From the moment you step into Kosice old town you’ll be completely blown away. Colors burst from the walls of each building, and at once you feel like you’re stepping back in time. During our short visit, we wanted to experience as much as possible in Kosice Slovakia. We climbed to the top of the St. Elisabeth’s Cathedral, sampled our way through the Kosice fresh fruit market, and enjoyed a performance at the singing fountain. Most people only have an afternoon or one night to take in Kosice so we wanted to highlight everything to see in a short amount of time. However, after reading this you’ll see you could easily spend days wandering around the city! Get ready to travel to Kosice with us as we explore the colorful streets, and even recommend our favorite restaurants.
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How and When to Travel to Kosice Slovakia
Kosice is the largest city in Eastern Slovakia and is renowned for its beautiful old town. For now, Kosice remains off the typical tourist route and never gets too crowded with visitors. This means that even in the warm summer months you can enjoy the city without feeling like you’re in a major tourist hub.
If you’re not visiting in the summer then the next best time to go is during the Christmas season. Over the course of December Kosice old town is transformed into a winter wonderland. We went in July, but hope to make it back during the holiday season one year!
When planning your travel to Kosice the easiest way is to fly into the international airport (KSC). Fortunately, major and low-budget airlines now connect Kosice with the rest of Europe!
If you’re not flying, the bus and train both connect with all of Slovakia and many other big cities like Budapest and Krakow. Both the train and bus station are located just outside Kosice old town, and just a quick walk from the city center.
Exploring Kosice Slovakia Old Town
Kosice Slovakia has a small and charming old town surrounded by a huge developed city. Everything we loved about it was close and tucked into the center near the Kosice Cathedral.
It’s easy to see with the size why so many people make a day trip here or even an overnight stop. All of what we mention can be visited in an afternoon of exploring, but Kosice is also a place where you can easily spend several days relaxing and soaking in its charm.
Travel Tip: You’ll notice we stick to highlighting what to do in and around Kosice old town in this blog. Yet if you have more than one day or are traveling through Eastern Slovakia, make sure to visit the incredible Spiš Castle!
The Singing Fountain
Right in the middle of Kosice old town is a small park that looks like any other at first glance… That is until you get close enough to hear the opera music! Along with the soft and whimsical sounds is a massive fountain that shoots water in different patterns into the air. With the State Theatre as your backdrop, you can sit in the park and enjoy this magical display. We found it super entertaining for such a small park!
Completed in 1899, this gorgeous property was built by famous architect Arpad Jakab and used as his private palace. The Neo-Gothic style is evident from your first look, but the green tiling on top is really what drew us in!
Interestingly enough, the stonework was done with discarded pieces of the Kosice Cathedral. You might not be able to enter or tour this palace, but it’s still worth going to see on the outskirts of old town.
Kosice Slovakia Fruit & Flower Market
To be honest, we didn’t even know about the fruit and flower market until we spotted it from the top of the Kosice Cathedral! Several dozen stands are set up with the star of the show being the fresh berries. We found some of the most delicious raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries that we’ve had in all of Europe right here in Kosice Slovakia.
On our visit, we found out the market is open every day from 7am-12pm except on Sundays. You can find this special market right in front of the Kosice restaurant named Pivovar Golem.
Sculpture Immaculata (Plague Column)
Kosice old town is filled with many monuments, but this may be the most important of them all. The Sculpture Immaculata was built in 1723 to signify the end of the plague epidemic that had spread through Europe.
The intricate designs make their way up the statue and end with the Virgin Mary on top. You also don’t have to worry about missing this statue as it stands 14 meters high in the center of the city.
Climbing the Bell Tower of St. Elisabeth’s Cathedral
If you’ve followed our other Central Europe blogs you know that we’ve made a point to climb as many churches, towers, and viewpoints as possible. So once we saw that the Kosice Cathedral had the best view in town we knew what we had to do! After the tight winding stairs of the Eger Minaret in Hungary and the 343 steps at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, this felt like a piece of cake.
Yet what makes this church so unique (besides having origins back to the 11th century) is that each level has a different floor to explore on your way up. Once you get to the top of the bell tower you’ll be rewarded with incredible views and a perfect panorama of the city. It’s from the top of the Kosice Cathedral where you can truly see the colors and beauty pop out!
