Kežmarok is about 15 kilometres northeast of Poprad, close enough to the High Tatras to give you some great views of Slovakia’s highest peaks. It’s an easy walk to the town centre from the bus and train stations, the latter of which is one of the prettiest train stations you’ll see anywhere in the country. Signs around town in several languages also make it easy to find your way to Kežmarok’s historical highlights.
One of Kežmarok’s most distinctive attractions is the stary cintorin (old cemetery), outside of the town centre between the wooden church and the train station. The walls are lined with memorials to some of the town’s most important families from centuries past. Some of them are painted in various pastel hues, and some have columns, peaked roofs and other architectural flourishes. The tall old trees growing between the graves make it a peaceful, green location to take a walk.
The main square is marked by the bulbous steeple of the town hall. You can take Hradná ulica away from the square to get to the Kežmarok castle. The castle was built at the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century, but you can see the remains of a 13th-century Roman church in the courtyard. The castle got its present Renaissance form, with quaint white walls and red roofs, during ongoing renovations from 1572 to 1624. For centuries, the castle was at the centre of ongoing disputes between the town of Kežmarok and the castle’s noble owners, which were finally settled when Kežmarok took possession of the building in 1702.
From a historical perspective, Kežmarok is also important for its Lyceum, which includes a historic school library that is one of the largest in this part of Europe, according to the city’s tourism website.