Have you ever considered going to Slovakia for your holidays? If your answer to this question is no, then maybe it's about time you did! Although Slovakia isn't always at the top of everyone's holiday destination lists, it is a great location to visit. Despite its small size, Slovakia attracts many tourists each year, who are drawn in by an abundance of snow sports, castle gazing and enjoying the unrivalled natural beauty and wilderness on offer in this central European country. Slovakia joined the Eurozone in 2004, meaning that the Euro is used here, so you don't have to worry about working out a new currency before you head off on your travels! If you book a self catering holiday home in Slovakia, you're sure to be surprised by the amount of fascinating things there are available to see and do here, as well as the intriguing Slovak folklore and traditions which will make your holidays a truly unique experience. The little capital city of Slovakia is Bratislava in the very western corner of the counry, which shares borders with both lower Austria and the west of Hungary, meaning it is very easy to get to cities like Vienna and Budapest. Many people think that Slovakia is often cold, but actually it has a typical European climate – the summer tends to be warm and dry and the winters are fairly cold. Obviously, depending on which region you travel to the weather will be different, for example in the mountainous regions it can feel particularly cold during the winter thanks to strong northeasterly winds and sometimes heavy snowfall.
Bratislava, one of the the warmest, driest parts of Slovakia as well as its capital, is a city surrounded by nature. The Danube river flows just to the south of the centre of Bratislava, and the Little Carpathian mountain range lies just to the north of the city, which contains a wide variets of flora and fauna and a number of castles. This includes Bratislava Castle, the country's main castle which watches over the town from a rocky hill above the river. From the castle, you will be able to experience views across the country, as well as into Austria, and, on a good day, Hungary. The capital is easy to get to from the airport, as the centre is only about a 15-20 minute drive. Things to do here include paying a visit to the Blue Church (the Church of St. Elizabeth) which is one of many churches situated in the quaint Old Town, as well as many buildings and museums like the Old Town Hall, the National Museum of Slovakia and the City Museum of Bratislava. Bratislava nightlife is lively and modern, and although it may not be as wild as that of cities like Berlin or Prague, many of the clubs in the city have no entrance fees and stay open til late. Thanks to this, this city is becoming more and more popular for people planning their stag do, although it is still fairly compact and so is probably better for a quieter stag with smaller groups. There are, however, still things like shooting, quad biking, go karting and white water rafting on offer. Vanues range from the Slovak Pub which is suitable both for daytime and nighttime, to nightclubs like Subclub and Trafo Music Bar. After a day of discovery and a night of partying, you'll be glad to return to your private Slovakia holiday rentals to get some rest.
If you're looking for something different this year as you're bored of the usual skiing holidays in Italy, Switzerland, the French Alps, for example in Avoriaz or Ordino, Andorra, then maybe its time for you to try out the slopes that Slovakia has to offer. Although they may not be as famous as other regions in Europe, this doesn't mean that they aren't worth a trip! The resorts here are much smaller, but also considerably less busy than those that you'd find in the more well-known destinations. If you book a holiday home in Slovakia in the more mountainous areas, such as the Jasná ski resort, spread over Chopok mountain in the Low Tatra range, Donovaly, in the Low Tatras National Park, which is one of the largest ski resorts in the country and is ideal for intermediate and beginner skiers, or Tatranska Lomnica, where you'll find a good mixture of different pistes which are suitable for all abilities. This makes it an ideal skiing resort in Slovakia to travel to with your family or in a group, as there will be skiers with varied amounts of experience. For the more advanced skiers, the runs winding between the trees will make a good challenge. You can practise cross country skiing in all of these resorts too, as well as in the alpine resort of Stednica above the village Zdiar.
Slovakia is home to nine national parks, and also filled with mountains, caves, valleys and forests, lakes and rivers and more than 200 waterfalls, which might well surprise you considering its size. In fact, Slovakia has a very varied and diverse terrain as well as being which is why it is the perfect location for Slovakia walking holidays. Whether it's just having a wander through one of the beautiful cities, towns and villages, or hiking up the Tratas or through the Badínsky Forest, you'll find something to suit your tastes while staying in one of the self catering Slovakia holiday rentals available. Not only is Slovakia's landscape very impressive above ground, but it also boasts an incredible underground world: there are numerous caves throughout the land, many of which boasting a UNESCO status, such as Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa cave, which is one of Europe's biggest ice caves, as well as Ochtinská aragonitová jaskyňa which is the only one in Central Europe to have aragonite crystals decorating its interior. Go to the West Tatras mountain peaks and hike along the main ridge, where you'll see stunning views of the water below, or follow the trail around the lakes to a waterfall at the end. The Carpathian mountain range spreads through the entire country, so wherever you are, you won't be far away from a decent location for a hike! Choose Nordic walking, self-guided or guided hiking, or just go for a walk as you fancy, it's up to you. Visit one of the country's many national parks, such as The National Park of Slovenský Raj, where you can walk through gorges and view caves and waterfalls.
Although Slovakia is a landlocked country, it doesn't lack opportunities for you to spend time near to the water's edge, as there are plenty of lakes, rivers and streams for you to enjoy. So, make a packed lunch in your holiday home in Slovakia and head out for a lakeside picnic. Many of these are also clean enough to swim in, for example Zlaté piesky near Bratislava, an artificial lake surrounded by sand, so you really can (almost) have a beach holiday in Slovakia! The country's 'sunniest town' is Senec, which boasts a large lake and attracts many tourists thanks to the nice temperatures here as well as the local hot springs. You'll find the warmest waters in Teplý vrch reservoir, where you can relax on the shore, go for a swim, go fishing, or do a bit of birdwatching in the north-western bay which is a nesting place for water fowl. If, however, it really is a beach you're after, then perhaps you should head to the coastline of nearby Slovenia, for example to Portoroz.
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