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Slovakia

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Starting with the Turks in the 9th century and continuing through to Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion in the early 19th century, invading kingdoms have been fighting over Slovak strongholds for more than a thousand years. Today’s Slovakia may be a young country, but it has a rich history and culture, an amazing natural landscape, and a capital often referred to as ‘Beauty on the Danube’. 
 
Much of the country is mountainous and with its majestic peaks, dark turquoise mountain lakes and tumbling waterfalls, the scenery of the High Tatras National Park is breath-taking. More than 300 castles, forts and monasteries dot Slovakia’s landscape. Witnesses to earlier eras, some have been beautifully restored, whilst others have fallen into evocative ruins.
 
For centuries Bratislava was a small town in the shadow of the nearby Imperial capital of Vienna. Today this small historical city, uniquely situated on the border of three countries, sits only in the shadow of its 9th century hilltop castle. Bratislava is one of Europe’s most charming capitals and the picturesque streets of its old town are literally overflowing with monuments to a glorious past. The River Danube has long been of the utmost importance to Bratislava. In the 1st century it protected the Roman Empire from barbaric German tribes and later it helped protect the city from Tartars and Turks. A cruise on the River Danube, which today serves as a national boundary between Slovakia, Hungary and Austria, is the perfect way to visit the capital of the country at the heart of Europe
 
 

Things to know

  • With 180 castles and 425 chateaux, Slovakia has highest number of castles and chateaux per capita in the world
  • More than six thousand caves have been discovered in Slovakia so far! Most spectacular caves can be found in the national parks of Low Tatras, Slovak Paradise and Slovak Karst
  • Slovakia has more than 1300 mineral springs
  • Around 80% of Slovakia lies more than 2,600 feet above sea level
  • The country’s national drink is Borovicka, which is flavoured with juniper berries
  • First held in 1924, the Kosice Peace Marathon is the oldest marathon in Europe
  • The only capital in the world bordering two countries. The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, lies on the borders with Austria and Hungary 

Key Destinations

Bratislava
Bratislava

A young capital but an old European city, Bratislava is full of character and like all cities of cultural confluence shows diversity in everything from its architecture to its cuisine. Built in 1300 St Michael’s Gate is the only surviving medieval gate in the city. It leads to the beautifully restored historic quarter where many monuments tell of Bratislava’s past under Austro-Hungarian rule. One of the most charming aspects of the Slovak capital are the quirky sculptures dotted around the Old Town whose outdoor cafes are a nod to neighbouring Vienna from where Bratislava inherited its coffee culture.