National Park High Tatra | Photo by Leonid Tit
National Park High Tatra | Photo by Leonid Tit

Stunning Slovakia

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Forget the overcrowded streets of bustling cities and get ready for a trip that takes you into a lesser-traveled country, Slovakia! There’s no shortage of activities here, from hiking in the mountains to exploring castles. Pack up the family and get ready for an adventure! Check out the highlights of Slovakia: 

The Great Outdoors

National Park of Slovenský raj- If you love hiking, canyons, meadows, waterfalls and gorges, this amazing park is the place for you! Almost completely covered in spruce trees, you’ll find an outdoor oasis here. Visit one of the largest ice caves in Europe or head to one of the gorges while in the park. Take panoramic pictures from a cliff edge or have a picnic in the meadow.   

National Park of High Tatra- This park is one of the oldest protected areas in Slovakia. It is home to the tallest mountain in the country, Gerlachovský štít, towering at 8,710 feet. You can also find over 100 alpine lakes here. Hiking is limited to June 15 - Nov. 1, unless accompanied by a guide. If you want to head below ground, check out the Belianska jaskyňa cave. 

Demanovska Cave of Liberty- Located on the north side of the Tatras is the longest cave system in Slovakia. This beautiful underground world is full of rich colors and various pools. Of the caves in the country, this one is the most visited. See various stalactites and stalagmites and learn the history of the cave on a tour. 

Dubnik Opal Mines- Opalescence, or the perfect play of colors, is on full display in these unique mines. They were operating in full swing between 1845 - 1880 and were run by a Viennese jeweler. Today, many people know the beauty of jewelry made with opals. Visit where these precious stones were once harvested from the earth! 


St. Elizabeth's Cathedral | Photo by saiko3p

Elaborate Architecture

St. Elizabeth's Cathedral- This stunning Gothic-style cathedral is the largest church in Slovakia and located in Košice. It covers 13,000 square feet and can house 5,000 worshippers. The altar features a double-spiral staircase, which can only be found in five churches throughout Europe. There are also beautiful frescoes and sculptures inside, as well as a tower that should certainly be climbed! 

Kalvária Banská Štiavnica- Formed between 1744 - 1751, this Baroque Calvary was comprised of three churches and 22 chapels to promote the Jesuit faith. The buildings are covered in precious paintings of the final days of the life of Jesus and are all sitting on an ancient volcano. Today there are only a few chapels remaining after serious damage was caused in WWII.  

Spis Castle- Perched high on a hill, Spis Castle was originally built in the 12th century and was part of the Kingdom of Hungary. It was a Romanesque stone castle and in the 13th century, the palace and basilica were added. In the 14th century, a second settlement was added, doubling the area of the castle. By the 15th century, it was completely rebuilt! Unfortunately today, all that is left are ruins. A visit here is truly a blast from the past! 

Bojnice Castle- One of the oldest and most important monuments in the country, this castle towers over the town as a reminder of medieval times. It was built in the Romanesque style, but also has touches of both Gothic and Renaissance elements, creating a fairytale ambiance. Tour the Count’s Flat, Middle Castle, Palffy family tomb, French Park and the travertine cave during your visit! 


Andy Warhol Sculpture | Photo by rorem

Educational Museums

Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum- This museum of modern art is located just south of Bratislava and features Slovak and international art. There is also an outdoor sculpture park featuring colorful, life-size and larger sculptures. It is located on a peninsula in the Danube River. 

Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art- This colorful museum was founded in 1991 and boasts the title of one of the very first to be dedicated solely to one of pop-arts' most influential artists. It features information about the life and work of Andy Warhol and current trends in visual arts. See Warhol’s camera, cassette player, prayer book and more! 

Adult Only Fun

Modra Vineyards- For a taste of some of Slovakia’s finest wines, head to the town of Modra. In the Small Carpathian Mountains, you will learn about the local wine culture and taste a variety of wine. Tour a local wine cellar and relax in a peaceful garden. 

The Club- One of the most exclusive dance clubs in Bratislava, this is the place to go if you want to party all night long. Dance the night away, enjoy various drinks, watch dance shows or just enjoy the music. For an upscale experience, book one of the VIP tables or even a VIP Sky Box. 

Now that you’ve learned more about what Slovakia has to offer, is it on your travel radar? Create an itinerary that works for you and get ready to experience all Slovakia has to offer!

 

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