What is Slovakian Food?
Pulling flavors from the locally grown vegetables and meats, the food in Slovakia is hearty and delicious! It has similarities from many of its neighboring countries, and we felt it was the best of Poland, Hungary, Austria, and even Germany wrapped into one. We especially loved the Kosice restaurants featuring dishes with sheep cheese, duck, and fresh vegetables.
Our Two Favorite Kosice Slovakia Restaurants
Haluškáreň: (Location)- We had several great meals in Kosice, but this one really stuck out to us. The national dish of Slovakia is Bryndzové Halušky which is potato dumplings with sheep cheese! Yeah it’s as good as it sounds, and there’s few places that do it better than this Kosice restaurant. Packed from open to close, Haluškáreň specializes in one dish and they do it really well.
If you’re looking to elevate the traditional Bryndzové halušky you can order it with smoked cheese, spinach, or an array of other meats and toppings. Also, it’s good to note that you order the plates in small, medium, or large sizes. The small is a good size, the medium is very filling, and the large is downright massive!
Our Order: Two medium Bryndzové halušky. One traditional and one with smoked cheese and spicy sausage.
Med Malina: (Location)- This is one of the most popular Kosice restaurants, and for good reason! The overall feel of Med Malina is very welcoming and gives off the vibe that you’re eating at a friends or relatives home. With that, the meals are delicious and have everything from vegetarian to meat lovers options.
During the summer you can sit outside in the main square, while in the winter the cozy indoor area will make you want to order a hearty meal. There’s no better way to escape the cold than with a hearty pork knuckle and glass of Slovakian red wine!
Our Order: Two local draft beers, cabbage with mixed meats, and pork knuckle.
Kosice Slovakia vs Bratislava
We are surprised to say this, but we actually preferred Kosice to the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava. This is not meant to say anything negative about Bratislava as we had an amazing visit there earlier in our Europe trip!
However, after hearing so much about the capital and nothing about Kosice, we were surprised that more travelers haven’t yet made the visit to this part of Eastern Slovakia. Maybe it’s the great location of the capital between Vienna and Budapest, or the massive Bratislava Castle that draws people in. Whatever the case, we really enjoyed our time in Kosice and felt it was more our style!
→ If you plan to visit Bratislava make sure to check out our one day city guide!
Have you ever been to Slovakia? If so tell us your favorite town in the comments below! Additionally, if you have any questions or comments about travel to Kosice Slovakia please let us know.
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Kosice Slovakia
Ultra Luxury (High End) – Boutique Hotel Chrysso – Small boutique hotel in the center of Kosice old town. Stylish rooms with balconies and a delicious breakfast to get your day started.
Fun Vacation (Mid Range) – Boutique Hotel Slávia – With its perfect location near the Kosice Cathedral, this swanky hotel has everything you need to enjoy your stay. Upscale rooms compliment fine dining at the onsite restaurant and bar.
Travel Couple (Longterm Travel) – Duplex Emily – This loft apartment has tons of space including a full kitchen and living room area. This is a great place to relax after a long day of travel to Kosice, and is just steps from the shopping mall and old town.
For more places to stay in Kosice Slovakia you can explore the latest prices here!
Slovakia Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars for renting vehicles. A quick travel tip is to ask for a discounted weekly rate rather than booking 2-3 days.
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we flew from Norway to Poland for under $20 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld can be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities around the world. From food tours to skip the line entry passes!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
*We receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post. This allows us to continue our travels and keep providing great content to our readers! Also, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
If you can, rent a car and see some of the traditional villages tucked in between the many mountain ranges – and get up to the High Tatras, Strbske Pleso – a range of 8000+ Ft mountains.
Such a great idea! The Tatra mountains are so beautiful
I wanted to add Presov and Bardejov too, Two cities to not miss!
That’s amazing thank you for sharing your story! We can’t wait to see more of Slovakia. It’s such a beautiful country!
I lived in Kosice in 1990, teaching English (I’m an American), lovely city. I’ve also lived in Piestany, a spa town. Beautiful architecture, history and hotels. The Slovak Philarmonic summers there and gave free concerts every day when I was there 1994. Nitra is another cool town, agricultural university there. And I loved Poprad too, up in the Tatras. My family’s village is Kluknava, a cute town too. Beautiful country and people.