Before visiting Slovakia you might scan through a tourist guide, check out some websites or even get a guide of your own. As Slovakia is a small country, very often you will be recommended the same places. The spiel gets kind of boring after a while. Tatra mountains, Bratislava city center or the lovely city of Banska Stiavnica. Let us show you, that Slovakia has more to offer than just this. Here are a few, often overlooked, but yet very amazing places worth visiting.
1. Podhajska Swimming Resort and Spa
Podhajska is a small city in the south west of Slovakia. The city itself is based all around the aforementioned resort. Why is this resort special you might ask? The recently renovated sight offers a wide variety of attractions.
It starts with classical outdoor swimming pools with slides, jumping piers, and kiddie parks. Then you can find the most amazing spas, with massages, wellness and everything that comes with it. But probably the biggest attraction of them all is the geothermal area. This area offers warm spas and pools in all shapes and sizes, filled with natural geothermal water heated by the earth’s core itself. Some pools have been enriched with natural sea salts to give your skin and body the sea treatment, even if you are in the center of Europe with no sea for miles.
The area as such offers nine huge pools, both indoors and outdoors, saunas, tropical tunnels, sea spa, ice spa, tepidarium and two mysterious attractions called ‘The water hell’ and ‘The bucket of bravery’. You would have to try it yourself to find out what they are. Both the city as well as the area itself offer a wide range of restaurants, bars both with international and local cuisine. So feel free to dive into a wonderful relaxing time, while enjoying the beauties of south Slovakia at reasonable prices. The city of Podhajska is very well accessible both by car and train. And don’t forget. All students in Slovakia ride the train for free! Just get your student card and enjoy the free ride.
2. Veľký Inovec Peak
Another hidden gem of south Slovakian nature, this hill is the true compromise for someone who wants to enjoy hiking with some honest Slovak culture. The hike itself is not too demanding, so it is suitable for families with younger children, people who are not too keen on demanding physical activity or older people.
You can start the hike from many places, but we personally recommend starting from Zlate Moravce. From there you just follow the tourist signs and trail up to the hill. The track itself is between 12 to 16 kilometers, depending on which route you choose. Then you reach the Velky Inovec peak, which is in the middle of a peaceful forest. Accompanied by only one touristic cottage, this place is a guarantee of peace.
If you are not in a position to hike too much, we recommend contacting the cottage owner and booking a night to sleep there. You can try to contact him through his phone on +421 903 475 345, or just trying your luck. However, during offseason, it is more than probable you will not be too lucky. A booking day or two ahead is hence a sure thing. The owner is friendly and will gladly share drinks with you! Afterwards, either the next day or right away, after seeing the cottage, you can continue the track for another 6-10 km down the forest, until you end up in Nova Bana city, from where you can take a bus wherever your next destination would be.
3. Ministry of Fun Banska Bystrica
If you are up for a party, but Bratislava is already boring you, try the Ministry of Fun in Banska Bystrica. A legendary club offering a wide variety of club parties, several times a week. It is located in the heart of a beautiful city surrounded by forests and hills, so if you party too hard, there is a peaceful setting just waiting for you, to clear your head the next day.
The club itself is huge, it does not have the touristy vibe of Bratislava clubs and hence is a great place to meet some local people (let us remind you, that Slovakian women and men are considered one of the most beautiful in the world!) have a few drinks for reasonable Slovak prices and club the night away. Banska Bystrica is also a great connecting point between the West and the East of Slovakia in terms of busses and trains, so it could be a good midway stop on your tour de Slovak republic.
4. Donovalkovo Theme Park for Children
This one is for the parents. Donovalkovo is a great place to leave your kids for a while to get your much-needed rest. Located in the Tatra mountain center of Donovaly, it is a great detour to do, while skiing in winter or hiking in summer. The theme park itself has a very simple concept which works well. It is a sort of imitation village of the original city of Donovaly, with a little twist for the kids. And when we say little, we mean it. The park offers houses, roads, offices and all the things you consider parts of a city, shrunk into sizes usable by children. All these miniatures are not just for show, but fully utilizable and usable.
Coordinated and led by professional animators, your child is sure to enjoy its stay here. Not only can they use houses, roads and so on, but they can also learn a lot. The programme stems from learning the rules of traffic, working at a miniature farm with real animals (of course only baby animals), how to use money (Donovalkovo uses its own child currency), what to do in case of fire and many, many more.
Updated: February 8, 2018