Equal parts pretty and gritty, Košice lures you with its dazzling historic core but holds your interest with free-spirited nightlife. The pride of Eastern Slovakia's largest city is Hlavná, the central square with the country's largest concentration of historic monuments. Since its tenure as European Capital of Culture 2013, Košice has grown increasingly confident. The cultural scene continues to bloom in unconventional ways: offbeat bars, Soviet city tours and vegan dining share the limelight with well-established draws like the showstopping Gothic cathedral, philharmonic orchestra and, yes, ice hockey.
Košice is also a convenient anchor for day trips to Eastern Slovakia's most weird and wonderful sights. Within a two-hour drive of the city you can discover the gnarled limestone caverns of Slovak Karst National Park (southwest) or the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce (northeast).