The top 10 attractions
The top ten attractions and places of interest in the Tatras-Spiš-Pieniny region include some UNESCO World Heritage sites. Our region is tourist heaven, with a great many picturesque towns and also an unsurpassed variety of natural and historical beauty.
Spiš Castle and the town of Spišská Kapitula (UNESCO)
Spišská Kapitula became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, under the already-listed Spiš Castle and associated cultural monuments, which includes the Church of the Holy Spirit in Žehra and the protected travertine landscape of Dreveník and Sivá Brada. This listing was expanded in 2009 to include Levoča and the work of the sculptor Master Paul of Levoča. The official UNESCO name for the protected Spiš region is Levoča, Spiš Castle and Associated Cultural Monuments.
Spiš Castle is the largest castle in Slovakia, as well as the main landmark of Spiš, exquisitely positioned on travertine rock. Records from as early as the 12th century describe it as the county castle. In the first half of the 13th century, the castle citadel was shielded by stone fortifications, which provided protection during the Tatar invasion of 1241.
For more information, see: Spišské Podhradie
Monuments in Levoča and the work of Master Paul (UNESCO)
Historic Levoča, lying below the Levoča Hills, is almost completely surrounded by its well-preserved town walls, and has held UNESCO World Heritage status since 2009. The town boasts a great many preserved cultural and historical monuments, such as the Basilica of St James with its remarkable altar which, at a height of 18.62 m, is the tallest Gothic wooden altar in the world. Then there is the Town Hall, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the cage of shame, a medieval pillory, and more than 60 burgher houses dating primarily from the 14th and 15th centuries. These houses line Master Paul’s Square, which is the largest rectangular medieval square in Europe; its sides are in a ratio of 3:1. The most remarkable preserved burgher houses on the square include Thurzov House, Master Paul’s House and the theatre building. The Old Minorite Church, the Baroque church and the Old Minorite Monastery, with the only fully preserved 14th-century cloisters in Slovakia, are also popular with tourists.
For more information, see: Levoča
Monuments in Kežmarok and the Wooden Lutheran Articular Church (UNESCO)
The main square of charming Kežmarok at the foot of the High Tatras has a vivid medieval atmosphere; the historic heart of this small town was declared an urban conservation area in 1950. Kežmarok Castle, dating from 1463 and located within the town, hosts exhibitions documenting the town’s development from the time it was founded until the 1930s. Two national cultural monuments can be found near the square – the Lyceum, which has the largest historical school library in Central Europe, and the Wooden Lutheran Articular Church dating from the 18th century (UNESCO), decorated in an unconventional Baroque style. The late-Gothic Roman Catholic Basilica of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is one of the largest churches in Spiš. The free-standing bell tower in front of the Basilica is thought to be the oldest Renaissance bell tower in Slovakia.
For more information, see: Kežmarok
Down the Dunajec on rafts – Červený Kláštor
The biggest tourist attraction in Zamagurie and Pieniny National Park is rafting through the largest canyon in Central Europe – the Dunajec River Gorge. Departing from the quay in Majere-Kvašné lúky over 11 km to Lesnica and from the quay in Červený Kláštor (the grounds of Pltník guest house) over 9 km to Lesnica, you will have the incredible experience of sailing down the river, which you can combine with hiking or cycling along the 10-stage educational trail back to Červený Kláštor. You can also return in comfort by minibus via Lesnica and Veľký Lipník.
For more information, see: Rafting on the Dunajec
The Carthusian Monastery – Červený Kláštor
The village of Červený Kláštor stands on the banks of the River Dunajec and its history particularly links it with the 14th century monastery, a national cultural monument embedded in the breathtaking Pieniny scenery beneath the summit of Tri Koruny. Although a Carthusian monastery in the 14th–16th centuries, it was taken over by the Camaldolese monastic order in the 18th century. In 1993, the site was opened to the public as a museum after being restored and reconstructed. The exhibition relates mysterious stories about Cyprian, the flying monk, and showcases the history and life of the orders who lived there. Activities currently being prepared to shine a light on monastic life include brewing beer, cultivating and preparing herbs, and the monastery school.
A medicinal mineral spring is located in the spa area of Červený Kláštor village. A pedestrian and cycle crossing was recently built across the River Dunajec to connect Slovakia and Poland. Many visitors come to enjoy the Zamagurie folk festival and other traditional events.
For more information, see: Červený Kláštor Museum
The village of Ždiar is one of Slovakia’s jewels. This characteristic Tatra-region village, with more than 1,300 inhabitants, has its own typical customs, traditions, folklore and culture, characterised by Goral architecture and preserved folklore. This consists of the Goral dialect, clothing (the traditional folk costume, or kroj), music, song, dance and traditional customs. The entire adjacent territory is part of the Tatra National Park protected region, the Goliaš nature reserve and the Belianske Tatras nature reserve. The main attractions of the Tatra region include places of cultural-historical interest and natural beauty; the healthy air, natural scenery and hospitality make it a sought-after destination for tourists and holidaymakers from both Slovakia and abroad. In 2022, Ždiar was granted the status of climatic spa.
