Things to do in Košice region – 55 places to visit around Košice
Košice is the most beautiful city in Slovakia, let’s see whether its surrounding is equally beautiful. Here I compiled a list of the places worth visiting in the whole Košice region. And once you visit all of them, you can continue further to the adjacent Prešov region.
Castles, Manor houses and other sights in Košice region
Even though Slovakia is not a country of castles or manor houses, there are few that worth a visit and you should include at least some of them onto your travel itinerary. And some of them can be found also in Ko3ice region:
1. Spiš castle
Spiš castle is the largest castle complex in central Europe and was recently topped by National Geographic Traveller along with other 10 European castles. It is also one of Slovakia UNESCO sights.
You are likely to see it on lists of the largest castles in the world. And it really is! The site experienced rich history throughout the centuries, both hard and better ones, and its first mention comes from the 12th century when the first fortification was built here. Now, the castle is open to the public from April to end of October. Basic admission is 6,-EUR.
2. Spišská kapitula
Not far from Spiš castle you will find another UNESCO site, Spišská kapitula. This is, however, already a part of Prešov region and serves as the seat of the bishop of Spiš and the center of the diocese of Spiš. In the past, it was a town, however now it’s just a part of Spišské Podhradie town.
In Slovakia, it is also called Small Vatican. Along with nearby town of Levoča, Spiš castle, Spišské Podhradie town, and Žehra church have all been inscribed in UNESCO since 1993 (later extended in 2009).
3. Betliar Manor House
Betliar is the most beautiful manor house in Košice region and probably in all of Slovakia. It is surrounded by a large and well maintained English park with streams, ponds, and even a waterfall.
Its history dates back to the 17th century and boasts wonderful interior which is nicely furnished and equipped as it was when the last Earls lived here a hundred years ago. You’ll find it in the Betliar village, close to the city of Rožnava.
Betliar Manor House is open all year round and basic admission is 8,-EUR.
4. Krásna hôrka castle ruins
Krásna hôrka was once without the doubt the most beautiful and best-preserved castle in Košice region, as well as one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia. Now it is closed as it was severely damaged by fire a few years ago.
The fire of March 10, 2012 set by the gypsy kids playing nearby, destroyed almost the entire roof of the castle, the interior and a part of the historical exhibition. The castle is still closed and being reconstructed.
5. Andrassy Mausoleum
Not far from Krásna hôrka castle you can visit another great monument – Mausoleum of Andrassy family. It was built in the beginning of the 20th century as the final resting place of Count Dénes Andrássy and his wife Countess Franziska.
Andrassy Mausoleum is surrounded by nice and small garden. It is open all year round and the basic admission is 2,-EUR.
6. Turňa castle ruins
Turňa castle was once, in the 13th century, a huge and powerful castle. Now it is easily accessible tourist destination situated above the village Turňa nad Bodvou. From here you can get to other two great places in the Slovak Karst National Park – Zádiel gorge and Hájske waterfalls.
7. Slanec castle ruins
Slanec castle was once an important castle standing on the hill above the village Slanec. It is located only 25 kilometers from Košice city center and is therefore quite a popular tourist destination among the residents of Košice and the surroundings.
Plan your visit in good weather because the castle hill offers amazing views.
8. Viniansky castle ruins
One of the first places you go to from Vinné lake will definitely be Viniansky castle ruins! This gothic castle from the 13th century served as a guard castle on a business path to Poland.
Although it is quite ruined as it was destroyed in the 18th century, now the castle is being renovated by active local people who can provide you with a unique tour around the castle if you ask. And as the castle is situated in a wine region, you’ll be offered with wine tasting in one of the castle’s rooms! Apart from this, you can admire the beauty of the whole region as it offers amazing views.
9. Church in Žehra
A small village of Žehra is perhaps the best-known village in the entire Spiš region (part of Košice region as well as Prešov region). Its main feature is the 13th-century church which has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage Site list back in 1993.
