The Slavic tribes invaded present day Slovakia during the 5th century and created many successful kingdoms. It was during this era that the Slavs adopted Christianity. Since the 10th century however, Slovakia became part of Hungary. Hungary would eventually form a union with the Austrian Empire in 1867. Slovakia would join the Czechs in 1918 to form Czechoslovakia. They briefly split during World War II when the Nazis occupied the Czech Republic and Slovakia formed their own war state. They rejoined after the war ended and became a communist country under the Soviet Union. The Czechs and Slovaks agreed to separate on January 1st 1993, and Slovakia became an independent nation.

de_0005_slovakia - Ruin of Beckov Castle in Slovakia


Slovakia has a record number of chateaux and castles, ranging from piles of stones in the forest to luxurious mansions. The largest castle in Central Europe is the Spis Castle which is a very popular tourist destination. Other popular castles to view are the Devin Castle and Bojnice Castle. There are also many wooden churches in the northern parts of Slovakia. Slovak Paradise National Park  is a mountain range with beautiful ravines and canyons, as well as many rocky formations and waterfalls you can see on a hike. Hiking is a popular activity in Slovakia, as there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout the country. Spelunking is another popular activity. Many caves are open to the public, and Slovakia has some of the most accessible caves worldwide. The medieval mining towns of Banska Stiavnica and Kremnica are also popular tourist attractions.

de_0007_slovakia - Bratislava

Local Food & Drink

The staple foods of Slovak cuisine are smoked meat, potatoes, cheese and flour. Fish and seafood options are limited due to Slovakia being a land locked country. Instead, poultry and pork are often the meat of choice. Soups are common, and can appear as a main dish or appetizer. Lunch is traditionally the main meal of the day, although recently dinner is stating to take over that role. Bryndzove halusky is a national dish made out of potato dumplings and unpasteurized fermented sheep cheese. It is very filling and appetizing, and is unique to Slovakia. Another popular dish is goulash, which is made with cuts of onions, beef, squashed potatoes and vegetables. For non-alcoholic beverage options, try Vinea, which is made from grapes, or Kofola, which is similar to Coke. Slovakia is actually 1 of the 3 countries worldwide where Coke is not the number one non-alcoholic drink in the market. Slovakia also has some of the best mineral waters in the world, and each offers a unique health effect (such as getting rid of heartburn). Drinking is a significant part of the Slovak culture, but being visibly drunk is not socially acceptable, so watch your limits. Beer is the local drink of choice – try out Zlaty Bazant, Topvar, and Smadny Mnich (import options are available at most restaurants and bars, however). Slovakia also has many great local wines.

de_0006_slovakia - Classical building architecture.


Slovakia is a relatively safe country, and as a tourist you are unlikely to encounter any kind of problems. Violent crime is very uncommon. The biggest fear for travellers may be the roads. A lot of roads are very narrow and poorly lighted, so if you are driving you need to be careful. Avoid driving through the mountain passes of northern Slovakia during the winter. If you are hiking in mountainous areas of Slovakia (specifically the High Tatras), tell the hotel staff where you are going before you leave so that they can send out rescue teams to look for you if you do not return. Do not hike alone and make sure you have the proper hiking gear. Slovakia also has wolves and bears in the wild, and a few attacks occur a year, although no one has died form an attack in the last century.