Slovakia is understated and off the beaten path of mainstream tourism. Its quiet dignity is underscored by the poetry of its landscape, which towers in the Tatra Mountains, crouches in the canyons and lingers in the lowlands.
Slovakia can be explored on foot via a well conceived system of hiking and walking trails. These weave through the Small Carpathians, which are dotted with villages and vineyards. This major wine region includes Modra, where one can shop for pottery. Europe’s longest cycling route, the Danube Cycle Trail, passes through Germany, Vienna and Slovakia. Skiers can choose between 30 mountain regions in Slovakia. For a bit of gruesome history, one can explore the site where the ghoulish Countess Alzbeta Bathory bathed in the blood of young women in an effort to maintain her beauty. Her castle lies in ruins, but there’s a great view from the hilltop where Cachtice Castle once stood. Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, has castles and quirky hotels. The Museum of Jewish culture is situated in Bratislava Castle, serving as a tribute and memorial to the history of Slovakia’s Jews. Folk architecture reserves and industrial archaeology sites throughout the country offer visitors a glimpse of authentic Slovakian life.