I was never a big fan of cities and the life in the so-called ‘concrete jungle’. So when I came over to Slovakia this summer – into a city surrounded by a beautiful nature backdrop and easily access to adventure activities, I fell in love with it. And that is what Kosice is.
Kosice City (Košice in Slovakian) is a quaint little city with its cobbled streets, little bars and restaurants with amazing Slovakian food and wine to chill out at. However beyond that, just on the outskirts of the city centre, they also have a huge array of outdoor activities and action sport for people to experience.
Lisa and I were in Kosice and Spis Region for 5 full days, and am here to recommend some of the best we managed to cover in our limited summer time there:
Top Outdoor Activities to Experience in Kosice City and beyond
1. Go Crazy Bob Sledding
For those who have never tried it before, bobsledding like a big long slide on a hill for adults, using a special ‘vehicle’ to go real fast. I have tried something similar called the luge in both Singapore and New Zealand, but this would be my 1st time bobsledding, and it was immensely fun.
Your sled will first be pulled up the hill by a pulley system/ belt like those of waterslides/ ski lifts before you start your little adventure whizzing down the steel slide at high speed. We had 2 attempts to experience it, and on the 1st time, I was more cautious and used the handbrake on a bit more, but on my 2nd time attempting, I was going much faster and learned to use my body to help make the vehicle more streamline and faster.
Lisa and I were really lucky to have the entire bobsled ride in Bobovka exclusive ALL TO OURSELVES given it was the low season when we went ( May it is)! So given there is no crowds/ people to even begin with, I could go as fast as I like, and for Lisa, ‘slow’, steady and relaxing the way she likes it.;)
2. Conquer the High Tatras Mountains
These stunning majestic mountains are part of the Carpathian mountain chain in eastern Europe and are shared between Slovakia and Poland, though the highest peak is located only over at the Slovakia side. They looked truly magnificent in the distance and if you look harder at the bottom picture with the beavers, you can see the famous ski jumping structure where they host the Ski Jumping World Cup competition every year here.
We had a half day walk exploring around the High Tatras mountains with Erik from Adventoura Slovakia, who was a really chatty and humorous guide who kept us entertained the whole day despite the little rain and cold we experienced. We started off the hike at the beautiful glass-like Koliba Patria lake. It has a beautiful view of the fir trees, mountains, surrounding cabin resorts and small restaurants (where we had our really delicious lunch stop in the cosy ambience of the cabin). It was a bit cloudy and drizzling the day we hiked in the High Tatras, so if you want to do a good hike, it is always good to come prepared with waterproof windproof jacket and shoes.
(Animals one can spot here in the High Tatras include the Tatras’ endemic goat-antelope and almost endangered species, the Tatra chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica). Interesting sightings which I would love to spot will be predators like the Eurasian brown bear, Eurasian lynx, marten, wolf and fox. My favourite, the adorable fluffy alpine marmot which I saw in the Pyrenees in Spain is also commonly spotted in the range.)
There are some really great lookout spots along the way if you choose to opt to drive up the mountain area instead of hiking. We stopped by the Museum of Sherpas/ Sherpa Caffe for some warmth/ tea and to watch a documentary about the Sherpas of Slovakia, where we got to find out that they are the only last surviving Sherpas in Slovakia, and they still want to continue to hold on/ preserve the tradition of Sherpa work even up to this day and age. Sherpas here are similar to those in Nepal, incredibly strong and resilient people who are both physically and mentally strong in all weather conditions when they work on their tasks climbing the High Tatras to deliver items. The nature of their work is quite solo, they only specialise and focus on delivering goods/ items to the mountain huts, and not serve as porters too carrying bags for tourists wanting to hike in the Tatras.
3. Acrobatic Aeroplane Scenic Ride in Spisska Nova Ves
And no..this is not just a marketing gimmick, I truly got the privilege to control a plane when I was up in the air.
We made our way over to Compact Skydive in Spišská Nová Vesin at the later part of the afternoon after our horseriding experience and met Peter/ Olga and their fantastic team. They enthusiastically showed us around their shop, the planes, equipment, gear and training room for the students that come to do skydiving/ heli-dive ( jump off from a helicopter instead!).
After a little break and some snacks, without further ado, we were given a quick short briefing, incredibly cool red pilot jackets and hosted off to fly our plane!
Peter was the main pilot and I was the co-pilot, with Lisa sitting at the back enjoying the view.
We got to pull the little red plane out of the garage, prepare it for takeoff, put on our headphones and learn the basics of how to operate the little plane.
Some of the incredible sights we saw during the flight were Spiš Castle(UNSECO World Heritage Site), the town of Spišská Kapitula, Mariánska hora catholic church ( where the monks still wear the brown robes) and the small town of Levoča.
Really nice aerial view experience, not forgetting the crazy acrobatic plane tricks we were doing between the locations, falling at gravitational speed and sharp g-force turns that I will strongly encourage all not to eat before taking off to get the best out of your scenic flight. All in all, it was an incredible experience and I would encourage every adrenaline junkie to try this once in their lifetime!
4. Smooth Kayaking at Hornad River
I was expecting some river rapids here at Hornad River, but was pleasantly surprised by the calming and tranquil experience we had eventually. The kayak experience was done with adventure company called Eden Slovakia who also plan other activities like jeep riding to see the sunrise from incredible lookout points in Kosice.
During the kayaking, you will get to enjoy the peaceful calm of the water with the flowers/ pollen flying gently in the air. There will be some nice metal bridges you will go under, and if you are lucky, the trains will go past on top of the bridge while you are under, and it is a super exciting feeling to hear the rumble and deafening sound!
So hence concludes the huge array of incredible activities we did here in Kosice City. But the list doesn’t end here…
5. Immerse in a Full List of other Outdoor Activities:
City tour of Kosice City
- Chill out and see the city of Kosice
- Have a beer and some Slovak food
Spa and Wellness
- Indulge and relax your muscles/ body at one of the best spa places in Europe – AquaCity in Poprad
UNESCO Sites and National Parks
- Visit Slovak Paradise ( Read my full experience there hiking and horse riding!)
- Visit all the UNECSO World Heritage Sites
- Visit the Ice Cave in Summer
- Visit the Spis Castle – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Wind and Land Outdoor Activities
- Rock Climbing / Abseiling at the highest indoor gym in Europe, WoodRock ( Poprad)
- Parasailing at the High Tatras/ Tatra ( Something that I wanted to do badly too!)
- Mountain Carting at the High Tatras – Find out more
>>How to get to Kosice –
Flights to Kosice – Daily evening flight with Turkish Airlines from Istanbul Airport.
Alternative options involve bus rides from Poland or other flights from within Europe.