Friday, February 11, 2011

Slovakia's Most Unique and Unusual Experiences

Following the list of the top 100 places to visit in Slovakia, I thought it would be useful to add a list of some of the most unique and strange experiences it's possible to have in the country. These are in no particular order, this is just a set of some of the most unusual or typically Slovak activities.

- See a Kamzik (Chamois) among the peaks of the Tatra Mountains

- See the quirkiest examples of communist-era architecture, such as the Slovak Radio building, the Hotel Kiev basement lounge, the Mladá Garda student housing complex, and the Štefánik airport private diplomatic arrivals area (all in Bratislava)

- Visit the supposed "Centre of Europe" site in Kremnické Bane

- Sit on a WW2 Russian tank in the "Valley of Death" north of Svidník

- Go mushroom picking with a group of locals in the Low Tatras, Malá Fatra, or the Malé Karpaty mountain ranges

- See the annual folk festival in Východná

- Go to an ice hockey game in Trenčín, the country's hockey hotbed

- Jump over a campfire holding an axe

- Learn how to cook Bryndzové Halušky

- Drive or have a ride in a 1980's-era Škoda car

- Learn about the Slovak Robin Hood, the outlaw Juraj Jánošík, and stand next to his metal statue on the hill in Terchova

- Put a carp in your bathtub at Christmas time

- Carry one of the scales from a Christmas carp in your wallet to bring good fortune throughout the year

- Follow the former line of the Iron Curtain along the Morava river north of Devín, plenty of old fence posts, wire and bunker emplacements can be seen

- Visit Príkra, the smallest village in Slovakia, population 7. It's north of Svidník near the Polish border, and has an impressive wooden church.

- See and photograph the best communist-era murals found in the country's train stations

- Visit the terrific guitar museum in the far-eastern town of Sobrance

- Watch someone play a Fujara, or better yet, have a lesson and give it a try for yourself

- Attend the Festival of Ghosts and Monsters held at Bojnice Castle

- Watch or take part in the traditional custom of pig killing on a farm in Orava or Kysuce region

- Watch or take part in the high-speed hay-cutting championships (done in the traditional manner with a scythe) held in Terchová

- Learn to appreciate the fine taste of a glass of Kofola

- Hike along the Cesta Hrdinov SNP trail (National Uprising Trail of Heroes) to reach the Dukla Pass

- See an opera in the old opera house in Bratislava, or in the Košice opera house

- See a concert by local Slovak bands, I'd suggest Longital or Žive Kvety

- Hear a concert by the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava, world-class performances for a great price

- Hike to the peak on the border where Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine meet, north of Nová Sedlica in the far north-east corner of the country

- visit the Chatam Sofer Jewish memorial in Bratislava

- Sample some of the country's lesser-known beers, such as Martiner or Tatran

- Visit Luník IX, the Roma ghetto in a Košice suburb, to get a first-hand impression of the difficulties these people face in Slovak society

- Learn how to operate a communist-era Tatramat washing machine

- Watch a shepherd tending a flock of sheep or goats in the mountain pastures of Orava region

- See the Good Soldier Švejk statue at the train station in Humenné

- Visit the village and train station in Čierna nad Tisou, the end of the main train line on the Ukrainian border

- Wait for the bus at the Campbell's soup tin-shaped bus stop outside the Andy Warhol museum in Medzilaborce

- Visit the museum house in the village of Uhrovec where two major Slovak figures were born, L'udovit Štúr and Alexander Dubček

- See some of the collection of communist-era cars displayed by the Košice Trabant club

- Visit the Romanesque chapel in the village of Kopčany, the oldest church in the country, dating from the 9th century during the Great Moravian Empire

- Ride one of the old red-and-cream coloured Czechoslovak trams in Bratislava or Košice


  1. Just a general comment that your blog/s, pics, advice, and observations are very class. Helps immensely for planning a trip and getting some insight beforehand. J.H. San Francisco, CA, USA.

  2. Thanks for your comments JH, it's always nice to know that people find this blog useful for trip planning.