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Slovakia literally lies in the heart of Europe, bordering Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Ukraine and Hungary. The country boasts nine national parks, and there is hardly a mountain not under natural protection. Slovakia is a primarily mountainous country and this, along with the midland climate, create great skiing conditions. Above all, the Tatras enjoy these ideal natural conditions, where winter sports developed in the local centres from the 19th century. Today, in addition to the famous ski centres in the Tatras and Fatras, there are also many centres in smaller mountains with good pistes, so that it’s possible to ski in nearly every Slovakian region.
That the Tatras offer ideal, natural opportunities for winter sports has become known far across its borders. However, many don’t realize that it is possible to ski in nearly every Slovakian region in the winter – a total of 100 ski centres! In addition to the Tatras and Fatras, today there are many centres in smaller mountains with well prepared pistes, from the Small Carpathians in the west to the Nízke Beskydy Mountains in Slovakia’s east.
Numerous palaces, castles, and fortresses, as well as a variety of caves, relaxing thermal baths, and historic buildings attract tourists to Slovakia. The capital offers a variety of these attractions: the Bratislava castle, which overlooks the city from its location on a hill, the Old Town Hall, the Gothic St. Martins Cathedral, the Slovakian Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as various palaces.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site list includes the Spiš Castle in Žehra. It is one of the biggest castles in Central Europe and was fully renovated in 1970. In an especially picturesque setting you can also find the Červený Kameň Castle. It is located on the eastern side of the Little Carpathians and the castle's museum exhibits art works, weapons, and furniture from past times, as well as a small pharmacy in rococo style. In contrast, only ruins are left to see of the Devín Castle in Bratislava, which have been turned into an open-air museum.
In Slovakia, there are 5,350 known caves, approx. 1,000 of which are located in the Slovakian Karst National Park. Together with the Hungarian Aggtelek National Park, it covers one of the biggest Karst areas in Central Europe. Several caves are open to the public, such as the Jasovská Cave, the oldest Slovakian dripstone cave that is accessible. In the Demänovská Valley, tourists can also explore a dripstone cave, as well as an ice cave.
Furthermore, visitors can take a trip back to the past in the farmer's village Vlkolínec and in Bardejov. In Vlkolínec the clock really seems to have stopped ticking. The village lies on a high plateau between the Low and High Tatras. There are no streets, no electricity, as well as no water pipes, and all the houses and churches are made of wood. The houses in the historic centre of Bardejov are not made of wood, but instead offer gorgeous façades. A majority of the buildings have undergone extensive renovations.
Visitors who would like to relax for a while, can stop at one of the numerous Slovakian thermal baths. Some examples are the Bešeňová Thermal Park, as well as the Aquapark Tatralandia with its salt, thermal, and fresh water swimming pools, a Celtic sauna world, as well as spa offers.