For more information, see: Ždiar
Strážky Mansion – Spišská Belá
The historic heart of Strážky was the mansion, St Anne’s Church and the bell tower, which today collectively comprise a national cultural monument, taking their rightful place among Spiš’s significant architectural jewels. Visitors can use the reconstruction in the 19th-century English Park to trace the development of the building from the late Gothic period (15th century) through a Renaissance redevelopment to the Baroque-Classical modifications of the late 18th century. Strážky Mansion not only houses an exhibition of the Slovak National Gallery, but also hosts interesting cultural and sporting events. An asphalt cycling route crosses the adjacent English Park and is suitable for cyclists, rollerbladers and, in winter, cross-country skiers. The route starts in the village of Vrbov near the heated outdoor pool, crosses the historic centre of Kežmarok and continues to Tatranská Kotlina, then on to the village of Ždiar, but with a hard surface. The natural reservoir with landscaped surroundings and refreshment services was opened to the public for recreation in 2022.
For more information, see: Strážky Mansion
BACHLEDKA Ski & Sun – skiing and cycle tours, the Treetop Walkway, the Forest Kingdom (Ždiar)
In the winter, the Bachledka resort provides a unique opportunity to ski in three valleys from different cardinal points, with fantastic slopes for all the family and guaranteed snow all season long. Most of the ski slopes can also be covered with artificial snow. Skiers can use the 10-seater cable car Gondola Bachledka, the 4-seater Jezersko-Bachledka or the Malá Franková-Bachledka ski-lift. Cross-country skiing fans will love the 20 km of cross-country routes. Non-skiers will enjoy the 2.5 km sledding track.
The Bachledka site also has other family attractions. Travel down the longest bobsled track in the Tatras with the wind in your hair, or visit the Forest Kingdom https://kralovstvolesa.sk/, one of the largest natural children’s playgrounds with an area of 5,000 m2 and 25 different amusements. There is also a varied holiday programme for our smallest visitors.
The resort’s surroundings can be explored on foot or by bike. For sports lovers, mountain bike trails and asphalt paths criss-cross Spišská Magura.
The Treetop Walkway, which is open all year round, is the resort’s most-visited attraction. Follow the over 600 m walkway on a tour of the treetops, where various surprises, entertainments and edifications await you. You will be completely enthralled by the view from the 32 m-high tower, from which you have a ringside seat for the slopes of the Belianske Tatras, the unique scenery of Pieniny and picturesque Zamagurie, and the toboggan, which will rapidly take you back down to ground level.
For more information, see: http://chodnikkorunamistromov.sk/
Červený Kláštor Smerdžonka Spa
The Červený Kláštor Smerdžonka Spa abounds in the medicinal mineral waters of the Smerdžonka spring and the fresh air of Pieniny. This exceptional spa, in the heart of magnificent Pieniny in Červený Kláštor, below the Tri Koruny massif, has a rich history. The unique naturally medicinal waters of the Smerdžonka spring are rich in minerals and hydrogen sulphide, which are used to treat skin afflictions. The waters are also beneficial for conditions of the musculoskeletal and digestive systems, as well as for nervous complaints. The spa was awarded the status of climatic spa due to its clean atmosphere and outstanding climate. Young visitors will also have an amazing time by letting their hair down in the children’s playground on the trampoline or the large climbing pyramid.
For more information, see: Červený Kláštor Smerdžonka Spa
Thermal Park Vrbov
The year-round holiday centre Thermal Park Vrbov lies between the Vrbov Uplands and the Levoča Mountains. The natural geothermal water, which feeds a system of pools, has particular benefits for the musculoskeletal, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and is used for both internal and external balneotherapy. Visitors can enjoy the ten pools with temperatures varying between 26 to 38 degrees Celsius.
For more information, see: Vrbov Outdoor Pools
Summer festivals of arts, crafts and folk art, folklore and theatre performances, gastronomic events:
The Spiš Folk Festival, with majestic Spiš Castle as a backdrop, is the oldest folklore festival in the Spiš and Šariš historical region, and will soon celebrate its fiftieth anniversary.
In 1991, the traditional annual markets returned to Kežmarok and since then, the European Folk Craft Festival (EĽRO) – a folklore and folk arts and crafts festival – has taken place on the second weekend in July.
Levoča is an important pilgrimage town. The biggest pilgrimage to Marian Hill in Slovakia, in honour of the Virgin Mary, took place in 1995 in Levoča, during a visit by Pope John Paul II.
The Carpathian Craft Market and Master Paul’s Days are a summer event over several days with a wealth of cultural and artistic experiences.
The Zamagurie Folk Festival showcases the folk singing, dancing, games and customs of Zamagurie in the enchanting natural region of Pieniny. The festival takes place every year in the village of Červený Kláštor.
The Goral Folk Festival in Ždiar attracts visitors to the Belianske Tatras and the unique village of Ždiar, which also became a therapeutic destination in 2022, when it was awarded climatic spa status.