Central Slovakia’s meadows and forested mountains, speckled with castles, are the ideal backdrop for living out pastoral fantasies. This is the former stomping ground of Slovakia’s own Robin Hood, Juraj Jánošík; though these days it’s hikers who roam the wilds, embarking on trails in Malá Fatra National Park or thundering down the pistes of Low Tatras ski resorts.
Orava and Bojnice Castles, each spectacular and storied, attract the biggest crowds. Those who linger will be rewarded with insights into the shepherding tradition that continues to define Slovak cuisine. Stalls that overflow with cheeses, honey, woodland mushrooms and berries beckon from the roadside – good reasons to tour the countryside at a leisurely pace.