Why Not Consider… Slovakia?

Howdy all and happy new week to you! Last week you may have caught my photographic post on Slovakia. I have only visited the one time, back in 2004, but I really liked the place and so today I am going to make the case for Slovakia as a destination. Not that people don’t visit Slovakia, in 2018 for example an estimated 2.3 million foreigners visited Slovakia. But let’s compare to Slovakia’s extremely popular neighbour, Czech Republic. In 2018 they reported something like 10.5 million foreign visitors. Remember – they used to be one country, but these days they have split up, on reasonably friendly terms. Whilst Prague is considered an essential European destination these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if people struggled to tell you the name of the capital of Slovakia.

Bratislava on the Danube River

Which is a real pity because Bratislava is a very amiable city to the senses. And at the end of the day, as beautiful as Prague is there aren’t many in the way of major tourist attractions, and those that are are the Charles Bridge, which is a cool bridge flooded with people, and the Astronomical clock which everyone loves to photograph and selfie in front of (yes, I just turned ‘selfie’ into an adjective. If it catches on please remember it started here).

Prague has a host of gothic buildings, some nice churches, and a nice river, but guess what – so does Bratislava! The major difference in my eyes is simply that Prague sees a heck of a lot of more tourists than Bratislava, which is fine frankly because if you like, dear reader, Bratislava can be our little secret.

Prague’s Astronomical Clock. What’s the deal?

It’s such a pleasant place to walk around and spend some time, and it’s reasonably well positioned in Central Europe too with connections to Krakow in Poland and Budapest in Hungary. On top of that it’s very close to the Austrian capital Vienna, and can be reached from there in around an hour by car or train. This means it’s an easy day trip, or Vienna is an easy daytrip from Bratislava, where prices are cheaper. So you can make it work either way!

Bratislava is also on the Danube River, as most European capitals are, it’s a river-based capital. It has a castle at the top of a hill, named, strangely enough Bratislava Castle. There’s also the Primate’s Palace in town, which is splendid indeed. The city is full of tight streets and squares, and cafes and restaurants with open air dining a must!

Most SNP Bridge

Other attractions include the Most SNP Bridge, a modern bridge with a saucer curiously attached, St Martin’s Cathedral and the Old Town Hall. Also, a pleasant half day trip to Devin Castle by boat up the Danube is something I tried and recommend!

I am not so familiar with the rest of the country, apart from a little mountain town near the Polish border in the High Tatra Mountains. It’s beautiful there, some of the buildings have a bit of Bavaria in them I fancy. It’s a beautiful area and looks like the real European forest I often imagine when I think of Europe.

If you’re fit enough, there’s plenty of hiking to do. Back in the day I hiked up one of the peaks. It was a little challenging but very doable. It was a cloudy day and the clouds rolled over and through the peaks, quite magical.

Hiking the Tatra Mountains

Elsewhere in the country Slovakia is full of mountains and townships dying to be explored. The Czech Republic has a lot to offer outside Prague, and Slovakia has more to offer outside Bratislava. Kosice is regarded as the ‘second city’ and although I have never been, I have heard nothing but good things about it. It also can serve as a jumping off point to explore the Ukraine.

Slovakia is cheaper than Western Europe on the whole, and also a little cheaper than Prague. It’s less visited, but full of gothic charm and natural beauty. It’s right in the middle of so many countries, it’s a great location for so many different reasons.

Stary Smokevic

Thanks for popping by, and please consider Slovakia. It won’t disappoint! May the Journey Never End!

25 thoughts on “Why Not Consider… Slovakia?

  1. We spent three nights in Bratislava about three years ago and loved it. Another nice little side trip could be to take the train to the pretty little town of Trnava. Easy to get to. Thanks for sharing Andy.

  2. I went to Bratislava in a short train raid from Vienna and I really liked the city, it is not extremely big and I found it extremely relaxed 🙂 have a great week Andy 🙂 PedroL

  3. I’ve only been to Bratislava and Štúrovo, the latter literally just a minute visit as I’d crossed the Hungarian-Slovak bridge from Esztergom. So I don’t have much experience with Slovakia, but I know that I enjoyed my time in the places I checked out, however brief they were. While not as recognized as the Czech Republic with Prague or Budapest in Hungary, Slovakia seems to have its gems and the potential to impress visitors should they visit some day.

  4. I’m glad you made it to the High Tatras; I thought they offered some of the best hiking in the world! The little villages nearby were charming, as you note, and the scenery up high was spectacular. We liked Bratislava, too – a nice manageable city after some of the bigger Eastern European capitals.

  5. I spent about a week going from one small town to another, often an old castle reminds me of the structure of the Middle Ages society, a bit as if everything remained in place with a layer of baroque on top.

  6. You’re quite right. I’ve hardly ever heard anything about this country at all. That clock looks awesome. And ha! I do think you mean you used selfie as a verb but that’s alright. I’ll remember where it started when that takes off 🙂 Stay safe Andy!

  7. Putting it on my to visit destinations, I am sold. I have been to Prague and Budapest and both cities are great. So if you say they are similar then I would like to check if out at some point.

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