2023 Day-by-Day

             Slovakia Heritage Tour               September 8-17, 2023

DAY-BY-DAY 


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 DAY 1:

Fri., Sept. 8:  Bratislava  – Banská Stiavnica  – Salamander Festival –  Banská Bystrica – Jarmok Festival
banska stiavnica
The beautiful renaissance mining town of Banska Stiavnica nestles in a wooded valley.

Our Slovakia Heritage adventure begins at the Radisson Blu Carlton Hotel  for our morning drive through the rolling Danube plains to the 14th century mining town of Banská Štiavnica, nestled in a richly-forested valley.  We’ll join in the fun of the town’s age-old Salamander Festival which brings together mining guild members from all over Europe and traditional Slovak folk groups . In the late afternoon, we’ll settle into the Hotel Kuria,  in the quaint city of  Banská Bystrica .  In the evening, we’ll gather for our Welcome Dinner (included)  which will feature a special fujara performance. A uniquely Slovak shepherd’s flute, the fujara has been named to the UNESCO cultural heritage list.
A miners' dance at the festival.Day1 Banska_Bystrica_046-TOM0469 (Photo by Jaroslav Tomto)417  women in pink banska (2)family in banska

Traditional dance and pop music fills the air.

DAY 2:

Sat., Sept. 9: Špania Dolina – Banská Bystrica- Harvest Market Festival

In the morning, we’ll step back in time in the ancient mining and lacemaking village of Špania Dolina, in the hills just outside of Banská Bystrica.  We’ll walk the village and forested lanes(at your pace) and visit the mining and lacemaking museums. The afternoon will be yours to enjoy the 400-year old Harvest Market Festival which fills the Banská Bystrica’s beautiful center square with booths to browse and perfomances to watch…both traditional and contemporary. You can also delve into World War II history from a Central European perspective at the  Museum of the Slovak National Uprising, shop, or relax. In the late afternoon we’ll gather for a Wine & Cheese reception(included) to go over the tour itinerary, answer questions and practice every day expressions with an introductory Slovak lesson.
Day2 Spania Dolina Walk IMG_4599Day2 Lace making IMG_4610 IMG_6768    

A short walk through the village of Spania Dolina.

DAY 3:

Sun., Sept. :  Banská Bystrica – Orava – Zuberec – Tatry Mountains

In the morning, we’ll travel through the beautiful landscapes of the Mala Fatra Mountains, stopping to visit the dramatic Orava Castle.  Oravan folk music and dance will entertain us during lunch(included) at a typical Koliba, shepherd’s restaurant. In the afternoon, we’ll stroll through the 19th century Zuberec museum village to see what village life was like when many of our ancestors left Slovakia.  Driving through the picturesque Liptovsky  lake region. we’ll arrive at the classic Grand Hotel Smokovec in the heart of the Tatry Mountains to relax and watch the sun set on the mountains.

Orava IMG_4708day3 orava castleIMG_7484 IMG_6805-SMALL  

An outdoor traditional museum.
A traditional Saris farm house.

DAY 4:

 Mon.,Sept. 11:   Tatry Mountains
You can enjoy the beauty of the Tatry Mountains at your own pace. There are several options for a day of out-door, scenic adventure in this dramatic small alpine range or relaxing in the resort towns, including taking a gondola to the top of the range, traveling the light rail train through the resorts, shopping, visiting the excellent Tatra National Park Museum, and taking short or long hikes in the mountains.  In the evening, we’ll stroll the shore of a glacial lake in Strbske Pleso and enjoy dinner at a typical mountain chalet restaurant. Optional personal family and village visits can be arranged.

Yday3 cooking classday3 Tatry mountains (photo by Pat Snyder)   

Rudy starts the hike down.
Civilized hiking.

