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Squeezed between five much bigger neighbors (the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine), Slovakia is a small country, but one that packs in a lot for its diminutive size. The highpoint (literally and figuratively) of any visit to the country is the Tatra Mountain range, an Eastern European adventure playground with abundant opportunity for mountaineering, hiking, mountain biking and any other extreme sports activity you care to think of. The Tatras may attract the biggest crowds but the country’s entire northern border with Poland is made up of a string of lower, quieter mountain ranges for more tranquil backcountry roving. ...

Squeezed between five much bigger neighbors (the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine), Slovakia is a small country, but one that packs in a lot for its diminutive size. The highpoint (literally and figuratively) of any visit to the country is the Tatra Mountain range, an Eastern European adventure playground with abundant opportunity for mountaineering, hiking, mountain biking and any other extreme sports activity you care to think of. The Tatras may attract the biggest crowds but the country’s entire northern border with Poland is made up of a string of lower, quieter mountain ranges for more tranquil backcountry roving. Traveling through the rest of the country you’ll encounter a variety of national parks, countless dramatic castle ruins, fascinating timber churches and intriguing old towns, a sound track of traditional Slavic folk music accompanying you along your way. Indeed, Slovaks take great pride in their colorful folk traditions, and the best places to see these in all their ribboned and tassled glory are traditional time-warped villages, open-air museums of folk architecture and during numerous folk festivals that take place throughout the year.

Marc Di Duca
About the Expert

Marc Di Duca has written and updated more than 40 guides, mainly for Lonely Planet but also for AA, Thomas Cook, Berlitz and Bradt. Having spent the last 20 years exploring the former communist world, his main field of expertise is Eastern Europe and Siberia.

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