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Slovakia is a small European nation landlocked between Hungary, Austria, Czechia, Poland and Ukraine. Until 1st January of 1993, Slovakia and Czechia were a single country called Czechoslovakia. Today, Slovakia is regarded as a paradise for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike, with captivating aesthetic sights at every turn.
Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia is dotted with numerous historic landmarks, boutiques and cafes. The majestic Bratislava Castle is the most prominent landmark of the city, and it still features the original 13th-century Crown Tower. The main square, Hlavné Námestie with a 16th-century fountain and a Gothic building complex known as Stará Radnica (Old Town Hall), Most SNP (UFO Bridge) which is a futuristic cable-stayed bridge are great examples of the city’s rich architecture. Bratislava is surrounded by the Little Carpathian mountains and sprawling vineyards with lovely trails for hiking and biking.
Slovakia’s second-largest city Košice is packed with beautiful historical buildings featuring medieval, Gothic and baroque architecture. The St. Elisabeth Cathedral and St. Michael Chapel are particularly notable. From here, you can visit the UNESCO listed Bardejov, a hilltop town with impressive historical heritage and abundant natural beauty. Bardejov is known for its walled square, Gothic architecture and wooden churches. Banská Bystrica is one of the country’s major industrial cities and houses a few WWII relics. It is surrounded by mountains and has a lovely historic centre lined with baroque and Gothic buildings. However, many visitors skip this city altogether in favour of the nearby town of Banská Štiavnica, the country’s oldest mining town. The city, surrounded by forests, gives off an ancient charm and boasts of a UNESCO world heritage listed historic centre.
Historic castles are Slovakia’s major draw cards and you will find them almost everywhere in the country. Out of its hundred-plus castles, Bojnice Castle is the most visited one. This 12th-century castle seems straight out of a Disney movie and displays a blend of Romanesque, Gothic and baroque architecture. Other notable castles include Devin Castle, Orava Castle and Spis Castle. Devin Castle, located near capital Bratislava, contains well-preserved ruins and offers excellent views of the Danube River. Orava is a hilltop castle, overlooking the Orava river and contains impressive fortifications, towers, underground tunnels and an attractive interior. The UNESCO listed Spis Castle is one of Central Europe’s biggest castle complexes and features Gothic chapels.
Slovakia’s natural beauty is beyond words, and the High Tatra mountains are its highlight. They are located north of the country along the borders of Poland, and are the tallest range in the Carpathian Mountains. Along with towering peaks, the High Tatras are packed with alpine meadows, cascading waterfalls and dazzling lakes. While it is a hiker’s paradise in summer, it turns into a skiing wonderland in winter. The mountain range houses the oldest national park in the country, Tatra National Park and picturesque mountain villages like Ždiar. To witness more of Slovakia’s natural wealth, head over to its stunning national parks like Slovenský Raj and Malá Fatra, which offer scenic hiking and trekking trails. Slovensky Raj is also popular for its huge ice caves and gorges.
Slovakia is blessed with incredible historical and natural wealth which together paint a lovely picture, that aesthetes will love to explore. With so many castles, set in scenic landscapes, Slovakia is nothing short of a fairytale!
Bratislava Castle is the most prominent landmark of the capital city.