Things to do in Prešov region – 30 places to visit
The northeastern part of Slovakia is home to Prešov Region, which is the second largest region in the country and the most populous one. Its major part is covered with mountains, highlands, hills and forests. This region also contains the famous High Tatras mountains and includes the highest point of the whole country. Its name is Gerlach peak and reaches a height of 2,654 meters.
Things to do in Prešov region – Places to visit
1. High Tatras Mountains
High Tatras Mountains are among the most visited areas in the country. They are located in the northern part of Slovakia at the border with Poland. The High Tatras Mountains were declared a national park back in 1949 and as such became the first Slovak national park.
Štrbské pleso, High Tatras National Park, Prešov region, Slovakia by Petr Vilgus
In 1993 the High Tatras were declared Tatras Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The High Tatras are the highest Slovakian mountains boasting 26 peaks that exceed the height of 2500 meters.
A total of 8 peaks are accessible via the marked trails, but they are closed in winter. Among the most famous peaks include Gerlach Peak, which is the highest peak in Slovakia (2654m), Lomnický Peak (2634m), where you can get by cable car, Rysy (2503m), Kriváň (2495m) and others.
In the High Tatras there are also deep glacial valleys such as Malá and Velká Studená Valley, or Mengusovská Valley and there are also numerous glacial lakes, the most famous being Štrbské Pleso and Skalnaté Pleso glacial lakes.
The High Tatras are home to some of the best spa resorts in the country. The most popular places to stay in are Starý Smokovec, Štrbské Pleso, Tatranská Lomnica and Ždiar.
Prešov lies at the confluence of the rivers Torysa and Sekčov. It is the third largest city in Slovakia and a capital of Prešov Region. Its history dates back to the Stone Age, but the first written record dates from the 13th century.
At the end of the 14th century, it became a free royal city but declined two centuries later due to the anti-Habsburg uprising. In the early 19th century the Roman Catholic Diocese was established here and the city became alive again.
Even today it is a home to the Head of the Slovak Greek Catholic Church and the city features many old churches and temples. The most important monuments include the 15th-16th-century early Gothic-style Co-Cathedral of Saint Nicholas.
Situated right in the city centre, this church boasts the Baroque altar and well-preserved Gothic cabinet.
Another interesting building in Presov is the Greek Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist as well as the Cathedral of St. Prince Alexander Nevsky. In the city centre, there is a small park with completely preserved Fountain of Neptune. It is an original urban tanker with a statue of Neptune.
Prešov surrounding is ideal for hiking and cycling – it is bordered by Slánske vrchy hills to the east and Šarišská Vrchovina Highlands to the west. Some of the best views of the city can be enjoyed from the hill known here as Calvary, where you can find another baroque complex.
3. Domaša water reservoir
Domaša is a large water reservoir that was built between 1962-1967 on the river Ondava. Originally it was designed as a reservoir of drinking water. Thanks to its great self-cleaning ability and position in the valley without any polluting industry it is known for its clear water with lots of fish (trout, carp, asp, catfish, pike, eel).
Surrounding forests and hills boast countless hiking trails making Domaša a popular summer destination for tourists. There are lots of cottages around, campsites as well as few hotels that offer first class services.
Probably the best time to visit Domaša is during its biggest festival Miss Domaša which takes place here annually in the summer. Pretty girls are then accompanied by great Slovak and Czech bands and singers.
4. Spiš Castle
If you would like to see one of the largest castle ruins not only in Slovakia but also in Central Europe, then you must visit Spiš Castle. Its history dates back more than 800 years ago.
The castle was built on a travertine hill near the town of Spišské Podhradie back in the 12th century. In the past, it was a centre of royal power of this region.
Unfortunately, this huge castle complex was destroyed by fire in 1780 and has not been repaired since then. Anyway, Spiš Castle is still an extraordinary monument and welcomes the tourists from all over Europe.
Very interesting is the Romanesque-Gothic architecture, the dominant massive residential tower, and the large circular walls. It is protected as Slovak National Historic Landmark and also became UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Stará Ľubovňa
At the very north of the country near the border with Poland, you can find a small town of Stará Ľubovňa. Not only this city is attractive but also its surroundings.
The first written record dates from 1292. In 1364 Stará Ľubovňa became a royal town and in the Middle Ages, it was also an important economic and cultural centre of the region.
Directly above the town is an ancient Ľubovňa Castle built in the 13th century, which is now the biggest attraction of the area. The castle is situated above the open-air museum where you can see the examples of folk architecture of this region.
Right in the city centre, you can admire the church of St. Nicholas. Its history dates back to the 13th century, however, its present form dates from the 17th century.