Žehra church, Košice region, Slovakia by Maros
10. Žehra Hodkovce Chateau and park
Still in Žehra village but now in its other part – Žehra Hodkovce. Here you can find amazing Baroque – Classicist chateau from 17th century with large French park. Visitors can visit extensive French park with four mythological statues, a chapel from 1803, Csáky family cemetery and the remains of tiny romantic architecture. The chateau is otherwise a home to people with mental disability.
Hodkovce Chateau, Košice region, Slovakia by terraincognita.sk
11. Wooden churches – Ruská Bystrá, Inovce
There are lots of wooden churches in Slovakia. Although the majority of them can be found in Prešov region, there are few even in Košice region. Ruská Bystrá, and Inovce villages located on the very east part of Slovakia are only where you can see wooden churches in Košice region. One example can also be seen in the East Slovak Museum in Košice.
12. Štítnik water castle and old church
The history of a medieval town of Štítnik dates back to the 13th century. Here you can see several awesome monuments – old water castle and Gothic Evangelical Church from the 14th century, and few more.
13. Chateau in Trebišov
Newly reconstructed Chateau in Trebišov from the 18th century now houses Homeland Museum. It offers lots of great expositions with specialisation in the history of agriculture and Tokay viticulture in eastern Slovakia. A museum is opened every day except Saturdays.
14. Mausoleum of The Andrássy Family in Trebišov
Chateau in Trebišov boasts nice park which is home to another site that you simply must see once in this town. Mausoleum of The Andrássy Family is one of the most beautiful monuments in the eastern Slovakia.
15. Markušovce Chateau
If you still want to see some of the most beautiful chateaux in Slovakia, then you should also visit Markušovce Chateau. It was built in the 17th century and now houses a museum. Chateau is opened every day from 08:00 – 16:00 except Mondays and Saturdays.
16. National parks in Košice region
Košice region is home to two national parks – Slovak Paradise National Park and Slovak Karst National Park. However, additional parks, such as High Tatras National Park, Low Tatras National Park, National Park Muránska Planina as well as Poloniny National Park are in a short distance from the region.
Slovak Paradise National Park
Slovak Paradise National Park is the crown jewel in the Košice region. It is full of gorges and canyons, streams, rivers and waterfalls, deep forests and boasts rich fauna and flora. Brown bear and wolf are just a few of the animals that call this place home.
I have already written an article about Slovak Paradise National Park and its best places to visit. Let’s remind some of them:
17. Suchá Belá gorge
A tour through Suchá Belá gorge is one of the most popular tours in this national park. It is also the first tour that every first-time visitor to the Slovak Paradise needs to pass. It starts in Podlesok.
18. Veľký Sokol gorge
Veľký Sokol is the wildest as well as the longest gorge that is publicly accessible in the Slovak Paradise National Park. It also starts in Podlesok, but the tour is much longer than the one through Suchá Belá gorge.
19. Piecky gorge
Piecky is another breathtaking gorge in Slovak Paradise National Park. You can start a tour in Píla-Piecky, where you can also leave your car. And from here follow a yellow hiking trail. A tour is not that demanding but you need proper waterproof hiking boots here as the trail leads right through the stream and you’ll have to step into the water several times during your way.
20. Prielom Hornádu canyon
Easy but long hike (16 kilometers) takes you through the Hornád river canyon, known here as Prielom Hornádu. Ladders, bridges and chains are here to help you overcome some of its most difficult parts.
21. Zejmarská gorge
Zejmarská gorge is the only gorge in the southern part of Slovak Paradise National Park and it is also the shortest one. It starts in Mlynky – Biele Vody village and ends after 4 kilometers in Geravy. It’s really easy and nice hike suitable also for kids.
Dedinky is a main resort in the Slovak Paradise offering lots of accommodation, swimming, skiing and hiking opportunities. It used to have also a chair lift to Geravy peak but unfortunately it is now closed due to being in bad condition.
23. Stratená village
If you would like to get lost in the Slovak Paradise National Park, then Stratená village would be one of your places. You will fall in love with this unique small village at your very first visit. There is 1,1 kilometers long Stratenský kaňon gorge leading to Dobšinská Ice Cave which is easily accessible with no level differences.
