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Slovakia Country Guide – European Health Insurance Card

Birds eye view of the mountains and the fields in Slovakia

The newest kid on the block, Slovakia only became an independent country when it first separated from the Czech Republic in 1993. Although it’s still in its infancy, it actually hosts a vast variety of fantastic attractions that even some of the world’s oldest countries would be jealous of. We’ve culminated a list of said attractions in our very own country guide to Slovakia, but before you travel to Europe’s youngest country make sure that you’ve renewed your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)!

Without further ado, here is our guide to travelling around Slovakia.

Why Visit?

Bratislava

Large white building placed ontop of hill with smaller village below

A truly diverse city, Slovakia’s capital of Bratislava has everything, ranging from a UFO-shaped bridge right through to a 9th-century castle. Comprised of natural and urban terrain, classic and contemporary architecture, it’s a jumble of everything that makes central Europe great.

Speaking of which, Bratislava’s nightlife is also great with a number of fantastic establishments for you to pick from including beer halls, rooftop cocktails bars and of course homely pubs for a relaxing drink and a chat with the locals.

Andy Warhol Museum Of Modern Art

The birthplace of the acclaimed artist and fashion designer Andy Warhol, the obscure Slovakian town of Medzilaborce is home to the world’s second-largest collection of his works. The museum is comprised of 160 Warhol originals and was actually co-curated by Warhol’s brother, John, after Andy’s death in 1987. The museum first opened its doors in 1991 and is the most popular attraction within the confines of the small village.

Brhlovce Vineyards

Southern Slovakia’s climate makes the region the perfect place to produce wine. Although many of the wines aren’t renowned internationally, they are incredibly popular domestically with thousands of Slovakians flocking to Brhlovce each year to try the latest Vino. The region’s most famous wine is that of Tojak, a white wine known for its remarkably sweet taste, courtesy of a type of grape indigenous to the area called Furmint.

Spa of Piešťany

Slovakia is home to a number mineral springs whose curative waters are said to have healing properties, providing relief from medical issues such as chronic back pain, arthritis, and respiratory disorders.

You can choose from 21 different thermal spas to bathe in the mineral springs, the largest of which is the Spa of Piešťany situated in western Slovakia. Every hot mineral spring reaches an estimated temperature of 67-69 °C and contains 1500mg of mineral substances per litre.

Slovak Paradise National Park

So named for its heavenly environments, pay the Slovak Paradise National Park a visit and you won’t be disappointed. This very popular national park located in the northeastern region of Slovakia features 300 km of marked trails for you to enjoy.  What’s more, along with its stunning forests and meadows above ground, the park also features as many as 350 hidden caves under the surface!

Orava Castle

A rather spooky destination, the Orava Castle actually provided the setting for the classic black and white vampire film Nosferatu (1922). The 13th-century castle was never conquered thanks to its fortified 5-metre thick walls preventing intruders from ever damaging the structure.

English speaking tours of the behemoth are available where you’ll find about the about the famous Hungarian magnate György Thurzó who once occupied the residence.

Vlkolínec

A small mountain village, Vlkolínec recently earned its title as a UNESCO heritage site thanks to its small beverage of traditional 18th-century buildings. The quaint 45 buildings include several cottages, a timber bell tower and Catholic chapel, elsewhere in the village the only evidence of natives are a dozen wooden carved sculptures.

The only way you can reach the remote town is via two weekly buses from the Ružomberok train station, otherwise, you’ll have to brave a 6km drive or hike through the mountains.

Life Is Great Festival

Known country-wide as the biggest student festival in Slovakia, the ‘life is great festival’ runs at the end of May every year in the nation’s capital of Bratislava. Of course, this grand event is not just limited to students – the festival looks to connect all the artistic pursuits including dance, music and film into one fantastic celebration.

With a percentage of proceedings donated to local charities, the festival provides the perfect opportunity to let your hair down and support a good cause.

Hike From Strbske Pleso To Skok Waterfalls In The High Tatras

Flowing water down waterfall with trees and mountain in the background

Slovakia boasts a number of fantastic hiking routes, the most famous of which is the hiking tour from the resort town of Strbske Pleso to the Skok waterfalls in the High Tatras mountain range. Taking a little over three hours to complete the round trip, hikers will be treated to a host of mesmerising views, and can even enjoy a dip in the awe-inspiring falls if their heart so desires.

The perfect route for hikers of all ability, the mountainous but fairly flat track makes it ideal for a group of varying fitness and ability.

Donovaly

What better place to experience the thrill of flight than in the home of the international paragliding championships – Donovaly, Slovakia? Thanks to its mountainous terrain, the region provides a number of great starting points where you and your instructor can soar into the sunset. What’s more, resident paragliding school offers a number of weeklong courses so you can become a fully qualified paragliding pilot and fly independently.

Things To Consider:

How Will I Travel Around Slovakia?

red train passing through the green feilds of the mountainous region

The main sources of public transport in Slovakia are buses, trains, trolleybuses, trams and taxis. Unfortunately, there are no underground or metro services that run, even in the capital city of Bratislava so when travelling across Slovakia regular rail and bus lines will facilitate the majority of your journeys.

Where Will I Stay In Slovakia?

Slovakia has more than enough accommodation to suit all preferences and most importantly budgets, with a range of options including luxury hotels, rentable apartments and affordable hostels.

As for the best regions to use as your base for travel, we’d suggest either the capital of Bratislava or the eastern city of Košice, however, if you’re looking to spend some time in the mountains then Tatras would be more appropriate.

We hope this guide serves as a great resource if you do choose to travel to Slovakia, remember to renew your EHIC. If you’d like help with your application or more information about your card, check out our FAQs or get in touch with a member of our team, today.

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