After renting the car on Friday we had first been driving into the fog and then on Saturday, we had been in search for the sunshine. Sunday was once more a bit gray, this time due to clouds covering the sky. It was also the last day of our road trip in Slovakia. A road trip that so far had taken us to so many new places, such as Bojnice, Banská Bystrica, and Zvolen, just to mention a few.
After checking out from our hotel in Zvolen we drove the short distance to the ice stadium. From here our plan was to walk up the hill to the castle above us. This was the castle ruins of Pustý hrad. It was quite a cold morning, but we were looking forward to getting a nice view out over Zvolen. So we found our way to the start of the hiking trail that would take us to the top.
The trail was a bit icy in the beginning and it was quite a challenge to walk the first two hundred meters up the trail. The trail zig-zagged itself along the slope but was still quite steep. From time to time the ground was ice free. However, at other times we had to hold on to the side not to risk slipping. We made it half way up before deciding that it was time to give up. Ahead of us we saw a few hundred meters of pure ice. This was worse than any part we had passed so far. Considering that all but one of us missed proper shoes for walking on ice, it was just too risky to continue.
Instead, we had a scary time trying to get back down again. As it turns out, it is easier to walk up an icy slope than it is to walk down it. No matter how much you would like to say that “you always come down”.
Our main goal for the day was the old mining town of Banská Štiavnica. We had heard many times that it was one of the most beautiful towns in the country, so why not stop there during our road trip in Slovakia? We drove towards the town along with some old country roads and it really felt like they would never end. Luckily, we did actually arrive in Banská Štiavnica.
We parked next to the new castle and did not need to walk far to reach the center. Well, that was after a short walk around the castle itself. The town has a lot of historical buildings such as churches. There was also yet one more castle, the old castle.
Our main objective when walking around in the center finally came to be finding somewhere to eat lunch. As it turned out, many of the places were still closed. We had arrived a bit too early to find a place to eat lunch. Eventually, we found one place, that happily served us lunch.
Driving Back to Bratislava – an End to the Road Trip in Slovakia
All good things eventually come to an end. So was also the case with this road trip in Slovakia. After three days driving in the central part of the country, we added our starting point in Bratislava as the destination on our GPS.
However, one more adventure surprised us on our road trip in Slovakia. The GPS decided to add a part to our road trip. Instead of taking us back to the main road as quickly as possible, we found ourselves on a drive along a route in the valleys. Between the hills, we drove on as the road clung to the side of it with sharp turns. It took us a long time of nerve wrecking driving before we finally reached the main highway leading back to Bratislava. At that point we only had a short drive left before it all was over.
It was early afternoon when we handed back the keys to the rental company at the airport in Bratislava. At that time we were really looking forward to getting back home to my brother. We just wanted something to eat and just relax for the evening. I was also happy to still have one more day to enjoy Slovakia.
Renting a Car in Slovakia
Do you want to go on a road trip in Slovakia? My experience of renting cars is quite limited. I have so far only done it in three countries. These include Slovakia, Namibia, and South Africa. This time we rented a car from Avis at the airport in Bratislava. We had booked a medium sized car and we were really happy with the one we received. The car was quite modern and it was comfortable enough for all four of us to sit in.
The only problem we had concerned the agreement. Avis had one agreement on their homepage, and that is the one we accepted when booking the car. Then when we were picking it up they all of a sudden had changed the liability costs. This is really annoying when you stand there, everyone wanting to get going. A long discussion later it turned out that the person at the pick-up point really had no interest in sorting out the difference. Slovak service at its worst!
Well, we got out on the road eventually and were lucky to have another guy in the small kiosk when returning to the airport. Contrary to his colleague, he happily assisted with checking the car and he also gave us our receipt with the total cost of rental confirmed. This so that we could calculate the cost between us. It is always nice to get a confirmation at once that everything is ok with the car, instead of waiting a week to get an e-mail with the final receipt.
Here’s a summary for those of you wanting to know costs. The rental cost a little less than 100 euros for three days. Add to this 30 euros to refill the fuel tank before leaving the car at the drop-off. In total, we drove 560 kilometers and did not need to refuel once except the mandatory refueling before dropping the car off.
All in all, we really enjoyed our road trip in Slovakia.