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Kosice to Bratislava

We will be traveling to Slovakia this fall. After flying into Budapest we will be taking a train to Kosice. There we will be renting a car and driving across Slovakia to Bratislava for 4 days. I am hoping to visit my grandparent's hometowns of Mokrá Lúka (outside of Revúca) and Bohunice.
The plan right now:
- Kosice 2 nights
- Banska Bystrica 1 night
- Bratislava 1 night fly out via Vienna

Questions for the forum (any advice welcome)

  1. Is the timing of driving, seeing some sights along the way, manageable? Any other driving tips?
  2. Is Banska Bystrica a good place for an overnight—arriving late afternoon, see the town, having some dinner, sleep and head out to Bratislava the next day? Is there a better place to stop? Or would you recommend driving straight to Bratislava and staying 2 nights, to see more of Bratislava?
  3. Any recommended tour guides for a walking tour or historical/cultural site? Or a guide who has worked with genealogy and Slovak diaspora?

Thank you for your help! Typcially we have more from Rick Steves' to work with!

Posted by
16890 posts

It's been quite a while since I was in Slovakia, following the Lonely Planet guidebook, but I think your plan sounds do-able. I spent 2 nights each in Kosice and Bratislava, but if you only have one night Bratislava, you'll still be able to walk the old town, which is the main attraction (no must-see museums). If you had more time to spend, then I might add more stops (like Bardejov and Levoca for great altarpieces).

Posted by
4637 posts

I would probably limit Kosice to one night. Slovakia is more about beautiful countryside than cities. Driving from Kosice to Roznava you will go through National Park Slovakian Karst (Slovensky kras). Many caves. Then toward Revuca and you will get to Mokra Luka. After Revuca you will go through or by National Park Muranska Planina. Castle, caves. Then by N.P. Nizke Tatry to Banska Bystrica. Nice regional city with beautiful surroundings. Banska means mining. They used to mine copper there. There is a museum of National Slovak Uprising against Nazis in WWII. From BB drive to Kremnica - also mining town - they used to mine gold. From there to nearby Banska Stiavnica. Pretty historical town. They used to mine silver. You can stay overnight there (on night which you borrowed from Kosice). So you got 1 night Kosice, Banska Bystrica, Banska Stiavnica, Bratislava. Then to Bratislava. Several possible routes, each with interesting stops. I would recommend these guides: unfortunately not persons but books: Slovakia by Lucy Mallows. It's in edition Bradt. If you cannot get it in bookstore, try Amazon. The Slovak Spectator - SLOVAKIA Travel Guide. A good road atlas with scale 1:100000. Very good is Turisticky autoatlas Slovensko in edition freytag & berndt. That one would be very hard to get here in US but you can buy it in Kosice.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi, Thank you for your great info!! Are the High Tatras, Spis Castle or Levoca accessible as a day trip from Kosice? I was thinking of Kosice as a base for a day trip so we don't have to pack up every night...

Thanks again!

Posted by
4637 posts

That would be a long day trip. From Kosice to Poprad is about 2 hours drive plus minus depending on traffic. There is about another 40 km to Strbske Pleso (the highest resort in High Tatras). I would say that round trip from Kosice to Strbske Pleso would be about 5 hours without a stop. You also want to stop at Spis Castle and Levoca. High Tatras, Spis Castle, Levoca are among the top sights in Slovakia. I would recommend that you are not doing that roundtrip but get overnight in Strbske Pleso (or other High Tatras resort - the two other main resorts: Stary Smokovec, Tatranska Lomnica). On the way there you can stop at Spis Castle and Levoca. The best hotel in High Tatras is IMHO hotel Kempinski in Strbske Pleso. Little spendy but you get what you paid for plus incredible views from your balcony toward a lake (called Strbske Pleso) and the High Tatras peaks behind it. Then to go to Mokra Luka would be a little detour but still less then roundtrip from Kosice to High Tatras. If you decide not to go to Mokra Luka then drive direction Ruzomberok and Dolny Kubin. Nearby Dolny Kubin is another impressive sight - Oravsky hrad (Orava Castle). From there drive toward Ruzomberok and Banska Bystrica. Right after Ruzomberok there is a road going toward Vlkolinec. Old village folk architecture. Vlkolinec is on UNESCO list. I am afraid that 4 days for you to see all you want to see is simply too little time. I usually say that there is a good public transportation in Slovakia and car is not needed but for your ambitious goals car is very much needed.