Malá Fatra National Park -- Though they lack the natural drama of the High Tatras to the east, the Malá Fatra highlands feel more rustic and relaxed. The pristine park is one of the most popular in Slovakia for weekend mountain walks, bike rides, and, in winter, cross-country and downhill skiing. If you have a few days to spend, and are not rushing to those other mountains (the High Tatras), plan on spending a couple of days here. The administrative center of the region is Terchová, a long narrow village about 25km (16 miles) east of Zilina. Here you'll find the main tourist information office, Ulica sv. Cyrila a Metoda 96 (tel. 041/599-3100; www.ztt.sk), as well as dozens of pensions and private rooms. The tourist office sells hiking maps and can help book rooms.
The European Union has provided funding for an extensive network of bike trails aimed at cyclists of all abilities. Throughout the region, you'll find chaotic, downhill "adrenaline" rides as well as more level trails for simply puttering around and enjoying the views. Pick up the pamphlet On the Bicycle Across the Jánosík Region, available at the tourist information office in Terchová. You can rent bikes at the Pension Malá Fatra in Terchová, Druzstevná 176 (tel. 041/569-5413; www.durko.sk).