From the square to the spring
A walk from Bardejov’s main square to the healing springs in the Bardejov Spa takes approximately one hour at a leisurely pace. Following a red tourist sign, you will get to places where an old wagon road used to be. The locals of Bardejov used this road to access the medicinal springs. The route leads past an important Jewish cemetery with approximately one thousand gravestones built in the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism style.

Location: BardejovBardejovské Kúpele (Bardejov Spa)
More info: HERE


Bardejov Calvary
A path leading through a splendid forest and passing by Stations of the Cross chapels will take you to a hill where you can find the eclectic St. Cross Church and enjoy a magnificent view of the town. The Bardejov Calvary has an interesting history which undoubtedly deserves attention. The path to the Calvary starts at the crossing of the Postajok Street and Pod Kalváriou Street – near the railway bridge and the railway station. It takes approximately 15 minutes to get to the top of the hill.

Location: Bardejov
More info: HERE


Hiking in Čergov
The mountain range of Čergov is a very significant mountain hiking area. Beautiful mountain ridges offer views of a large area covering the half of Slovakia. Breathtaking forests and mountain meadows have become home to a variety of precious animals and protected plant species. The highest peak of the mountain is Čergovský Minčol with an altitude of 1,157 metres above sea level. The mountain meadows are the result of human activity during the Vlach colonization, as deforestation took place for goat and sheep pasture purposes. In the present day, the meadows are covered with a variety of colourful Carpathian and mountain plants. Several tree types in this area – beech, maple and fir – are included in the list of protected areas. A variety of springs can be found here, as well as wild animal trails, especially those of boar and deer. The mountains are also populated by large European beasts of prey, such as bears, lynx or wolves. The rare golden eagles and lesser spotted eagles nest here, too. Čergov features several nature reserves, one of which is even private.

Location: Livovská Huta, Livov, KrížeHertník
More info: HERE


Hike to Stebnícka Magura

With an altitude of 900 metres above sea level, Stebnícka Magura is the highest peak in the close surroundings of the town. The hill can be accessed by following marked tourist paths from Bardejov, Bardejov Spa, Zborov and Vyšný Tvarožec. Due to unique plant communities formed in the forests of Stebnícka Magura, the area was declared a national nature reserve in 1964. The hill forms part of the smallest mountain range in Slovakia called Busov. At the top of the Stebnícka Magura Hill, the visitors can find an 81-metre-tall television transmission tower which can be seen from a great distance.

LocationBardejovské Kúpele (Bardejov Spa)ZborovVyšný Tvarožec
More info: HERE


Spa and Toy Museum in Krynica

Krynica is a town of rich culture and history which offers recreation, spa treatment and sports possibilities. This spa town became famous for its variety of mineral springs as early as the mid-19th century. The most well-known spring is Zuber which belongs to the strongest mineral springs in Europe. It is used to treat excess stomach acid production, indigestion, liver and gall bladder diseases, as well as diabetes. A unique institution in the town is the Museum of Toys which presents over 3,000 exhibits of precious toys from different historical periods. During the winter season, Krynica offers a ski resort with the longest aerial tramway in Poland. Five slopes of different difficulty levels satisfy even professional skiers. Krynica is approximately half an hour away from Bardejov by car.

Location: Krynica (Poland)
More info: krynica.pl


 


Open-air museum in Bardejov
The oldest exhibition of its kind offers 24 monuments which represent the folk culture and construction style of the Slovak and Ruthenian ethnic groups in the regions of the Upper Šariš and Upper Zemplín. Dating back to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the objects are classified as wooden buildings of the Carpathian type. Four types of structures can be observed – houses, agricultural buildings, technical devices and sacral structures. Among the most precious exhibits are wooden churches from the villages of Mikulášová and Zboj, a unique device used to manufacture wooden water pipes, as well as the so-called “valcha” – a device used to make homemade broadcloth.

Location: Bardejovské Kúpele (Bardejov Spa)
More info: HERE


The oldest tree in Slovakia
A unique fact about the region is that the oldest tree in Slovakia can be encountered here. In the village of Dubinné stands an English oak which is over 800 years old. With the trunk’s circumference of 12.5 metres, this ancient tree has experienced a bumpy journey throughout the years. A well-known story says that during the Bratríci wars in the 15th century, the village people all paid a share to bribe the soldiers and prevent the tree from being cut down. During the World War I, Austrian soldiers also wanted to cut the tree down, but did not manage to get hold of a saw that was long enough. In the 1960s, the tree even survived a bolt of lightning. The oak tree is older than the village itself and its inhabitants have chosen it as the symbol of Dubinné. When establishing the village, it was situated in the village centre which is also the case now – hundreds of years later. There are rumours that the Virgin Mary has appeared near the tree – the locals then built a chapel in her honour. A beautiful pond is also located near the village of Dubinné which makes the area an ideal place to relax in the middle of magnificent nature.

