Cover Photo © credits to iStock/Vrabelpeter1
Cover Photo © credits to iStock/Vrabelpeter1

Banská Štiavnica: The hidden treasure of Slovakia

2 minutes to read

Banská Štiavnica is a beautiful medieval town in the central part of Slovakia. It is a real treasure, not just because of its historical city center and surroundings but also because it used to be one of the richest cities in Europe. This Slovak hidden gem is very well preserved, and it is also listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo © credits to iStock/Photon-Photos
Photo © credits to iStock/Photon-Photos

The Silver City

Banská Štiavnica was in the 13th century proclaimed a royal town, and later it became the third biggest town in the Kingdom of Hungary (Slovakia used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). As I mentioned in the beginning, it used to be one of the richest cities in medieval Europe. The reason behind is that it is a silver mining town. Back then, people used to call it the Silver City, and “banská” in the Slovak language actually means "mining". In Banská Štiavnica was also established the first technical university, not surprisingly, the Mining Academy. A lot of useful inventions come from here. For example, gunpowder was used here for the first time in the world.

Photo © credits to iStock/TomasSereda
Photo © credits to iStock/TomasSereda

What to see in Banská Štiavnica?

The most picturesque place in Banská Štiavnica is definitely the Calvary on the top of the hill, from where you can see the whole town. The Calvary is a complex of three churches and twenty-two chapels, all beautifully decorated. In the city center, you can find two castles, the old one and the new one, both transformed into museums. And next to the castles, there is a wooden carved Bethlehem. In the main square, called Trinity Square, is a baroque plaque column you can not miss. And you can find a mining museum there. However, it is not the only one. As I told you, Banská Štiavnica is a mining town! A little bit outside of the city center (but still in a walking distance) is another mining museum, slightly bigger, where everybody gets a cloak, a helmet and a lamp and mines with a guide. Appropriate shoes and clothes are needed!

Calvary, Banská Štiavnica
Calvary, Banská Štiavnica
Pod Kalváriou, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Banskoštiavnický Betlehem
Banskoštiavnický Betlehem
Radničné námestie 11/20, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Slovak Mining Museum, Banská Štiavnica
Slovak Mining Museum, Banská Štiavnica
Jozefa Karola Hella 414/12, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Photo © credits to iStock/sedmak
Photo © credits to iStock/sedmak

Where to eat?

There are plenty of options where you can rest and have lunch or dinner. Locals favorites are Pivovar Erb or Monarchia Restaurant. They are both in the city center, serving mainly traditional food with a lot of different options and friendly prices. If you are looking for something fancier, I highly recommend the restaurant 4sochy with beautiful interiors and amazing food. If you are in a hurry, no problem. BS street food is serving tasty burgers and Asian noodles to go. For a coffee, definitely the most photogenic spot is Divná pani. It has a beautiful, little terrace. If you are looking for the best coffee in Banská Štiavnica, the answer would be Stará Škola. And if you are not a coffee person, then I recommend Čajovňa Klopačka, a Turkish-styled coffee and tea house with a shisha.

Pivovar ERB, Banská Štiavnica
Pivovar ERB, Banská Štiavnica
Novozámocká 132/2, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Monarchia restaurant, Banská Štiavnica
Monarchia restaurant, Banská Štiavnica
Andreja Sládkoviča 53/2, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
4sochy, Banská Štiavnica
4sochy, Banská Štiavnica
Kammerhofská 191/16, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
BS Street food, Banská Štiavnica
BS Street food, Banská Štiavnica
Dolná, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Divná Pani, Banská Štiavnica
Divná Pani, Banská Štiavnica
A. Kmeťa 120/8, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Stará škola, Banská Štiavnica
Stará škola, Banská Štiavnica
Andreja Kmeťa 9, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Čajovňa Klopačka, Banská Štiavnica
Čajovňa Klopačka, Banská Štiavnica
Andreja Sládkoviča 58/7, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Pivovar ERB, Banská Štiavnica
Pivovar ERB, Banská Štiavnica
Novozámocká 132/2, 969 01 Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Unfortunately, train or bus connections from Bratislava to Banská Štiavnica are not that frequent, and it might be complicated to get there without a car. But on the other side, this city is a real hidden gem! Banská Štiavnica is a treasure of Slovakia, metaphorically and literally. You can soak up the rich history, enjoy beautiful sceneries, have delicious food and even try to work in a mine for a day. 


Interesting activities close by


The author

Andrea Kacirova

Andrea Kacirova

I am a young traveler from Slovakia. I love exploring new places, especially if they include good food and propose events or places where I can be in touch with contemporary art. I would like to present Slovakia as a perfect travel destination for travelers like me.

View more stories

Stories you might also like