Slovakia by van, a must do in Europe

Categories Central europe, Europe, Roadtrip, Slovakia, Vanlife
Découvrez les magnifiques routes de Slovaquie en van lors d'un road trip en Europe.

2 weeks in Slovakia by van

A country we didn’t know much about but that we really loved!

Unlike our road trip in Czech Republic, where we were coming from, we had very good weather and were able to go hiking in magical places.

Between small traditional villages, castles and hikes… find here the details of our travel itinerary in Slovakia by van and some useful information for vanlife in Slovakia.

Visit Slovakia by van

1/ 2 weeks itinerary in Slovakia

(when: october)

Find on the map above some good spots in Slovakia: where to park your van, hike, eat…!

1.1/ Arrival in Bratislava

We start our road trip in Slovakia with its capital, Bratislava. It’s a small capital, but it doesn’t lack charm. Cradled by the Danube and overlooked by Bratislava Castle, we really liked getting lost in it. We stayed there for 2 days, which seems good to us.

Discover Bratislava castle during in a road trip in Slovakia by van.

We liked to:

  • visit the center of the old town, the beautiful squares, the national theater and look for the statues (here the “man at work”) everywhere in town.

Famous Man At Work in Bratislava streets in Slovakia

  • go to Bratislava castle and enjoy the wonderful view on the town and the Danube river.

The panoramic view from Bratislava castle, during our travel un Slovakia by van, nice!

  • visit the Blue Church, or Elisabeth Church and walk into the Saint-Michel street up to the Saint-Michel Door (only door that is still here from the former medieval fortification).

Blue church, also called Elisabeth church in Bratislava, Slovakia's capital.

  • Taste local gastronomy, like the Bryndzové Halusky, not caloric at all!

Taste Bryndzové Halusky, a Slovak tradionnal dish

  • drinking beers in front of the Danube river in a temporary bar to enjoy summer days.
Spot to sleep in a van in Bratislava:

We are parked in a free car park along the Danube and near a park on the other side of downtown Bratislava. We have a beautiful view of the city. During the day, there are people but it is quite calm at night. We are 15 mins from the center on foot (cross the Stary Most bridge) and about ten minutes (south-west) from the Aupark shopping center with toilets and sockets.

Night view on Bratislava old town, ufo bridge and the castle in Slovakia by van.

1.2/ Cicmaci painted wooden houses

Čičmany is a small village in the Strážov Mountains, near the Rajčianka River. Its houses are classified as historic monuments, and when you arrive, you can better understand why.

Admire the really nice Cicmany wooden houses painted with white pattern.

Its typical houses are painted with geometric white patterns which are patterns they use in their traditional fabrics and clothing.

We spend a pleasant afternoon there and have a picnic on the outskirts of the village. There is no one there (we saw 4 or 5 people in 2 / 3h).

White patterns on Cicmany traditional houses in Slovakia represent our tissue pattern

Spot to sleep in Slovakia by van:

We could very well have slept in the city’s car park (as we were the only ones there) and there are chemical and permanent toilets and garbage cans. But we chose to drive a few kilometers north to sleep in nature close to a small stream, without any service.

1.3/ Tatras Mountain’s fantastic landscapes

During our trip we met a Polish who told us about the Tatras Mountain, bordering both Poland and Slovakia. So we decided to go hiking in this national park, and we really loved it. We would even have liked to have planned more time there to discover other trails.

Discover amazing Tatras moutain's landscapes during a trip in Slovakia by van.

Here an overview of the landscapes of our Tatras Mountain hike in Slovakia. (>> Here our hiking itinerary in Tatras).

Hiking in Slovakia: wonderful view from one of Tatras Mountain' summit.

Spot to sleep with a van in Tatranska Lomnica:

As we were there to hike (the goal was to leave early in the morning), we slept in the parking of the cable car  departure (it’s a ski resort in winter). During the week in October it was VERY quiet, we were peace. Nevertheless there must be very nice nature spot in the area.

1.4/ Don’t miss Sucha Bela hike

The weather is nice, we take this opportunity to continue hikes in Slovakia. To change the landscape, we decide to explore Sucha Bela gorges, in the Slovak Paradise National Park, or the Slovensky Raj. This walk is renowned as very beautiful and fun. Lots of steps fixed in the rock, dizzying ladders …

Sucha Bela hike in Slovakia is wonderful, in the Slovak Paradise

It was really great and not difficult if you are used to hike AND if you are not dizzy. It takes about 3 hours for 7.8 km round trip by the same path (about 400m of elevation gain). Personally we preferred to make a loop, with the return a little longer (approximately 8.2 km). The return path is not specially indicated but we found it easily.

One of the best hike in Slovakia, Sucha Bela gorges in the Slovak Paradise.

The first part in the caves was a bit complicated with a dog. We succeeded because Huaca is only 10 kilos and thanlks to Romain who felt like carrying her during difficult passages. Otherwise it would not have been possible.