Location: Dubinné
More info: HERE


Čierna mláka (Black Puddle)

The nature trail Čierna mláka (Black Puddle) is predominantly focused on the non-productive forest functions. It consists of 18 themed stops – at the 10th stop, the visitors can enjoy a beautiful view of the Zborov Castle from a lookout tower. The trail starts in the Bardejov Spa – in an area higher up from the lake. If you follow a nature trail sign situated near the final public transport bus stop in the Bardejov Spa, it will lead you to the destination.

Location: Bardejovské Kúpele (Bardejov Spa)
More info: HERE


World War I memorials
During the World War I, a majority of the villages located in the north of Bardejov were destroyed and the Zborov Castle ruins also suffered a significant damage. The most noticeable monuments of the tragic events are military cemeteries – there are about 20 of them in the Bardejov’s surroundings. Among the best preserved ones are the cemeteries in Becherov, Chmeľová, Stebník, Zborov, Vyšná Polianka, Nižná Polianka and Mikulášová. In the village of Nižná Polianka, we can also find a Carpathian front memorial room. The Dujava borderline hill, situated near the village of Becherov, features a Memorial to the victims of the World War I which was designed by the important Slovak architect Dušan Jurkovič. Approximately 300 Russian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers are buried there.

Location: BecherovChmeľová, Stebník, ZborovVyšná Polianka, Nižná PoliankaMikulášová
More info: HERE


Lookout towers near the Žobrák Hill

Located in the altitude of 893 metres above sea level, the Čergov mountain range features two wooden lookout towers which can be found near the Žobrák Hill. The towers provide hostel accommodation (each of them can accommodate approximately 5 people). The place offers beautiful views of the surrounding areas, including the Čergov mountain ridge. Although there is no water source available nearby, the area features benches, fire ring, as well as a large shelter. The shortest routes to the towers lead from the villages of Kríže and Hervartov. The route from Hervartov takes about one and a half hours. The picturesque village of Hervartov boasts a UNESCO site – the oldest wooden church in Slovakia. A few kilometres away lies a pond which makes the area a fine place to relax. Accessing the towers from the village of Kríže takes approximately one hour, however, the ascent is steeper. The village of Krivé features well-preserved wooden chalets and a memorial built in 1960 which serves as a reminder of the Partisan history of the village. Reconstructed war trenches and an underground shelter can also be found near the village.

Location: HervartovKríže
More info: HERE


 


Wooden churches
Wooden churches are the most precious structures of the Slovak folk architecture. They are almost exclusive to the northeast of Slovakia, with most of them – 26 – being located in the region of the Upper Šariš. For religious reasons, the use of nails was prohibited in construction of the churches, since nails were associated with the crucifixion of Christ. The builders therefore sought to create strong wood joints that would last well through time and various weather conditions. The interior of the churches features unique icons of the Carpathian style which form part of Baroque and Rococo iconostases. The majority of them are churches of the Eastern Rite. The oldest wooden church in Slovakia is a unique Roman Catholic 15th century gothic church in the village of Hervartov. The church is inscribed in the UNESCO Heritage List. As for the Bardejov and Svidník surroundings, the UNESCO List also includes Ruthenian Greek Catholic churches in Bodružal and Ladomirová.

Location: HervartovTročany, KrivéLukovKožany, Bardejovské Kúpele (Bardejov Spa), Frička, Jedlinka, Varadka, Bodružal, Ladomirová
More info: HERE


The Kings Well            Until the end of the 19th century, a trade route from Poland to Galicia led through a land area in the village of Lenartov. Notable reminders of the route include the ruins of the inn Kráľova studňa (The King’s Well), situated near the Polish-Slovak frontier. The inn was used as one of the stopping points during this journey. A nearby drinking water well has remained preserved up to this day. Here, in 1471, the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus met the Polish king Casimir IV Jagiellon and his son Saint Casimir – the patron saint of Poland. The Polish literature therefore refers to it as the well of three kings. The magnificent place, known in the Bardejov area as Kráľova studňa (The King’s Well), is equipped with a hostel and a wooden lookout tower. The place can be found through the use of green tourist signs in the village of Lenartov. It takes approximately one and a half hours to reach the destination on foot.

Location: Lenartov
More info: kralovastudna.eu


Memorials of the Slovak National Upprising

In the times of the Slovak National Uprising, an important Partisan centre lied in the village of Kríže, located in the foothills of the Čergov mountain range. The Čapajev Partisan brigade operated in the centre and later, the centre was run by a Partisan division called Alexander Nevský. In 1960, a majestic Slovak National Uprising Memorial was built near the village to commemorate the fallen war heroes. On a nearby hillside, we can find war trenches which have remained preserved up to now, as well as a reconstructed underground shelter. Another well-preserved World War II monument is a secret Partisan military hospital located near the village of Livov. It was operated by the local resistance movement members on whom the Germans took a cruel revenge. Representing the local people’s devotion and heroism, the hospital has become well-known in the whole of Slovakia.

