Backpacking Slovakia

Are you looking for a vacation that’s a little different? In this case, Slovakia is the perfect destination for you! The country has a lot of sights to offer, and you’ll be surprised by all the things you can discover here. Slovakia is located in Central Europe and borders on Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Austria. Are you ready for great cities and beautiful landscapes? Have fun exploring our backpacking route through Slovakia!


Important Basics

Language ( Slovak )
EnglishSlovak
HelloAhoj
GoodbyeČau
Thank youďakujem
Yesáno
Nonie
Capital City

Bratislava

Form of Government

Parliamentary Republic

Phone Country Code

+421

Best Time to Visit

Summer, although there are also a couple of nice days in spring and fall; the winters are rather cold and snowy

Fun Facts
  • In 2000, around 69,930 acres of Slovak land were being used to grow wine.
  • The average age in Slovakia is 35.5 years, making the country significantly younger than most others in Europe.
  • There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Slovakia, including the towns of Banská Štiavnica and Bardejov, the caves in the Aggtelek and the Slovak Karst, and the wooden churches of the Slovak Carpathians.

Cities

Bratislava

Your trip through Slovakia starts in the country’s capital and largest city, Bratislava. It belonged to Hungary until 1918, and Hungarian kings even got crowned there.

Today, about 415,000 people live in the city, which has a lot of sights to offer. There are many interesting churches, for example, among them St. Martin's Cathedral, with its treasure chamber and crypt, and the Church of St. Elizabeth, also called the Blue Church.

It’s also worth visiting Bratislava Castle, whose foundations date to the 15th century. Its coronation tower offers a wonderful view of Austria and the southern Carpathians. The castle also contains the Slovak National Museum. From the south-east of the castle hill, you have another lovely view of the historical city and the Danube.

Other sights in Bratislava we recommend visiting are Devín Castle, Grassalkovich Palace (also called the Presidential Palace), and Ruscovce Mansion.

Besides the castles and palaces, there are, of course, a lot of other impressive buildings to see in Bratislava. The old town hall, for instance, dates back to the 14th century and is located on the main square. Don’t forget to see its beautiful courtyard while you’re there! Another building worth seeing in the city is the Slovak National Theater. It was built in 1885/86 in the Neo-Renaissance style and is located in the old town’s Hviezdoslav Square. The National Theater is also housed in a newer building, opened in 2007, on the bank of the Danube.

Befitting its status as a capital city, Bratislava also has a lot of museums. Our favorites are the Slovak National Gallery and the Slovak National Museum.

If you need a break from all the architecture, art, and culture, you can also visit one of Bratislava’s many restaurants and cafés. There are also a number of hostels available, where a night in a 10-bed dorm is around €12.

Čičmany

Your next stop is Čičmany. Only about 130 people live in this small village, which is located in the Strážov Mountains. The easiest way to get here is by car.

Čičmany is known for its well-preserved folk architecture. The village features a lot of very pretty wooden houses with elaborate white decorations. That is why the lower part of the village, consisting of 136 houses, has been under protection as a folk architecture reserve since 1977.

The white decorations consist of geometrical patterns and resemble the embroidery that can also be found on costumes, blankets, and artworks from Čičmany. The ornaments were invented by local women. At first, only the corners of the houses were decorated with clay and lime. From the 19th century onwards, the entire exterior of the wooden houses was painted.

The houses are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and a visit to Čičmany is an exciting and unforgettable experience.

You can find accommodation nearby. A double room shouldn’t cost you more than €24 in this part of Slovakia.

Banská Bystrica

The next stop on your journey through Slovakia is Banská Bystrica. There are a few different hostels available here, with a night in a 6-bed dorm usually not being more than €15 per person.

Banská Bystrica is a small university town in central Slovakia with about 80,000 inhabitants. The city has a beautiful main square with very interesting architecture. There is also a gallery of contemporary art and a clock tower, noth of which you definitely shouldn’t miss. Also, don’t forget to climb the tower, as it offers a breathtaking view over the city. If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, we would recommend taking one of the city’s guided walking tours.

Other places of interest in Banská Bystrica include the town castle, two churches, the Central Slovakia Museum, and the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising. There are also four theaters in the city, and the local soccer club MFK Dukla Banská Bystrica, which plays in the first division. The city also has a pretty successful ice hockey team, HC '05 Banská Bystrica, which also plays in the first league.

Since 1992, Baská Bystrica has been the location of the Matej Bel University, which means that the city is also home to a lot of students. In addition, there’s a state college of music here, called the Academy of Arts (Akadémia umení v Banskej Bystrici).

Banská Bystrica is the perfect place to enjoy the atmosphere of a student-filled city. Don’t miss this opportunity to have an unforgettable night!

Ždiar

Once you’ve recharged your batteries and are ready for new impressions, continue your journey to Ždiar. After spending time in a busy university town, Ždiar offers you beautiful scenery, peace, and relaxation. The town is a mountain farming and recreation resort, so you can also ski or snowboard here in winter. During the summer, you can go hiking or mountain biking, depending on how much action you want!

