life through the lens
home destinations a-z the big trips about me world beers newspapers updates/links top fives Poprad travel store




Location - Eastern Europe; Capital - Bratislava; Population - 5.5 million; Currency - Euro MORE SLOVAKIA

A train took me from west Slovakia to Poprad at the base of the Tatras mountains, a useful hub for the region - December 2018.


euro1Slovakia switched to the Euro in 2009









slovakianoteAfter the Czech Republic and Slovakia split, the latter introduced the Slovakian Koruna until 2009










slovakia327The view of the Tatras mountains from the train station's upper floor is superb - Poprad


slovakia329The same view at dusk; the range varies in height from 2,000m to just over 2,600m - Poprad


slovakia340The snow trail on the right is the ski run above Tatranska Lomnica - Poprad















slovakia353 I think the peak on the left is Lomnicky Stit, measuring 2,634m - Poprad















slovakia299A firework display coincided with the opening of Poprad's Christmas market. Poprad is nothing special but it's a good base for the surrounding area, it offers excellent views of the mountains on a clear day, plus there's two excellent water-based activites in town (see below)


slovakia301I've read that the Red Army mosaic is dedicated to the liberation of Czechoslovakia at the end of WWII - can anyone confirm please? - Poprad


slovakia302Spisska Sobota is a small but attractive quarter a 10-15min walk from the centre - Poprad















slovakia307The Church of St George is the centre of Spisska Sobota - Poprad
















slovakia312A great place for relaxation, especially after a day of walking/hiking, is Aqua City Poprad - Poprad


slovakia321Its outside thermal pools are perfect for soothing aching muscles and to warm yourself up on freezing winter days - Poprad


slovakia323The same Tatranska Lomnica ski run pictured earlier - Poprad















slovakia314There's also a 50m swimming pool, restaurant, spa & massage, childrens' activities, slides, jacuzzi and a laser show - Poprad














slovakia354Unique?! Well maybe not, but I've never seen a beer spa where the hot water is mixed with hops, barley and yeast. It's at the central Minipivovar Tatras above the brewery-restaurant that makes the perfect IPL - Poprad


slovakia356Get the bubbles going. And the scum around the top is nothing to do with me, that's the beer ingredients, honest! - Poprad


slovakia367Making myself look beautiful in a beer mask. Yeah right, but anyway there also a sauna, shower and a cold water dunking pool. To the right is an on-demand Tatras beer tap, brewed on site - Poprad


















slovakia261Passing the Tatras mountains by train somewhere near Poprad


slovakia277Kosice is 1.5hrs by train east of Poprad, an easy day trip















slovakia265The city's heart is dominated by the Cathedral of St Elizabeth - Kosice















slovakia268Christmas at Hlavna, the main square of Kosice


slovakia271This attractive style of Christmas decoration is popular in Slovakian squares - Kosice


slovakia286The building to the left of the 14th century St Michael's Chapel is the Shire Hall, liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945. At this time Kosice became the temporary capital of Czechoslovakia until the Soviets reached Prague













slovakia378Back in Poprad, I took the electric train into the Tatras mountains, first stopping off at Stary Smokovec


slovakia379It was a very different day to that in Kosice - very cold with beautiful blue skies, perfect for a trip in the mountains - Stary Smokovec


slovakia380A snow-covered peak rises above one of many wooden buildings in the resort, popular with hikers and skiers - Stary Smokovec
















slovakia413Looking down on the plains below, backed by the High Tatras - Strbske Pleso


slovakia381The main draw to Strbske Pleso, the final stop on the electric train line from Poprad, is the small lake that gives the resort its name


slovakia384The icy waters are backed by Tatras peaks, a lovely setting - Strbske Pleso














slovakia393Armed with a wad of cash you can stay at the Kempinski Hotel, which overlooks the lake directly behind me - Strbske Pleso














slovakia391A pint-sized cafe on the water's edge - Strbske Pleso


slovakia399A chalet-style hotel lies on the opposite side of the lake, below what looked like (and sounded like) a mining chute - Strbske Pleso


slovakia412The High Tatras mountains above Strbske Pleso















slovakia421The Tatras mountains through the bus window on the way from Poprad to Spis


slovakia442Spisske Podhradhie is about an hour's bus ride east of Poprad















slovakia425The town stands below the huge Spis Castle - Spisske Podhradhie















slovakia426Starting the sweaty walk up to the castle - Spisske Podhradhie


slovakia438If you're walking up there's a bench to rest and admire the panorama - Spisske Podhradhie


slovakia437On the hill, middle left, is the 13th century ecclesiastical complex of Spisska Kapitula. The Tatras mountains are peering over the hills, top right - Spisske Podhradhie













slovakia435Much of the 12th century castle is a reconstruction following a fire in 1780 - Spisske Podhradhie















slovakia449And whaddayaknow, it was closed! But at least I knew before I came - it shuts for the whole of winter, reopening in March - Spisske Podhradhie


slovakia452The mist slowly burns away on the other side of the castle hill - Spisske Podhradhie


slovakia467Levoca, between Poprad and Spisske Podhradhie, has an Old Town with the square of Nam Majstra Pavla as its focus














slovakia462This is a new one on me. Outside the Town Hall is the Cage of Shame, where naughty children were punished. Not sure what the punishments entailed.. - Levoca














slovakia463Beyond the Town Hall is the Church of St James, both found on Nam Majstra Pavla - Levoca


slovakia465On the hillside to the right of the central Christmas tree is the Church of Marianska Hora - Levoca


slovakia466Christmas ice skate baubles? - Levoca















slovakia468I headed downhill to the bus station, returning to Poprad for a convoluted train ride to Banska Stiavnica - Levoca














slovakia470A statue of Nacko, a semi-mythical character known for jokes and storytelling in the historic mining town of Banska Stiavnica


slovakia480On the corner is the Church of St Catherine and behind it on the left is the Town Hall - Banska Stiavnica


slovakia488Another one of many craft breweries that have popped up in Slovakia, this one being Pivovar ERB. All the microbreweries I saw were establishments and this one was no different - Banska Stiavnica













slovakia490The 16th century Old Castle (Stary Zamok) - Banska Stiavnica















slovakia496This is also the Old Castle, and yes you guessed it there's a New Castle, built as a watchtower on another hill just a few years later - Banska Stiavnica


slovakia497The low-lying cloud meant views from the castle were restricted to anything within five metres. It was also icy under foot which made walking the steep cobbled streets treacherous. Hold on to the barriers! Banska Stiavnica was the only place I thought wasn't worth bothering with, though undoubtedly I was influenced by a lack of hillside vistas on a cloud-enshrouded day


slovakia473This memorial is dedicated to the Slovak National Uprising (SNP), a resistance movement in WWII - Banska Stiavnica
















Website and content Copyright © 2008-2019 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.


LINKS - official tourist information - Slovak rail


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.


world beers