Slovakia lies in the heart of Europe, landlocked by Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. Book one of our flights to Slovakia and explore this beautiful country which has an abundance of imperious castles, attractive little towns and spectacular landscapes.
There are ten splendid national parks in Slovakia and the High Tatras is probably the finest of them all. Whatever time of year you visit, you'll be wowed by the incredible scenery. In the winter the lakes, the verdant hills and jagged peaks, are covered in a carpet of snow. At that time of year, take to the mountains to ski or snowboard, while during the summer, follow trails around the craggy mountain range.
The old town of Bratislava
Slovakia's capital is a gorgeous city whose old town is populated with quaint little churches and bronze statues. And because it's not as tourist-ridden as other destinations, such as Budapest, Prague and Vienna, you can enjoy its relaxed and down-to-earth ambience, which makes exploring fun and stress-free.
A European Capital of Culture in 2013, Kosice is, after Bratislava, the country's second largest city. Its well-preserved medieval heart is home to St Elisabeth Cathedral, the country's biggest church, a Gothic beauty. Completed in 1508, it took over 125 years to build.
High above the village of Žehra and the town of Spišské Podhradie stands Spiš Castle which was founded during the 12th century, only to be abandoned in 1760. Included on UNESCO's World Heritage list, this vast fortress – at 41 square miles, one of Europe's biggest castles – is an incredible sight to behold.
Situated in the Demänovská valley, the cave of Demänovská is permanently cold, even on hot summer days. It's the largest cave system in the country, covering some 35,000 square metres. You can choose the length of your tour from an easily manageable 400 metres to 2,150 metres – the latter route includes over 1,000 steps. See the Big Dome, a huge underground space with a subterranean river bed and vast orange stalactites hanging overhead. Even chillier than the cave of Demänovská, Dobšinská's cave is predominately covered in ice, so it's important to dress accordingly due to the extreme cold. It's a long descent into the cave but well worth it to see its naturally-occurring ice sculptures.
Eating and drinking
Bratislava's Prašná Bašta has a marvellous selection of dishes, from local specialities such as gnocchi with Slovak sheep cheese and bacon, to vegetarian and pasta dishes such as penne with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and parmesan. Also in the capital, Modrá Hviezda is where you can enjoy smoked trout and fresh salad leaves accompanied by sweet pea and dill dressing. And for desert you could try traditional homemade dumplings filled with marmalade and coated in grated poppy seeds. For a taste of Sardinia, Ružomberoks's U Taliana is hard to beat. This eatery serves authentically Italian treats such as pizza, seafood pasta and salads.