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There are not many places left in Europe where you would need to watch out for bears or might hear wolves howling when hiking. In Slovakia, you can expect both. That says a lot about its unspoiled nature.

The massive Carpathian Mountains cover most of Slovakia’s territory and set the tone for the countryside as well as the experiences you can find there, be that mountain hiking, rock climbing, walks around mountain lakes, through pristine national parks, or open-air folklore museums. In addition, you can enjoy Slovakia’s thermal spas, castles and chateaux, rivers and caves (without the bears).

APARTMENT AT THE LOMNICA PEAK (2,634 M A.S.L.)

From a platform at the Lomnica Peak’s observatory you can see a broad panorama of the Tatra Mountains. Now, you even can spend a night there in one of two apartments. Although staying overnight costs at least CZK 14,500, you get to enjoy not only a unique experience and a night view of the stars but also a trip by cable car, a welcome drink, dinner in the Dedo café and a breakfast at the Skalnaté pleso.

www.vt.sk/en

OASIS FOR SPORTS

On the River Danube near Šamorín (20 km from Bratislava), you will find a comprehensive sports town. The state-of-the-art X-bionic Sphere supports a wide range of activities for both professional and recreational sport enthusiasts.

www.xbionicsphere.com

CANOES RETURN TO THE RIVER HORNÁD

Slovakia’s “family silver” includes also Slovak Paradise – an attractive area filled with historical attractions (such as the so-called Spiš Vatican). Since last year, canoeing on the River Hornád has been restored (70 boats per day, registration necessary).

www.slovenskyraj.sk

TOKAJI ORIGINAL

On the Tokaji Wine Trail you can get to know one of the few areas in the world where grapes for these naturally sweet wines can be grown. You can get to know Tokaji wine, its growing and production.

www.tokajregnum.sk

ORAVA CASTLE FROM THE RIVER

Orava Castle towers high above the river (112 m). The course through Oravský Podzámok beyond the middle section of the River Orava is among the most interesting for canoers. You can rent a canoe or take a ride on a punt, similarly as on the Dunajec.

www.plte-orava.sk

The rules are practically the same as in the Czech Republic. Lights need to be on for the whole day.
When the driver gets out of the car outside of town, he or she must wear a high-visibility vest.
On a motorway, you must not change lanes in front of a vehicle approaching at a substantially higher speed.
When walking on roads outside of towns, reflective elements are mandatory.

All radar detectors are prohibited, including even passive ones. There is zero tolerance for alcohol behind the wheel. Driving with more than 1 per mille is a criminal offence. If the driver refuses a blood test, he or she is considered guilty (fine of up to EUR 1,300 and a prohibition on driving for as long as 5 years).

Fines are as much as EUR 650 for serious offences and up to EUR 150 for less serious ones (speeding at up to 20 km/h over the limit in towns, up to 30 km/h outside of towns). Fines for telephoning while driving are in the range of EUR 20–60. In Bratislava, you can buy one-hour parking tickets at newsstands. The fine for unauthorized parking ranges usually between EUR 30 and EUR 60.

DRIVING THROUGH 7 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Do you have plans for your vacation yet? We have a better tip for you than drawing a finger on the map. Each week in our series of articles, we will present to you one of the seven selected European countries and their most attractive destinations. Overview of the countries is on the map below - click on each country to find out more. Stay tuned and let our interactive map inspire you.

Have you forgotten something? Download our checklist, so you pack everything.