Places to see in Slovakia, weekend roadtrip

Weekend Road Trip in Slovakia: 6 Places for Backpacking

Living in Slovakia for some time already, I realized that there are so many unleashed places to visit, where not even tourists, but many Slovak people are not going. I feel so sad about the fact, that Slovakia has such great potential for tourism and is not using it right. For that, I always feel responsible and honored to give some tips or even show some of those places to people coming here. The same intention I had recently when my Russian friends came to Bratislava for a visit and we went to a bit spontaneous, however, a very interesting weekend road trip in Slovakia.

It was more or less random in the beginning, but in the end, we managed to visit some locations that would suit every type of traveler and weather conditions. So here is our complete itinerary for a weekend road trip in Slovakia with 6 must-see places.

Note: this article is part of a series of blog posts about backpacking in Slovakia. You can find the rest of the articles about Slovakia here:

Day 1 in Slovakia: Zraková pyramída (Visual Pyramid) and Vlkolínec, Ružomberok

We started our road trip in Slovakia from Bratislava (if you want to know more about the capital of Slovakia, read our article about the activities to do in Bratislava) on Friday morning (we’ve rented a car on priceline.com/rentalcars/, for 3 days it cost us just 42 euros, which is an amazing price, however, count with the gas, which is not that cheap in Slovakia + time of the year, usually during summer renting can be more expensive) and decided finally to check the famous by taking romantic pictures piece of art right in nature – so-called Visual Pyramid or Zraková pyramída in Slovak. It was made by an artist Juraj Gábor for people to stop for a moment, sit and enjoy beautiful nature view, like from TV. Expect that in some warmer days there could be more people, so just wait until they will leave, because around 80% are coming there just to take a few pictures. Then you can sit and enjoy the movie made by nature for some time. Trust me, it’s worth it. 

Update for 2020: Visual pyramid was removed due to many complaints from people living there. It was hard for them, because tourists were everywhere. They were parking cars all over the city and that bothered a lot.

Since we wanted to show our friends a bit of Slovak traditions, we decided to continue our trip to a small separate community of city Ružomberok called Vlkolínec which serves as a monument reserve of folk architecture and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993. There are still people living there, from what we’ve heard it’s around 19 of them in 6 houses out of 55. All the houses there are made of wood. We also got into a small farm there where we could even play a bit with animals. Yet I wouldn’t recommend planning your trip JUST to come here, but if it is on your way or you are not far from it – a very good place to feel an old Slovak atmosphere. 

Before going to rest in our accommodation we stopped in close to our village Donovaly, which is also well known for its ski resorts, and had a traditional Slovak dinner in Koliba Goral. If you are in Slovakia and want to eat some typical food in a traditional atmosphere – you should search for places called Koliba. From time to time they have guys playing very old songs (we’ve got them as well) which makes the atmosphere even more pleasant. 

Bryndzove halusky during a road trip in Slovakia
Typical bryndzove halusky – Slovak dumplings with sheep cheese

Time to drive: from Bratislava to Súľov (village from where you need to hike to Pyramid) – 2 hours, from there to Vlkolínec – 2 hours. From Vlkolínec to our Airbnb accommodation in Korytnica – kúpele – 40 minutes. Total: around 5 hours

Day 2 in Slovakia: Walking in Korytnica spa to Veľká Chochuľa and Štrbské Pleso, Vysoké Tatry (High Tatras)

We’ve stayed in a village called Korytnica – kúpele in this Airbnb which was at first just a random decision, but it turned out to be a great idea for exploration. On the morning of Saturday, we decided to go for a walk in that small village and found out a complete abandoned location. It looked a bit like, after Chernobyl, some people call this village “the place of ghosts”. However, for more than 700 years it was a SPA place where people all around Europe were coming to rest. The company which was taking care of it became bankrupt in 2002 and from that time baths stopped working.

Buildings are not being repaired for years, and the main problem is that they are under the protection of monuments, so potential reconstruction would be even more complicated. However, some of the springs were reconstructed there and you can still find highly mineralized water rich in calcium, magnesium or iron. 

