Slovakia is a remarkably diverse country, with dramatic natural landscapes that range from high Carpathian Mountains in the north, to the low Danube basin in the south.
Most Europeans come to Slovakia in search of the good skiing and snowboarding, outstanding caving, and endless hiking. Slovak Paradise National Park is a perennial favorite, thanks to its deep ravines, rivers and waterfalls.
Bratislava may be centuries older than Prague or Budapest, but this capital city comes without the usual tourist congestion. Its delightful historic center is a cobbled pedestrian zone, and many visitors spend their time seeking out the town’s quirky bronze statues, which always bring a smile.
Tour the breathtakingly beautiful villages and little towns of St. Jur, Pezinok, and Modra in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, where you will find top-class Slovak wineries. And be sure to visit a skanzen as well. These open-air museum-villages showcase Slovakia’s way of life back to the 11thcentury. You’ll see craftmen’s workshops, manor houses, furnishings, traditional buildings, and churches. We especially recommended Pribylina Vikolinec and Cicimany.
Two other must-sees are the medieval Spiš Castle (one of the largest castles in Central Europe) and Dobšinská Ice Cave, an almost fairy-tale like ice cave in Slovak Paradise Mountains. Both are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Slovakia is a meat-and-potatoes nation; vegetables are an afterthought. Traditional Slovak dishes are made with locally-available staple foods like potatoes, wheat, milk and dairy products, cabbage, onions, wild mushrooms, and few seasonings.
Traditional dishes include schnitzel, bryndzové halushky (potato dumplings with sheep cheese), lokše (potato dough pancakes) and zemiakové placky (potato pancakes fried in oil with garlic and flour), among others.
Slovaks are devoted wine lovers, and many produce excellent wines in their own homes. Wine tasting entails a visit to a traditional wine cellar where wine and fried cheese are served. The largest wine cellar in central Europe is found in Slovakia.
Typical souvenirs from Slovakia are cornhusk dolls dressed in folk costumes, ceramic objects, crystal glass, carved wooden figures, črpáks (wooden pitchers), fujaras (a folk instrument on the UNESCO list) and valaškas (a decorated folk hatchet).