Slovakia blends all of the hallmarks of a great European past with stunning natural beauty and a welcoming contemporary environment. Its relatively tiny capital, Bratislava, may not have the magnificent views seen in other Eastern European cities, but it has an active atmosphere, a beautiful Old Town, Bratislava Castle, and countless opportunities to have a good time. The city as a whole is a charming combination of rococo architecture from the 18th century and concrete Communist construction blocks. An afternoon coffee at one of the many street cafés along the renowned Danube river is a must and a great opportunity to people-watch and soak up the atmosphere. Take a river cruise down to Devin Castle for a touch of grandeur, an outstanding illustration of Slovakia’s record-high number of castles and chateaux. Some are little more than a pile of stones buried deep in the wilderness, while others are magnificent baroque palaces or citadels in the heart of cities. Other notable examples are Spi Castle (one of Europe’s biggest castle sites) and the 19th century Bojnice Castle, a popular tourist attraction for Slovaks. Almost as popular is the stunning Orava Castle in Doln Kubn, which sits high on a cliff overlooking the Orava River. The ancient towns of Koice, Trnava, and Levoa are all excellent choices for big historic city centers. Banská tiavnica is a fantastically maintained medieval mining village that is also one of the country’s World Heritage Sites. Whereas Banská tiavnica worked for silver ore, the tiny but similarly well-preserved medieval town of Kremnica was constructed atop gold mines and is home to the world’s oldest still-operational mint.
Slovakia is a wonderful place to visit if you like nature. Large sections of the nation are densely forested, and wildlife abounds, including brown bears, wolves, and lynxes. The Tatra Mountains, particularly the High Tatras, are a popular tourist destination, offering breathtaking mountain views as well as excellent possibilities for skiing and other outdoor activities. There are an amazing amount of caverns in the country’s vast karst regions. Tourists may reach around a dozen of them. The Ochtinská Aragonite Cave in Roava stands out as one of the world’s only three aragyonite caves. It is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, together with other caverns in the Slovak Karst. If you love trekking, consider visiting the Slovak Paradise National Park, which is known for its magnificent canyons and ravines with waterfalls and granite formations. Visit one of Slovakia’s numerous mineral springs and spas for a more relaxed experience with the country’s natural surroundings. Pieany is one of the most well-known, although there are many more.
If you have the opportunity, take a drive across Slovakia’s countryside. It’s studded with ancient villages, some of which seem to be undisturbed by time and are often an excellent way to get a taste of the country’s traditional customs. The hamlet of Vlkolnec is regarded as a model of traditional rural architecture, although imany and Brhlovce are also beautiful settlements. Historic churches are difficult to overlook, since they may be found in every hamlet, town, and city. The many wooden churches in the country’s northern and north-eastern regions are particularly well-known.