But there is much more to do in Stará Ľubovňa, you just have to stroll its quiet streets to discover all its beauty and sights. And finally, around the town, you will find beautiful untouched nature protected by the Pieniny National Park.
6. Červený Kláštor and Breakthrough Dunajec river
Near the border with Poland is the village of Červený Kláštor, which is the ideal starting point for your trips into the Pieniny National Park.
The name of the village means Red Monastery and was established around the monastery from 14th century. The monastery with the adjacent church of St. Anton is the Slovak national monument and the whole village has become a popular centre for tourism. Monastery now houses a museum with rare art-historical monuments from the region.
Červený Kláštor, Prešov region, Slovakia by Wiktor Baron
The main tourist attraction here is rafting through Dunajec river on traditional wooden rafts. If you are afraid of water you can go on one of the hiking trails leading along the river, or climb up to the local landmark, which is a rocky massif called the Three Crowns (Tri Koruny).
Rafting on the Dunajec River with Three Crowns above, Prešov region, Slovakia by Jerzy Opioła
Poprad is thanks to its location often called the “gateway to the High Tatras.” It is an important cultural, economic and administrative centre of the region and an important transport hub.
From the city of Poprad, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the High Tatras Mountains, the highest mountains in Slovakia. The city is attractive primarily for its proximity to the mountains, but there are also several interesting sights, such as the early-Gothic Catholic Church of St. Egidius from the late 13th century.
You can also visit Spišská Sobota which is another beautiful part of Poprad and if you are just after spending a day skiing or hiking, take a relax in AquaCity Poprad, which is one of the most popular water parks in Slovakia.
Spišská Sobota, Poprad, Prešov region, Slovakia – panorama by martin
Situated about 50 kilometres from the city of Prešov, Levoča is another beautiful historic town in the region. Although this is a relatively small city, home to around 15,000 inhabitants, it offers many beautiful sights.
Levoča is often considered the most beautiful city in Slovakia. Although the city completely burned out in 1550, lots of new great monuments were built here and already managed to be preserved until to this very day.
In addition to a series of ornate mansions and religious buildings, there is a well-preserved fortification system. Square in the centre of Levoca is dominated by one of Slovakia’s largest churches. St. Jacob’s Church was built during the 15th and 16th centuries. Inside you can admire rare wooden altar of Master Paul of Levoca, which is considered the largest one in the world.
Next to the church, you can then see the Renaissance building of the former town hall. In front of it, there is a medieval cage of shame that was used for public punishment of miscreants.
Other interesting houses in Levoča are Renaissance Thurzo’s house and the house of Master Paul. At Košice Gate, which was part of the fortifications, you can then find church and monastery from the 14th century.
Read more about Levoča in this article: What to see in Levoča – medieval UNESCO town in Slovakia
9. Mariánska hora
You can enjoy some of the best views of Levoča from the hill above the town, known as Mariánska hora. However, it is not just a hill and views which are interesting here.
The dominant feature of this hill is early 20th-century Basilica of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary which was built on the site of the former 13th-century chapel. It is a religious place visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrimages every year.
Kežmarok is a beautiful historic town founded in the 13th century by merging several settlements. It became one of the royal cities and gained a lot of privileges. Since 1463 it also has a castle, which significantly influenced the history of the town.
In 1950 the historical centre was declared an urban conservation area, and since 2008 it also has one UNESCO Site – wooden church standing outside of the city walls. It was built in 1687 and its current Baroque appearance comes from the reconstruction in 1717.
Other attractions in Kežmarok include new evangelical church, the Lyceum or the Basilica of St. Cross with a bell tower. Kežmarok is really one of the most beautiful cities worth visiting!
Kežmarok Castle, Prešov region, Slovakia by cobude.sk
11. Poloniny National Park
At the borders with Poland and Ukraine, you can visit Poloniny National Park which is considered the area with the darkest sky in Slovakia. You will like this untouched nature, a wildlife, including protected species of mammals such as the lynx, bear, wolf and occasionally even bison.
More than 60% of the surface is covered with beech forests. Here you will find a primeval beech forest Stužica, which is together with other primeval beech forests in the area an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Make sure to visit water reservoir Starina or a village Uličské Krivé that is featured with a wooden Orthodox church. Bukovec mountains are well protected here by three mentioned countries under the Bieszczady National Park in Poland, Poloniny National Park in Slovakia and Shatsky National Natural Park in Ukraine. Kremenec is the highest peak in this national park with the elevation of 1,221 meters above sea level.