DAY 5:

Tues., Sept. 12 :   Bardejov – Šariš Outdoor Museum and Thermal Spa

We’ll travel from the High Tatry Mountains to Bardejov with a surprise stop along the way. After checking into the Hotel Pod Branou in the heart of the city and lunch, we’ll explore Bardejov from the classic 19th century spa and Šariš out door folk museum to it’s exquisite medieval center, visiting the Basilica of St. Egidius with it’s many carved altars, and the Icon Museum if you wish.  You can relax in a cafe and take in the atmosphere of the central square before dinner. .  Optional personal family and village visits can be arranged.

IMG_7006day6 Bardejov 

Relaxing in Bardejov’s medieval square.
A Rusyn wooden church

DAY 6:

Wed. Sept. 13:   Šariš Region:   Small Village Visit – Levoča

In the morning, we’ll travel through the lovely stream valleys ringed by high pasture fields and farm land of the Šariš region to visit a small village..  Later will cross the low scenic hills to the medieval, pilgrimage town of Levoča. After lunch(included) we’ll visit the large, exquisitely-carved altar in St. Jacob’s Cathedral by 15th century master woodcarver  Master Pavol; the museum of his work; and other important Levoča historic sites.

In the evening, we’ll walk the beautiful central square of Košice before settling into the Hotel Doubletree by Hilton, in the heart of the city.

day7 Sabinovday5 Levoca_AVO_1480790 (photo by Alexander Voycek)299
day5 Levoca (photo by Pat Snyder)   


DAY 7:

Thurs. Sept. 14 :   Košice

We’ll enjoy morning guided walking tours of Košice’s well-preserved historic center. Afternoon free to shop and explore the thriving downtown of Slovakia’s second largest city.   Since many of our Slovak American ancestors came from Eastern Slovakia, this is a day we help travelers arrange for guides to visit their families or family villages. Optional evening special cultural program.
Optional personal family and village visits can be arranged.

day8 Kosice day8 Kosice (2) 

 DAY 8:

Fri. Sept. 15   Return to Bratislava -Spiš Castle- Shepherd’s Salas

Leaving Košice, we’ll start the trip back to Bratislava through the rolling hills and valleys of the Spiš region with stops along the way.  We’ll explore the ruins of the majestic Spiš Castle, one of the largest castle ruins in Europe.  On the trip home, we’ll have lunch(included) at a Salas, a traditional shepherd’s farm.

We’ll arrive in Slovakia’s capital city on the Danube in time to enjoy the charm of the Old City by night and settle into the old world elegance of the Hotel Radisson Blu Carlton, in the center of the Old City.

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DAY 9:

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A small group guided tour of Bratislava’s old center.

Sat. Sept. 16:  Bratislava 

Fall in love with Slovakia’s modest but elegant small capital  with a morning guided walking tour,  We’ll also travel by bus for panoramic views of the majestic Danube from medieval Devin Castle where we’ll learn about the Soviet-era Iron Curtain.  Our last stop will be the Bratislava Castle scenic overview for views of the city and Bratislava’s long history. The afternoon will be free time to explore Bratislava’s narrow central streets and lovely plazas for shopping or people-watching, and stroll the Danube promenade to watch the ships and barges along this busy waterway.  In the evening there will be opportunity for a musical or opera performance, a chance for a romantic dinner on your own, or a farewell gathering dinner in one of the many outdoor restaurants.

day11 bratislava (photo by Peter Svehla) day9 Bratislava (photo by Pat Snyder)  devin

Sample local delicacies for lunch.

Day 10:

Sun., Sept. 17:  Bratislava
Farewell to our Slovakia Heritage Tour travel friends!

day10 modra festival (photo by Pat Snyder)

At the close of the tour after breakfast, some people will fly out of Vienna, and others will continue to travel on for a few more days to : Vienna, Austria;  Krakow, Poland,: Prague, Czech Republic: or Budapest, Hungary on an extension tour arranged through Best Slovakia Tours..    Please see details on the  Extension Tours page, and contact Judy at 978-544-5144 or slovakiaheritagetours@gmail.com to discuss your personal plans.