One of the most popular destinations among Upland hikers and city tourists is the Slovak Banska Stiavnica. The town, built on a hillside has a special atmosphere, which is why you should visit it at least once! The city has played an important role in the economy for centuries. At first, it was due to mining works, now its tourism structure has been built and it awaits visitors all year round.

The cauldron, stretching between 900 and 1000 meters high in the Selmec Mountains, hides a fantastic small town, the whole area of ​​which is a World Heritage Site. Banska Stiavnica has a land of ​​less than 50,000 km² and a population of just 10,000. Regardless (or just because of that) the city is a little treasure box.

Churches, chapels, interesting and modern museums and exhibitions meet in the settlement. Not to mention that fantastic architectural wonders can be seen walking down the city center. Due to the natural assets, every square and street in the city is on a different level. However, unlike as it is with the terraced structure, the cityscape is unified and the buildings are in a fantastic harmony.

Banska Stiavnica is located in the Banska Bystrica district of the Banska Stiavnica Region in Slovakia. It can be found from Banska Bystrica to Southwest and from Mount Sittya to the North. The town belongs to the Stiavnicke vrchy Landscape Protection Area.

This area is the largest landscape protection area in Slovakia. The area on the Stiavnicke vrchy mountain range has its base on a stratovolcano, which is also the largest volcanic mountain in Slovakia.

Banska Stiavnica accommodation

If you choose Banska Stiavnica as your next destination, you should definitely spend at least 1-2 days here! There are plenty of things to see near the city, close to Banska Stiavnica, so many sights can be explored in as little as 1 day. However, if you want to spend some more time in a museum, it is better to stay overnight and continue your adventure there the next day.

How to get to Banska Stiavnica

If you are approaching the town by car, please note, that there are toll roads in Slovakia. If you do not travel by car, you can also get to Banska Stiavnica by public transport, like train. Check inn advance if your train is direct.

You can also check out the offers of Flixbus or other European bus companies. Flixbus runs daily to Banska Bystric, and also stops at Zvolen, from where you can get to Banska Stiavnica easily by train.

Banska Stiavnica Bratislava distance
Banska Stiavnica Bratislava distance

Banska Stiavnica - Top 13 attractions

There are several legends about the founding of the city. The best known is that two lizards showed a shepherd where he can find gold and silver at the foot of the Old Mountain, where the city would later form out.

The city was continuously inhabited during the Middle Ages and was economically significant, but it only reached its heyday by the 15th century, which lasted until the 18th. In the 19th century, however, the mines began to dwindle, so the city’s population continued to decrease. The city borders were also remodeled several times during this time. No wonder, that so many buildings, churches and monuments preserve the memories and legends of the past.

To explore the city and not to miss any of the attractions, I compiled a TOP 13 list with the sights of Banska Stiavnica. These can be discovered in one day, as the city is not very big, but if you sometimes stop for a coffee or a cookie, you will then have to continue with dense steps for the second half of the day. So you should spend here at least two days, especially if you want to spend more time in any building or museum. 😉

# 1 Mining Museum

I think it is no surprise that the TOP 1 attraction is the Slovak Mining Museum, founded in 1974. The building has a part above and under the ground as well. On the surface, you can learn about buildings and equipment, while below the surface, you can learn more about the tasks, and the tools of miners.

Banska Stiavnica attractions - Mining museum
Banska Stiavnica attractions - Mining museum

The most exciting point of the museum is getting down to the Bartholomew mine. This requires dressing up and putting on the miner’s cloak, helmet and they even give you an authentic lantern. It is worth preparing for the museum with closed shoes and a warm sweater, as the temperature in the underground part is much lower.

Opening hours

You can find out more about the guided tours and the opening hours of each exhibition on the website. Winter and summer opening hours may differ.

• Opening hours: 09:00 - 17:00, every day - may vary by exhibition

Prices

Admission to the mine is between 2 and 8 euros, depending on whether you are just looking at one of the exhibits or both. Children have a 50% discount.

  • Adult surface entrance fee: 2 euros
  • Adult combined ticket (underground and surface ticket): 8 euros
  • Children's surface entrance fee: 1 euro
  • Children's combined ticket (underground and surface ticket): 4 euros

Approach, address

  • Address: Jozefa Karola Hella 414, 969 01 Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 6 minutes / 4.5 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 45 minutes / 3.1 km
  • Phone number: +421 45 691 29 71

# 2 Old Castle Banska Stiavnica

Stary Zamok

The Old Castle with a special history is one of the main attractions of Banska Stiavnica. The building is located to the west of Trinity Square. Originally built as a Romanesque basilica, it later became a church on which the Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance years left a lasting imprint.

However, it underwent its greatest transformation during Turkish times, when it was transformed into a castle. There are now several exhibitions in the castle, and the bastions offer fantastic views on the entire horizon.

As the view from the castle was also important from a military point of view, there are plenty of finds left from the hunting tools of the past centuries, from which an exhibition was created in the castle. In addition, there is always a temporary exhibition which is focused on the fine arts.