Slovak Karst National Park
Slovak Karst National Park is a home to more than 1000 caves and abysses. It lies very close to Košice city and is, therefore, a popular summer as well as winter destination.
24. Zádiel gorge
The most popular hiking place in the Slovak Karst National Park is none other than Zádiel gorge. During the hot summers, it still provides pleasant temperatures. Its narrowest part is no more than 10 meters wide.
25. Hájske waterfalls
Another great place during the hot summer days is Hájske waterfalls. Easily accessible by a car, waterfalls are great for the families with young children. They are also worth visiting during the winter when they are frozen.
26. Jasov village and surroundings
Jasov village is rightly proud of several natural as well as historical places. You will find here very nice Jasov cave, ponds, forests with hiking trails all around, old cemetery and Jasov monastery with the old and huge tree in its garden.
27. Hrhov waterfall
The highest waterfall in the Slovak Karst National Park is located in the village Hrhov. This attraction, for which you do not have to climb somewhere up to the hill is a human-made waterfall but it is still very nice and worth a visit.
Hrhov waterfall, Košice region, Slovakia by almacentrum.eu
Mountains in Košice region
Stolica (1476 m) is the highest mountain in Košice region. It forms the eastern border of the national park Muránska planina. It’s not that easy to get to the top, but there are several hiking trails leading from the villages situated below the mountain.
29. Jánošíková bašta
Jánošíková bašta offers one of the most beautiful views that can be found very close to Košice. You can get there by following the red hiking trail from Košice – Alpinka leading to Kysak. It is also accessible by bike however it takes an hour to get on top of the hill.
30. Sivec mountain in Ružín
Ružín is a water reservoir surrounded by wonderful mountains and forests. It is a place where lots of Kosice residents have their cottages and spend their weekends. The most famous mountain here is Sivec (781m), which offers great views of the whole area.
In winter, or in summer, the mountain has always something to offer to its visitors. What do you think?
31. Kojšovská hoľa peak
Only about 25 kilometers from Košice you can find a popular winter and summer holiday resort called Kojšovská hoľa (1246 m). It offers excellent conditions for skiing as well as hiking activities. In good weather, you can even see High Tatras mountains from the peak.
32. Bradlo peak in Slanské Hills
This is not very popular place among tourists so far but it is equally beautiful as other natural places in Košice region. Easy hike takes you to Bradlo peak (840 m) which offers amazing views of Košice city with the High Tatras mountains in the background (in good weather only).
It’s not that easy to find this place from where you can enjoy such a great view as it is not marked, but you will need to hike around for a while.
33. Skárošská vyhliadka (Skároš lookout) in Slanské Hills
Slanské vrchy mountains offer lots of great views and one of the best can also be found in Skárošská vyhliadka lookout. Here you will have the opportunity to see the rolling hills in Hungary up to the High Tatras on the other side of Slovakia (in good weather conditions).
Here you can get from Skároš village (where you can get by bus), or from Slanská Huta village. But the easiest way is from Hungarian side where you can get by car to Lászlótanya. For more info see the map.
34. Veľký Milíč peak in Slanské Hills
And once you are in Skárošská vyhliadka, you cannot leave this wonderful piece of the region without visiting Veľký Milíč peak. Only about 700 meters from the peak is a new-built watchtower (already on the Hungarian side) which offers breathtaking views of Hungarian and Slovakian countryside featured with amazing mountains and wonderful Füzér castle.
Lászlótanya is again best starting point. See a map with Veľký Milíč peak and a watchtower here: https://mapy.cz/s/12ImW
35. Sľubica mountain
If you would like to enjoy one of the best views in all of Slovakia, then you must climb up to the Sľubica mountain (1129 m). From here you’ll be able to see amazing Spiš castle with the giant High Tatras mountains in the background.
Lakes and water reservoirs in Košice region
36. Vinné lake
The wonderful natural scenery around the lake makes Vinné lake one of the most beautiful places in Košice region. In summer, there are good conditions for swimming and boating. In autumn, you can try fishing and in winter ice skating, cross country skiing or hiking.
There are a few hotels, cottages and a campsite around the lake and it is a good alternative to stay when you wish to visit and explore Zemplínska šírava lake and its surroundings. There are also several cycling and hiking paths starting here.
