HIKING in the Štiavnica Mountains
There are many marked tourist paths and educational trails leading all around the picturesque region of Štiavnické vrchy. Some of them are well maintained; however, there are also some sections where the tourist signs might be missing. We recommend to use the combination of the classic edition of regional tourist maps in scale 1:50,000 published by VKÚ Harmanec, and the local free map in the scale of ~1:35,000 annually issued by us (available free of charge in every local tourism stakeholders). We also suggest the Educational Trails around Banská Štiavnica published by the touristic association - available for 1€ in the Tourist Information Office.
About the tourist signs and trails
In Slovakia the tourist signs are referred to by their color. A sign marking a tourist route consists of two white and one coloured horizontal stripes. This color can be red, blue, green or yellow. These routes are usually longer, can run through more regions. The educational trails are usually marked by a rectangular sign of white background and a coloured (mostly green) diagonal line. These trails are usually shorter and offer a round-trip with several stations and a lot of information.
examples for a "red" tourist sign and an educational trail sign
The must-see hiking destinations:
- Kalvária by walk - 30 minutes from the center
- Klinger water reservoir and the Open-Air Mining Museum - 30 minutes from the center
- Educational Trail on Glanzenberg hill
- Ridge tour from Paradajz to Tanád hill (on the red line)
- Lakes in Štiavnické Bane
- Sitno mountain and Počúvadlo lake
Desctiption of some suggested routes and Educational Trails
The trail starts in Červená studňa saddle which is right at the crossroads between Banská Štiavnica-Hodruša and Banská Štiavnica-Vyhne, what means that is well accessible by car. If starting from the Holy Trinity Square in the centre of Banská Štiavnica, the saddle is accessible within 20 minutes following green tourist sign. The “Milan Kapusta Nature Trail” mostly goes along the exploited ore vein Terézia. 16 educational panels inform about the surrounding nature and everyday life of miners in former times. It passes the Ottergrund reservoir – the highest located lake within the Štiavnické Mountains (801 m. above sea level). The trail offers spectacular views over Banská Štiavnica’s historical centre with all its historical buildings. The trail is 6.1-kilometer-long and with incline of 80 meter. It is also suitable for children and seniors walkers. After 1,5 – 2 hours, it ends at the Holy Trinity Square in the centre of Banská Štiavnica again.
This interesting nature trail passes through the Old Town location on the Glanzenberg hill, where was during the 12th-17th century fortified mining settlement called Bana , site where the first known surface mining in Štiavnické mountains occured. Footpath passes lake „Veľká Vodárenská” and leads to ruin of castle with a chapel , stone residential or mining engineering objects and also to the rocks residues from the surface mining of the veins and Spitaler and Bieber. It offers interesting panoramic views , two places with seating are sheltered. The route begins in the saddle Red well and ends up in Úvozná street, but it can also be passed in the opposite direction , or joined from the Vodárenská street . It has length 3.3 km, 23 panelsinforming about the history of mining, cultural, historical and natural attractions and can be passed in2 - 2.5 hours.
Andrej Kmeť was a scientist of nature, archaeology, an ethnographer and historian, a pioneer of the Slovak museology and a specialist in the region which lies round about the Sitno hill. The trail links the village Prenčov, the place where he worked and Bzenica, the place where he was born. The blue trail initially goes up to Sitno hill (1009 m asl). From the peak of Sitno, it runs to the Krížna saddle. From there it follows the ridge of the Štiavnické Mountains through the Peciny saddle, Tanád and Paradajz peaks (both roughly 939 m asl) to the Červená studňa saddle. Running to the north, it continues through Hadová, Rumplovská hamlets, passing by the Kerling Chapel, and the natural travertine in Vyhne. From there the path merges with the asphalt road to Breznica where the trail ends. You may end the hike either by the thermal spa in Vyhne or shift to the green trail which brings you to the Stone Sea – a national reserve of weathered rhyolite stone blocks, which was presumably created by a prehistoric earthquake or by erosion.
The major part of the trail runs on the hill chain edge between the Hodruša and the Vyhne Valleys. From Hadová on, you may go down to the south, reaching the Hodruša reservoir. If turning to the yellow touristic sign to the north, you will soon reach the glamorous tiny Banky lake. From Rumplovská hamlet on, following the yellow trail, you will approach the historical mining settlement of Banská Hodruša and have a look at the traditional mining architecture of dispersed miners’ cottages, surrounding churches and many technical monuments: mining shafts, tunnels and mine industry buildings.
Again we start from the Červená studňa saddle. The blue trail with magnificent views of Banska Stiavnica will lead you to Horna Roven mining settlement, where you can explore mining houses , impressive Calvary placed in lime tree alley as well as a complex of mine shafts and tunnels below the hill of Tanád. From here you can go along the yellow trail to the top of the Great Tanad, where you can change to the red byway to the top of Paradajz. Both exceed the height of 938 m , one by 80 and the other by 90 cm. It’s an easy hike that can take up to 3 hours .
You can start the trip to Calvary from one of the two main squares of the town – Radničné or Holy Trinity Square (Námestie Sv. Trojice ). Go down Andreja Kmeťa Street and in front of the monument to this priest turn left into Akademická Street, which will lead you past the parish church and the Botanical Garden with the buildings of the former Mining and Forestry Academy. Going along Mierová Str. you will reach the crossroads, where you turn right. At the corner, behind the bus stop called VÚLH, turn left and the street Pod Kalváriou climbs up to the destination. Returning you can take a different way along Mládežnícka and Dolna Streets, which lead directly to the city centre. It takes about 30 minutes to go from the city center to the top of Calvary.