After this mystery walking, we decided to take a hike to Vel’ká Chochul’a starting from that village. It is a very nice walk in the forest and the beginning of it is very easy – it is not going so much up and almost everywhere there is asphalt. The way there includes these stops: Korytnica–kúpele (where we start)  – sedlo pod Babou – Hiadeľské sedlo – Prašivá – Malá Chochuľa – Veľká Chochuľa and it takes about 4,5 hours, 10 kilometers and almost 1000 m up. However, we didn’t go all the way up due to the weather conditions. Yet still, this hike is very nice for warmer weather, but even in winter, it’s possible to go.

Scary forest in Slovakia
A bit scary looking forest

Before our second location, we stopped by one more Koliba called Jánošíkova and got a portion of tasty food. I definitely can recommend this place if you are traveling to that location. But our final destination for this day was Štrbské Pleso, one of the most popular lakes in Slovakia. It is located in the High Tatras and it is the easiest hike there because basically, you can just walk around the lake and it is good to be made in any weather conditions.

For sure it is much better when there is no fog (but so far all the times I was there we always had a piece of luck for a fog) because its an amazing view on mountains, however, the weather there is changing rapidly so you can never predict it. If you have more time and maybe a bit better weather conditions, you could try bigger hiking from Štrbské Pleso, like Popradské Pleso (1 h 10 mins from there) or Vodopád Skok (1 h 40 mins). OR you can even hike one of the highest peaks in Slovakia Kriváň (3 h 45 mins) or Rysy (4 h 30 mins).

Strbske pleso in Slovakia - places to see
Štrbské pleso (lake) in High Tatras

We finished our day with a good portion of dinner in Route 66 restaurant in the city Liptovský Mikuláš. It’s a typical sports pub with a good beer and burgers, however, they’ve got also some other type of dishes. I strongly recommend to try there a pumpkin soup (tekvicova polievka), it is gorgeous! 

Time to drive: after hiking in Korytnica – kúpele to Jánošíkova Koliba – 10 mins, from there to Štrbské Pleso – 1 hour 10 mins, from there to Route 66 restaurant – 40 mins, then back home – 50 mins. Total: around 3 hours

Day 3 in Slovakia: Bojnice castle and Čičmany

Since on the last day we had to go back in the direction of Bratislava, we’ve chosen to see one of the nicest medieval gothic castles in Slovakia – Bojnice. This castle is one of the most visited in Central Europe and it’s charming with fairy-tale looking design. It was lastly owned by Hungarian noble families and it has a nice museum inside with a tour guide where you can see how they lived. There is an entrance fee of 10 euros (or 13 if you want to see together with the Gallery), but it already includes the guided tour in it. However, we were pretty lucky coming there on the first Sunday of the month, because that time it is free for everyone! So if you have a chance, I recommend you to plan a trip there at that time (however, check their website, because they usually write about some events or free admissions) 

Fairytale looking castle in Slovakia during a road trip
Bojnice castle – like in a fairytale

Our last stop was one more fairy-tale object called village Čičmany which is known as the first folk architecture reserve in the world. This tiny village with a population of around 200 people is full of black timber houses, each one decorated with intricate traditional patterns in white lime paint. The painting was intended to protect the logs against the effect of sun rays. When you walk there, you feel like transported back in time and you can feel all that atmosphere. 

Time to drive: from AirBnb to Bojnice castle1 hour 40 mins, from Bojnice to Čičmany – 50 mins, from Čičmany to Bratislava – 2 hours. Total: around 4 hours 30 mins.

Slovakia road trip – as a foreigner

There are so many uncovered and not so well-known places in Slovakia and sometimes it is very hard to find some information about them on the internet for a foreigner because even if there is something, it will be most probably in Slovak. I hope this guide on our weekend would help you to plan some of your trips while you are in Slovakia in order to not just stuck in Bratislava. Wait for more explorations to come!

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