What inspired the great Hungarian writer Kálmán Mikszáth to make LEVOČA the star of his 1910 revenge saga The Black Town is a mystery. The medieval town is as neat and respectable as a privet hedge, and if there are any passions seething they’re well buried. The town’s main attraction is the wonderful religious art at the Church of St James, but it’s also a good base for visiting Spiš castle, and a gateway to beautiful Slovak Paradise National Park.

Levoča is a grid-plan town. The main streets run from Námestie Majstra Pavla (the main square) to the city walls, becoming darker and shabbier as they go. Churches, hotels and museums congregate in the main square, with the cheaper pensions, hostels and pubs scattered near the town walls. From the north side of Námestie Majstra Pavla you can see the graceful white church at Mariánska hora (Mary’s Mountain), a Catholic pilgrimage.