I am planning to travel to Slovakia at the end of March. I will rent a car and start in Bratislava...planning to stay two nights and then drive to Trencin and on to Zilina and stay two nights. Then drive to Poprad and stay two nights. Then drive to Kosice and stay two nights. Next to Eger, Hungary for one night and end in Budapest with two nights. Another option is to drive from Kosice to Banska Stiavnica and back to Bratislava. I am wondering how many days you would recommend staying in any of these areas and what top things to see or do. We want to explore the national parks and caves. We are interested in seeing an absolute must as far as a castle or cathedral but don't really need to see more than your top recommended 1 or 2 of each. We are very interested in seeing culture, cuisine and doing some hiking and biking. I realize the weather will be marginal and that's okay. We would rather cut our time shorter in the major cities such as Bratislava or Budapest and spend more time outside the metro areas. Any suggestions would be great. Also, we do love staying in smaller towns but due to the time of year, if the smaller town is going to be completely "dead" then we would rather staying in a little bit bigger city in order to have more options for food/drink.
Bratislava. I haven’t been, but from what I have heard, 2 nights might be a bit much
Trencin. Havent been
Zilina. Havent been
Between Zilina and Poprad is Martin and Liptovský Hrádok and we have done some pretty decent fly fishing there.
Poprad. Nice, but where you want to stay is at one of the hotels on lake Štrbské Pleso. I could easily spend a few days hiking, climbing, fishing in the area.
Kosice. Havent been (geeeee, what good am I?)
Banska Stiavnica. Nice town. Works well with Banská Bystrica as either part of a long drive into Budapest or an overnight. The Hotel Grand Matej is pretty decent and well located.
As for castles, just google Slovakia Castles and marvel at how many stunning castles there are. Just pick one or two to weave into your trip.
In Hungary look at a night here https://hotelpalota.hu/ very much in keeping with the rest of your trip; caves, forest train, etc.
Eger is two nights at a minimum
Budapest is 4 nights at a minimum
James, thank you for your quick response. We have a group of probably 4 people and considering we are going during late March...we are planning to book accommodations for the first night or two and same for the end of the trip but do you think we could just book the rest of the places as we go?....so that we can either speed up or slow down depending on how we feel.
"Probably"? March isnt high season, but i would leave home with a list of hotels....... Also, i understand the convenience of the car, and i think its great, but for the cost you could pick maybe three locations and hire day guide with a car to see the rest. I dont know the drop off charge between Bratislava and Budapest. Might be worth it to drop the car back in Bratislava and depart from Vienna.
So, I did more research. We will fly in and out of Vienna since it's so close to Bratislava. We will rent a car and I am eliminating Hungary completely in order to just get more time in Slovakia. I am thinking we will fly in...which arrives around noon in Vienna and drive to Zilina...stay a night or two...and drive to high tatras...then to kosice...then to banska stiavnica...then end in bratislava. We can use Zilina, high tatras, kosice, banska stiavnica and bratislava as our home bases. We prefer to have a rental car so that we can come and go as we please. We def want to see the national parks. I am assuming that you recommend staying the most nights in the high tatras out of all of these places?
All trips combined I have only spent a week in Slovakia and that just scratched the surface. Yup, loved the mountains....
If you prefer to stay in a town which doesn't get "dead" in March, then I'd advise to stay in Poprad for a bit longer than 1-2 days.
It has nice water park (Aquacity) and it's located close to the mountains.
Also, if you would like to do some hiking, then consider staying in Vysoké Tatry town - it's soooo beautiful! There are mountain resorts nearby - Štrbské Pleso and Tatranská Lomnica (cable car takes you up to 2634 meters).
Have a look at this website to get some more ideas about great places in Slovakia: https://overhere.eu/
thank you!! the more i look at slovakia the more i love it. our travel plan is loose. we are just going to book hotels as we go. so, we will stay in the high tatras for however many days meet our needs. thank you for the insight. do you think Levoca will be too dormant in late march?
In High Tatras you will encounter full winter season. It would be a good idea to book your hotels ahead. The best accommodation in High Tatras (IMHO) is Grand Hotel Kempinski in Strbske Pleso. Little spendy but you get what you paid for and then some. Outside of High Tatras I would not bother with booking hotels too much ahead, especially in late March and having a car with just two people - I assume. Places (including Levoca) and with the exception of Bratislava and High Tatras won't be very busy, we can say more or less in winter sleep, but that has its advantages, no crowds, no lines.
You should definitely try Bratislava shooting range club
, we have been there with friends of mine and we had a lot of fun (you can chose from various packages) :) After some of activities you will enjoy nightlife there, its almost same as Wien, maybe even better ;) Let me know if your trip was fine ^^
March is still winter in this part of Europe. Plan to ski, not hike, especially in the higher elevations.
If you like mountains, I'd reserve a bit more time to visit Tatras. This region is amazing and there are many places and trails to explore. What's important is that the trails above mountain huts are closed in the wintertime.
If you're not planning on skiing, you can visit Štrbské Pleso mountain resort, hike to Chata pod Soliskom mountain hut (there's cable car too) and Popradske Pleso lake, go by cable car to Lomnický štít peak. There's also an interesting option in Low Tatras - Chopok mountain. You can get to the peak by cable car and if you're lucky, you will get to admire beautiful panorama of Low Tatra mountains (which aren't that low by the way ;)
Bratislava is completely uninteresting to me, there's not really much to see.
You may find more info about Slovak Tatras here:
Where would you recommend skiing in the high tatras?
There are ski resorts in Strbske Pleso, Stary Smokovec, Tatranska Lomnica, Zdiar and few smaller ones in several smaller resorts.
Do you think Kezmarok is a good town to have a home base in the High Tatras?
Kezmarok is a nice historical town but I would not use it as a base for High Tatras. It is not in H.T. Why to commute when you can be there. As a base I would use some of H.T. Resorts like Strbske Pleso, Stary Smokovec, Tatranska Lomnica.
GO defintely to Bratislava. Amazing energy, great nightlife