Žilina[dead link] is a town in Central Slovakia with population of 81,000 (2014), and the capital city of the Žilina administrative region.
Zilina is the fourth largest town in Slovakia. Kia Motors Company has a large plant in Zilina. A lot of Kia employees from Korea have moved to Zilina, so you can find specialized Korean food sections in some larger supermarkets and some Korean restaurants.
Zilina is an important transport junction point linking south (Bratislava, Vienna) with north (Kraków, Warsaw) and east (Kosice, Ukraine) with west (Ostrava, Prague).
- 1 Železničná stanica Žilina (central train station), Hviezdoslava street.
Žilina is on the mainline Bratislava-Košice and has frequent connections in both directions, and to the Czech Republic. A direct night train Prague to Kiev (one way) also passes through Žilina early in the morning providing a direct and comfortable (albeit slow) connection from Ukrainian cities like Lviv and Vinnica.
From Bratislava trains can be caught from the main train station (Bratislava Hlavna Stanica) every 1-1½ hours. Fares from €9.
From the Czech Republic there are almost hourly connections, operated by Slovak National Railways, RegioJet and LeoExpress. Fares from Prague start at €8, 5-6 hours.
From Poland and points further north, a change is necessary in either Bohumin or Ostrava.
From Hungary, change in Bratislava (Budapest) or Košice (Miskolc-Debrecen).
Žilina is a junction point for many places in the region. See Cestovné Poriadky for details on all train and bus connections. Private train companies can offer very competitive fares if you book online in advance.
From some towns in Czech Republic, Poland or Slovakia could be easier to catch bus than train or it adds additional connection. See  (available in English also) for train and bus connections in Slovakia and countries around. The 2 main bus station is next to the train station.
There are 3 European roads crossing in Zilina. Road E75 from Bratislava to Zilina as highway D1. Road E50 from Brno continues to Kosice as highway D1. Road E442 from Olomouc.
Žilina has an airport but it is only used for private aviation and the occasional charter flight, so any journey to Zilina will involve a train, bus or taxi journey of at least two hours.
Nearby airports with cheap flights are, in order of convenience, Poprad (seasonal), Bratislava, Brno and Katowice.
The centre is pedestrianised and also small enough to explore on foot. Many areas have also been made wheelchair accessible.
By public transport
The city operates 8 trolleybus routes and 9 normal bus routes throughout Žilina, its suburbs, and neighbouring villages. Check dpmz.sk for a route map and timetables.
The city has quite a few hills, holes in the road and fast drivers, making cycling around sometimes a fun challenge. However in some areas the city has created bicycle-friendly streets and cyclepaths, and outside of peak hours traffic is low so you can have the streets to yourself.
Cyklodielna Recykel [formerly dead link] repairs and sells second-hand bicycles.
Take a stroll in the historic centre and admire the old churches.
- From steps in front of Farsky kostol (church up from Hlinkovo namestie square) you can see beautiful mountains around - Mala Fatra.
- 1 Mariánske námestie. Once it was a market place, today lively central square of the town with arcades.
- 2 Považská galéria umenia (Museum of Art Zilina), Ul. Štefánikova č.2. Tu-Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 10:00-16:00. Regularly changing exhibitions in a variety of forms, sometimes modern, sometimes more traditional. Well worth a visit. €1 per exhibition, €3 for entire museum. Half price for students, pensioners and children.
- 3 Holy Trinity Cathedral, Horný Val 1. Roman Catholic church from the 15th century, one of the town's most significant monuments.
- 4 Budatín Castle, Topoľová 1. Beautiful 13th-century castle with a nice park on the confluence of two rivers. The castle is closed for reconstruction, but the park is open.
- 5 Galéria plusminusnula, J. M. Hurbana 220/11 (next to Nova Synagoga). M-F 12:00-17:00. Exhibition space for contemporary art, with a new exhibition every month. Free.
- 1 Zilina dam (Vodne Dielo) (about 2km east of the centre). Do running, walking, inline skating, cycling, beach volleyball
- 2 Lesopark Žilina, Veľký diel (between quarters Solinky and Vlcince). Walking, running, barbecue, high-rope adventure park 
- 3 Stanica cultural node (train station Zariecie). In the building of old and still operating train station Zilina-Zariecie. Concerts, theater performances, films (often in English or with English subtitles), festivals, exhibitions, discussions, bar.
- 4 Dom umenia Fatra (concert hall), Jozefa Vuruma 139, ☏ +421 412451111. Weekly classical performances by the State Chamber Orchestra Žilina. Tickets at navstevnik.sk from €5.