Ždiar has a population of around 1,300 people and is located in eastern Slovakia, near the Polish border. In the valley it is situated in, you can also find the Biely, a very picturesque stream.

Only a few kilometers away from Ždiar is the Belianska Cave. It is 890 m above sea level and is definitely worth a visit. The cave had already been discovered, when gold prospectors were active in the area in the first half of the 18th century. After that, however, it remained a secret for many years and was only recognized in 1826. Today, you can take a tour to discover the cave’s impressive interior.

You can also find a place for the night nearby. A double room will cost around €24.

Spiš Castle

Your final stop on your trip around Slovakia is Spiš Castle in the northeast of the country. It was built in the 12th century and is one of the largest castle complexes in Central Europe. According to the Guinness Book of Records, there is only one castle that is bigger, namely the one in Prague. The outer walls of Spiš Castle cover an area of 41,426 m².

The castle is located on a rocky travertine hill at 634 m above sea level. Unfortunately, only a ruin remains of the castle, but its exciting history and impressive walls still make a visit here well worth it.

This was the last stop on your journey through Slovakia. As you probably know by now, the country is very diverse and has a lot to offer. Whether you love the countryside, want to discover old traditions, or party with a lot of students for little money, Slovakia is the perfect destination for you!


Bratislava

Bratislava

Your trip through Slovakia starts in the country’s capital and largest city, Bratislava. It belonged to Hungary until 1918, and Hungarian kings even got crowned there.

Today, about 415,000 people live in the city, which has a lot of sights to offer. There are many interesting churches, for example, among them St. Martin's Cathedral, with its treasure chamber and crypt, and the Church of St. Elizabeth, also called the Blue Church.

It’s also worth visiting Bratislava Castle, whose foundations date to the 15th century. Its coronation tower offers a wonderful view of Austria and the southern Carpathians. The castle also contains the Slovak National Museum. From the south-east of the castle hill, you have another lovely view of the historical city and the Danube.

Other sights in Bratislava we recommend visiting are Devín Castle, Grassalkovich Palace (also called the Presidential Palace), and Ruscovce Mansion.

Besides the castles and palaces, there are, of course, a lot of other impressive buildings to see in Bratislava. The old town hall, for instance, dates back to the 14th century and is located on the main square. Don’t forget to see its beautiful courtyard while you’re there! Another building worth seeing in the city is the Slovak National Theater. It was built in 1885/86 in the Neo-Renaissance style and is located in the old town’s Hviezdoslav Square. The National Theater is also housed in a newer building, opened in 2007, on the bank of the Danube.

Befitting its status as a capital city, Bratislava also has a lot of museums. Our favorites are the Slovak National Gallery and the Slovak National Museum.

If you need a break from all the architecture, art, and culture, you can also visit one of Bratislava’s many restaurants and cafés. There are also a number of hostels available, where a night in a 10-bed dorm is around €12.

Čičmany

Čičmany

Your next stop is Čičmany. Only about 130 people live in this small village, which is located in the Strážov Mountains. The easiest way to get here is by car.

Čičmany is known for its well-preserved folk architecture. The village features a lot of very pretty wooden houses with elaborate white decorations. That is why the lower part of the village, consisting of 136 houses, has been under protection as a folk architecture reserve since 1977.

The white decorations consist of geometrical patterns and resemble the embroidery that can also be found on costumes, blankets, and artworks from Čičmany. The ornaments were invented by local women. At first, only the corners of the houses were decorated with clay and lime. From the 19th century onwards, the entire exterior of the wooden houses was painted.

The houses are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and a visit to Čičmany is an exciting and unforgettable experience.

You can find accommodation nearby. A double room shouldn’t cost you more than €24 in this part of Slovakia.

Banská Bystrica

Banská Bystrica

The next stop on your journey through Slovakia is Banská Bystrica. There are a few different hostels available here, with a night in a 6-bed dorm usually not being more than €15 per person.

Banská Bystrica is a small university town in central Slovakia with about 80,000 inhabitants. The city has a beautiful main square with very interesting architecture. There is also a gallery of contemporary art and a clock tower, noth of which you definitely shouldn’t miss. Also, don’t forget to climb the tower, as it offers a breathtaking view over the city. If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, we would recommend taking one of the city’s guided walking tours.

Other places of interest in Banská Bystrica include the town castle, two churches, the Central Slovakia Museum, and the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising. There are also four theaters in the city, and the local soccer club MFK Dukla Banská Bystrica, which plays in the first division. The city also has a pretty successful ice hockey team, HC '05 Banská Bystrica, which also plays in the first league.

Since 1992, Baská Bystrica has been the location of the Matej Bel University, which means that the city is also home to a lot of students. In addition, there’s a state college of music here, called the Academy of Arts (Akadémia umení v Banskej Bystrici).

Banská Bystrica is the perfect place to enjoy the atmosphere of a student-filled city. Don’t miss this opportunity to have an unforgettable night!

