Whether you are in the Banská Štiavnica region for few hours our few days, you should not miss a walk through the Štiavnica centre, visiting a mine or visiting at least one of the artificial water reservoirs – tajchy. You will not see anything like that anywhere else.
TIP: We recommend using the guide services and Tourist Information Office in Holy Trinity Square (Námestie svätej Trojice).
Štiavnica Town Centre
Banská Štiavnica is a picturesque and photogenic town. There are churches, palaces of rich miners and town houses standing in the narrow valley, small mining houses are cringing in the hills above them. All of this is inter-linked by little romantic streets and paths with hundreds of stairs. Do not miss Štiavnica promenade – an elevated pathway Trotuár, Ružová Street. In case you are interested in beautiful views, walking higher is worth it.
It would be pity to visit Štiavnica without visiting a mine. Equipped with a mantle, helmet and a mining lamp, you will go down underground and try for yourself how people used to mine. Choose one of four possibilities – depending on time, place and the level of demand. If you stopped here just for a moment, visit at least a short and easy mining tunnel Michal placed directly in Holy Trinity Square (Námestie svätej Trojice).
Tajchy (Artificial Water Reservoirs)
Tajchy in Štiavnica are extremely popular among local as well as other visitors. Long ago miners built an incredible water scheme composed of sixty interconnected water reservoirs, supplying energy for prosperous mining. Twenty-four of them remained, conjoined with nature. They are available for natural swimming, boating and fishing, ice skating and romantic walks in winter. Only a 15-minute walk from Veľká vodárenská tajch of turquoise colour separates you from Holy Trinity Square (Námestie svätej Trojice).
The Calvary of Banská Štiavnica is one of the most beautiful Baroque ones in Europe. It stands on the Scharfenberg hill and is visible from all cardinal points. It offers an overall view of the caldera of Štiavnica. After reconstruction it became one of the most visited places in the region.
Together with the Calvary, it is one of the visual icons of Banská Štiavnica. Its silhouette is unique in Europe; it reminds a rocket. Nový zámok Castle used to serve as a fortress and signal tower in the defence system of the mining town in central Slovakia in times of Turkish threat. At present it hosts the exhibition of battles against Turks, including weapon specimens. It also provides a view of far surrounding area. There is a Jewish cemetery nearby.
It is an old town core and reflects its history in brief. It was the first church; the majestic nave could seat more than 1000 people. Its location was strategic, so at first it was just fortified and later rebuilt into a fortress. Nowadays it is a place of pipe workshop, blacksmith exhibition and old torture chamber in the tower of Himmelsreich, exhibition of original Calvary sculptures and others. It has been one of the first museums since 1900. Take your time and visit the castle!
Kammerhof aroused in mid-16th century by joining several burgher houses. Multiple reconstructions lead to the formation of an impressive building of those times, including features of all architectural styles. It was the seat of an office administering mines, smelt houses and mints in central Slovakia. In today’s exhibitions of Kammerhof you can find out much about the history of mining in Slovakia, as well as famous Mining Academy. You can also find here replicas of mining and laboratory equipment. Great Workshops for children take place here.
The Church of St. Katarína (St. Catherine’s Church)
Late Gothic Church of St. Katarína (St. Catherine’s Church) is among the most beautiful churches in Banská Štiavnica. Its original main altar was crafted in the workshop of an excellent Mater M.S. Its panel paintings are scattered across the world. The only painting of this precious collection which remained here, the Nativity of the Lord, is in church in Svätý Anton. Two sculptures of the old altar are displayed in Jozef Kollár Gallery in the “Trojica” (Trinity) square.
Manor House and Museum in Svätý Anton (St. Anton)
The museum is one of the best in Slovakia. Until 1944 the Tsar of Bulgaria Cobug had been living here, therefore the manor house has been preserved in its original state. Thousands of trophies in the halls, original wallpapers and paintings of well-known painters are accompanied by a marvellous collection of old furniture. Golden drawing room (Zlatý salón) was given by Empress Maria Theresa to her daughter Maria Antoinette as a wedding gift. Entire ground floor is devoted to hunting exhibition. The manor house is surrounded by a park.
Počúvadlo Lake and Sitno
An old legend says there are knights enchanted in the depths of Sitno. Once they will rise up and help Slovaks. One of the first tourist divisions in Europe marked tourist routes and built a place of view here. The view of the entire surrounding area from the rocks of Sitno is unique. The region is iconic thanks to Počúvadliansky tajch – one of the most beautiful artificial water reservoirs. You can boat and swim here. Homestead Mini-zoo is prepared for children. Climbing Sitno takes 1.5 hour. Set apart at least half a day for the trip.
The Štiavnica Region
The Štiavnica region was divided into mining settlements in the north and the municipalities with more fertile land in the south. In the mining municipalities of Hodruša-Hámre or Štiavnické Bane you can find technical monuments. Small mining houses are scattered on the surrounding hills. The southern municipalities used to supply goods for miners. They preserved the beauty of village architecture and keeping traditions. There used to be spa resorts in Vyhne and Sklené Teplice. The little Medieval church in Ilija and the Romanesque rotunda in Baďan can surprise lovers of old architecture. All this is set in beautiful countryside of the Štiavnica hills and tajchy.
Hodruša – Hámre
More than 47 tons of gold and 2.5 tons of silver were extracted in the mines of Hodruša. Still, overshadowed by Banská Štiavnica, it has never developed into a town. Instead of luxurious houses and great squares only mining shacks scattered on the steep hillsides and many mining and technical monuments can be found here. The underground in 700-year-old mine of Starovšechsvätí guarantees an authentic mining experience. Internet pathway with QR codes will guide you through mining shacks. Mining Knocking Tower “Klopačka” hides hand-forged clockwork of 18th century and The Church of Svätý Mikuláš (St. Nicolas Church) is worth visiting as well. In summer, artificial water reservoirs “tajchy” attracts visitors by their pleasant refreshment. Active people are offered local hiking trails and mountain bike trails “Bike to tajch”. The surroundings here are beautiful in spring and autumn. In winter you can ski or do cross-country skiing in Slamandra resort. More about the municipality can be found here.
Bicycle Routes in Štiavnica
Bicycle routes in Štiavnica “Bike to tajch” will lead you along forest roads and the tajchy. They specialise in bringing natural, tajchy and landmark experiences, as well as managing secure biking. This makes the routes perfect for recreational bikers and families with children, too. There is a family zone, some more demanding sightseeing routes through Štiavnica to the Calvary, as well as really demanding routes. There are 250 kilometres of well-marked circuits and joining routes, including maps and GPS data.