Poloniny National Park, Prešov region, Slovakia by Yarl
Learn more about Slovak National Parks in this article: National Parks of Slovakia and their best places to visit
Bardejov is another historic pearl of northern Slovakia. The city is full of monuments dating from various periods of its history. The first mention of Bardejov dates back to 1241. In 1376 it became a free royal town.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, it was famous as an important centre of the craft. The biggest development of the town started in the 18th century when the local mineral springs were found and being used. Its spa resort known as Bardejovské kúpele is currently among the most popular parts of the city.
Town Hall Square in Bardejov, Prešov region, Slovakia by Krokodyl
Bardejov boasts well-preserved town walls and historical city center, which was already in 1950 declared an urban conservation area. 50 years later, the historic center of Bardejov has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Its major attractions include the Gothic parish church of St Egidius from the 14th century, which ranks among the most important religious monuments in Slovakia. The former city hall with the unmistakable oriel from 1511 is also very interesting. It was built in the Gothic-Renaissance style and currently houses Šariš Museum and the Museum of icons.
Bardejov city center, Prešov region, Slovakia by Elescir
13. Wooden churches
Prešov region is full of wooden churches which have been recently reconstructed and if not all you should see and visit at least some of them. They are also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and the majority of them are Greek Catholic.
You can find some examples in the open air museums in Stará Ľubovňa or in Bardejovské Kúpele, but the biggest adventure would be to see it live in some of the most remote villages in Slovakia.
14. Mini-Skansen of wooden churches in Ľutina
There is one option to see all the wooden churches from eastern Slovakia in one place. Mini-Skansen of wooden churches in Ľutina is newly built open-air museum located in the surrounding area of the only Greek Orthodox Basilica in Slovakia.
Mini-Skansen boasts a unique collection of 40 models of wooden churches that can be found scattered across the eastern Slovakia’s villages in their original form.
15. Drienica ski resort
Drienica is a village to the north of the city of Prešov. It is a well known holiday resort and popular ski destination among the people living in Prešov and surrounding area.
There is also very popular aquapark that attracts visitors throughout the whole year. Surrounded by amazing forests, hills, and mountains Drienica is also a great starting point for the hiking trips.
16. Minčol peak – the highest peak of Šariš region
Not far from Drienica ski resort, within the same mountain range called Čergov mountain range, one can find Minčol peak which is the highest peak of Čergov mountain range as well as the whole Šariš region.
The hiking trip to the mountain is a wonderful experience. You’ll walk along the healthy forests and meadows and you will be pleased with amazing views of the surrounding countryside.
17. Belianska Cave
Belianska Cave is the largest and the only high mountain cave that is open to the public in the High Tatras National Park. It is located near the village of Ždiar, in the easternmost part of the national park.
Its entrance is on the northern slope of the Kobylí Hill, at a height of 890 m above sea level. There is a parking place at the cave and several restaurants offering local food.
Belianska Cave, Prešov region, Slovakia by Rafał Kozubek
18. Šariš Castle ruins
There isn’t a lot that remained from the Šariš castle which used to stand on the hill near Veľký Šariš village. However, its ruins are still visible from a far distance and are very popular for day trips among residents of the city of Prešov and surrounding villages.
In the past, this castle was a really important royal castle and dominated the whole area. The first mention comes from the 13th century as Sarus castle and was built to protect important trade route.
Šariš Castle ruins, Prešov region, Slovakia by Jozef Kotulič
19. Kapušany Castle ruins
If you still want to see some castle ruins offering great views of the city of Prešov and see some rural area, go to the nearby Kapušany village. High above the village, you will see Kapušany castle ruins where you can get by following the green hiking trail leading from the local train station.
From here you can go further through the hills and woods and after 10 kilometers you get back to a city of Prešov.
20. Zbojnícky Castle ruins
Well, on my trip to Zbojnícky Castle ruins I couldn’t find any castle here, but what I found was a spectacular view of the city of Prešov with the peaks of High Tatras Mountains. It was really an amazing place worth visiting.
You can get there by following the red hiking trail which goes through the city center, or if you have a car, you can then park in nearby Ruská Nová Ves village.
21. Šimonka peak
And if you continue further on the hiking trail you will get to the highest peak of Slánske vrchy mountain range. With its elevation of 1092 meters above sea level, Šimonka is also home to National Nature Reserve that protects the 200 years old trees of primeval beech forest.
From its top you will have an opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and if you’re lucky enough you will also be able to see the High Tatras mountains, which are 100 kilometers away.
A view of High Tatras Mountains from Šimonka, Prešov region, Slovakia by CaptainClawHE
22. Zlá Diera Cave
If adventure is what you are looking for in Slovakia, then visiting Zlá Diera cave would definitely be one of the best things you can do here. Zlá Diera cave is open to the public from early April until the end of November and is open daily.
