Visiting Slovakia? Top 5 places to visit
Slovakia is a small country in the heart of Europe with a population of about 5.5 million. The capital city is Bratislava . In 2009 Slovakia changed its currency, the Slovak koruna into Euro. Slovakia has stunning sceneries, beautiful castles, lively cities and friendly people. Here are the top 5 places to see and visit if you are travelling there:
Bratislava (population: about 430 000) is the capital city of Slovakia. It lies on the banks of the Danube river. It is one of the youngest cities in Europe. In the past Bratislava had different names : Prespork, Pozsony, Pressburg. The city has many attractions and curiosities. One of the top tourist attractions is the symbol of the city, the Bratislava Castle which is overlooking the Danube. The Castle which includes four towers, also appears on the Slovak euro coins. Another great attraction is the New Bridge (Novy Most) with the UFO restaurant. From the UFO restaurant you can get a great view of the whole city. The Old Town Hall is one of the most beautiful parts of the city with historical buildings. In the Old Town you will find Bratislava's famous 4 Bronze Statues, which are very popular with the tourists. These are: the French Soldier, The Paparazzi, Cumil The Watcher and Schoener Naci. Other things to see in Bratislava are : St. Micheal's Gate, Hviezdoslav Square, Presidential Palace, Devin Castle, Slovak Radio Building, Museum of Clocks, Bratislava Zoo.
2. High Tatras ( Vysoke Tatry)
The High Tatras are a mountain range, the symbol of Slovakia and also appearing on the shield of the Slovak flag. The highest peak of the High Tatras is Gerlachovsky Stit (2655m). The High Tatras are the most stunnning natural attraction in Slovakia and a very popular tourist destination in the winter as they have great ski resorts ( Strbske Pleso, Stary Smokovec, Tatranska Lomnica), hotels and beautiful scenery The wildlife is also rich in the High Tatras, predators such as the bear, wolf, fox and Eurasian lynx live there. Some parts of the movie Eragon was filmed here too.
In 1949 the High Tatras were declared as the first Slovak National Park. In 1993 it was declared by the UNESCO the 'biospheric reservation of the Tatras'.
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3. Slovak Paradise National Park ( Slovensky raj)
The Slovak Paradise is a national park situated in East Slovakia. It is a mountain range with gorges, canyons, valleys, caves and waterfalls. The highest peak is Predna Hola at 1545m. The Slovak Paradise has about 300 km of hiking trails equipped with ladders. You can also find here the Dobsinska Ice Cave ( Dobsinska ladova jaskyna) which is one of the most visited places. The ice cave is on the UNESCO world heritage site since 2000. The wildlife is also rich in this park, you can find bears, wolves,martens, wildcats, deers, boars, and also some endangered species such as the Saker Falcon.
Kosice ( read : koshitze) is the second biggest city (population: 240 000) of Slovakia and is situated on the east side of the country. Together with Marseille, Kosice will held the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2013. The most famous attraction and also the symbol of the city is the gothic St. Elisabeth Cathedral, which is the biggest church in Slovakia. Few meters away from the cathedral is the Singing Fountain, which shoots up jets of water on the rhythm of a music which is accompanied by colored lights at night. Another sights include the St. Michael Chapel, St. Urban Tower, State Theater, Old town Hall, Old Universty, East Slovak Museum, Liberation Square or the Slovak Technical Museum which includes a planetarium. There is also a zoo here for those people who love animals. Music and arts lovers might find interesting the State Philharmonic Kosice ( Statna Filharmonia Kosice) which is the second proffessional symphonic orchestra in Slovakia, or the State Theatre Kosice ( Statne Divadlo Kosice) which consists of three ensembles: drama, opera and ballet.
Bojnice ( read: boynitze) is one of the oldest spa towns in western Slovakia which is best known for its various tourist attractions. The Bojnice Castle is one of the most famous and visited castle not only in Slovakia, but in Central Europe. The 'International Ghosts and Spooks Festival' is held here each year. Famous fairy-tale movies, such as Fanthagiro aka Cave of the Golden Rose, was filmed here. In front of the castle entrance you can find the King Matthias Tree which is approximately 700 years old. Bojnice has also the oldest and most well-known zoo in the country, with over 355 species of animals.
So these are my top 5 places to visit if you ever decide to go to Slovakia. Of course there are many other beautiful and interesting places in this charming country which i haven't listed, but maybe it's up to you to go and discover. Have fun exploring!