Opening hours

The castle is closed on Mondays! It is opened from 09:00 to 17:00 every other day. Opening hours and prices can be viewed on the Old Castle website.

Admission and prices

Admission to the Old Castle is between 4 and 6 euros, depending on whether you choose a short or a long walk. Tickets are available for children at a 50% discount.

Approach, address

  • Address: Starozamocka 40, 969 01 Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 5 minutes / 2 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 30 minutes / 2 km
  • Phone number: +421 45 694 94 72

# 3 Celemantia

Novy Zamok

Celemantia was built in the 16th century against the Turks. It was strategically located very well, built on a hill, so the castle with four corner bastions had several functions. There is an exhibition in the building, which presents findings mainly from Turkish times.

Banska Stiavnica attractions - New Castle
Banska Stiavnica attractions - New Castle

Opening hours

The castle is closed on Mondays, otherwise it can be visited daily from 09:00 to 17:00. For winter opening hours or holidays, you may want to check out the website.

Prices and tickets

  • Adult ticket: 3 euros
  • Child ticket: 1.5 euros
  • Admission under the age of 6: 1 euro

Approach, address

The snow-white whitewashed building can be spotted from afar, so all you have to do is follow your eyes from the city center and you can reach the castle entrance within 10 minutes.

Celemantia is about a 10-minute walk from the Old Castle and the Mining Museum, so it is worth combining the 3 sights.

Recommended order of visit: Old Castle - Celemantia - Mining Museum.

  • Address: Novozamocka 22, 969 01 Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 7 minutes / 2.2 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 30 minutes / 2 km
  • Phone number: +421 45 691 15 43

# 4 Calvary in Banska Stiavnica

Calvary v Banska Stiavnica

The Calvary in Banska Stiavnica is one of the most special calvaries in Slovakia in terms of size and location as well. The Baroque monument was built in the mid-1700s and was significant for the Kingdom of Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the whole of Europe.

Banska Stiavnica attractions - Calvary
Banska Stiavnica attractions - Calvary

The complex is located on Scharfenberg Hill, has 3 churches and 22 chapels. The Calvary has a total of 17 stations showing the condemnation of Christ to death, and the stories end at the tomb of the Lord. If you can, visit the monument later in the day because you can see amazing sunsets from the hill!

Opening hours and prices

The Calvary is opened every day, continuously - from 0 to 24 hours. Entrance is free.

Approach

  • Address: Pod Kalvariou 754, 969 01 Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 5 minutes / 2.8 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 40 minutes / 2.1 km

# 5 Trinity Square and statue

Namestie svatej Trojice

The statue on the Holy Trinity Square is one of the most frequently photographed and visited places in Banska Stiavnica, so you must have seen it previously on some pictures. The ornate statue on the main square of the city forms the core of Banska Stiavnica.

The square itself too shape at the beginning of the 16th century, while the statue was built in the 18th century as a thank you for the retreat of the then-persistent plague. There are 6 statues on the pedestal, representing the six saints who protected the miners, and the people from the plague:

  • St. Sebastian
  • St. Francis Xavier
  • St. Barbara
  • St. Rochus
  • St. Catherine
  • St. Joseph

Approach

The square is about 30-minute walk from the center.

  • Address: Namestie svatej Trojice, 969 01 Banska Stiavnic

# 6 Love Bank

Banka Lasky

Love Bank is a very special place that is almost unique in the world. The exhibition has several purposes. One is to save a fantastic 16th-century building and the other is to introduce the world’s longest love poem to the world, The Marina, while bringing people closer together. This is how the Love Bank was created, where behind the words of The Marina poem, visitors can store a symbol of their love - even forever.

Opening hours

It is only possible to enter every whole hour. 16 people are admitted at a time, the presentation lasts 45 minutes and there is a guide in English, German and Hungarian. The bank is open daily from 09:30 to 18:00.

Prices and admission

You can also buy tickets online, you can find information on the website.

  • Adult ticket: 12 euros
  • Child ticket: 8 euros
  • Family ticket: 50% discount

Approach

Love Bank is located next to the Old Castle, so you can easily combine the two programs.

  • Address: Radnicne namestie 109, 969 01 Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 5 minutes / 1.8 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 30 minutes / 1.8 km

# 7 Vodarenska Lake

Tajch Velka Vodarenska

Tajch Velka Vodarenska, although a tiny quarry pond, is one of the most beautiful lakes in Slovakia. The beautiful bluish-green sparkling water of the lake and the surrounding forest are one of the favorite places for hikers and those who want to swim. The lake was originally a quarry pond, and its existence is proven by 16th-century finds.

Banska Stiavnica attractions: Vodarenska lake
Banska Stiavnica attractions: Vodarenska lake

Approach

The lake is located about 2.5 km north from the center of Banska Stiavnica. It is about a 15-minute walk from Trinity Square. From the square, just follow the green tourist sign, which goes slightly upwards.