It is a guided tour with a lamp and helmet on your head. Sturdy shoes and warm clothes are a must because there is 7°C inside the cave. The basic tour takes about 40 minutes and it is suitable even for small kids.
Zlá Diera Cave, Prešov region, Slovakia by zladiera.sk
Read more about caves in Slovakia in this article: Visit Slovakia and its Amazing Caves!
23. Crater in Vyšné Ružbachy
Crater in Vyšné Ružbachy is a natural travertine lake with thermal water and is the largest of its kind in Slovakia. It has a diameter of 20 meters and a depth of 3 meters. It’s really unique and is definitely a must see place in the Region of Prešov.
In 1967 Crater was declared a protected natural monument. Vyšné Ružbachy is a small spa town where you can spend great relaxing holidays full of healing procedures. There is even an amazing vital world with thermal water.
Crater Vyšné Ružbachy, Prešov region, Slovakia by Slav Sepo
24. Sivá brada geyser
Sivá brada is known in Prešov region as a place with geyser and mineral drinking water, which you can draw here for free. Situated very close to Spiš Castle, Sivá Brada is a popular place to stop by on the way to the castle. It is about 10,000 years old and is still changing!
25. The Andy Warhol Museum in Medzilaborce
Have you already heard something about Andy Warhol? No? Well, and what about this phrase: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes!” Haha, now you know, right? 🙂 But did you know that Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh (it’s in the US 🙂 ) to two Slovak emigrants?
That’s really true! His parents lived in Prešov region in Slovakia, in a small village of Miková, not far from Medzilaborce town. The Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce has been established here back on 1 September 1991 as the first museum dedicated to Andy Warhol in the world and is still only in Europe.
26. Valley of Death – Dukla Pass
Valley of Death also known as Dukla Pass became a witness of the hardest and bloodiest tank battle between Nazi army and Russian army in October 1944. Tens of thousands of soldiers died here on both sides. German army fired about 75,000 missiles against the Russians.
Tank battle in the Valley of Death is considered to be the largest tank battle in Slovakia. Villages in the valley were completely destroyed and it is said that a stream flowing through the valley was coloured in red during the whole week after the battle. Now you can see several tanks and cannons spread along the valley.
27. Unique Slovak Opal Mines
Unique Slovak Opal Mines are located in the middle of the northern part of Slanské mountains, just about 30 kilometres from the city of Prešov. Beautiful opals from here are admired by the whole world. These opal mines were known worldwide already in the 16th century. Until the 19th century, they were the only opal mines in the world.
Today opal mines became a great tourist attraction. You can take a tour through its tunnels which are more than 1 kilometre long and takes 45-60 minutes. The average temperature ranging from +0,5°C to +6,4°C, so you will need a good coat here even during the hot summer months. Some parts are already flooded with crystal clear water as seen in the video:
28. Zborov castle
It was at the beginning of the 14th century (or even 13th century according to some sources) when Zborov castle started its history. And it is estimated that until the 18th century it was in good conditions.
Then, however, started to decline and was gradually damaged by time and later by World War I. You can find its ruins today near Zborov village, to the north of famous Bardejov.
Zborov Castle, Presov region, Slovakia by hradzborov.sk
29. Open-air museum in Svidnik
Spread on an area of around 10 hectares, in the eastern Slovakian town of Svidník, one can find an open-air museum of Ukrainian culture. Discover the typical wooden houses from eastern Slovakia.
The original houses were uninstalled, moved and reconstructed here and are furnished with typical folk furniture, home inventory, traditional working tools, and examples of folk art.
Open air museum in Svidnik, Presov region, Slovakia by Peter Zelizňák
30. Treetop walk Bachledka
Treetop walk Bachledka has been built this year (2017) and opened just recently in Belianske Tatry (eastern part of the High Tatras mountains), in the village of Bachledova dolina.
It’s really unique and the only such attraction in Slovakia. Since its opening, it has become one of the most visited attractions in the country at all. There is a large free parking lot in Bachledova dolina. From here, you can get to the Treetop by the chairlift or by foot (2 km uphill).
Treetop walk Bachledka, Prešov region, Slovakia by chodnikkorunamistromov.sk
31. Your tip?
Is anything missing here? Let us know below in the comments so that we can enhance this list with great places even more!
So these were few tips on what to visit in the region of Prešov. How did you like it? Have you already visited some of these places? Or do you plan to? Let us know below in the comments. And if you liked this region, you will also like the rest of Slovakia! Check this article about Top places to visit in Slovakia with pictures and map!