A view of the High Tatras
Slovakia (the Slovak Republic) is one of Europe's newest countries, having separated peacefully from the Czech Republic in 1993 just three years after the fall of Communism. Now both are lively and independent nation-states. Slovakia should not be confused with Slovenia, another country to have split from its neighbours (in the former Yugoslavia). Both are increasingly popular with tourists and provide excellent opportunities for mountain walks and lower level hiking routes. Slovakia, however, has no coastline.
With a population of 5.4 million, Slovakia is slightly larger than Scotland, but smaller in terms of area. It has many ranges of hills, from the Small Carpathians north of the capital Bratislava (in the east of the country) to the High Tatras along the border with Poland (in the north). The Tatra National Park was established in 1949, the first of 9 national parks in the country. All provide good facilities for walkers with marked trails, although guides should be used to reach most of the higher summits in the Tatras.
According to the Lonely Planet guide, the Mala (Lesser) and Velka (Greater) Fatra mountains a little further west from the High Tatras are not as high but are more popular for hiking, biking and skiing with the Slovaks themselves and there's a network of trails, chairlifts and mountain huts.
Many towns, villages and historic sites also offer opportunities for shorter walks, including the impressive hilltop Spis Castle and the nearby historic town of Levoca.
The country's infrastructure is developing steadily following entry to the EU, and this can be seen in the town of Poprad just south of the High Tatras. It is an industrial centre, but also now attracts many visitors following the development of AquaCity as a year-round resort using geothermal and solar energy to provide a range of water-based activities.
Bratislava has a reputation as an attractive city to walk around, and with the Small Carpathians close by it should also provide a good base for walking holidays.
(To order the stories by name, date, country or type click on the appropriate heading)
|Slovenský Raj: Slovak Paradise||Slovakia (Slovak Rep)||High hills and mountain hikes||24/10/2008|
|Levoca, Slovakia||Slovakia (Slovak Rep)||Town and City walks||08/09/2008|
|Spis Castle (Spissky Hrad), Slovakia||Slovakia (Slovak Rep)||Countryside and easy hill walks||06/09/2008|
|Poprad, Spisska Sobota and Aqua City||Slovakia (Slovak Rep)||Town and City walks||05/09/2008|
|Slavkovsky Stit (2452m), High Tatras, Slovakia||Slovakia (Slovak Rep)||High hills and mountain hikes||05/08/2008|