Top choice in Slovakia

Vlkolínec's squat, colourful houses evoke medieval Europe with just a hint of Hobbiton. This tiny mountain hamlet, dating to the 14th century, has resisted the march of time and its 45 traditional log buildings, including an 18th-century timber bell tower, baroque Catholic chapel and cottages painted peach and powder blue, have earned it a Unesco listing.

Tourists flock, but Vlkolínec remains a functioning village (population 30) so don’t wander into gardens or photograph through windows. It's 6km southeast of Ružomberok.

Two weekday-only buses make the 30-minute (€0.50) journey to Vlkolínec from Ružomberok train station; the last return is at 5.10pm. Otherwise, driving or hiking the 6km uphill from Ružomberok are both scenic ways to reach the village, and cycling trails are increasingly well marked.

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