  • Address: Pod Cervenou studnou 635/20, 969 01 Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 12 minutes / 5 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 45 minutes / 2.6 km

# 8 Pocuvadlo Lake and reservoir

Pocuvadlianske jazero

The lake and the reservoir are located a little further, on the southern side of the Selmec Mountains. There are several rivers flowing through the nature reservoir, and you can find a huge 18th-century water-tank as well.

The lake and its surroundings are an ideal destination even if you want to cool off a bit in summer or take a pleasant walk in autumn.

The lake area has excellent natural features, making it one of the favorite destinations for those looking for a relaxing holiday. The forests around the lake, the mountains peaking in the light of the water and not to mention the leisure programs, summer festivals, sports opportunities have made the area an even more popular tourist attraction.

What do you find in the area?

  • Pedal boat and boat rental
  • Excursion routes
  • Mini zoo

Around the lake you will also find smaller wooden houses, hotels and guesthouses, which is definitely ideal for a romantic weekend or family recreation.

  • Address: 969 01 Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 15 minutes / 10.6 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 2 hours / 11 km

# 9 The Castle of Sitno

Sitno Castle

The Castle of Sitno stands on the highest peak of the Selmec Mountains. The castle on 1009-meter-high was built in the 13th century on the ruins of another castle.

Banska Stiavnica attractions - Sitno castle
Banska Stiavnica attractions - Sitno castle

You can easily reach the castle on foot from the Pocuvadlo Lake, all you have to do is follow the green sign. There is also a lookout tower at the top of the mountain, which is also worth a visit.

Opening hours and prices

The castle (ruins) is open to the public all year round, from 0 to 24 hours. No admission, the visit is for free. Website

Address

  • Address: 969 01 Ilija, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 30 minutes / 13 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 3 hours / 13 km

# 10 Bralce Reservoir

Prirodna rezervacia Bralce

The Bralce Reservoir is located to the northwest of Banska Stiavnica, about a 30-minute drive away. The area has a special fauna and flora. This ideal excursion destination is even more exciting because of the unique trees and rock formations.

There is also a study trail in the park, which leads from the edge of the area all the way to the summit, while showcasing the sights, plants and local wildlife.

If you like hiking, head to the Bralce Reservoir.


# 11 Banska Stiavnica Botanical Garden

Botanicka zahrada Banska Stiavnica

The botanical garden surrounds the old Mining Academy building. The garden features huge larch trees and Japanese cedars. If you want a peaceful, quiet and short walk, you should enter the garden.

Banska Stiavnica attractions - Botanical garden
Banska Stiavnica attractions - Botanical garden

The building and the garden have been used for a long time and are still used as part of forestry education.

Opening hours and prices

The garden is free of charge. It is opened in summer from 06:00 to 20:00, but in winter you can expect shorter opening hours. Unfortunately, the garden does not have a website.

Address

  • Address: Akademicka 349/24, 969 01 Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 4 minutes / 1.8 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 22 minutes / 1.5 km

# 12 Old Hallowmas Mine

Bana Starovsechsvatych

The Old Hallowmas Mine is one of the oldest mines founded, dating back to 1378. Gold and silver ore were mined here until 1950. By now, a very interesting mining exhibition has been created where you can get to know the mining tools, the minerals of the region and the world, and the trophies of the local gold digging club. Moreover, if you feel like it, you can even take part in a gold digging competition or any other current program.

Opening hours and prices

Depending on the program you want to take part in, admission ranges from 2 to 10 euros. If you want to exchange a simple ticket, which does not include gold digging, for example, the ticket is 2 euros per person.

You should get an appointment to the mine in advance on their website. As far as I know, the old mine is only opened on weekdays from 9 am.

Location

  • Address: Hamre 786, Hodrusa, 966 63 Hodrusa - Hamre, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 15 minutes / 10.5 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 2 hours / 8.5 km

# 13 House and Museum of Kohary

Museum of the Holy Antone

Svati Anton is located about 5 km away from the south of Banska Stiavnica, on the Selmec-riverside. The House and Museum of Kohary is located on the hill of a small romantic settlement in the valley, which is the most interesting attraction of the small town.

The House and Museum of Kohary in Svati Anton consists of three parts. On the inside there is a fine art exhibition where you can get to know the greats of Slovak art. On the other side of the building there is a hunting exhibition.

The former owners of the house were big fans of hunting, so over the centuries, a lot of of tools, relics and photographs have accumulated. The third part of the museum is a garden around the building, where, among other things, there is a 120-year-old mammoth pine tree.

Opening hours and prices

In the museum, the exhibition can only be viewed in guided groups, which unfortunately cannot be booked in advance. The waiting time is usually 30 to 45 minutes. It is forbidden to take photos or to bring dogs inside!

  • Open every day except for Mondays (09:00 - 16:00) / lunch break: 12:30 - 13:00
  • Admission: adult 9 euros / child 5 - 1 euro / over 64 years 7 euros

Location

  • Address: 969 72 Svaty Anton, Slovakia
  • Distance from the center by car: 15 minutes / 10.5 km
  • Distance from the center on foot: 2 hours / 8.5 km