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Visit the Tatra mountain range of the Carpathians for skiing in the winter, or hiking during the Spring and Autumn. Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, is a hotspot of winding cobbled streets, countless pubs and bars and local craft shops, as well as some quality designer stores.

Away from the capital, take a cruise down the river Danube – or conquer its cousin the Little Danube in a canoe. Visit churches and castles for a peek at Slovakia’s history – try the St Elizabeth Cathedral in Kosice for some truly breathtaking architecture.

Hiking isn’t limited to the mountains, and the aptly named Slovak Paradise national park has plenty of routes to keep you occupied. Finally, visit a skanzen (open air museum) for a delightful blend of culture and fresh air.

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Whether palace-hopping, crypt-gazing or tasting the city at June’s Food Festival, there’s more to the Slovakian capital than its much-visited historic centre, says Sarah Reid
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Wanderlust recommended in Slovakia

Take a rafting weekend in Slovakia

Hike the trails in Slovak Paradise national park

Ski the slopes of the Tatras in winter

Browse the folk art centres of Bratislava

Canoe your way down the Little Danube

See wooden churches in Slovakia’s rural villages

Wanderlust tips

Don’t leave Slovakia without visiting a spa – Slovaks place great trust in their healing properties. There are a total of 23 spa towns in the country, and several spa resorts high in the mountains.

When to go to Slovakia

Slovakia sees scorching summers and chilly winters: to avoid the extremes of temperature, travel in the Spring or Autumn when the mountains are perfect for hiking and there is plenty of seasonal colour about. In the Summer, find a break from the heat in Slovakia’s lakes and caves.

The Winter is ideal skiing season in the Carpathians, although in the rest of the country some tourist attractions may be closed. Bratislava is bustling all year round.

International airports

Bratislava-Ivanka (BTS) is 9km northeast of Bratislava.

Getting around in Slovakia

It’s simple to get from A to B in Bratislava – bus, tram and trolleybus all run frequently, with day pass tickets available on the buses. Taxis are easy to book and are not astronomically priced. Car hire is considerably cheaper than in neighbouring countries – and this is your best bet if you want to explore Slovakia’s rural areas. Trains run throughout the country, although some of the minor routes can be slow. Comfortable buses also run between larger cities. Alternatively, go via boat down the Danube for a scenic route.

Slovakia accommodation

Hotels can be found throughout the towns and cities and in ski resorts. There are plenty of campsites in Slovakia, usually accompanied by a lido. Mountain hotels are also popular. Private apartments and family-run guesthouses can also be found.

Slovakia food & drink

Slovak meals have a tendency towards the hearty – with plenty of potatoes, cabbage, pork and cheese. Vegetarian dishes are limited. Thick soups are a usual lunchtime dish, which is the main meal of the day.

A popular dessert consists of pancakes with sweet fillings. Beer is a popular beverage and comes in many different types. Honey wine is another local drink.

Health & safety in Slovakia

Always check with a GP or travel health clinic before travel, however no vaccinations are legally required to travel to Slovakia. Use a strong sun tan lotion in the summer and don’t spent prolonged time in the open. Protect against ticks in woodland areas by covering up.

Slovakia has a low rate of violent crime but be wary of petty theft in urban areas.