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Slovakia in One Week

Slovakia is a relatively small country, with decent roads and a dense network of trains and buses. The following itinerary assumes you're arriving in Bratislava and have a week to see the country. It's laid out ideally for car travel, but can be adapted to train and bus schedules without too much trouble.

Days 1-2: Arrive in Bratislava

After resting at the hotel, head into the Old Town for a quick "get-acquainted" walk. The city's laid-back pace is a perfect way to adjust to time zone changes. On the second day, get a good breakfast and plan on doing more serious walking. Start in the Old Town and take in the castle and the former Jewish quarter. Treat yourself to a nice dinner tonight, since restaurant food outside of the capital (with a few exceptions) will be a significant step down.

Day 3: Trencín & Zilina

Head north and east along the Váh river, first to the enchanting castle town of Trencín and then farther along to Zilina, the jumping-off spot for Malá Fatra National Park. If you're traveling by car, try spending the night at one of the places in or near the park; if you're traveling by train, Zilina makes for a more convenient overnight stop.

Days 4-5: The High Tatras

The High Tatras are about 3 hours or so by car east of Zilina (and about the same distance by train), so try to get an early start. Once you've found your way to one of the High Tatra resorts, use the Tatra Electric Railway to explore the other resort towns. Use the second full day for a long walk in the mountains, keeping in mind, of course, the usual precautions pertaining to mountain hikes.

Day 6: Option 1, Dunajec raft trip; Option 2, Levoca & Kosice

Depending on what you want to do and how much time you've got, at this stage you can decide to spend another day in the High Tatra region or push off farther east to Kosice. If you opt for the first and you've got a sunny day, drive or take a tour bus to Cervený Klástor for an exhilarating raft ride down the Dunajec river. If you're ready to head east, follow the road to Kosice (about 2 hr. east of Poprad by car). Be sure to stop in Levoca (which can be comfortably toured in a couple of hours) and at Spisský Hrad. Once in Kosice, book a room at the Bristol (for a well-deserved splurge) and plan a meal at Le Colonial. You'll soon feel like the king of eastern Slovakia.

Day 7: Return to Bratislava

From Kosice the return trip to Bratislava will take the better part of a day (7-8 hr.), so start early. From Poprad and the High Tatras to Bratislava, it's about a 5- to 6-hour drive, depending on traffic. By train, it can take equally long or longer, depending on the type of train.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.