My trip to Slovakia was quite spontaneous. When it turned out that I had completed the entire itinerary to Pieniny, I decided to see nearby attractions in Slovakia. In fact, when I was going to Slovakia, I planned a short trip to Red Monastery and Lubownia Castle. It was the last day of my stay in Pieniny, I didn’t have time to organize a trip. I decided to take a risk and went there without the required car equipment. I actually didn’t have a warning triangle, spare fuses and bulbs set, tow rope. Having on mind the rules in Slovakia, the trip could have cost me a lot of money. Meanwhile, I didn’t have any cash on me, just a credit card. In order to calm down my doubts and reduce possible additional costs, I bought a hi-vis vest at the nearby gas station 😀
Fortunately, I’d also downloaded an offline map before leaving, which later turned out to be an invaluable help in choosing a route, which turned out to be much longer than I had expected. Thanks to the map I managed to avoid driving on a toll road without having the vignette. After seeing all the nearby attractions, I still had almost all day to see something more, so I decided to continue my trip to the southern part of Slovakia. As a result, I drove almost 250 km there. I started the route with a must-see place – Red Monastery (Červený kláštor). The monastery is located on the other side of the Dunajec river. Its name comes from a characteristic red brick from which it was built.
You can get here from Szczawnica, a picturesque path leads along the Dunajec or by car from Niedzica town. The monastery gives an amazing view of the Three Crowns (Trzy Korony) peak, located on the Polish side. Admission costs 3 € (data from 2020).
Less than 30 km from the Red Monastery is Stara Lubowla Stará Ľubovňa. The main attraction of this city is the Lubowla Castle (Hrad Ľubovňa), picturesquely located on the hill. It was built in the beginning of 15th century, and it actually belonged to Polish kings for a long time.
The castle, due to its location, belonged to the six most important fortresses Poland. During the Swedish invasion in 18th century, Polish coronation insignia was stored here – the crown, emblem, apple and the coronation coat.
The end of the Polish reign in the castle coincided with the first annexation of Poland. It was only in the 19th century that it was bought by the Zamoyski family. Finally in 1945 it was nationalised by a decree of the Czechoslovakian government.
The castle in Lubowla is one of the best preserved castles in Slovakia. From the perspective of the stone walls you can admire amazing views of the neighborhood. On the other hand, inside you can see old, interestingly decorated chambers.
Right under the castle, there’s an interesting Museum, where you can see traditional architecture and the way the inhabitants of these areas used to live.
In addition to numerous residential buildings, there is also a church, water mill and a forge.
An amazing place that I decided I to see was the Treetop Walk in Bachledka. Located on the border of Pieniny and Tatras monuntains, on the top of Spiska Magura. This is a unique place. Walking at a height of over 20 meters, you can almost touch tree crowns. On the other hand, from a panoramic lookout platform with you can see even the Three Crowns on Polish side.
There is also no shortage of additional attractions. At the top of the lookout platform there’s a net where you can check your ability to keep balance while also having a scary view down below. Additionally, the time of departure from the platform can be significantly reduced by sliding down a special slide (for 2 € -data from 2020 ).
In 2020 return gondola ride and admission ticket to the path cost me 20 € (ticket for children / seniors-16 €). The ticket for sightseeing only the path cost 10€ (7,5 € for children / seniors). You can also use the option: single ticket for the gondola with entry to the path, more info on the website.
Less than 40 km from Bachledka, there’s a special place – Tatranska Lomnica. This is one of the main tourist and ski centres on the Slovak side of the Tatras. Tatranska Lomnica is one of the highest towns in Tatry, which offers a number of interesting trails and the longest ski track in Slovakia (6 km, the level difference is 1300 m).
Lomnica dominates the city – it’s the second largest summit in the Tatra Mountains. From the lookout platform on top, you can admire the amazing panorama. Actually, you can get there only by a cable car, because there is no trail for individual tourists. Climbing to the top is only possible with a guide.
Unfortunately, due to the limited number of places and the popularity of the cable car, tickets need to be booked in advance. If someone doesn’t make it (as I did), nothing is lost. You can always visit Skalnaté pleso. There’s a huge free parking lot, located right next to the lowest queue station. Find further information about cable cars here.
Another 40 km farther, driving on the toll route E50, you can get to the charming town – Levoča. Due to the fact that I was only in Slovakia for one day, I didn’t want to buy vignette (the cheapest 10-day one costs almost 16 € website), which is why I made a detour to Lewocza by a free road. From Tarzanska Lomnica I headed to the town of Wierzbow, where I took the road no. 536 and then near Janovce I switched to the road no. 18, which led me directly to Levoča.
Levoča is a small town, which at the turn of the 15h and 16th century was an important merchant centre of the region. Old Town is surrounded by defensive walls and has retained a typical medieval character. On the Old Town Square there’s a lot of greenery and interestingly decorated, colorful houses, once belonging to rich merchants.
Nevertheless, the ′′back′′ of the Old Town Square is no less charming ,there you can see many colorful terraced houses.
It is worthwhile to continue the trip on road 18, towards the east, which leads to the famous Spišský Castle. Although the castle has already fallen into ruins, it still looks amazing in the surroundings of nearby meadows and fields. This is actually one of largest castle complexes in Europe. This view was the perfect end of my trip around Slovakia.