Slovakia New Year’s Celebration: How, Where & Traditions


How and where to celebrate New Year's Eve in Slovakia and Slovak Traditions

Are you going to visit Slovakia during New Year’s Eve? Then you should know how Slovak people celebrate New Year’s Eve and where are the best places to celebrate this holiday.

Slovak people celebrate New Year’s Eve mainly with their friends, family, and relatives. The most common places for New Year’s celebrations are the squares of Slovak cities, chalets in the mountains, or their flats and houses where they like to watch the New Year’s program on TV.

If you want to know which Slovak cities offer the best New Year’s celebrations and where in nature it is worth celebrating the arrival of the New Year, then continue reading and you will learn all the necessary information.

How and Where to celebrate New Years Eve in Slovakia?

Where is it appropriate for you to celebrate New Year’s Eve during your stay in Slovakia? It depends mainly on whether you prefer to spend time in nature or you prefer the beauty of Slovak cities.

Personally, I prefer the celebration of the New Year somewhere in nature, but below I will show you the best places in nature or in Slovak cities, where you will definitely enjoy the celebration of the New Year.

Slovak mountains & nature

Slovakia offers its visitors beautiful nature, in which it pays to spend time even during New Year’s Eve. The Slovak mountains in particular are an excellent place for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Here you will find beautiful nature, excellent services and a wide range of sports activities.

But which Slovak mountains to choose? Below I will describe the most famous Slovak ski resorts, but also perhaps less known, but quieter and equally interesting places in the Slovak countryside, where it is definitely worth spending New Year’s Eve.

New Years celebration in the High Tatras

New Year’s celebration in High Tatras (source)

The High Tatras are the highest Slovak mountain range and offer a large number of activities during the New Year’s period. If you suffer from the high quality of accommodation facilities and excellent gastronomy, I recommend surviving the arrival of the new year, especially in the following two locations:

  • Štrbské Pleso

Štrbské Pleso is one of the dominants of the High Tatras and offers a number of high-quality hotels in which you can stay during your winter trip in the High Tatras.

Right next to the lake there is a ski resort where you can go skiing during the day. And if you are a good skier, there is also the possibility of night skiing.

And what is the most important, Štrbské Pleso is full of parties and celebrating people during the New Year’s night. So you will definitely enjoy the great atmosphere there.

  • Starý Smokovec

Starý Smokovec is one of the oldest and largest villages at the foot of the High Tatras.

An interesting activity during the New Year’s day is the possibility of hiking to the nearby Hrebienok, where there is an exhibition of ice sculptures during the winter season. Even if you don’t want to go hiking, there is a funicular cable car to Hrebienok directly from Starý Smokovec, the so-called “zubačka”.

And as in the case of Štrbské Pleso, during the New Year’s night, Starý Smokovec is full of celebrating people and New Year’s parties.

Good to know: If you want to spend New Year’s in some bar, you better make the reservation in advance, you may find that there will be no more entrance tickets for sale during the New Year’s Eve.

New Years celebration in Jasná

The Jasná ski resort is situated in the Demänovská Dolina valley in the Low Tatras.

This ski resort is the largest and from my own experience, I can say that even the best in Slovakia. So if your hobbies include skiing and you like to spend your evenings at a party, there is no better place in Slovakia where you will definitely enjoy the New Year celebration.

A great advantage is also the proximity of thermal baths, well known are especially thermal water parks Tatralandia and Bešeňová. Both water parks are about 30 minutes away from Jasná by car and are open all year round.

So if you are tired after a hard skiing or an even more demanding party, these are the places where you can recharge your batteries and relax. The temperature of the thermal water is more than 30 degrees Celsius.

The best hotels in Jasná are:

  • Hotel Tri studničky
  • Grand Hotel Jasná
  • Hotel Björnsonka

Personally, I had the opportunity to try Grand Hotel Jasná and Hotel Tri studničky. I can recommend both hotels without hesitation. The biggest benefit of the Grand Hotel Jasná is its location, it is the highest hotel in this area, located at the foot of the Chopok hill. Hotel Tri studičky is designed as an adult friend, so if you are traveling without children, you will definitely appreciate this option.

