Shopping for souvenirs in Slovakia
The best place to buy typical Slovak souvenirs is the north of Slovakia. This is especially the mountain areas such as the Tatras, Orava, Liptov and Spiš. These regions are the place of Slovak traditional art and folklore. The most popular are shepherd’s walaskas, dolls dressed in Slovak costumes, or wooden or ceramic products.
The widest selection of souvenirs is offered by the ÚĽUV (Slovak Folk Culture) shops, which are managed by the Ministry of Culture. In Bratislava, they are located in the Old Town. Other ÚĽUV shops are in Košice, Bardejov, Banská Bystrica, Prešov and Trnava. The ÚĽUV shops mainly sell embroidered folk costumes and pillowcases, corn husk dolls, carved wooden figurines and ceramic goods. You can also buy souvenirs in castles, historic towns or tourist information centres (including national parks and small craft towns).
At local shepherd’s huts, you can buy wooden sheep’s milk jugs, so-called „črpáky“, decorated shepherd’s axes (valašky) or wooden shepherd’s pipes, so-called „fujary“.
If you are a shopping maniac, visit Bratislava. There are three shopping centres that are easily accessible from the city centre – Eurovea, Aupark and Central. Here you can find fashion accessories, jewellery, homeware, books and even furniture. You can visit the art gallery and take your little ones to the nursery, where they will be entertained by animators.
Shopping in Slovakia operates seven days a week (except public holidays) and most shops in shopping malls are open from 9am to 9pm every day. Many shopping centres have banks, photo services, restaurants, sports facilities and cinemas.
Slovakia offers tasty, high-quality cheeses. Our experts recommend trying oštiepok, parenica or other smoked Slovak cheeses. Slovakia is typical for its brewing and wine culture. Tokaj wine or quality wines from the region of Modra, Pezinok, Nitra and Topoľčionok are widespread.
Tourism in Slovakia
Slovakia – a paradise of castles and chateaux
Slovakia is a small country, but it boasts a large number of castles. The first written mention of Slovakia’s oldest castle, Devín, dates back to 868. Spišský hrad is one of the ten largest castles in the world. Spišský hrad is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Slovakia has 220 castles, castle ruins and 425 castles.
Čičmany – the first folk architecture reserve in the world
The wooden village of Čičmany at the foot of the Strážov Hills is full of wooden houses that tell the stories of Slovak people from the distant past. The village of Čičmany is the first folk architecture reserve in the world.
Ochtinská aragonite cave
Ochtinská aragonite cave is a unique cave in the world. You won’t find classic stalagmites and stalactites in it, but milky-white formations of aragonite.
Levoča – The highest altar in the world
In the Church of St. James in Levoča you will find the wooden altar of Master Paul of Levoča, which measures 18.6 metres. It took Master Paul 10 years to carve it out of lime wood. The highest wooden Gothic altar in the world was built in the 16th century.
The geyser in the village of Herľany
The geyser in the spa village of Herľany has been erupting from under the ground to a height of 20 metres every 32 to 36 hours for more than 140 years. It differs from other geysers in that it spews cold water. The temperature of the geyser reaches 14-18 °C. Between 1957 and 2006 it was the only cold geyser in Europe. Similar geysers can only be found in Iceland.
If you want to observe chamois, go to the High Tatras. There are only a thousand species left in the world. This unique species of chamois, which has different features from the related Alpine and Apennine chamois, is found nowhere else in the world than in the High Tatras.
Banská Štiavnica – a world rarity
Numerous historical monuments, Calvary, taichs, or artificial water reservoirs built to provide energy for the mines. Banská Štiavnica was one of the most important towns of medieval Hungary and from the cultural, historical and architectural point of view it is truly unique.
Bethlehem in Rajecká Lesná
A master carver created the largest wooden moving nativity scene in Europe over a period of 15 years. The nativity scene in Rajecká Lesná has about 300 figures, half of which are movable. The work is 8.5 m long, 2.5 m wide and 3 m high. The Bethlehem in Rajecká Lesná depicts not only the birth of Christ, but also the history of the Slovak nation.
Slovakia – Source of mineral springs
Slovakia has more than 1,600 officially registered mineral springs. Many of them have healing properties. Be sure not to miss tasting the mineral waters of Rajec, Budiš, Mitická or Kláštorná. The largest number of springs in Slovakia can be found in Bešeňová, where 33 springs with a temperature of up to 61 °C spring up.
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