1 week slovakia and prague

My wife and I will be driving near Vienna early July - finishing-up a 1st-time central europe trip. As a Slovak-Czech I definitely want to visit Bratislava, maybe Banska Bystrica (if we can connect with my non-english speaking relatives), Prague (2-3 nights) and Cesky-Krumlov (1 night before driving to Munich for flight home). 1) Any ideas how to find a guide/translator for 2 days in Banska Bystrica? 2) Suggestion for scenic driving route from there to Prague w/o going back thru Bratislava?
We enjoy scenery, photography, moderate hiking, beer and wine, local food/music and socializing. 3) Any hot tips?

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1469 posts

1) I would try to contact visitor center in Banska Bystrica, also Gymnazium (it is something like high school here but takes only best students so it's on higher level). There are several Gymnaziums in BB. Try to contact Matej Bel Univerzity for english speaking students.
2) First buy yourself good road atlas(es) of Slovak and Czech republics. From BB I would go toward Turcianske Teplice then Martin then take E50 to Bytca. From there road 18 (it is also E442) to Hranice na Morave then follow signs to Olomouc then follow signs toward Hradec Kralove and Prague. The road is very scenic BB to Valasske Mezirici then still scenic but less. Having a road atlas you can improvise. There are many different roads to Prague.
3) Hot tips: Second weekend in July there is a beautiful and authentic folk festival in Detva (between 40 and 50 km from BB). First weekend in July there is no less beautiful folklife festival in Vychodna (about 90 km from BB). Don't miss Vysoke Tatry (High Tatras). You can see it already from Vychodna. It's like condensed Alps. Jagged peaks, crystal clear mountain lakes, plenty of hikes from easy to very strenuous. You can stay in Strbske Pleso (IMHO most beautiful), or Stary Smokovec or many other little villages around.

Posted by jerry
cleveland, ohio
4 posts

thank you for your suggestions. Can you recommend a hotel or inn in Bratislava and Banska Bystrica?

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1469 posts

In Bratislava I stayed in 2 hotels but that was 2005. Hotel Kyjev- cannot recommend. Somewhat seedy, remnant of socialist yesterday. We liked Old City Hotel in the center of Old town. I didn't stay overnight in Banska Bystrica so no personal recommendation. As I checked they have some hotels on Google.

Posted by Tom
Chicago
2876 posts

We visited Bratislava last spring and really liked the somewhat oddly named MaMaison Residence Sulekova hotel. Very clean & modern with large, comfortable, apartment-like rooms. Walking distance to the old town (but downhill to old town, uphill back!)

www.mamaison.com/bratislava-sulekova.html