Košice, Slovakia’s second city, ranks high on our short list of underexplored European gems. Set in a valley, with the Ore mountains to the west and the Salt Hills to the east, Košice remains a delightfully unspoilt place.
Slovakia’s budget airline SkyEurope flies between Košice and Bratislava, making the city both easy and cheap to visit. We found one-way fares from Bratislava to Košice for as little as SKK436 (€13; $18) in May. That’s including taxes and charges, Cheapos.
In Košice, take time to just wander through the cobbled streets with their pastel buildings, dating from the time when Košice was an eastern metropolis of the Hapsburg Empire. We recommend a visit to Craftsman’s Row, a long street in the heart of the city, where leather and jewelry makers, silversmiths, coin minters, herbalists, potters, and bakers make and ply their wares.
In the summer, cold Czech beer flows freely on the streets and squares. On the main street look down. Glass panels under your feet display 13th century fortifications underground. Finally, pay a visit to the Jakab’s Palace, a small gem of art nouveau architecture.