From the centre to the Klinger water reservoir you can follow the red trail. Starting on Radničné Square you climb up to the parking lot below the New Castle. From this panorama point, you pass the St. Mary of the Snows Church in front of which you turn right the historical road running under the beautiful old town gate, called Piarg Gate. Going along a steep street past the cemetery, you reach a crossing where you turn into the forest path which brings you to the Klinger reservoir. Its closeness to the town makes it the most pleasant natural swimming poo in summerl. The path running down from its dam brings you to the Open-Air Mining Museum. On your way back, you may take Staronova Street which leads from this museum back to the Piarg Gate. Following Dolná Resla Street and passing by the Knocking Tower you reach Radničné Square again.
If you want to hike to the Sitno hill you may take the red trail starting from Radničné Square. Even though the signs are regularly maintained, it is good to keep an eye on them. A critical point, at which it is easy to lose the track, is the net of lines in the village of Štiavnické Bane and at the crossroads above this village on the meadow in a beech forest. In the saddle Krížna you need to shift to the blue trail which brings you to Sitno hill.
The Počúvadlo reservoir is accessible by car through Štiavnické Bane. From the parking lot on the lake side, two various trails run to the top of Sitno. The green one leads us straight up a steep slope which ends soon by a forest spring. The trail leads through Tatárska lúka (the Tatar meadow) enriched by the wild rose bushes. This meadow is the starting point of another educational trail, which is in a good condition although the 13 information boards along itl need to be actualised. The trip to Sitno from the Tatar meadow continues via steep path partly consisting of wooden stairs that are still manageable by kids and seniors. The ending stairs and the following right turning path bring you to the Sitno Rocks offering the reward of a gorgeous 360° panorama view. During summertime (May-September), the historical view-tower offers a small canteen and a tiny nature exhibition. Walking on the hill top to the broadcast tower you get to an asphalt road which crosses the bottom meadow soon where you need to turn right. There is a mediaeval castle that once was a large-scale residence, whereas nowadays its central part is an archaeological excavation. The educational trail will lead us, traversing the north slope of Sitno hill, back to the Tatar meadow. Following the Tatar channel which collected rainwater into the Počúvadlo reservoir you come to the crossiing with green trail. You continue and approach the most challenging part of the trip. Passing by serpentines leading through the andesite rocks of the Elo´s cleft you reach the top-hill meadow table-land.
Interesting and of easy grade, this trail is the one spanning around Sitno hill following the level line. Above the mentioned yellow trail runs by the Tatar channel to the crossroads at Vlčia jama (turning to blue sign you may visit the Sitno castle ruins) and from there towards the north-east to the saddle Krížna where the cross-point of supply and drainage channels runs to and out of the artificial reservoirs in an united water management network. Walking by the bank of the Počúvadlo reservoir, the yellow trail brings you back to the starting point of your trip.
This hike starts and ends at the Červená studňa saddle. It offers a set of 19 educational panels which introduce visitors to the geological content and development of the Štiavnické Mountains as well as the local mining activity, its impact on nature and environment. Information panels are written in rather expert language which may not satisfy a layman tourist; however do not miss the first panel which depicts the creation of Banská Štiavnica’s stratovolcano. This prehistorical volcano had the diameter of 50 kilometers at its foothill and reached the latitude of 4000 meters having its top covered with snow.
The path offers rest benches, sightseeing points with panorama maps and pyramid-shaped rock samples, plus two drinkable water springs. It has the length of 4.2 kilometres with 140 meters incline, and its suitability for cross-country skiing makes this hike pleasant for all age hikers.
The hamlet of Kysihýbel is a former part of the village of Banský Studenec, however, historically as a farm-settlement it used to belong to Banská Štiavnica. When going by car, there might be problem with parking since entry to this hamlet is banned. From the bus station at Križovatka you need to turn to the Drieňová estate and following the road to Banský Studenec you reach the place with visible fence and plate: Arboretum Kysihýbel. It refers to nature, forestry and the historical attractions of Banská Štiavnica. The grade is relatively easy. It brings you to a couple of fish ponds and passing below railway line, you come to a small arboretum - the Garden of the historical Mining and Forestry Academy’s Professor, Feistmantel. Going up past the red quarry where red rhyolite was exploited, you come to an underground quarry of andesite. The last part of the trip passes through the andesite rock towers and finishes at the scientist centre Arboretum Kysihýbel. The trail is accessible for everyone. However, in order to visit the arboretum you need to contact the National Forestry Centre in Zvolen, tel. 045/532 03 16. The trail is medium grade, 8 kilometres long and takes about 3 – 4 hours.
The trail starts on the bank of Great Richnava reservoir which is accessible by car from Banská Štiavnica to Levice through Štiavnické Bane. The path goes past water channels to other Piarg reservoirs – Bakomi, Kreschengrund, Great Vindšachta and Eva´s reservoir. Five informational panels give a summary about reservoir’s ecology. The trail may be covered entirely within 3 hours.
The trail starts on the bank of Great Richnava reservoir, goes up the Main Richnava water channel to the Hodruša water tunnel at the stand no.4 offering a scenic view onto the hub of the Vinšachta reservoirs. Over the Bakomi reservoir runs a system of water channels nearly up to the Počúvadlo reservoir. The trail offers two options - 10 and15 km long - with 16 information boards. It gives a brief overview about the group of Piarg water reservoirs. Trip takes up to 6 – 7 hours.
This round trial informs about the history of the village of Štiavnické Bane and its mines. There is also presented information about ore processing and water management system. The trail is 5 km long, has 9 information boards and it takes 2-3 hours to be covered. It starts at the town hall of Štiavnické Bane and runs to the Suchý tajch passing by the remains of some mining structures. Further you can climb up to the Francis of Assisi cottage and return passing important mining structures (mining shaft, tunnels, depots) and monuments of architecture (building of the first mining school, mining hospital, Carmelite monastery). The journey takes 2 – 3 hours.