37. Morské Oko lake
Morské Oko lake is situated in the protected area of the Eastern Carpathians and it is a national nature reserve with protected flora and fauna. It is the largest volcanic lake in Slovakia with an area of 13 ha. Its maximum depth is 26 meters. The best view of this lake and its surrounding hills and valleys can be enjoyed from Sninský kameň.
Morské Oko lake as seen from Malý Sninský kameň, Košice region, Slovakia by Milan Bališin
38. Izra lake
Immersed in beautiful nature and only 30 km from Košice, Izra lake is another great place where you can spend hot summer days. Untouched nature around is a paradise for mushroom lovers, hikers or cyclists, photographers and all those who love the quietness and unspoiled nature.
It’s situated on the borders with Hungary, so if you are coming here by bike or by car, you should also explore villages and towns in this country.
39. Zemplínska Šírava
Also called the Slovak Sea, Zemplínska Šírava is the 2nd largest water reservoir in Slovakia. It is a popular tourist destination with seven recreation resorts. While the most popular resort here is Kamenec featured with discos, shops, pools and great nightlife, the eastern part of lake is a protected area.
40. Ružín water reservoir
Ružín is a dam surrounded by magnificent mountains of which the most interesting is already mentioned mountain Sivec (781 m), which offers a beautiful view of the whole dam, Volovské hills, and the High Tatras. The surrounding nature, forest, and water provide very good conditions for summer tourism and sports.
Ružín water reservoir, Košice region, Slovakia by Ing.Mgr.Jozef Kotulič
Caves in Košice region
There are thousands of caves in Slovakia and majority of them can be found in Košice region. Below is a list of those that are publicly accessible.
41. Domica cave
Domica cave was once a pride of Slovakia. It was definitely its most beautiful cave. However in the past few years, it is missing its most important feature – water. You should also visit its Hungarian part – Baradla cave, which is only 2 kilometers away so that you can compare these two caves. I am sure you will find a difference! 🙂
Domica Cave, Košice region, Slovakia by Jojo
42. Jasov cave
Jasov Cave was opened to the public already in 1846. The cave is part of the natural heritage of the Slovak Republic. As one of the most important caves it was declared a national natural monument by the Ministry of Environment of Slovakia in 1996.
43. Dobšinská ice cave
Dobšinská ice cave is one of the first caves in the world that was electrically illuminated. However, it is not its main feature! Being one of the most important caves in the world, it has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage Site List since 2000.
Dobšinská ice cave, Košice region, Slovakia by CxOxS
44. Ochtinská Aragonite cave
There are just a few aragonite caves in the world and one of them can be found in Slovakia. Ochtinská Aragonite cave is situated in the beautiful mountains known here as Slovenské Rudohorie (Slovak Ore mountains).
45. Gombasecká cave
Gombasecká cave lies within Slovak Karst National Park and along with other Slovak caves such as Domica cave, Gombasecká cave, Ochtinská Aragonite cave and Dobšinská ice cave it is a part of UNESCO World Natural Heritage. If you have a car and wake up early in the morning it is possible to visit all these caves in one day.
46. Krásnohorská cave
Where is the highest stalagmite in the world? Well… it’s not in Slovakia any more but until recently it was inside Krásnohorská cave (until higher stalagmite was found elsewhere). This cave is different than the other mentioned above. Prior your visit, you will need to call the cave’s management to agree on the guided tour.
47. Silická ľadnica
Silická ľadnica is the lowest situated ice cave in the world. For its beauty and uniqueness, it was declared a national natural monument. The entrance portal of the cave is open to the public. Entry to the deeper parts of the cave, however, is forbidden and dangerous.
To explore other caves in Slovakia, read this article: Visit Slovakia and its amazing caves!
Other attractions in Košice region
48. Watching thousands of birds at ponds in Senné
If you like watching birds in the wild nature, then you must know that Kosice region has a few ponds near the village of Senné. Every year thousands of birds are resting and nesting here on their way from south to north (in spring) or vice versa (in autumn).
