Slovakia

Despite its popularity with snowboarders and hikers, Slovakia is a country of deep rural traditions, mountainous national parks, ancient ruins and unchanging villages.

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Culture, craft and unspoiled countryside

Slovakia is country rich in folk and cultural tradition. Crafts including woodcarving, fabric weaving and glass painting have long been part of its heritage, reflected in the country’s architecture of wooden churches and brightly painted houses. And the impact of past cultural repression is evident in much of its art, literature and music.

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Bratislava

With the Danube winding through its centre, quaint Bratislava is modern and fast-developing, but still largely free from the congestion and commercialism one might encounter in bigger capitals. Explore the maze of narrow cobbled streets, low arches, tiny squares and pastel-coloured 18th century buildings in the tiny old town, overlooked by the medieval castle, or the Soviet-style architecture in the new town. Cultural attractions include the Slovak National Museum, where you’ll learn about Slovak history, archaeology and music, and the Slovak National Gallery. If the weather’s fine, the Small Carpathians mountain range begins in the city and is a perfect spot for a picnic, ramble or photo opportunity.

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Kosice

Slovakia’s second city is a lively university city and was 2013’s joint European Capital of Culture. The kilometre-long promenade in the centre is lined with historical buildings, churches, cafes and restaurants, as well as a musical fountain in the park next to the State Theatre. The town is home to the Museum of Eastern Slovakia and St Elizabeth’s Cathedral, notable for its rare Gothic double spiral staircase, its altar of 48 Gothic paintings and statues and the views from its 60-metre-high tower. In Medzilaborce is the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art, where works and artefacts from his life are on display.

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Levoca

The medieval town of Levoca is a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, still surrounded by most of its ancient walls and home to many Renaissance buildings. The 14th century St James’s Church is its most prominent feature, which houses a magnificently carved wooden altar that’s the highest in the world. From Levoca you can access the isolated ruins of Spis Castle or the Slovak Paradise National Park, which has more butterflies than anywhere else in the country.

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