Slovakia, the center of Europe with its High Tetras mountains, sweeping plains, and hillside villages, is too often overlooked by travelers. That’s one of the best reasons to visit! It’s an undiscovered gem. The history is colorful and today the medieval towns, castles and wooden churches offer quiet interests. There’s plenty going on for familes and the party crowd too. From traditional cuisine to chic cocktails, museums, galleries, gothic towers, music clubs and parks, every visitor will find many things to do in Kosice.
A few facts about Kosice
Chosen the European Capital of Culture in 2013 (with Marseille, France,) Kosice is half the size of the capital city of Bratislava. With a population of fewer than 300,000, Kosice’s central core is walkable and open.
The historical district is bounded by remnants of the medieval wall. The river, Hornad, flows through town. When you arrive by bus, it’s a ten-minute walk over the river bridge into the historical core.
There are famous locals too. Around town, I spotted six-foot shoe sculptures. A bit worn in the heel, they are an homage to Andy Warhol, whose parents came from Slovakia. It’s also the birthplace of Bela Gerster, the engineer who designed the Panama Canal.
Things to do in Kosice – Eat and Drink!
The borders have shifted with conflicts and political maneuvers over centuries. The cultures and foods of the Austria-Hungarians, the Slavs, and the Polish have left their mark. The Slavic cultures share many traditions and recipes. Milk, potatoes, and cabbage are central to the local diet but don’t think ‘boring.’ Flourishing coffee cafe, brewery, and cocktail cultures offer many things to do, eat and drink.
Things to do in Kosice – Museums, Parks, and Performances
There are historical, art and natural history museums in Kosice, but check the hours. When I visited in the spring most opened after noon. We were able to get into the Technical Museum. The collections, like walls of telephones and displays memorializing the Steel Industry, were fascinating.
Kulturpark / Steelpark
Steel Park is outside of the historical core. Several blocks of Soviet era barracks have been transformed by the European Capital of Culture Project into museums, galleries, and performance spaces. Check the events calendar to see what’s happening while you’re in town.
Where to stay in Kosice
There are several hotels and pensiones throughout Kosice. Chain hotels sit outside the historical core. We couldn’t have been happier with our loft room inside Villa Regia and claimed a breakfast nook near the window. Over complimentary eggs, rolls and coffee, we glanced out across the courtyard to watch the Farmer’s Market set up. That market has been going strong for several hundred years. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Kosice.
Check out my post about visiting Slovakia and the countryside.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments and here are two pins to share:
Love smaller cities and Kocise seems like a great destination to wander and get a true feeling on how the locals live. The cafe scene sounds great as well.
Since we hung out in the main town it was sweet to dip into the cafe scene. Much more going on than I shared too.
Having been to a few places in Slovakia I’d often wondered what Kosice was like, so this was fun to read. It looks like a charming city and well worth the visit out that way. Definitely got me thinking about a return visit to Slovakia.
I hope you do stop by there. We had such fun but also were spending our days with a local exploring the countryside.
I spent a couple of days in Bratislava but sadly didn’t get chance to explore the rest of the country! Kosice looks like a cool place to spend a few days – I love that big shoe!!
That shoe is one of several that were part of a 2013 exhibition in honor of Andy Warhol! Lots of contrasts still in the area.
I love traveling around Slovakia, and the High Tatras, are gorgeous. I’ve been meaning to get to Kosice…and now after your post, I want to go even more.
I hope you do and visit Hummene too if you return.
Wow, St. Elizabeth’s is beautiful! Love the old phones display, too. Looks like Kosice is a charming place to explore – can’t wait for a chance to spend some time doing just that. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard & #WeekendWanderlust.
Thanks, Rob + Ann – I regret not making it up to the top of the St. Elizabeth tower but still loved exploring the town.
I will HAVE to go to Smelly Cat if I’m ever in Kosice! I’m a huge Friends lover! I’m heading to Eastern Europe next year and I think that I will have to make this city one of my stops. It looks beautiful! Plus, so many good eats and drinks!
I hope a visit to Kosice fits in with your plans!
What a beautiful small town. I love to read about little gems like Kosice that are definitely have the tourist radar. We had a blast when we visited Slovakia, but didn’t make it to Kosice. There is always next time! I’m always up for Slovakian food and some cheap tasty Slovakian lager!
Glad you saw part of Slovakia, Drew. The food was wonderful and that beer! Hope your current digs in Asia are a perfect fit too.
I love the funky styles of the different restaurants! It seems like there is something to satisfy every taste!
I know it looks like all we did was eat and drink but we were out of town during the days with a guide researching family ancestry then back in town for dinner. There were many cool places we missed!