Squares of Slovak cities

In the beginning, it is appropriate to say that in each Slovak city, a joint New Year’s celebration takes place on the square or possibly another suitable public place.

So if you are in a smaller Slovak town at the time of the New Year’s celebrations, you don’t have to worry, you will definitely enjoy the New Year’s celebration there as well.

But if you prefer really big New Year’s celebrations with a lot of celebrating people, big fireworks and a lot of bars and dance clubs, then I recommend you to be on New Year’s Eve in Bratislava or Košice.

The squares of Slovak towns are not only a place for New Year’s celebrations but also a place for Christmas markets. Therefore, if you are in Slovakia during the Christmas period, I recommend you to visit some Christmas markets. In this article I have described the most beautiful and interesting Christmas markets in Slovakia, read about them here:


7 Best Christmas Markets in Slovakia: A Local’s Advice


New Years celebration in Bratislava

Bratislava is the capital and largest city of Slovakia and therefore it is clear that the biggest celebrations of the arrival of the new year will take place right here.

The official New Year’s Eve program of the city of Bratislava takes place on Hviezdoslavo námestie Square in the historical center of the city. The accompanying program starts at 21:30 (9:30 PM) and will last until 2:00 at night (2:00 AM).

The final minutes of the old year will help visitors count down the oversized light timepiece on Námestie Ľudovíta Štúra Square. The midnight New Year’s fireworks will, as usual, be fired at midnight from a ship on the Danube. In addition to fireworks, the official program also includes a light and laser show, which takes place on Námestie Ľudovíta Štúra Square.

And what are the most interesting places where, in addition to the official program in the city center, you can celebrate New Year’s Eve in Bratislava?

  • UFO Observation Tower with restaurant

UFO observation tower is one of the most iconic places in Bratislava. You can find here an amazing restaurant with the best view of Bratislava. Do not believe it? So here is a photo from last year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations and Bratislava’s “UFO” is right under the exploding fireworks.

I bet you trust me now 🙂

And celebrating the new year at this place is truly an unforgettable experience. But don’t forget that it is limited during tickets and they always sell out relatively quickly. Their price is around 200 euros per person and can be purchased on the official website of the UFO Observation Tower, here.

  • Waterfront at the Eurovea complex

On the waterfront, you will have a great view of the New Year’s fireworks and the Eurovea complex also offers several high-quality restaurants and bars, where you will find the right entertainment and good snacks.

Good to know: This place is suitable for larger groups, but also for families with younger children.

  • Bar BARROCK

This bar is one of the most popular bars in Bratislava and offers a memorable rock-style party for New Year’s Eve celebration. Admission is 25 euros in advance and includes a welcome drink. You can buy a regular entrance fee for 10 euros on the spot, but it may happen that it will already be sold out.

If you stay in Bratislava also during Christmas time, I recommend you to visit the Christmas markets. You will experience a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere in the historic center of Bratislava. I wrote a post about the best Christmas markets in Bratislava here:


Best Christmas Markets in Bratislava by Locals


New Years celebration in Košice

Košice is the largest city in the east of Slovakia and therefore has a rich New Year’s program prepared for its inhabitants and visitors every year.

The program of New Year’s celebrations in Košice begins in the morning on the last day of the year. In the morning around 10:00 (10:00 AM), there is a children’s New Year’s Eve, which takes place at the Historical City Hall. Children can look forward to a magician, dancing mascots, a plate party, and a small music concert.

So if you have children and during New Year’s Eve you will be in Košice or near them, I definitely recommend visiting this children’s New Year’s Eve, your children will definitely enjoy it.

From 20:00 (8:00 PM) the official New Year’s Eve program begins. You can look forward to dance and music performances. There are also snack stalls and full of cheerful people celebrating the arrival of the new year.

New Years celebration in other Slovak cities

As I already wrote, you can celebrate the arrival of the new year in almost every city in Slovakia. Just go to the city center and you will find there a lot of celebrating people and accompanying cultural program in some cases.