Try the huge stairs of Sucha Bela gorge during a road trip in Slovakia by van.

Start from the Podlesok campsite, a small town in Hrabusice. We were parked at a free parking lot at the entrance. Access to the park is chargeable, but really very cheap, around € 1.5 per person. And if you come before the opening (7 a.m.), there’s nobody there.

Don't miss in Slovakia, sucha Bela' stairs in the slovak paradise.

Spot to sleep in a van in the Slovak Paradise park:

We continue 7 km further south, and we park on a small parking lot at the start of the Blazloch hike. Very quiet, no service.

1.5/ Blazloch, still in the midle of the park

Great lake in the slovak paradise park during our trip in Slovakia by van

We decide to stay around a bit and take a walk, but not in ing all day long. Rather a walk towards the lakes and mushroom picking. There is still plenty to do if you want to walk. Lots of trails… and a small map at the start.

Mushroom picking was great in the slovak paradise park !

Same spot:

Sleep in a van in the slovak paradise park, in nature during a trip in Slovakia by van.

We enjoy the Slovak Paradise before we go on the road again!

1.6/ Levoca, a small fortified city

After these few nature / hiking days, we stop for a day in Levoca, a beautiful fortified town. Clearly, except if you decide to walk to the church on the hill (2h / 2h30 round trip with 200m elevation gain to go), 2h / 3h is enough to discover the city are ok. City which is also part of the Unesco world heritage.

Levoca city center, small fortified town of Slovakia.

The city is beautiful, the fortification is in good condition. Going around makes a nice walk. We ate at a local restaurant where we could enjoy a good beer on their terrace and did some local craft shopping.

Spot to sleep in a van in Levoca:

Inside the fortifications, the main parking lot. Very quiet in this season, maybe 5 cars during the day and we were alone at night. On the other hand, we stayed discreet; it’s not a place to take out a camping chair, but rather not to have to get back on the road after drinking maybe more than 1 beer!

Travelling in Slovakia by van ? We slept on a parking inside the Levoca town fortifications.

1.7/ Spis Castle, one of the country symbol

Another castle would you tell … and partially in ruins what’s more! It is not false !
But, the Spis castle enjoys a magnificent view. Perched on a hill, it faces the Tatras Mountain and its snowpack.

Traveling in Slovakia by van ? Make a detour to Spis castle, close to Levoca

The visit costs around € 8 per adult and lasts 2 hours. Parking is free, but it’s better to arrive early (opening at 9 a.m.), or like us at the end of the day. Otherwise you will have to walk a bit to get there! From the top you can really appreciate the architecture of the castle … too bad we didn’t think about flying the drone … it would have been great (check the opening hours here).

From inside,the view on the Spis castel walls, and Tatras is really nice.

1.8 / Kosice, at the Hungarian border

We stay a day in Kosice. Quick, but as usual here, all the most important buildings, squares… are concentrated in the old town. So just a day is ok if you have no much time.

Visit the old historical center of Kosice in Slovakia and Hlavná Ulica colored street.

It’s nice to wander the main street, Hlavná Ulica, with all its colorful buildings and come across the Gothic Cathedral of Saint Elizabeth. One of the largest in the country! We didn’t go up to the top of the cathedral, but we did see pictures that suggest it’s worth going up!

Right next to it, the Saint-Urbain tower and its pretty roofs, they remind me of the roofs that we often saw in Croatia. There is also the theater, the palace of Kosice … but really, the majority of the “must-see” is concentrated on this large artery!

Nice buildings in the Kosice's old city center, the 2cd town of Slovakia.

We like to walk in the parc more East from the center. Furthermore Huca enjoyed it (just 5 minutes on foot from the Hlavná Ulica street).

2/ Useful info – Slovakia by van

Here some useful info to prepare a raod trip in Slovakia with a van.

2.1/ Where to park your van in Slovakia

It is quite easy to find spots to park a van in Slovakia. In any case during this period (early October), there are few tourists and even fewer vans / camper vans and the locals do not seem embarrassed by our presence (we remained very discreet when we were close to houses) . Think of the park4night app and maps (with road, mountain, river).

2.2/ Where to shower and refill water

We had no problem finding water and filling up our small reserves. For the showers, it was with the camping shower and bio-degradable soap.

2.3/ Roads’ condition in Slovakia

The road condition is really OK. But do not forget that you need to buy a sticker to drive on the main roads in Slovakia. It’s totally affordable: 10€/ 10 days, 14€/ month, 50€ a year. You can buy it in the first gas station when entering in the country.

2.4/ What budget to plan?

They also use Euro in Slovakia, however, life is a bit cheaper than in France. Use spent about 20€/per day for 2 (gas included).

Drive on the very nice roads of Slovakia in a van during a european road trip.

>> We hope this article on Slovakia will be useful or made you want to visit Slovakia by van. Do not hesitate to leave us a little message if this is the case or if you have a question!

We could also like:

Road trip in Czech Republic by van, Visit Berlin with a van

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