A city situated in north-western part of Slovakia, around 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the capital city Bratislava. Close to both the Czech and Polish borders as the largest city on the Váh river it is an important industrial centre and an important point of tourism as well.

The historical centre of the city centred from the Marianske to Andrej Hlinka squares and in the vicinity, was reconstructed in the early 1990s and is protected as a city monument reserve. The Marianske square formed by 106 arcade passages and 44 burgher houses along the whole square is dominated by the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, the old building of the city council, and the baroque statue of the Virgin Mary. Nearby is the Church of the Holy Trinity, a sacral building built around 1400, which is since February 2008 the cathedral of the Diocese of Žilina.

The oldest architectural landmark of Zilina is the Church of St. Stephen the King, located just 1 kilometre southwest from the town centre. Dating back to the years 1200-1250, it belongs to the first Romanesque churches in Slovakia.

Other landmarks around the city include:

  • Budatín Castle, housing Považie Museum with its tinker trade exhibition
  • The wooden Roman Catholic church of St. George in the Trnové
  • The Orthodox synagogue, which now houses the Museum of Jewish culture

In addition, the city can serve as a starting point for visiting various locations, including hiking trails into the Mala Fatra, Velka Fatra, Beskydy and Javorniky mountains. Other locations of interest include Castles of Bojnice, Strečno, Orava, and picturesque villages of Čičmany and Vlkolínec.

Terchova and Vratna Valley

The Terchova village lies in a valley in the Malá Fatra Mountains, about 25 km east of Žilina. The village was established in 1580, but the area was inhabited even before its establishment. Near the end of World War II, half of the wooden part of the village was burned down. Besides the winter and summer tourist activities is the village renowned for being the birthplace and town where famous Slovak bandit Juraj Janosik grew up.

Vrátna Valley belongs to the Malá Fatra mountain range in Slovakia. It is situated 3 km from the village of Terchová in the Žilina Region. The Vrátna Valley covers an area of approximately 36 km². Vrátna is one of the most visited tourist and ski destinations in Slovakia which offers a cableway Vrátna (740 m) - Chleb (1,490 m). Most popular is skiing, cross-country skiing and other winter activities, and biking and hiking trails during the summer.