Please sign in to post.

Is this country the most underrated on this Travel Forum?

It seems to me that it is. Only one topic with 3 posts. Slovakia is in hiding from most tourists. They must not know something. And yet there are 4 big tourist magnets around it within 1 to 3 hours by car to the Slovakian border. Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow. There is some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe, medieval towns like Banska Stiavnica, Kremnica, Levoca, Kezmarok, Bardejov, some of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wooden churches in east Slovakia. Villages Vlkolinec and Cicmany with traditional folk architecture. Stunning castles, just to name few: Spis, Orava, Trencin, Bojnice. Spas, thermal springs with pools especially in south. Caves. 9 national parks. Very rich folk traditions all over the country. Numerous folklife festivals. If you happen to be in Slovakia and this kind of culture interests you then in Myjava in western Slovakia there is a huge folklife festival June 19th to 22nd. In central Slovakia: Detva July 11 to 13th. In eastern Slovakia: Vychodna July 4th to 6th. http://www.festivalvychodna.sk/en/ . Janosikove dni festival in Terchova July 24 to 27th. Janosik (read Yanoshik) was a Slovak Robin Hood. And in Banska Stiavnica there will be a yearly folk festival July 26th starting this year. For those interested in history of WWII: Banska Bystrica - Museum of Slovak National Uprising. Dukla Pass in eastern Slovakia on the border with Poland. One of the largest battles of WWII was fought there. There are several memorials, cemetery and lookout tower there. In eastern Slovakia town Medzilaborce you can find Warhol Family Museum of Modern Art. There are some Andy Warhol originals there and family memorabilia. Lonely Planet put Slovakia in as #5 on its Best in Travel 2013 - Top 10 countries list being best for culture, adventure and off the beaten track and I add: it's extremely good value for money and here is a little secret - they are using Euro. Slovakia is of a manageable size, you can get from one side of the country to the other by car or public transport if you are in a hurry in less than a day. Public transport is excellent but obviously by car you would see more. I deliberately did not mention Bratislava and High Tatras here. Bratislava is already known by Ricknicks and High Tatras I already mentioned under the best destination in Slovakia. Few useful websites:
http://www.slovakia.com
http://www.slovakia.travel/en
http://www.slovakia.travel/en/places-to-go/top-10-in-slovakia
I think that the best guidebook is in edition Bradt <http:www.bradtguides.com> Slovakia by Lucy Mallows.
Happy travel!

Posted by
18519 posts

Ilja;

Its you and me kid. I might could possibly argue more for Romania but it would be close. I have enjoyed Slovakia. The two Banska towns are fun and fascinating and the High Tatra Mountains are pretty spectacular. One of the finest hotels I have ever been to is up in the Tatras. I have also had a blast fly fishing in the Tatras. The castles are pretty outstanding too. Rival those of much of central Europe. Down side, Bratislava doesn't excite me but I could be wrong because I haven't been there yet. The transportation system isn't very spectacular either, but that adds to the charm. Would I return for a third trip? Heck yes!!! Possibly next spring for fishing again (fishing the mountains of Bulgaria this year)

Posted by
4637 posts

James,
you are right, Romania and Bulgaria are spectacular countries with enormous tourist potential in near future. But they are not (for some unknown reason) on this Travel Forum. And they don't have big tourist magnets so close around them like Slovakia. And Rick Steves has already his tour to Bulgaria. That certainly improves its rating. If you are in the neighborhood, Bratislava is OK to visit. Cute little Old Town, cafes, winebars, in nice weather everybody's sitting outside. Trencin is another pretty town I haven't mentioned yet.

Posted by
833 posts

I agree with you Ilja, the Old Town in Bratislava is really lovely. The fountains, the sculptures... And being only an hour away from Vienna but so much cheaper. I've only spent a weekend there (a friend asked "want to go to Bratislava next weekend? Ryanair tickets are cheap" when we were studying in Italy) but I can't wait to go back and see more.

Posted by
8202 posts

We found Bratislava to be a nice, quiet city. After a few days in Budapest, we needed to slow down a little.
We were somewhat surprised to find a fantastic mall with a bunch of restaurants down on the Danube River a short distance from the city center. The downtown area is pretty charming, too.
And though we were only 39 miles from Vienna, we didn't hear a single word of German in 2 days in Bratislava.

Posted by
134 posts

Interesting thread! I'll admit I only clicked over here because I got extremely cheap tickets to Vienna, and I'm looking for day trips. I'll be traveling by myself and basing out of Vienna. I plan to visit Bratislava but I was wondering if there would be more to see in Slovakia. I won't have a car, so public transport only. What do you think is worth checking out?

Posted by
18519 posts

@worldinbetween, yes, you did. Sorry.

I haven't been to Bratislava yet. We've been to Slovakia a few times and really enjoyed it but we drove straight up the center from Budapest each time. You have to spend a summer day at the Kimpinsky in the High Tatras. By the way, that windy rainy day was March 15. ... Remember? The weather eliminated the protests.

So maybe one day soon you join us and we go visit together.

Posted by
18519 posts

@J, since we have made such a good impression with our rudeness, please stay with us. In a few days I will have time to post some ideas for a wonderful country....by train. I love Slovakia, especially the mountains.

Posted by
18519 posts

@J, good day trips out of Vienna by train or bus are Melk, Sopron, Bratislava, Gyor, Pannonhalma. For an overnight you might look at taking the train and spending a night at the Kempinski or the Patria Hotel in Strbske Pleso, Slovakia. Stunning mountains, great lake. Just a nice change from all of the cities. http://www.hotelpatria.sk/en/ and http://www.kempinski.com/en/strba-strbske-pleso/grand-hotel-high-tatras/overview/ and http://www.kempinski.com/assets/grand-hotel-high-tatras/RoomsSuites/_resampled/SetHeight800-Deluxe-Room-Balcony.jpg (view from the Kempinski towards the Patria.

Posted by
18519 posts

@worldinbetween I saw a new story earlier this year. I think it was European Journal. The story was about the number of Austrians that had left Austria to live in Slovakia; and then commuted to work in Vienna. I was a little surprised because Vienna is recognized as a very good place to live, but I guess the much lower cost of living in Slovakia more than makes up for it.

Posted by
1 posts

Great summary from Ilja, but there is much more to see. I have to recommend you this website:

www.vagabond.sk/gallery.html

to give you a taste of what Slovakia can offer.
Actually, their private tours are awesome, really unforgettable. I can highly recommend!

Posted by
3696 posts

Looks like I have to add Slovakia to my agenda... Just never made it there yet... but I am totally intrigued. I also think Romania is totally ignored by most. I would return there in a minute. I thought it was beautiful and an interested culture. Plus the fact that it was so affordable. I drove all over the country and it was a wonderful adventure. Great food as well.

Posted by
18519 posts

I guess I should come back here more often. George was correct, I remembered the news story incorrectly. Apparently the Slovaks are slumming in Austria http://www.dw.de/slovakia-living-more-cheaply-in-austria/av-16944132 Another thing I will agree with George about is the Austrians don't have anything good to say about the Slovaks or any Slav for that matter. That attitude alone makes me feel uncomfortable when I must be in Austria. Finally, I will agree with George once more; do your homework. Everyone has different taste but with all the resources available there isn't much excuse for ending up some place you don't like. From time to time we hear of some nincompoop who threw all their eggs into one week long basket to some poorly researched location where they ended up sitting six days in pure distress. At the very least have the common sense to think of a Plan B. After all you spend a fortune to cross the Atlantic so you should have the foresight to plan for the best and for the worst.