Positioned in the heart of Europe, the country of Slovakia is brimming with cosmopolitan cities, beautiful castles, stunning palaces, lush forests, and a rich and complex history intertwined with its neighbours (Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine and Poland). Even though it’s one of the smallest countries in Europe, with a population of just 5.4 million, Slovakia boasts some of the most beautiful nature in the world. 1,087 natural reserves, natural monuments, and protected areas can be found within the country, as can 9 national parks and over 6,200 caves. There are so many inspiring places to visit in Slovakia, but here are some of the best.
Despite being one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, Bratislava has plenty to offer. Located in the western part of the country, the city borders Austria and Hungary, and their influences can be felt throughout the city. The most beautiful corner of Bratislava is the Old Town (Staré Mesto). This is the historic centre of the city.
Many tourists flock to Bratislava to visit its imposing castle, which stands high on a plateau above the city and was originally built in the 10th century. From the top of the castle, visitors can enjoy wondrous views of the city, which are particularly special during sunset. The Grassalkovich Palace (Slovak: Grasalkovičov palác) is a stunning palace located in Bratislava, and the residence of the President. There is a French garden in front of the palace, which is another popular destination for tourists.
2. Slovak Paradise National Park
The Slovak Paradise National Park is much less known than the famous Tatra Mountains, but as one of Slovakia’s nine national parks, it has much to explore. The park, which opened in 1988, is home to lush gorges, climbing ladders, catwalks and bridges, and certainly keeps you entertained as you move through it very much like a jungle. Beautiful lakes, waterfalls and dense forests make the national park a wonderful hiking destination. The walk through the Sucha Bela gorge is a particular highlight, as you dramatically climb up ladders which carry you through the gorge.
3. Slovak Karst Caves
Few countries are blessed with such a large volume of underground caves as Slovakia. In fact the caves of the Slovak Karst system have been proudly listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, and really are a must-see. The country boasts one of only three Aragonite caves in the world, and the only one in Europe, which is known as the Ochtinská Aragonite Cave (Ochtinská aragonitová jaskyňa). Situated in southern Slovakia, near Rožňava, although only 300 metres long, the cave’s subterranean chambers are adorned with stunning and unique crystals of aragonite.
4. Devín Castle
Devin Castle is one of the most iconic locations in Slovakia. Located in Devín, around 13 kilometres from Bratislava, the castle has an important strategic position, located on a cliff overlooking the stunning confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers. On cloudless days you can enjoy a perfect view of the surrounding region from the castle. On the upper floors of this castle, visitors can enjoy the permanent exhibition entitled: “Architectural Development of Devin Castle”, where they can explore artifacts and art from the 11th century.
5. Štrbské Pleso
Strbske Pleso is a Slovakian mountain lake located in the beautiful resort of Slovakia’s High Tatra mountains, and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country.
Forming the border between the nations of Poland and Slovakia, the Tatra Mountains are the tallest range in the country, and their highest peak is Mount Gerlach, which stands more then 2,655 meters above the sea.
Štrbské Pleso is a favorite ski resort in the High Tatras, which offers 9 kilometres of easy to moderately challenging ski runs on the southern slopes of Predné. It is also a popular hiking destinations, and is home to some of the best hiking trails in Europe. The trails lead to two of the highest peaks of Slovakia: Rysy (2,499 metres) and Kriváň (2,495 metres).
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