"The little country with many charms" Slovakia by GentleSpirit
Slovakia Travel Guide: 4,222 reviews and 11,180 photos
Most people seem to overlook Slovakia when considering a trip to this part of Europe. It does not have the star attractions that cities like Prague and Krakow have. During my trip to the region this year I visited several parts of the country--the High Tatras, Orava-Zilina area, Prievidza-Bojnice area, Trencin and Bratislava. Each area had some great things to do and see. I came away with the feeling that I wish i had spent more time in this country and I am hopeful that I will get to spend more time here soon.
My first visit to Slovakia was way too short! If you come into the country and just stay in Bratislava for a day before moving on to the Tatras for a day or two you will have just barely scratched the surface. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, I would recommend that you budget a minimum of 3-4 days in Slovakia so you can do some hiking in the Tatras or Slovak Paradise. With the trails you will find here, even that might not be much time to spend.
Perhaps the biggest single calling card Slovakia offers is its magnificent scenery, It is mainly mountainous country with fabulous opportunities to go hiking, rock climbing and all other outdoor sports. If you pay attention to the guidebooks you might be led to the impression that many of the trails are for advanced hikers, that isn't so! Don't be intimidated, there are more than enough trails and facilities to appeal to all skill levels.
I would have loved to have had time to try out hiking at Slovak Paradise. I found the trails I did try in Slovakia to be clean and generally well marked. The experience I had in Mala Fatra was super..more challenging than the usual but breathtakingly scenic. Highly recommended!
You will generally not see hordes of tourists anywhere. The busiest site in the entire country that I saw was Bojnice Castle, which seemed to be visited more by locals than anyone else. Slovakia has a large number of castles in various states of restoration. It is not unusual to see an abandoned castle up on the hill as you drive through the countryside. In fact, there were lots of castles in every part of the country that I visited. Seeing one of the Eagles nest castles (Orava, in this case) was a super experience.
The result of being off the tourist map, is that in some places there is still an uneven set of services available to the tourist. Expect the High Tatras and Bratislava to have more developed services, while a lot of parts of the country might be less so.
You might have some difficulty finding people that speak English in some out of the way places, but I found no significant language problems traveling in Slovakia. I personally found the Slovaks eager to try to help and very friendly and welcoming
- Pros:great castles, awesome hiking, unspoiled nature, friendly locals
- Cons:higher prices due to the Euro
- In a nutshell:Thanks especially to VT member Katamorgana for all her help...your suggestions were excellent. I very much enjoyed my too brief visit to Slovakia
Slovakia has international borders with Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. All of these... more travel advice
You can still see examples of entire villages that retain the traditional architecture of the area. These are open air... more travel advice
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