- To dance: Tanečná škola Plešinger, Závodská cesta 6, 00421 41 7003 173, 00421 903 804 051, 
- Paragliding: Zilina is popular place to start with it (hill Stranik), , 
- 1 Dubeň Shopping Center, Vysokoškolákov 52. Large shopping mall south of the city centre offering wide range of stores.
- cheese - get local cheese from cheese shops, much better and fresher than from supermarkets, e.g. Syrmix on Narodna street or Kuzmanyho Street, shops close to market
- Fruit and vegetable market - during season good source of vegetable and fruits, sometime you can find here locals with only their things (not from big stores). Over corner of Kuzmanyho and Halkova street.
Cheap cheese typical for region:
- "bryndza" - soft cheese (great on fresh bread)
- "korbáčiky", "nite" - great snack
- "oštiepok" - smoked sheep cheese, similar to Polish "oscypek"
- "kapustnica" - soup with sauerkraut and sausage
- "bryndzové halušky" - pasta dumplings with bryndza (soft sheep cheese)
- "strapačky" - pasta dumplings with sauer kraut
Every restaurant has non-smoking part (by law).
During lunch hours (12:00-14:00) most restaurants offer a 'denne menu' with a few set meal options for €3-5. Expect a typical Slovak plate; potatoes, cabbage and a slab of meat, or a plate of pasta with cheese. Always soup will be included, likely a chicken broth (vyvar) or garlic soup.
- 1 Cosmo Asian Restaurant, Kuzmányho 100. 11:00-23:00 daily. Nice looking restaurant. They have daily menus all day for about €4 including soup.
- 2 Slovenska koliba, Kuzmanyho. Typical Slovak looking building with typical Slovak dishes
- 3 Trattoria Pepe, 7, Jozefa Vuruma 146 (close to Marianske Namestie), ☏ +421 041 564 35 55. M-Th 10:00-23:00, F 10:00-24:00, Sa 11:00-24:00, Su 11:00-22:00. Pork or chicken escalopes (wiener schnitzel), or chicken and pasta, or a meat and rice, served with potatoes and vegetable and a drink, all for a very reasonable €4. Pleasant little place.
- 4 Na bráne, Bottova 10. M-Sa 08:30-23:00. Cheap restaurant with typical Slovak food. Very popular with locals for lunch and dinner, and arguably the cheapest Aperol Spritz in all of Slovakia. Only set meals, no á la carte dishes. Covered terrace in summer. Daily menu €4 including soup and Kofola.
- 5 Reštaurácia Vix, Sládkovičová 3 (in the corner of square "Marianske namestie"), ☏ +421 41 562 6401, +421 903 502 177, fax: +421 41 562 6431, firstname.lastname@example.org. Every day 10:00-23:00. Stylish and modern. Video games, casino and billiard upstairs. €3-13.
- 6 Voyage Voyage, Mariánske námestie 191/14. Up in the second of the square is very agreeable.
- 7 Manzo Steak & Burger, Antona Bernoláka 44, ☏ +421948855338, email@example.com. M Tu Th 11:00-22:00, W 08:00-22:00, F 08:00-23:00, Sa 12:00-23:00. Relatively new restaurant which is quickly gaining in popularity. Wide choice of steaks of different cuts and burgers, neatly served. They also have a few vegetarian options.
- 8 Vulcano, Za plavárňou 8121/1. Daily menus for €5.5. Solid gelato around corner.
There are many pubs, restaurants and tearooms around town. Beer is especially cheap at just over €1 per half litre.
There are a few pubs and bars on the main square. There is an Irish bar, aptly named 'Guinness' and also a disco style bar called Royales.
Typical Slovak (and Czech) soft drink is Kofola. Kind of coke drink, not so sweet.
- 1 Trojka pub, Horný val 8/17. Good place to meet, drink and have something to eat. They have also English menu card.
- 2 Beervana, Kuzmányho 104/8, ☏ +421 902696156, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 16:00-00:00, F Sa 16:00-02:00. Twelve different beers on tap, changing regularly. Also other drinks, snack foods and pizza on the menu. A bit expensive by local standards but worth it for the assortment and ambiance. English speaking staff and menu. Good for groups.
- 3 Na 7. schode, Antona Bernolaka 2, toll-free: +421901708984, email@example.com. M-Sa 16:00-00:00, F until 01:00. Small sit-down pub with good atmosphere and music at a good level for conversations with friends or strangers. Very good specialty beers on offer. Cash only.
