One of the most important symbols of Slovakia´s rich culture are its diverse festivals. Among the large amount of festivals which decorate not only the summer but other seasons as well, you can chose between historical, modern, folk or otherwise traditional. Today we focus on the summer and, we must admit, it was not easy to select the top 10 among such a high competition. The list was finalized to highlight the assortment of opportunity; there are plenty of traditional, cultural, modern as well as multi-genre festivals to choose from.
Do you have a favorite knight? Will you bet on him in the arena? Do you want to know which Lady will be wearing the most beautiful contemporary dress? Would you like to learn a medieval dance or to shoot with a bow-and-arrow? Do these questions sound strange? Well you can answer them at this unique Central-European festival celebrating especially the Middle Ages: at Rotenstein.
9. HONTIANSKA PARÁDA
The theme of this festival is simple but very creative. The residents of the mountainside village Hrušov in Central Slovakia open their yards to the public for a weekend to showcase various traditional folk trades and nonstandard, Hrušov-specific, long forgotten practices which you can try for yourself. All this is accompanied by folk music and (a considerable) amount of “spirit” ;). What could be more traditional and enjoyable than something like this?
8. SALAMANDER DAYS
Imagine a unique historical parade of allegorical characters reminding us of Banská Štiavnica´s rich mining history from its epicenter. Every second week in September its center is filled with people who have come to partake in Salamandrové Dni (Days of the Salamander). The Salamander serves as a symbol of the city because, legend has it, the discovery of gold resting under two salamanders was the starting point of the development of this medieval town located in a calcareous sleeping volcano.
6-10 september – free
7. KREMNICKÉ GAGY (KREMNICA GAGS)
Roars of laughter followed by applause can always be heard coming from the medieval square of Kremnica at the end of each summer. This is not a festival of large feasts, beer and wine; it is the biggest festival of satire, jokes and comedy in Slovakia.
6. CORONATION FESTIVITIES
In every guidebook about Bratislava you can read that it was not only the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, but also the place of coronations. Was it? The statement is not completely accurate; it still is. How is it possible? Visit Bratislava in the summer and you will witness its famous history for your own eyes. Korunovacie Slávnosti (Coronation Festivities) bring it to life in the form of allegorical characters from the past, including kings and queens.
5. JÁNOŠÍK DAYS
The name of this Slovak (and Polish) hero and Kuruc warrior is carried through this festival full of Slovak and international folk music directly in his hometown under his statue. Jánošíkové Dni (Days of Jánošík), which have been declared as the “attraction of the year” on multiple occasions, are held every year in the mountainous village Terchová at the edge of the Malá Fatra National Park.
You don´t need to travel to Jamaica to hear the voice of Bob Marley emanating from every bar. You can dance to “No Woman No Cry” on Bratislava´s Zlaté Piesky “beach” at a festival decorated by Rastafarian colors with a cool reggae style named “Uprising” (held annually on the day of Slovakia´s National Uprising).
3. FOLK FESTIVAL VÝCHODNÁ
Do you listen to folk music? Do you play folk music? Do you enjoy dancing to folk music? Or, even better, do you simply love folk music (not limited to Slovak)? Then this open-air festival in Východná, a beautiful setting with a truly traditional Slovak atmosphere between the Low and High Tatras, is an obligation. This festival is the best and most comprehensive representation of folk music and art far and wide. Don´t forget to mark July 1st in your calendar and reserve your accommodation well in advance.
If Pohoda was founded on the basis of rock (and also punk and metal music) then we would call it Topfest. The atmosphere is slightly different – let´s say it is slightly more rock and metal, with all the characteristics related to these genres included. The line-up is full of big names from the Slovak and international rock and metal scene.
1. FESTIVAL POHODA
The definite highlight of all Slovakia´s summer festivals. According to many renowned online and paper magazines, it is one of the best festivals in the world. The line-up is always a perfect mix of big names and future-stars, the food and drinks are fantastic, people are relaxed and, despite the consumption of a considerable amount of alcohol, very pleasant. This all bears the name and brand “Pohoda”.