The west of Slovakia often gets overlooked in favour of the Tatras. That is, unsurprisingly, a view englishmaninslovakia.com DOES NOT share. There are some wonderful small forested mountains in these hills, the Malé Karpaty (Small Carpathians) which dominate the region (and therefore, as you see, has its own special post dedicated to it in a part of this chapter). There is the usual mix of phenomenal hikes and great castles in the hills, whilst down in the valleys along the Váh river are ancient towns boasting everything from rich winemaking traditions (Pezinok and Modra) to world-famous spas (Piešt’any) and Slovakia’s (also one of Europe’s) best music festivals, Pohoda (at Trenčin). And good news: on this site you will find more in-English info on where to go in Western Slovakia than anywhere else on the web.
As the posts here are filling up fast, we’ve divided this chapter into three parts (see the new shiny blue lines on our Regions of Slovakia map). Imagine these a little like the three-toed foot of a bird spreading more or less northeast from Bratislava, namely:
– The middle: The central toe is what we’re most concerned with, as this is where most of the action is. Along this route (and following the course of the Small Carpathians as they head northeast from Bratislava) the main towns are, in order: Pezinok, Modra, Trnava, Hlohovec and Piešt’any. The cut-off point here is Nové Mesto nad Váhom: pass here and you’re in Places To Go/Western Slovakia/TheNorth-western Part, below. From Hlohovec onwards these towns are all on the Váh. All posts relating to Western Slovakia’s portion of the Small Carpathians themselves, running just above these towns, are here too. This sub-chapter divides again into eight different regional parts – CLICK on it for more!
The North-western Part: This, the left-hand toe of that bird, will be essentially that part of Slovakia hugging the north-western border with Czech Republic. Kicking off north of Bratislava in the Malacky district, is the Zahorie region (sub-chapter number one) which follows first Austrian and then Czech borders through Kúty to the interesting town of Skalica. Heading east from there, the ground rises up into thickly-forested hills along the Czech border known as the Biely Karpaty (White Carpathians, another arm of the Small Carpathians, and sub-chapter number two). These hills stretch along via Myjava to the towns of Púchov, Považska Bystrica and their surrounds – whilst just below the Biele Karpaty is the famous castle town of Trenčin (the third and final sub-chapter in the North-western part). These last three towns are all on the river Váh. After Považska Bystrica you’re in Žilina and therefore the Places To Go/Mala Fatra/Vel’ka Fatra chapter. The hiking gets generally more incredible as you progress east. On our Regions of Slovakia map, anything hugging the Czech border and north from Nové Mesto nad Váhom north is the glorious north-west.
The South-Eastern Part: This, the right-hand toe of the three, includes the city of Nitra and its surrounds. Then (heading northeast) this includes the town of Topol’čany (head further north-east and you’re back in Places To Go/Western Slovakia/The Middle sub-chapter on the way to Prievidza). Finally (heading east) anything up to and including the elegant chateau of Topolčianky is included here. Beyond this point, and certainly by the time you’ve cruised east of the towns of Zlaté Moravce/Vrablé, you’re in our Places To Go/Central/South Slovakia chapter.
Have a look at our Regions of Slovakia map to envisage it all…