten path of all the other places...but we won't be that far away!
We wanted to see the High Tatras, but now I've read that all hiking trails are closed until June 15. Do you have any suggestions on any way to see more of the High Tatras rather than just driving by...are there any scenic roads that go through there?
We enjoy small towns and countryside more than big cities, although we will enjoy Prague and Budapest. We do plan to make it to Krakow and Auschwitz.
Any information or suggestions you can give me would be much appreciated!

Posted by
55 posts

Beaverdam213
Yes, we have road tripped several times all over western Europe. We enjoy driving and moving at our own pace and being able to stop wherever we want. We have also driven in Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Slovenia...loved that trip! We do prefer smaller towns and villages and local things rather than just big cities. We are going to Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Bratislava, Budapest, Eger, and then up to this area of Slovakia that I have found a bunch of little places I want to go. Then we will head up to Krakow, Auschwitz, then back to Prague where we started. We have 3 weeks to travel. I think we have 3-4 days left in there to see all these places in northern Slovakia.

I will check out Kezmarok, because that does look like a good place to be close to several other places. I hadn't heard of that town before. Which places in northern Slovakia did you go, and which did you like best? Did you see anything that wasn't all that special? I'm afraid I may have to eliminate a few. Thank you for all your information. If it isn't easy to write what you'd like to say next, let me know and I will call you if that's easier. I appreciate your help!