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From Rembrandt & Van Gogh to Delft, bicycles & beer, this art tour of Holland is a masterpiece.
Spain, Germany and France often get the bulk of attention from U.S. travelers venturing to Europe, but that trend has begun to shift in recent years. Countries in central Europe and the Balkans have become increasingly popular. In fact, a recent report from the European Travel Commission found that while historically popular destinations have seen a decline in visitors, others have experienced a sharp uptick in tourism. This has been the case for Slovakia, which has drawn visitors thanks to its impressive scenery and rich history. If you're among those contemplating a tour of Slovakia, there are certain places you should be sure to check out.
The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava is one of the most compelling cities in central Europe. Situated on the banks of the picturesque Danube, Bratislava is the cultural, economic and political hub of the country, something which is evident everywhere you turn. There are many historic landmarks that are well worth a visit, including the famous St. Martin's Cathedral, which was completed in the mid-1400s after more than 100 years of construction. You should also make a point to visit the majestic Carpathian mountain range, which, aside from having beautiful views, is home to some of the best vineyards in the country.
Tatra National Park
Aside from its rich history, Slovakia also offers travelers with a more adventurous streak the chance to indulge their travel desires, and this is certainly the case with Tatra National Park. At nearly 285-square-miles, the park has plenty to offer, whether you want to go hiking or simply admire the scenery. However, one of its most unique features is its extensive cave system, specifically Belianska Cave. The only underground cavern in the park that's open to the public, Belianska Cave stretches nearly 12,000 feet underground.
Situated just outside Bratislava, Devin Castle serves as a testament to the lengthy history of Slovakia. The impressive ruins stand nearly 700 feet above the countryside and were originally used as a fortification as far back as the mid-800s. Over the next 800 years, additional fortifications were added, but today it stands largely as ruins. However, it remains a compelling piece of history and its location offers up some of the best views in the country.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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