Ancient castle ruins, traditional villages and mountainous national parks: visiting Slovakia is about experiencing a place where age-old folkways and nature still hold sway. In this compact country you can hike beside a waterfall-filled gorge one day and see nailless wooden churches in a village museum the next. The small capital, Bratislava, may not have the superlative sights of nearby Prague or Budapest, but it’s abuzz with development, each new riverfront dining and entertainment complex vying to outdo the next. The rabbit-warren Old Town centre is well worth a day or two of cafe hopping.
Just make sure you also venture east. In the countryside, fortresses tower over cities and rivers, hiking trails cover the hills and well-preserved medieval towns nestle below rocky peaks. Pull up a plate of bryndzove halušky (sheep’s-cheese dumplings) with a glass of slivovica (firewater-like plum brandy) and drink a toast for us – nazdravie!
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