49. ZOO Spišská Nová Ves
The smallest and youngest ZOO in Slovakia is the one that is located in the city of Spišská Nová Ves. It is one of only four ZOOs in Slovakia and if you need some break from tours around nearby Slovak Paradise National Park this can be really funny and relaxing experience.
50. Herľany Geyser
Geyser in Herľany village is a cold geyser which is a European rarity. Similar geysers can be found only in Iceland. It was discovered in 1870 when the management of the spa in Herľany decided to find some additional sources of mineral water. It was activated artificially by the 404.5 meters deep borehole. The eruption is every 32 to 36 hours.
Geyser in Herľany, Košice region, Slovakia by Martinoza
51. Tokaj Observation tower
Thanks to a program of the Swiss-Slovak Cooperation, the world-renowned wine-growing region of Tokaj has its new attraction – Tokaj Observation tower. It was built in the shape of the wooden barrel and was opened to the public in 2015. If you want to see a beauty of the Tokaj vineyards, then you should climb up to this 12 meters high tower.
52. Čerešenka viewtower
There are several watch towers in and around Košice that offer amazing views of the surrounding countryside. Čerešenka viewtower is situated between two villages – Chrástne and Čižatice and is very easily accessible by car (you can leave a car just 300 meters from the tower). But you can get here by bike as well. It is very quiet and beautiful place!
53. Dargov Pass
Dargov Pass came into the history in late December 1944 and January 1945 when more than 22,000 Soviet soldiers were killed here during the 7-week long battle. In their honor, a monument was built here.
World War II Memorial in Dargov, Košice region, Slovakia by Pierre Bona
54. Rock mushroom in Markusovce
This rocky mushroom in Markušovce, known here as Markušovský hríb is the most beautiful rocky monument of such shape in Slovakia. You can find it not far from the village of Markušovce.
Markušovský hríb, Košice region, Slovakia by Jikookij
55. Šikľavá skala
Beautiful waterfall at Šikľavá skala rock creates huge ice-falls in winter. It is definitely a place that you cannot miss on your visit to Košice region when coming in winter. The rock is situated between Matejovce and Chrasť nad Hornádom villages.
Šikľavá skala, Markušovce, Košice region, Slovakia by aktuality.sk
I am sure I have forgotten to include all amazing places from Košice region onto this list. If you know about any that should be included please let me know below in the comments.
Moving around Košice region
Even though the bus and train connections are quite good in Slovakia, I would recommend you to use a car or at least motorbike. The majority of the mentioned places are away from the main roads and it can take hours to get to them by public transport.
But be careful! If you have never been driving in Sicily before, you can be quite surprised here. It’s not the same, but it is very similar and unique in Europe. The speed limit in the city is 50km/h, out of the city 90 km/h. But if you follow it, the drivers behind you will be really nervous and while passing you they will be staring at you like on the dumbest person in the world.
When you stop at the crosswalk to let the pedestrians cross the street, pedestrians will be showing you that they are not going yet and that you can continue in your way. So you should really consider these facts before coming here by car. 🙂
Cycling is very popular in Slovakia and Kosice region is not an exception. There are lots of cycling routes all around the region, but you can even use a majority of the hiking trails. The region is very mountainous, therefore being in a good form is a must!
You can explore much more places by bike than on foot and you can discover even more hidden and more remote places than you would when traveling by car. But be careful when planning your trip. I would recommend you not to use any roads when cycling, rather choose hiking trails or dirt roads and walkways. Sometimes it can be really dangerous to use roads as the drivers are aggressive and neglectful and they ignore cyclists.
Train connections are quite good in Slovakia. There is one state company (slovakrail.sk) and few private running on the same railways but only between main cities (regiojet.cz and le.cz). Thanks to the private railways you can e.g. get from Prague to Kosice just for 9,-EUR, which is a really amazing price.
Even bus connections are quite good. They are running to perhaps all the villages (even those most remote ones), however during weekends, they are usually very limited on some lines.
Probably the best and only search engine for train or bus connections in Slovakia is cp.atlas.sk (in Slovak only).
Pictures were taken by me if not stated differently.