Kosice is eastern Slovakia’s largest city with a population of almost 243,000. The only other Slovakian city bigger than Kosice is the capital city of Bratislava. If you are planning a trip to Eastern Europe, this is one city well worth spending some time in. It was a European Capital of Culture in 2013, along with Marseille, and is well-known for its incredible architecture spanning numerous styles from Gothic to Baroque to Renaissance.
Getting to Kosice is relatively easy by air. Kosice International Airport is just south-west of the city centre. You can also travel by bus if you prefer land-based transport. Of course, train and car are also possibilities.
Local Transport Options
Kosice is a very small city, so getting anywhere you need to go is not difficult. Most tourists tend to walk rather than pay for public transport, and getting from Kosice hotels to any region within the city is easy and straightforward. Just obtaining one of the many types of tourist maps should be sufficient to get by. But there are buses and trams if walking is not for you. For more extensive travel outside of the city, you will probably want to ride the train.
The one tricky thing about public transport in Kosice is purchasing tickets. You can purchase either one or two-zone tickets, depending on where you’re going. One-zone tickets are good on most buses and trams operating within the city; you can purchase them at local kiosks and shops and have them validated once you board the first time. Any travel outside the city will likely require a two-zone ticket. What you decide to do though will depend on the type of visit you are undertaking to the city (i.e. whether you are on your holidays or are staying in one of the Kosice hotels for a weekend break).
Accommodation in Kosice
Despite its relatively small size, there is an abundance of acceptable accommodations in Kosice. The budget-minded traveller may choose a budget hotel or hostel – there are plenty of them scattered throughout the city. Travellers who want more comfortable accommodations can choose from a selection of three- and four-star hotels.
One thing to be aware of is that hotel rooms in Kosice are rather sparse as compared to what we’re used to in Western tourist destinations. But don’t worry, they are still comfortable. If you’d like to go above and beyond the finest hotel, it is possible to rent an entire apartment for your stay. The City Information Centre publishes an annual listing of local accommodations, including dorm rooms that are available during July and August.
Your Dining Options
Dining options in Kosice are not as extensive as you might find in some other destinations, but there are still plenty of choices. Select a neighbourhood bistro if you are interested in local fare prepared in the most authentic way possible. For the vegans and vegetarians among us, there are several excellent restaurants right in the city centre. There are also a few options in the Aupark and Optima shopping malls.
Travellers willing to pay a little more can find some very good formal and casual restaurants that offer full service. Most of the mid-range and high-end restaurants have no trouble with English-speaking patrons if that’s important to you. Here’s a list of some of the most top-rated restaurants in the city:
- Republika Východu (international)
- Villa Regia (international)
- 12 Apoštolov (Slovakian)
- Nech Sa Páči (café)
- Le Colonial (Slovakian)
- Med Malina (Polish)
- Smelly Cat (café)
- Café Napoli (Italian)
- Cukráreň Aida (Café)
Things to See and Do
The settlement that is now Kosice has been inhabited on and off since the Palaeolithic era. That means there are thousands of years of history observable in the city’s architecture, culture, art, and music. We recommend taking your time to really enjoy the sights and sounds as you take it all in.
Among the many options for things to do, we suggest the following:
- Cathedral of Saint Elisabeth – This fourteenth-century cathedral is just what you would expect from an Eastern European church building designed in the Gothic style. The most appealing part for tourists is the circular staircase that takes you to the top of the tower for one tremendous view.
- Hlavné Nám – This public square offers the opportunity for some quiet relaxation among beautiful flowers and a mesmerising fountain. Nearby is an art gallery if you’re interested in seeing some local works.
- Lower Gate Underground Museum – You can explore the medieval remains of the city by visiting this underground Museum. You’ll see the city’s lower gate along with a number of fortifications originally built back in the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. But be careful, the underground is a maze that is easy to get lost in.
- Main Street – Kosice’s Main Street comes alive with the city’s history from dawn to dusk. As you stroll down the avenue, you’ll see all the most important historical sites including the medieval town square where it all began. You will also find shopping, restaurants, and cafés along with examples of local housing spanning the various stages of development.
- Shire Hall – Shire Hall is a historically significant building built in the late eighteenth century. It was used as the place where the Kosice government was established in 1945. Today it is the home of a small art gallery.
- East Slovak Museum – Take a journey through the ages as you learn about the development of Kosice and Slovakia in general. The museum is housed in what was once a prison and metal foundry. Within the museum yard is a wooden church built in 1741 and relocated to the property.
We have barely scratched the surface of this delightful little city in eastern Slovakia; we hope you enjoy your time there. Be sure take plenty of pictures and share them with your friends!
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- By Maros M r a z (Maros) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
- By Ville Miettinen – originally posted to Flickr as Košice, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8359881
- By I, Tucquero, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2452504