Is Košice Worth Visiting? 10 Reasons to Say “Yes”!

Are you wondering if Košice is worth visiting?

Slovakia’s second city is one of Europe’s undiscovered gems, with culture and history in spades. It was the European Capital of Culture in 2013.

Whilst there aren’t tons of things to see in Košice, there is more than enough to fill a day and it has a gorgeous city centre. It is relatively affordable, friendly and has great bars and cafes.

Ready to find out more? Here are my top reasons for visiting Košice.

sculpture of a raven

Is Košice Worth Visiting? 10 Reasons Why You Should Go There

pink chery blossom in a small park in kosice

Košice’s historic centre is a jewellery box of medieval bastions, gnarled Gothic sculptures and flamboyant Baroque sculptures.  

Initially a medieval trading settlement, Košice flourished under Hungarian rule, becoming an important cultural and economic centre. Throughout the centuries, Košice witnessed various rulers and underwent architectural transformations, leaving behind the array of historic landmarks we see today.

You’ll find much of Košice’s architectural showpieces in and around Main Street (Hlavná ulica)

ancient bronze church bell in front of st elisabeth cathedral in kosice

The show-stopping 14th-century Cathedral of St. Elisabeth dominates Košice’s main square. At 60 metres long, this is Slovakia’s largest cathedral.

I loved the carved stone pulpit and the stained glass windows that wrap around the main altar.

carved stone pulpit in kosice cathedral

There are wonderful 15th-century frescoes, discovered during restoration of the cathedral in 1892.

fresco of christ taken down from the cross
street art in kosice of a sea creature wearing a crown

From the urban art in London’s Brick Lane to Málaga’s magnificent murals, I am a huge fan of street art. So I was delighted to discover that Košice has a burgeoning street art scene.

It was the brainchild of Street Art Communication, a local organisation whose mission was to introduce street art to Košice. This collection of urban art is called Open Mural Gallery (OMG). At the last count, there were 30 murals in the city.

elaborate art nouveau exterior of slavia cafe in kosice slovakia

You could easily spend the best part of a day in Košice café hopping. The Art Nouveau Café Slaviá is the most famous place for coffee and cake and has been frequented by locals and visitors for over a century.

It’s a great spot for people-watching (or just watching the world go by). They also have rooms.

bar and brewery tanks at hostinec in koscice

Do you like a refreshing pint of beer? Then you’ll love Košice’s thriving craft beer scene.

Founded in 1542, Hostinec is Slovakia’s oldest restaurant and serves tasty food washed down with their own beer. For the record, I downed a pint of Košickí majstri.

pint of beer in a tankard

Hostinec also offers brewery tours.

Few people would claim that Europe is a bargain-basement destination. Therefore, it’s refreshing to visit somewhere that is charming but cheaper than comparable destinations. 

Although it’s not as cheap as Poland or Romania, food and drink are relatively affordable in Košice, particularly if you fill up on cheap and tasty local food. Main courses cost less than €10 and a pint of beer or glass of wine will only set you back €2.

plate of slovakian dumplings topped with onion

Forget about swerving through tour groups and dodging selfie sticks here. Think of Košice as a smaller and lower-key alternative to Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city.

When choosing a city break, I always check how easy it is to get around.

Košice is very walkable. Most of its main attractions are clustered in and around its historic centre rendering public transport unnecessary. If you are arriving by train, you can reach the historic centre on foot in ten minutes.

bronze sculpture of a man with the cathedral in kosice in background

Using Košice as a base, I visited Prešov and Bardejov, both easy day trips by train. Other nearby attractions include Spiš Castle and the UNESCO-listed town of Levoča.

Another reason why I visited Košice is that I am a major railway nerd and Košice is at the start of one of Europe’s most scenic train journeys. The journey between Bratislava and Košice via Poprad is sensational, skirting the snow-capped peaks of the High Tatras, and passing mirror-like lakes and rivers.

Personal safety is a primary concern of solo travellers, especially female solo travellers.

Košice is a safe and friendly city with low crime rates. Street harassment is minimal and the city is easy to navigate, even after dark.

I did not feel unsafe at any point during my stay.

That said, as with any destination, a little bit of common sense goes a long way. Stick to familiar streets after dark and make sure that you know your way back to your hotel or apartment.

Keep your valuables at your accommodation and use an anti-theft backpack when you are out and about.

Thank you for reading my reasons for visiting Košice

I hope it has persuaded you to add this charming city to your travel bucket list. If you have found this article helpful, take a look at my other guides to travel in Slovakia:

Happy travels!

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at or follow her on social media.

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