Location: KrížeLivov
More info: HERE


Andy Warhol Museum in Medzilaborce

Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art is the first institution in the world dedicated to the leading artist of the 20th century – the pop-art king Andy Warhol. All the creative phases of his life are represented in the exposition. In addition to presenting Andy Warhol’s work, the museum is concerned with his life and also introduces the artistic work of his brother Paul and nephew James. The exposition features a lot of precious material revealing Andy Warhol’s Ruthenian origins, since the artist’s parents came from the village of Miková, located near the town of Medzilaborce. Besides, the museum is involved in scientific and research activities, as well as educational activities associated with fine arts theory and present-day visual arts criticism. The institution is one and a half hours away by car from Bardejov.

Location: Medzilaborce
More info: muzeumaw.sk


 


Zborov Castle
The first mention of the Zborov Castle (also known as Makovica) comes from 1347. It was built to defend the Hungarian frontier area and the trade route to Poland. Throughout the years, the castle belonged to various families – the Cudar, Rozgonyi, Tarczay, Serédi and Rákóczi family. During the the Thököly Uprising in 1684, the castle was destroyed by the emperor’s army and the castle ruins were also damaged during the World War I battles. In 1926, the Zborov Castle hill was declared a nature reserve, which makes it one of the oldest protected areas in Slovakia. The majestic Zborov Castle ruins, located near the village of Zborov, belong to the largest castle ruins in Slovakia. Reaching the castle from the village of Zborov or Dlhá Lúka takes approximately 30 minutes.

Location: ZborovDlhá Lúka
More info: HERE


Dukla, Svidník, Údolie smrti (Death Valley)
The area of the Dukla Pass, located near the town of Svidník, was the scene of one of the greatest World War II mountain battles – the Carpathian-Dukla Operation. To commemorate more than 30,000 fallen soldiers, a large Soviet Army Memorial was built in Svidník – over 9,000 Soviet soldiers are buried there. The Museum of Military History is also located nearby – it is predominantly concerned with the World War I period in the Eastern Carpathians, the interwar years, the World War II period with emphasis on the Carpathian-Dukla Operation, the Partisan movement, as well as the 1944-1945 liberation period. At Dukla, not far from the village of Vyšný Komárnik, the visitors can also find another monumental work – the First Czechoslovak Army Corps Memorial which symbolizes a military attack on the enemy. A unique exposition of heavy military machinery is situated along the so-called Death Valley near the village of Kapišová, as well as in the surroundings of the villages of Vyšný Komárnik and Nižný Komárnik.

Location: SvidníkKapišováVyšný Komárnik, Nižný Komárnik
More info: HERE


Natural swimming pool Makovica
Do you fancy a good swim and relaxation in the middle of a real forest? Have you been planning to get some peace and quiet so you can read your favourite book? Do you like homemade cuisine, well-chilled beer or ice cream? Are you fed up with overcrowded swimming pools? Then perhaps it is time for you to set off for the summer natural swimming pool Makovica. The popular recreational area is located 17 kilometres north from Bardejov, near the village of Nižná Polianka. The pool is split into two sections: a section for swimmers (at depth of up to 3.5 metres) and a section for children (at depth of up to 1.5 metres). The water depth increases gradually. The swimming pool area also features a diving platform. Water temperature ranges from 21 to 27 °C. In addition to the swimming pool, Nižná Polianka is also known for its World War I monuments – war cemetery and a Carpathian front memorial room.

Location: Nižná Polianka
More info: makovica.sk


Open-air museum in Svidník

The ethnographic open-air exhibition contains many folk architecture monuments typical of the Ruthenian culture in the region. It includes reconstructed houses from nearby villages, as well as barns, hay sheds, stables, watermill, water-powered sawmill, blacksmith’s workshop, firehouse or school. A wooden church and a 19th century coachman pub can also be encountered here. The wooden houses with straw or shingle roofs contain a historical inventory which stands out for its uniqueness. A nearby amphitheatre regularly hosts various events focused on the folk music, folk traditions and crafts. One example is the international pierogi eating championship.

Location: Svidník
More info: snm.sk


Domaša water reservoir and the Stropkov ZOO

The green pearl of the eastern Slovakia – Domaša water reservoir – is situated in the mountainous area of the Ondavská vrchovina highlands, an hour away by car from Bardejov. It offers excellent conditions for swimming, water sports and fishing. Besides the picturesque and peaceful area, the water reservoir is notable for its bluish green water with a superb self-purification ability. It is home to 23 different fish species. With the water temperature of 23 °C, it belongs to the warmest water reservoirs in Slovakia. During the summer, most areas are lively with activities such as discos or various other events. If you are travelling with children, you can combine your stay at the reservoir with a visit of the ZOO park in the nearby town of Stropkov. Open all year round, it is an attractive cultural and educational facility – one of a kind in Slovakia.

Location: DomašaStropkov
More info: wikipedia.org, zoostropkov.sk


 

Translated by:
Mgr. Juliana Senajová