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.

North east Slovakia

 photo: Chris Togneri

Few tourists ever even make it up here to Northeast Slovakia. This is understandable only in that it is a remote and sometimes desperately poor region (the poorest in the country in fact).

Yet Northeast Slovakia is also a fascinating, bewitching and singular land. If only people knew what they were missing.

Start with its biggest city, Prešov (population: 94,000), the third largest city in the country behind Bratislava and Košice. Prešov, like the region, is a surprisingly beautiful place: it has a charming Old Town, two easily accessible castle ruins, and the loveliest people in the country.

To the north is Bardejov, a town that is deservedly said to have the most magnificent Old Town in the country. Nearby is Bardejovské kúpele, a royal spa town frequented by royalty past and present, from the Habsburgs to the, er, Schusters.

Up the road is Zborov, a quiet village that is worth a visit for its castle ruin and military cemetery honouring slain German soldiers.

Moving on, visitors find the historical tourist’s paradise: Svidník. The town itself is unremarkable, really, but its proximity to the Dukla Pass, the Valley of Death, several wooden churches and the fading Rusyn culture make it one of the top Slovak destinations.

More surprises await further east. Humenné, shockingly enough, just might be the most entertaining town in the country: A newly reconstructed main square, a fantastic selection of churches (including the wooden church in the skanzen) - plus, it was the former stomping grounds of the good soldier Švejk.

And don’t forget about Kremenec, where the Polish, Slovak and Ukraine borders meet. This is the furthest east you can go in this country. A stone monument marks the borders’ confluence, in Poloniny National Park.

It is true that few tourists come to Northeast Slovakia. But it also true that those who do come invariably leave with unforgettable stories of an amazing corner of the country, not to mention a solid desire to return.

Welcome to Northeast Slovakia

- Chris Togneri

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

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