Ždiar

Ždiar

Once you’ve recharged your batteries and are ready for new impressions, continue your journey to Ždiar. After spending time in a busy university town, Ždiar offers you beautiful scenery, peace, and relaxation. The town is a mountain farming and recreation resort, so you can also ski or snowboard here in winter. During the summer, you can go hiking or mountain biking, depending on how much action you want!

Ždiar has a population of around 1,300 people and is located in eastern Slovakia, near the Polish border. In the valley it is situated in, you can also find the Biely, a very picturesque stream.

Only a few kilometers away from Ždiar is the Belianska Cave. It is 890 m above sea level and is definitely worth a visit. The cave had already been discovered, when gold prospectors were active in the area in the first half of the 18th century. After that, however, it remained a secret for many years and was only recognized in 1826. Today, you can take a tour to discover the cave’s impressive interior.

You can also find a place for the night nearby. A double room will cost around €24.

Spiš Castle

Spiš Castle

Your final stop on your trip around Slovakia is Spiš Castle in the northeast of the country. It was built in the 12th century and is one of the largest castle complexes in Central Europe. According to the Guinness Book of Records, there is only one castle that is bigger, namely the one in Prague. The outer walls of Spiš Castle cover an area of 41,426 m².

The castle is located on a rocky travertine hill at 634 m above sea level. Unfortunately, only a ruin remains of the castle, but its exciting history and impressive walls still make a visit here well worth it.

This was the last stop on your journey through Slovakia. As you probably know by now, the country is very diverse and has a lot to offer. Whether you love the countryside, want to discover old traditions, or party with a lot of students for little money, Slovakia is the perfect destination for you!

Slovakia Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home – Bratislava
Home – Bratislava
Flight+Rental car
40
10-bed dorm
12
2. Bratislava
Bratislava
-
10-bed dorm
12
3. Bratislava
Bratislava
-
10-bed dorm
12
4. Bratislava – Čičmany
Bratislava – Čičmany
Rental car
Double room
23
5. Čičmany
Čičmany
-
Double room
23
6. Čičmany – Banská Bystrica
Čičmany – Banská Bystrica
Rental car
6-bed dorm
15
7. Banská Bystrica
Banská Bystrica
-
6-bed dorm
15
8. Banská Bystrica – Ždiar
Banská Bystrica – Ždiar
Rental car
Double room
24
9. Ždiar
Ždiar
-
Double room
24
10. Ždiar
Ždiar
-
Double room
24
11. Ždiar – Spiš Castle
Ždiar – Spiš Castle
Rental car
Double room
24
12. Spis Castle
Spis Castle
-
Double room
24
13. Spis Castle - Budapest
Spis Castle - Budapest
Rental car
12-bed dorm
11
14. Budapest - Home
Budapest - Home
Flight
40

Total price.

Flights 80,00
Transportation 200,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 243,00
Total523,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Soup and Bread:  soup for breakfast might seem unusual to those who’ve never tried it. We’re sure, however, that these spicy soups, served with delicious bread, will quickly win you over!

Soups

Kapustnica: this sauerkraut soup is a favorite among many Slovaks.

Cesnaková polievka: this soup is made from garlic, bacon, and cream and is simply delicious.

Main Courses

Bryndzové halušky:  these potato dumplings are usually served with sheep cheese and topped with bacon and even more cheese.

Lokse: these potato pancakes are often served with meat or vegetables.

Parené buchty:  you can have these delicious steamed rolls with basically any side dish you like – or you can just opt for the traditional onions and garlic!

Drinks

Topvar: this is one of the most popular beers in Slovakia. You just have to try it!

Spišská borovička: this brandy, which is made from juniper berries, is the Slovak national drink.

Slovakia

In Slovakia, payments are made in euros (€). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of Living

Food

Free Time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Shoes off: in private apartments or houses, you must always leave your shoes outside the front door in order to keep the living space clean.

Accepting a drink: it is common to offer guests a schnapps as a welcome drink. Accept the drink if possible, as this is considered very friendly and respectful.

Taximeter: be careful when taking a taxi in Slovakia. You must always give a precise destination and keep an eye on the taximeter.

Tips: in Slovakia, rounding up or giving 10% as a tip is the polite and respectful thing to do.

Don'ts

Separate bills: in Slovakia, one person pays the bill for the whole table. This is especially important when you’re having a meal in a large group.

Punctuality: being up to 30 minutes late is very normal in Slovakia. Don’t worry – you’ll get used to it quickly!

Drink and Drive: in Slovakia, the law is pretty strict when it comes to drinking and driving. You have to be completely sober to drive a car. The police also tests for this very regularly, so just follow the law to avoid any trouble.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

Yes

Temporary national ID

Yes

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

Yes

Vaccine

Robert Koch Instituts

Additional Remarks.

Make sure all of your travel documents are valid for the entirety of your trip. Please also find out about the current entry regulations regarding COVID. You can find further information at your country’s Foreign Office.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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