We lived in Slovakia for a bit more than a year and a half and really enjoyed our time in the country. During that time we lived and worked in the capital Bratislava, but liked to spend our weekends traveling around in the area. Nitra is one of those towns that we came across during our trips. It is one of the major cities and it is easily accessible from Bratislava. We think that it is well worth a day trip.
The town has around 80.000 inhabitants and it is guarded by a majestic castle on a hill just next to the center. It is the capital of the Nitra region (Nitriansky kraj) and it is the 5th largest town in Slovakia. Here you will find everything from historical buildings to cozy small restaurants serving traditional food (or pizza if that is to prefer) and local wine.
A Short History of Nitra
The first known document mentioning Nitra is the „Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum“ from around 871 AD. The first Christian church built on present-day Slovak territory was erected here. The town has played a significant role as center of commerce within several empires during its long history. First it was a part of the Great Moravia, later it fell within the borders of the Habsburg Empire. It became a part of the Kingdom of Hungary in the 11th century and remained within its realm until after World War I. In 1918 it became a part of Czechoslovakia and later Slovakia.
5 Things to Do In Nitra
Here are a few things that we have either done or that we would wish to do during a future visit in the area.
- Visit the Nitra Castle, Nitriansky hrad in Slovak. The castle is the dominant cultural monument in the town and it is located on a hill just next to the city center. It is easily accessible on foot and after the small climb you will not only get to see the castle itself, but will also be rewarded with a great view over the town and its surrounding areas. The castle was built in the 11th century and in the center of the castle you will find the St. Emmeram’s Cathedral.
- Drink wine. The town lies in the Nitra wine region and there are a lot of local wines to try while in the area. Most of these wines will be hard to find outside of Slovakia, so you should definitely give them a try. Trust us, we have tried to find Slovak wines here in Sweden without any success.
- Climb Zobor. This is the larger hill just next to the town and it is a nature reserve. We never had time to visit the hill, but have heard that there should be several sights of interest around the area.
- Visit the City Palace, Mestský palác in Slovak. The palace is a large baroque building built in 1777 and is today housing the Nitra Gallery.
- Stroll around in the center of town. This is an activity that Nitra is perfect for. The distances are not huge within the center and it is possible to just walk around and enjoying the atmosphere. You will find several restaurants and bars that might be of interest for a short visit.
Going to Nitra?
The easiest way to go to Nitra is by road. Either by car or the regular buses.
- Car: The E58 going east from Bratislava passes Nitra when going east and the same road connects the town with Zvolen and later Košice further on to the east.
- Bus: there are regular regional buses going to Nitra from the capital Bratislava; these buses also connect the town with the cities of Trnava, Zvolen and Banská Bystrica. Buses are run both by Slovak Lines and Student Agency.
The driving distance to Nitra from 3 major Slovak cities, according to Google Maps:
From Bratislava– 92 kilometers (55 min)
From Žilina – 193 kilometers (1 h 38 min)
From Košice – 318 kilometers (3 h 21 min)
This post belongs to our series Exploring Slovakia. Click on the link to read about other interesting places in beautiful Slovakia!