We’re suckers for free things. There, we admit it. Košice isn’t an expensive city by any stretch of the imagination, but whisper the words ‘it’s free’ into our ears and we’re more than likely going to meet you there. Besides, the more money you spend on cavorting across the city, the more you have for the veritable buffet of tasty food and spectacular beer. If you’re looking to spend approximately no money in Košice, fill your itinerary with these spots.
At the corner of Masiarska and Zbrojničná, a man sits cross-legged on a chair, quietly observing the people of Košice going about their business. This is no ordinary man, this is a statue to be exact, but the man honoured is the greatest storyteller in the history of Košice. Sándor Márai wrote a whopping 46 books in his time, tales of nostalgia and hope that were largely published in the West before getting the same treatment back home. Stop by the statue to say hello or take a selfie, or both, or neither.
The prettiest street in Košice? Hrnčiarska gets our vote. About as quaint as thoroughfares are going to get, this narrow charmer in the centre of town is lined with shops new and old, from old crafts to bicycles and more. There are also a number of restaurants and cafes found here, some of the best in town, bringing together locational beauty and excellent cuisine. Košice’s Old Town can feel quite grand at times, but this is a throwback to simpler times and is all the better for it.
Did you know that Košice is home to the oldest marathon in Europe? No? You do now! If you’re a fan of running 26.2 miles by choice then Košice is a must-visit on the continent, and the city’s tradition of running for a bloomin’ long time is honoured with this little statue in the old town. It was created by Arpád Račko, the Slovak sculptor responsible for a host of statues around the region.
If you find yourself perusing a list of churches and cathedrals in Slovakia, St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral in Košice is likely going to feature rather heavily. The largest church in the country and the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Slovakia, this is numero uno attraction in this quite magnificent city. Completed in 1508, it took a whopping 130 years to build but it isn’t difficult to see why. The exterior is magnificently detailed, all intricate vaults and Gothic spires giving it the look of a Gothic cathedral in its most developed form, but the true magic awaits inside. More than 10 altars dot the inside of this beaut, the main altar itself consisting of 48 complicated paintings that move through three cycles to create one fantastic whole. This is the number one attraction in the city and for good reason.
Directly in front of the Lower Gate stands an angel, and no we’re not talking about the beautiful people of Košice. This bronze statue is another doffed cap to the history of the city, a town that was the first in Europe to be given its out coat of arms, receiving the honour way back in 1369. That emblem and the ones that developed from it are displayed by the angel.