I haven’t heard that much about Kosice, but I’m planning to go to Slovakia next year. It looks like a pretty town to walk around and has great food, too!
Definitely lots to do even without a car. I hope you get there!
Wow, there are a lot things to see and do and I didn’t expect Slovakia has such a vibrant food scene as well. My mouth watered and my feet are itchy just thinking about the food and planning my next trip there! @ knycx.journeying
Thanks, Kennc, I think you’d have a lot of fun in Kosice.
Just visited Slovakia for the first time as part of my honeymoon and would love to explore more of the country! Kosice looks and sounds like an interesting place! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!
Thanks, Lolo. Glad you saw part of the country already. Perhaps an anniversary trip?
looks beautiful! #theweeklypostcard
Thanks, Tanja. Yes, more than I can show.
Hoping to visit next Spring. It looks so beautiful judging from your pictures. I have a feeling I would learn so much history and eat my way around the city!
Definitely, a great place to eat and explore.
Wow, I never would have known. What a gem Kolsice seems to be. With some really interesting history. Maybe one day we’ll make it there. #WeekendWanderlust
Thanks, Liana, I hope you get the chance to visit one day.
Interesting, I didn’t know Warhol’s parents were from Slovakia. Another reason to travel, your world always grows. Kosice sounds like a charming city and full of things I like to experience – food, historic spots, walking around. Dining at the breakfast nook with a view outside sounds like the perfect way to start the day. Thanks so much for sharing as I’ve been thinking more and more about that part of the world.
I was so tickled to see part of that part of Europe. It’s a bit remote but has so much to offer and experience.
Thank you for this nice guide to Kosice. There is definitely so much to see and do there that it’s a pity it’s such an overlooked city. Many of the central and eastern European cities have been overlooked because they were under Communism for a long time, but this is changing now. I haven’t been in Slovakia but hopefully will get there one of these times I go to Europe. #TheWeeklyPostcard
So true about the Communist connection – to my limited experience. The situation is definitely changing and I hope, improving lives as more people visit. Thanks, Anda.
It looks like a great place to visit. I had to look twice when I saw “Smelly Cat”! The Technical Museum looks like it cold be an interesting place to go to.
I know, not being a Friends show fan, I hadn’t realized where the name came from. It’s really a beautiful cafe/bar.
That passion fruit cocktail would be so good right about now!
It didn’t last long!
Slovakia is such a charming little town. I would love to visit there when I’m nearby! Thanks for the awesome guide. 🙂
Kosice is the town. Slovakia the country.
That place looks amazing! (Now, I am hungry… gee thanks!). My husband and I visited Bratislava earlier this year and were really surprised by the quality of the Slovakian cuisine. We better go back!!
I wish we’d had time to visit Bratislava. There’s so much to see across Europe!
I haven’t heard of Kosice but I think I would love it! Andy Warhol sculptures, smelly cat cafes and funky phone art mixed with cobblestone, sounds perfect!
Thanks, Sherianne. It was a wonderful place use as a base from during our stay.
I have read a lot of articles where the author says he/she prefers Kosice over Bratislava. As you can imagine, that gives me a lot of curiosity. I really liked Bratislava (found it quirky and unique). It would be awesome to visit a city cooler than it (and you photos and words reinforce that idea). So, hope I can visit Kosice in the near future.
I’ve heard that Bratislava has lots to offer. Wish I’d seen both and could compare.
Yay for my hometown! And some of my favorite places to hang out, including Smelly Cat and Kulturpark. The Technical Museum tends to be overlooked, but you’re right to say it’s fascinating. Glad you enjoyed this East Slovak gem of a city!
Thanks, Peter. I hope the post works for you and appreciate your local’s expertise.
I hadn’t ever thought of Kosice before, but it looks beautiful! The architecture is amazing, and Smelly Cat alone would get me there. Hahaha!
Thanks, Megan. If you’re ever in the neighborhood…
Pottery & Gallery Street looks really inviting as dot he food and drink choices. Hoping to get to Slovakia nest spring.
I was sorry to get to the Pottery/Gallery Street late on a Sunday when most of the shops were closed. Spring should be a great time to visit.
I remember Kosice and remember some of the bars (before I got mega drunk!) Looking at the photos sure did bring back some memories. Great post
Sounds like a fun time and yes, there’s still a lot of that going on. Glad to have reminded you!
Slovakia is definitely on my bucket list. Love how this article points out all of the awesome cool and quirky things to do 🙂
Thanks, Emma, can’t say I’ve pointed out all but these are a good place to start.
I love Friends-themed… everything! In fact, a few months ago they started direct low-cost flights from my country to Slovakia, so now I have a serious reason to take on that flight!
So glad to hear! A lot of the flights I found were seasonal and we visited during off-season. Still a great time to go.