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Our Insider's Articles about Slovakia
In the heart of central Europe, Slovakia is a tiny country that remains mostly untouched by tourism. Slovakia vies with Romania for the most pristine example of old European country life. Slovakia's cities and towns are home to some of the largest castles in Europe, as well as bustling cafes serving excellent coffee and local beer. Here are some tips to help guide you on your trip to Slovakia.
Slovakia was part of the Hungarian Empire until it became part of Czechoslovakia after WWII. Slovakia was formed in 1993 when Czechoslovakia peacefully divided into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It borders Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Ukraine.
Slovakia's greatest attractions are the cities Bratislava and Levoca, its medieval castles, the rural towns, such as Terchová, and its beautiful countryside. There’s great hiking in the Tartra Mountains in the north. The two most famous castles in Slovakia are Tren?ín Castle, which is dramatically perched on cliffs overlooking the city of Tren?ín, and the Spis Castle, which is the largest in Central Europe. The Spis Castle is huge and you can tour it inside and out. The views of the surrounding countryside as seen from the top of the castle are simply stunning.
The capital city of Bratislava is the most happening city in Slovakia, filled with cafes and restaurants, cathedrals, and nightclubs. It's an exceptionally fun city to explore thanks to numerous playful statues, such as Rubberneck, which features a man emerging from a manhole. The statues provide plenty of goofy photo opportunities. The Danube River runs nearby. Hlavné námestie square is the heart of the old town and the best place to begin your exploration.
As of September 2011, U.S. travelers visiting for less than 90 days do not need a visa. The official language is Slovak. English can be hard to find outside of large hotels and tourist offices. The Euro is the official currency in Slovenia. The best way to get around Slovenia is by car. Road quality is good. Trains run frequently between the largest cities, but it can take a long time to reach out of the way places by either train or bus.