Košice, Slovakia – New Gateway on Your Bucketlist

Landing in Košice, Slovakia’s second largest city, is always just the beginning. It is the beginning of a great journey through a region that is characterised by its own relaxing atmosphere, but at the same time offers opportunities for active relaxation as well as an inspiring opportunity for creative work. The airport itself (Košice International Airport) is a bit unique. Its compactness and especially its proximity to the centre of all the action is the first unforgettable experience of Košice. Other experiences are also to be found in the following ten tips for trips that will take you from the centre of Košice to the best that the region can offer. However, the list is not comprehensive. Ask the locals what they would recommend and prepare your own “bucket list” for your next visit!

Villa Sandy – an Urban Oasis of Peace and a Hotel in the Park

Enjoy a relaxing stay at this 5-star resort located in the heart of the medieval town. The Municipal Park, of which Villa Sandy is an organic part, is situated in the immediate vicinity of the historical centre of Košice. The resort is a vibrant reference to the golden age of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when numerous cultural and ethnic currents mixed in the local streets and the city lived its typical Central European identity. This, in its own way, has been carried over to the present day and you may experience it while strolling along the Košice promenade. Villa Sandy is an ideal starting point for your discoveries and an oasis to unwind after a day’s adventure. The resort offers services in the magnificent café and restaurant areas of the historic main building, but it is also a great choice for friendly or business meetings, active relaxation with tennis and swimming, and soon also in the luxurious wellness centre. You will be able to stay at Villa Sandy as of next year and turn it into your own base camp during your stay in the east of Slovakia.

The resort it is also a great choice for friendly or business meetings or active relaxation with tennis and swimming.

St. Elizabeth Cathedral – the Pearl of the Gothic

The St. Elizabeth Cathedral, considered to be the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe, is undoubtedly the most historically and culturally significant monument of Košice. You cannot miss it during your walks along the Košice promenade, and when you climb one of its towers, you will not just get a view of the historical centre of the city, but also the whole panorama of its current modern form in the encircling hills. The St. Elisabeth Cathedral has also been a scenic backdrop to the oldest marathon race in Europe and the second oldest one in the world for exactly 100 years. It attracts thousands of professional and amateur runners and tens of thousands of spectators to Košice every year at the beginning of October. While strolling through the historic centre, be sure to make a stop at the oldest gastronomic institution in Slovakia, founded in 1542. Today it is home to the Pivovar Hostinec (Brewery Inn) restaurant, and its building is also famous for one of the most important aristocratic weddings in European modern history – the wedding of Gabriel Bethlen to Katharina Brandenburg in 1626.

When you climb one of the St. Elizabeth Cathedrals towers will get a view of the historical centre of the city.

Zlatý Hýľ – Luxury Outside the City

A place that enthrals and inspires. If you prefer to stay in authentic nature, stay in this oasis of relaxation with all the conveniences of comfortable living, and always go on excursions to the historical centre of Košice or the wider region relaxed and filled with expectations. Bio Hotel Zlatý Hýľ is ideally situated and all the most attractive tourist places of the Košice region are within one hour’s drive from it. Several of them are sites of world significance, inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.

Jasovská Jaskyňa Cave – UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Jasovská Jaskyňa cave, the closest of the rare UNESCO collection of Slovak karst caves, is literally just a 10-minute drive from Zlatý Hýľ. In addition to it, there are five other unique caves in the surroundings of Košice. The most attractive for visitors include the Ochtinská Aragonite Cave and the Dobšinská Ice Cave. Both, among the publicly accessible caves, are among the rarities of global relevance, which you can hardly see anywhere else.

The Jasovská Jaskyňa cave is just a 10-minute drive from Zlatý Hýľ.

The Spiš Castle – a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Spiš Castle, which is also one of the symbols of Slovakia, is Slovakia’s number one UNESCO world heritage site. This sixth largest castle complex in the world is an attraction for hundreds of thousands of visitors not only from Slovakia, but also from distant countries around the world. The castle is exceptional not merely for its size, but also for the unique character of the surrounding landscape, in which it has been majestically towering since the 13th century. Its surroundings have not changed significantly over the centuries – they have not been urbanised. The open views and scenery, which have been preserved to this day, allow the visitor to be carried back in their imagination to the times of the Middle Ages.


The open views and scenery allow the visitor to be carried back in their imagination to the times of the Middle Ages.

Spišská Nová Ves – a Vibrant Promenade

Spišská Nová Ves is a small town of great uniqueness. A local metropolis with an exceptional atmosphere, centred on the largest lenticular square in Europe, in the middle of which rises the spire of the tallest church tower in Slovakia. Whatever the season, the city lives its authentic life daily and retains a vitality that other European cities are losing with the construction of residential satellites and commercial centres. In Spišská Nová Ves, all the important events continue to take place right on the square, which is dominated by the original secular, religious, and cultural buildings. The promenade lined with shops, restaurants, and cafés, where locals mingle with inquisitive visitors, is the main artery of the square. 

In Spišská Nová Ves, all the important events continue to take place right on the square, which is dominated by the original buildings.

Slovenský Raj National Park – a Paradise on the Earth

Spišská Nová Ves is the gateway to the Slovenský Raj National Park, which is literally a green oasis created for an escape from the hustle and bustle of civilisation. The park is characterised by an exceptional concentration of gorges, unrivalled in Europe. Crossing these gorges is not extremely difficult and some of them offer an interesting experience of intimate contact with wild nature unaffected by human activity. Their colours, sounds, and smells enhance the intensity of the brief fusion with the environment from which man once emerged. The Dobšinská Ice Cave, already mentioned, is also an attraction of the Slovenský Raj.

The Betliar Manor and the Slovak Taj Mahal

The historical region known as the “Iron Heart of the Hungarian Kingdom” lies to the south of the Slovenský Raj (Slovak Paradise). Its former industrial dominance is still represented by its prominent buildings, the most visited of which is the Betliar Manor House. It is the best-preserved noble residence in Slovakia, with original interior furnishings and art collections of the Andrassy family. Another exceptional building is also linked to this family, which undoubtedly belongs to the most architecturally significant buildings in Slovakia. It is the Andrassy Family Mausoleum, which since the beginning of the 20th century has been a monument to the love of Count Dionýz and his wife Františka.

the Betliar Manor House is the best-preserved noble residence in Slovakia, with original interior furnishings and art collections of the Andrassy family.

Tokaj – the Wine of Kings

A trip to enjoy a unique wine that is unparalleled in the world is another trip not to be missed in Košice. It is grown in a small area of the Slovak-Hungarian border region, where, owing to the specific geographical and geological conditions, the vines ripen, allowing the production of naturally sweet wines. Their popularity goes back a long way in history and to important European noble families. The Chateau Grand Bari winery is a modern spin on the Tokaj tradition, surprising by its interesting architecture but also by the unusual finish of its wines.

The Košice Lookout Tower – a City in the Palm of Your Hand

Before you board your return flight to Zurich, say goodbye to Košice with a single glance that encompasses it all. This is possible at the architecturally interesting lookout towering high above the city on the Hradová hill. The bird’s eye view will show you everything you haven’t seen up close in Košice and you’ll start planning your next visit. Have a safe flight!

The bird’s eye view from the Košice Lookout Tower will show you everything you haven’t seen up close.

SWISS operates three weekly non-stop flights between Zurich and Košice, departing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.