Several raised eyebrows and many questions is what I got when I asked for suggestions about what to do in Levice for a day. In my opinion there was no need at all to be surprised at my destination. With only 110 kilometers to Bratislava it actually made a perfect destination for a day trip. Especially when looking for something different. At the end of the day, traveling is also about visiting places (slightly) off the beaten track.
Levice is actually quite cozy a town to stroll around in. There might be a lack of imortant sights, but it definitely gives an interesting contrast to the normal destinations for tourists. Especially since the first thing that greets visitors arriving at the train or bus station is high-rise concret block buildings. My first impression was that the town felt a bit worn down by time, but that there was still some kind of charm to it.
With a population of around 35.000 people, Levice is the 18th largest town in Slovakia. This makes it also the 4th largest town in the Nitra Region after Nitra, Nové Zámky and Komárno. The city’s focus is on the food processing industry and one of Slovakia’s two nuclear power plants is located in nearby Mochovce.
As this is a travel blog we must also comment on the fact that Levice used to be the hometown of Eugene Fodor. No, I hadn’t heard about him either. As it turns, he was a Hungarian-American travel writer and founder of Fodor, the the world’s largest publisher of English language travel and tourism information and the first relatively professional producer of travel guidebooks.
A Short History of Levice
Levice were first mentioned in documents dating back to the 12th century and was at that time a part of the Kingdom of Hungary. The Hungarian name for the town is Léva. The Old-Slavonic name Leva means “The Left One”, and the city is actually located on the left bank of the lower Hron river.
The Turks attacked the town in 1544. The occupation, that lasted for 150 years, weakened the local economy. The castle increased its importance and influence. At the time it was a royal castle and it was ranked among the 15 most important defence forts.
Ottoman forces left the city in the summer of 1664 after losing the Battle of Levice (or the Siege of Léva) to the Austrian Imperial Army. After the Austro-Turkish wars had ended, the castle, as well as the town, lost much of its military importance.
In the second half of 18th century Levice grew significantly and it became an important agricultural center. The history of Levice clearly shows the twists and turns of European politics in the first half of the 20th century. After the break-up of Austria-Hungary, the town became a part of Czechoslovakia and remained so until 1938. During World War II, it once again belonged to Hungary. The area was returned to Czechoslovakia after the war and after Slovak independence, it is a part of modern-day Slovakia.
The population boom in Levice began in the 1950’s and the number of inhabitants grew from around 14.000 in 1961 to around 37.500 in the end of the 1980’s.
5 Things to Do In Levice
- Levice Castle (Levický hrad), built in the 13th century and nowadays a ruin. It is probably the most prominent sight in the town and will keep you occupied for an hour or two. The Levice Castle Days in June attract tourists. The castle also houses the Tekovské múzeum (Museum of Tekov) with archaeological, historic and ethnographic collections.
- Schoeller’s mill, built in the 19th century and in use until 1998. It nowadays houses shops and cafés. With its tower, the mill really defines the characteristics of the town. It is also a good pointer when trying to find your way through the center.
- The Town Hall, build in 1902 and extended in 1927. Together with other sights, this is a place that is easy to walk by when strolling around in town. It is located at the Námestie hrdinov Square. Around the square tourists can also admire several other 100-year old buildings.
- There are multiple churches in Levice. Here you will find the Church of St. Michael Archangel, the Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph, the Calvinist Church and also a Synagogue.
- Strolling around. We do like to walk around and Levice is a compact small town that offers good posibilities to see most sights on foot. Margita-Ilona is a recreational center in the Kalinčiakovo town district and it’s a nice place for relax. The Horšianska dolina valley (outside the city) is the perfect place for anyone who loves hiking.
Going to Levice?
The easiest way to go to Levice is either by road or rail. There are regular buses and trains connecting the town to the rest of Slovakia. You will find time schedules for busses and trains at cp.sk.
- Car: The road 51 connects the town to Nitra in the west and road 51/E77 connects the town to Zvolen in the East.
- Bus: there are regular regional buses going to Levice from the capital Bratislava, these buses also connect the town with the cities of Trnava and Nitra.
- Train: There are trains connecting the town to Bratislava in the West and to Zvolen and Banská Bystrica to the East.
The driving distance to Levice from 3 major Slovak cities, according to Google Maps.
Bratislava– 150 kilometers (1 h 28 min)
Žilina – 148 kilometers (1 h 49 min)
Košice – 326 kilometers (3 h 21 min)
Below you find a couple of external links where you will be able to find more information about the town of Levice.
This post belongs to our series Exploring Slovakia. Click on the link to read about other interesting places in beautiful Slovakia!