Welcome to Kosice, a unique European metropolis and European capital of culture 2013. Kosice has many claims to fame – it’s home to the oldest marathon in Europe, the longest promenade in Slovakia, and the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe to name a few. But most importantly it’s home to the starting point of the official Slovakian Camino de Santiago route, known as the Way of St. James.
When you arrive, you’ll be briefed about the programme for the week. Depending on your arrival time there might be time for a stroll in Kosice´s old town to visit some of the biggest attractions, including the cathedral of St Elizabeth.
Those that want to participate in the morning mass at St Elizabeth cathedral can do so either at 6am or 7am today. Whether you are a believer or not, participation in the morning Holy Mass, while listening to the local master playing the organ, is a great starting point for your Camino walking adventure.
After breakfast, the walking starts with a hike to Kosice´s calvary. On the way you’ll pass a wooden church built in 1741, and walk up the holy stairs in the church of the Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows.
Our route then continues to the recreation centre of Jahodna, from where you’ll follow the route through beautiful Kosice’s forests all the way to Volovske hills and the Kojsovska Hola (1,246 m) viewpoint. This offers spectacular panoramic views of the area and on the High and Low Tatra mountains.
Walking: 7hrs, 14km/8,7mi, 689m up, 115m down.
This morning you’ll head to the hidden jewel of Eastern Slovakia, the mining town of Gelnica. It dates back to the 13th century and was one of the most important mining towns in the Hungarian monarchy, mining copper ore, gold, silver, quicksilver, and iron core.
Today´s route will offer you stunning views on villages below you, including a breathtaking view over the town of Gelnica from the viewpoint known as Gloriet.
When you arrive at Gelnica we recommend visiting the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the mining museum. If you prefer more adventurous activities, you could visit one of the accessible minim tunnels.
Walking: 5hrs, 13km/8mi, 110m up, 899m down.
Heading west, today´s route will lead you through the area known as Turzov. Here you’ll find the Chapel of the Holy Cross and two picturesque lakes, then slowly enter a coniferous forest with an enchanting fragrance. This is where the popular “oxygen path” can be found.
After approximately 4km of gradual ascent we’ll reach the highest point of today´s walk, after which you’ll head to the popular ski centre of Plejsy. This final part is simply magical as you walk out of the forest with spectacular views on the ski centre below you. It’s the perfect spot for a break with views of Spissky castle and the High Tatras mountains in the distance.
Walking: 6hrs, 13km/8mi, 604m up, 576m down.
This morning the route will lead you through quiet villages, gradually reaching the highest point of today´s walk. The scenery is simply spectacular as you walk through the meadows, home to local shepherds and their flocks of sheep.
The path then continues west as the scenery opens up to the majestic High Tatras and Spissky castle in front of you. You’ll then continue to the village of Zehra with its dominant sight, the wooden church of Holy Spirit, which is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. Your route then continues through the protected are of Drevenik all the way to Spissky castle, the biggest castle in central-eastern Europe. From here you’ll descend to the Spisske Podhradie, your home for the night.
Walking: 7hrs, 19,5km/11mi, 536m up, 483m down.
After breakfast you’ll head to Levoca. This long but rewarding walk is full of world-class monuments. With its Marianska Hora (the hill of Virgin Mary), Levoca is the biggest pilgrim site in Slovakia.
Today is very rich in cultural, natural and spiritual sites that would be tricky to find anywhere else in Europe. The first one on today´s list is the fortified seat of Spisska Kapitula, with its most valuable gothic cathedral of St Martin. After that it’s Spissky Jerusalem, which recalls ancient Jerusalem in one-to-one scale.
From there, you’ll head to the hill of Virgin Mary with its Basilica of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From here you’ll descend to the ancient town of Levoca. With its preserved city walls and the Basilica of St James representing the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, this is a magical end to your Slovakian Camino walking adventure.
Walking: 8hrs, 25km/0mi, 712m up, 566m down.
Waking up in medieval Levoca surrounded by protected areas and national parkland provides an almost endless list of optional activities. After an optional morning Holy Mass in the Basilica of St James we recommend you visit the town’s hall. For the rest of the day other options include relaxing in hot thermal springs in nearby Vrbov, hiking in the national park of Slovak Paradise, or perhaps visiting some of the most attractive villages in the national park of the High Tatras. There are many options, and our experts will help you with anything you might need.
After breakfast, take a train back to Kosice. Upon arrival at Kosice, we'll assist you with the seamless transfer to the airport, where your tour ends.