Trenčín is a town in western Slovakia that several of our Slovak friends recommended us to visit. It is famous for its castle and it did not take us a long time to understand why. We decided to make a stop in Trenčín on our way back home from a weekend in Žilina. As you arrive at the train station it is quite difficult to miss the impressive castle majestically overlooking the city from its hill top. We might have been a bit unlucky with the weather, but we can imagine how beautiful the town would be when the sun is shining.
Trenčín is with its around 56.000 inhabitants the 9th largest town in Slovakia and it is the capital of the Trenčín Region, Trenčiansky kraj in Slovak.
A Short History of Trenčín
The first known mentioning of Trenčín dates back to the 11th century, which makes the town one of the oldest ones in Slovakia together with Bratislava and Nitra. The town was significant due to the location near the crossroads of trading routes. In ancient times the Jasper road was passing by the town. The road was used by merchants from Etruscan, Greece, and later Rome.
Trenčín is first known to have been a part of the Great Moravian Empire, before becoming a part of the Kingdom of Hungary in the early 11th century. The city would remain a part of Hungary until 1918. Being a town close to the border the town suffered during multiple attacks during all the European conflicts and wars that took place throughout the centuries. Trenčín also suffered from the plague in the 18th century. The disastrous century continued with the town as well as the castle being burnt down in 1790.
The new railway between Žilina and Bratislava in the 19th century led to to positive developments in Trenčín as well. During the first Czechoslovak Republic the industries (mainly clothing, food, and engineering) kept developing here.
5 + 1 Things to Do In Trenčín
Trenčín Castle (Trenčiansky hrad)
The ruins standing on the hill above the town are the most prominent landmark. It will take you back to a time long past and give you that special feeling that you have entered a once important place. For the people less interested in the history it will offer a great view over the town. It is the third-largest castle in Slovakia and it is divided into upper and lower sections, with extensive fortifications. On the rock below the castle there is a Roman inscription dating back to 179 AD.
Peace Square (Mierové námestie)
This is a really cozy square with the castle right above it. Here you will find nice restaurants and a few small shops. The Peace Square was a center of cultural and political life for centuries and it still is the main square in Trenčín.
At the square you can admire the Trenčín Plague Pillar. Count Mikuláš Illésházi had the column built in 1712 in the aftermath of the epidemic that struck the town in 1710.
Synagogue of Trenčín (Synagóga v Trenčíne)
In Slovakia religious buildings are together with the castles usually the most prominent buildings in each town. One interesting thing in Trenčín is that it is not a church that is the most prominent of the religious buildings as is the case in most of the country. It is actually the synagogue. The synagogue was built in 1913 and it is inspired by Viennese Art-Nouveau and Modernism. The building can be found in the northern corner of the Square of Ľ. Štúr.
The Lower City Gate (Dolná brána – Mestská veža)
We like towers and especially the view that they offer. Sadly we didn’t get the opportunity to climb this tower when we were in town. But we can imagine that the view over the town would be really nice and the structure itself is a must see when in town. This Gothic tower has six floors and it dates back to the 15th century. The tower was later modernized. It is open to visitors only in the summertime.
Enjoy the surroundings
Why not walk along the small streets and enjoy a cup of coffee in a small café or a beer at one of the bars? It might not take so many hours to see the main sights, but it is sure possible to relax and enjoy the town for a lot longer.
The +1: Pohoda
The biggest annual Slovak music event, Pohoda, takes place in Trenčín every summer. During the years. the size of the festival has grown. It was originally held at the football ground, nowadays visitors drink beer, party and listen to good music at the airport.
Going to Trenčín?
The easiest way to go to Trenčín is either by road or rail. There are regular buses and trains connecting the town to the rest of Slovakia. The easiest way to find which transportation would work best for you, is to check the timetables at cp.sk.
- Car: Road E50 connects Trenčín with Žilina, Martin, Poprad, Prešov and Košice to the east. And to the west it will lead you to Brno and Prague in the Czech Republic. Road E75 continues south to Trnava and Bratislava.
- Bus: There are buses from some of the major cities in the area, such as Bratislava and Žilina.
- Train: There are trains connecting the town to Bratislava and Trnava in the West and to Žilina, Poprad and Košice to the East
The driving distance to Trenčín from 3 major Slovak cities, according to Google Maps.
Bratislava – 131 kilometers (1 h 14 min)
Žilina – 81 kilometers (46 min)
Košice – 335 kilometers (3 h 19 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!