I had the pleasure of receiving a lot of first hand local knowledge while in Kosice recently. It inevitably led to me wanting to return to the city over and over again throughout the year and attend the various festivals and holidays they have.
There are enough reasons to visit the city anyway but here are a few added extras that might make your visit just that little bit more memorable:
(1st Sunday in October) This is the oldest marathon in Europe and the second oldest in the world. Speaking to Kosice residents they say this is one of their favourite weekends of the year. Thinking back to the London marathon I can see why, the whole city is buzzing and I love how everyone gets behind the runners. Everything comes to a stand still for the day; no cars, no trams and no buses so make sure you get a hotel pretty close to the centre. The best place to watch the marathon is pretty much anywhere in the old town but if you can get there early enough, try and get a space at the start/finish line.
White night – Nuit Blanche
(1st Saturday in October) There are a few of these across Europe, Kosice started theirs in 2010 on the night before the Peace Marathon. The city comes alive with different light installations and each year is completely different. A couple of years ago one street was covered in small origami and another involved lots of lampshades. The best place to experience the festival is in the city park very close to the old town. I am very excited to see what Kosice has in store this year!
Tokaj open cellars
There are two times in the year (May and Sept) that the main Slovak Tokaj wineries open up their cellars for everyone to come and taste their delicious wine. There are coaches between each location and I’ve been told by the second stop most people are pretty merry. Judging by my own personal experience, I can definitely see that being the case!
The days of the city of Kosice
This is a 9 day holiday at the beginning of May to celebrate the city receiving a coat of arms, the first city to ever get it. There are different concerts on each day and they used to celebrate by making a massive strudel that looped around the old town – over 2km long! There are lots of stalls selling Slovakian food, traditional clothing and presents and all museums have free entry for the week. It’s certainly worth visiting Kosice to make the most of that opportunity.
At the end of May a group of artists set up a show in the city park. The best way to describe it is like Cirque du Soliel with a twist. There are 6/7 different locations and they perform a different circus trick in each one, weaving a story throughout.
Bonus (because there is always one in Kosice!) Make sure you look for the different street murals left behind from the street art communication festival. You don’t need to come for the festival but they’re pretty impressive! This is just one of the many I spotted:
Have you been lucky enough to go to any of these or perhaps you know of another great festival in Kosice or Slovakia?