These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

The Spiš region

 photo: Chris Togneri

There are several stunning regions in Slovakia, from Liptov to Orava, Šariš to Gemer. All are outstanding. But none match the Spiš region

In this magazine, only one of these regions has won its own section: Spiš. Why? Because this is the most gorgeous part of the country.

In September 2001, I moved out of Bratislava to become The Slovak Spectator’s eastern Slovakia correspondent. Where I moved was my choice, and my criteria were simple. It had to be on the main Bratislava-Košice train line, close to plenty of great hiking trails, and in a beautiful, relaxed setting.

The decision was easy. I settled in Spiš.

My new ‘hometown’ in the east is Spišská Nová Ves, the capital city of the Spiš region. As you will read, I have fallen in love with ‘Spišská’ (as locals call it). The people here are amazingly warm, the Old Town lovely, the prices affordable. But most importantly, the city of 40,000 is an excellent starting point for visiting the many Spiš attractions.

Within walking distance of my flat is Slovenský raj National Park, a forested maze of twisting canyons, serene lakes and cascading waterfalls. Fifteen minutes away by train is Levoča, arguably the loveliest town in the country. A further twenty minutes away is Spišský hrad, the largest castle ruin in central Europe. Northern Spiš, meanwhile, is home to another national park, Pieniny, plus the spawling castle ruins and skanzen of Stará Ľubovňa.

This region is indeed amazing, so much so that towns like Poprad - with its beautiful district of Spišská Sobota - and Gelnica - a remote village with astounding hiking and a wonderful stone bridge - get no mention beyond this point.

But that’s the way it is with Spiš. Many people have written full books about this region and not covered it all. Spectatcular Slovakia 2002 has dedicated only a section, and it is painfully obvious that this is not enough.

So all I can do is urge you to visit. This is truly one of the most remarkable places on Earth. Just visit Spiš. You’ll soon see what all the fuss is about.

- Chris Togneri

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2002.

Make your comment to the article... (5 reactions already made)