- 1 Dom techniky, Vysokoškolákov 3151/70, ☏ +421 911802008, firstname.lastname@example.org. A good cheap option although quite far from the train and bus stations. Private rooms with sinks from €20 a night, on the 9th and 10th floors. No internet but nearby restaurant has free Wi-Fi.
- 2 Ubytovňa Žilina - hostel, Pri Celulózke 28 (bus N° 24, 26, 31), ☏ +421 415254868, email@example.com. Free wifi, single bedroom €11.50 per person per night, discounts for more nights.
- 3 Ubytovňa Dunaqua, Bratislavská 2, ☏ +421415621263, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 10:00. An ubytovňa is a traditional Slovak workers hotel, expect just basic service but good value. Breakfast and tourist tax not included in the price. Located just a short walk from the old centre. Dorm €8, Pension Room €12, Apartment €27.
- 4 Hotel Slovakia, Nám. Ľudovíta Štúra 2 (next to Aupark). A very nice ex-communist hotel with over 100 rooms, centrally located with parking. From €25 single/€39 double.
- 5 Penzión *** Anton, Sv. Cyrila a Metoda 830, ☏ +421 415094499, fax: +421 415094451, email@example.com. Check-in: nonstop. Comfortable accommodation 3 km from Žilina in beautiful surrounding. €27-43.
- 6 Hotel Dubná Skala, Hurbanova 8, ☏ +421 41 507 9100, fax: +421 41 507 9101, firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-stop From €95 single,€99 double.
- 7 Palace Hotel Polom, Hviezdoslavova 22 (next to main train station), ☏ +421 41 504 8888, fax: +421 41 504 8333, email@example.com. Non-stop. Single/double €102/129-129/142.
- Free open wifi on Námestie A. Hlinku (lower square) and Marianské námestie (upper square), as well as in the central shopping malls Aupark and Mirage.
- Amazing photogallery of everything in Zilina  including photos of hotels, shops, parks, hills, quarters, transport, schools, churches, industries, health centers.
- 1 Pošta Žilina 1 (main post office), Sládkovičova 14 (opposite Nova Synagoga and Rosenfeld Palace), ☏ +421 415126210. M-F 07:00-19:00, Sa 08:00-12:00. Send letters and packages, SIM cards and credit, point of sale for ticketportal.sk
- 2 Tourist Information Office, Námestie A. Hlinku 9 (freestanding kiosk, look for a big green info sign), ☏ +421 417233186, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-17:00, Jun-Sep also Sa Su 09:00-14:00. Run by enthusiastic staff that know everything about the city. They can tell you about all the events and current exhibitions.
Like any central European town, be practical. The railway station is not the greatest place to "have" to stop over in for any length of time based on experience. Suggest avoid waiting room, and stay near kiosks. Otherwise, Zilina is fine. Enjoy!
There are many great places close to Zilina.
Castles and ruins
- Starhrad ruin (11 km)  - on hill in the middle of forest with great view to river meander. Do a day trip: by train to Strecno, go to Strecno castle, cross river and go up to Starhrad and back.
- Strecno castle (11 km)  - big castle just next road to Liptovský Mikuláš, paid entrance, open daily 09:00-18:00 (last entrance 17:15). By train or bus to Strecno village.
- Lietava ruin (10 km)- nice looking, on the way to Rajecke Teplice
- Sulov castle ruin (28 km) - on the top of rock in Sulovske skaly (Sulov rocks)
- Hricov ruin (13 km) - nice walk from village Hričovske Podhradie
Mountains and hills
- Malá Fatra - with centre in Vratna (start of hiking tracks, lift, ski resort) and Terchova (big wooden creche in church). Possible tours:
- Janosikove horne a dolne diery: start in Stefanova
- To Chleb and walk on the mountain edge
- Jánošíkove Diery: Buses leave in Žilina from the main bus station to Terchová. From Terchová you can then walk 2 km to the entry of Jánošíkove Diery.
- Sulov rocks (Sulovske skaly) - start from village Sulov-Hradna. You can do circle around and visit also Sulov castle ruin.
- Stranik - popular with paragliding, great view over Zilina, the river Vah and surrounding mountains. Take bus no. 27 to Zastranie to last stop.
- Rajecke Teplice - if you are passing this town, stop and enjoy small stroll around town and park
- Čičmany - a folk village near Žilina.
- Vlkolínec - a folk village near Ružomberok.