A Swiss butterfly in Slovakia: Trenčianske Teplice and Žilina

End of August 2021, I am on the road again, to Berlin via Slovakia and Poland. My route: Munich, next in Slovakia: BratislavaTrnavaNitra – Žilina – Dolny Kubin, then in Poland: Wilkowisko – Cracow – Szlarska Poreba – Wroclaw, and finally Berlin. 

Now I have a lunch stop at Trenčianske Teplice and then I stay overnight in Žilina. 


Lunch stop at Trenčianske Teplice

My friends have told me about Trenčianske Teplice, a health resort in the Strážovské Vrchy mountains. I cross the mountains and reach the shady valley of the Teplička that later flows into the Váh river. The village Trenčianske Teplice is a health resort with larger and smaller hotels and spas, surrounded by hills that promise nice hiking. 

I park my car near the church.

I stroll through the wide pedestrian area. I am hungry, it is lunch time.

At Zuzi’s, I eat Bryndzové Halušky, the national dish of Slovakia. It is potato dumplings (a bit like gnocchi) with sheep cheese and bacon. It tastes interesting and after the meal, I am no longer hungry. However, I would not eat Bryndzové Halušky too often… my apologies, Stefan. 

Trenčianske Teplice is surely a  nice place to stay – I would love to hike in the surrounding hills (well, I am not the spa type of person). 

I enter my parking ticket – and the parking meter asks me to pay 50 Euros for about two hours. I cancel, ask in the restaurant nearby, the young waitor accompanies me and shows me the right button to press. Now I have to pay 50 cents. Much better. Thank you!

I leave Trenčianske Teplice and follow the Váh valley on the highway that connects Bratislava with Žilina. Near Žilina, the valley gets narrower. To reach the exit “Juh” (south), I have to drive through endless tunnels and have to cross one bridge after the next, until I reach the city.


One night at Žilina with some time to stroll through the city centre

I have booked a room in the hotel Central Park on Sad SNP. I oscillate quite a bit, until I find the entry to the dead end street and to the hotel. Now I understand – “SNP Sad” means “SNP garden”. My hotel Central Park borders the “railway garden” or “railway park”  and is located on a dead end street. All very promising for a quiet night. 

I walk through the park and reach the Andrej Hlinku square, where some political propaganda about Europe is going on.

Above the square is the Trinity Cathedral, located on the hill. It is under restoration. It is dark inside, I cannot see anything. 

The statues of Methodius and Cyril with their orthodox cross greet me on the way up to the Cathedral. The Byzantine cross has decorated the coat of arms of Žilina since 1378, as I read on Wikipedia.

The gem of the pedestrian city centre is the Maria square. 

The statue of Maria dominates it.

Restaurants invite to sit down and have a drink or dinner. People enjoy walking around and sitting on the benches. I feel like in a Mediterranean country, though it is pretty chilly now. 

The pretty old town hall is still in use. The coat of arms decorates the roof. 

The church of St. Paul the Apostle is being renovated as well. 

Small streets lead away from the Maria square and invite me to stroll around.

Some interesting Art Nouveau houses on the way. 

Nearby I find the New Synagogue, which is now a cultural centre. It was built in 1928-31.

Why all is so much renovation work going on in Žilina? Later I find the answer: Žilina has been nominated for European Capital of Culture in 2026. This may be the reason. In 2026, the Holy Trinity Cathedral and Saint Paul church have to demonstrate that the city is worth the honour. Perhaps I should return in 2026 to explore these churches and to visit more sights at Žilina; I now read about the Romanesque Church of Saint Stephen the King from the early 13th century that is decorated with frescoes.  

I have dinner on the Maria square and return to my Central Park Hotel. It is quiet and I sleep well. An excellent choice!


A look at the map

From Nitra to Žilina I drove about 180km, along the Nitra river,across the Strážovské Vrchy mountains (which is a pleonasm, as “vrchy” means peaks or mountains) and then along the Váh river.

SourceElevation map of Slovakia


  • André Micklitza, ” Slowakei”, Michael Müller Verlag 2019
  • Frieder Monzer, “Slowakei”, Trescher Verlag 2018