If you prefer a pleasant romantic atmosphere, I recommend you spend New Year’s Eve in Banská Štiavnica. This smaller town is one of the most beautiful in Slovakia and during the winter days, you will feel like a fairy tale.

As I say, you will enjoy New Year’s Eve celebrations wherever you are in Slovakia. It is also worth mentioning cities such as Banská Bystrica, Trnava, Trenčín, or Prešov.

Home cottages in the countryside

This way of celebrating the arrival of the new year is very popular with Slovaks. A large part of Slovaks own a small or larger cottage somewhere in nature and the New Year’s Eve celebration is perfect for visiting it.

If your Slovak friends invite you to a New Year’s Eve party at their cottage, don’t refuse. Not only will you enjoy the New Year’s Eve celebration and good fun with your circle of friends and acquaintances, but you will definitely get the opportunity to taste various Slovak specialties such as homemade sausages, cheese, or alcohol (slivovica or borovička).

Good to know: After a busy New Year’s Eve, you can relax in the peaceful and beautiful Slovak countryside. You will definitely appreciate this option.

New Year traditions in Slovakia

Like other countries, Slovakia has its traditional New Year’s customs, which are an integral part of this holiday. And just to be sure, do you know when the New Year is celebrated in Slovakia?

In Slovakia, the New Year is celebrated on the night of December 31 to January 1. The last day of the year is called the “old year” or “old lady’s day,” and Silvester celebrates the feast on the calendar. The first day of the year is called the “New Year”.

And what were or still are the customs and superstitions to celebrate the New Year in Slovakia?

Slovak traditions and customs on the Old Year (December 31)

In the past, two men disguised as women with a straw wreath went to the Old Year in the village. The housekeepers tore this straw and put the hens in the hen to lay eggs well next year. For this service, the men received a pension in the form of sausages, cakes, or schnapps.

Another custom, which is still observed today, is to visit the Holy Mass in the church. Every lunch, before the New Year’s Eve celebration, the faithful gather in the church to thank them for the whole of the previous year.

The Holy Mass is followed by New Year’s celebrations, which last until the early morning of the next day.

Interesting fact: The tradition of celebrating the arrival of the new year began only after World War II. Until then, all entertainment was banned until the Three Kings.

The habits of the “old year” also included sweeping garbage into the corner of the room, but not out of the house. It was so that someone would not be “swept away” from the house, which meant that he would not die.

It was also interesting that a very rich dinner, similar to Christmas Eve dinner, was served on this day. It differed only in that meat dishes were also served on New Year’s Eve.

And if you want to learn more about Christmas in Slovakia, read the post below:


How does Slovakia Celebrate Christmas? Dinner, Customs & Traditions


Slovak traditions and customs on the New Year (January 1)

As on the last day of the old year, on the first day of the new year, Slovaks in the past observed various customs and traditions. New Year’s traditions and customs in Slovakia were supposed to protect homes and families from disasters, contribute to well-being, and bring happiness.

One of these traditions was also cleanliness and order throughout the home, so it will be the whole year. The garbage was not taken out for fear that no one in the family would die, but also so that happiness would not be brought out of the house.

A tradition that is still observed today is a visit to the church and the Holy Mass. Slovaks thank you for the new year and meet together and wish you all the best for the new year.

Traditional Slovak customs on New Year’s Eve (source)

Interesting fact: During the first day of the year, children walked around the village wishing everyone a happy new year: “We wish you a happy new year that God has given us to survive the old year and live to see the new one!”

Conclusion

The celebration of the arrival of the new year has a long tradition in Slovakia and is one of the happiest holidays of the year.

When visiting Slovakia during this period, you will have fun and enjoy many pleasant moments with friends and family. And it doesn’t matter if you are celebrating New Year’s Eve in the Slovak mountains, in the centers of Slovak towns or somewhere in nature in a cottage.

If I can recommend any of the above options, I definitely recommend celebrating New Year’s Eve at a home cottage in the Slovak countryside with your friends and family.

And when you celebrate the New Year in Slovakia, it will definitely come in handy to be able to wish a Happy New Year in the Slovak language: Šťastný nový rok!

Jano

The Slovakian guy who loves his little big home country.

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