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80km (50 miles) N of Trencín; 180km (112 miles) N of Bratislava

Zilina (www.zilina.sk) is a brawny industrial town that's better known as the home of some of Slovakia's more conservative politicians than anything worthwhile for tourists. On the other hand, it's an important bus and train junction, as well as a major stopping-off point on the main east-west highway, so many visitors find themselves here for one reason or another. And if you have your own transportation, Zilina makes for a comfortable base to explore the Malá Fatra National Park. The town of Terchová, the center of the Malá Fatra region, is just a 25km (16-mile) drive down the highway.