Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Five Reasons to Visit Slovakia

Slovakia may seem like a little, lesser-known country, and it is often thought of as the smaller and less visited version of Poland. Well, I'm here to tell you that even though Slovakia is not nearly as large or as well known as Germany, Spain or France, it is still a very beautiful and remarkable country. It may not be the top destination on your list for your next visit to Europe, but it should at least be on your list. So, without further ado, here are five reasons to visit Slovakia!

1. It has gorgeous mountains.
Slovakia's mountains may not be as tall as the Alps, but they are just as stunning and have many more walking trails. Some actually say that the walking trails are actually more interesting and scenic than the ones in the Alps. The Carpathian Mountains run straight through Slovakia, so you won't have to travel far to reach the mountains.
2. There are few tourists.
During the vacation season, most tourists flock to Bratislava. Beyond the city, though, there are very few tourists save a few Europeans. If you're lucky, you could get a mountain trail all to yourself! You will probably not have to worry about booked hotels, but just in case, it is always good to reserve in advance.
3. It has extremely unique churches.
A lot of Slovakia's churches in rural areas are open to the public.                        
Slovak churches are, for the most part, made entirely out of wood.
They also tend to have the orthodox domes on top, which are also
The Dukla Pass Church
made out of wood. The result is a very original and beautiful church. Be sure to check out the Church of St. Jacob, where the highest wooden altar in the world is located.
4. Andy Warhol is from Slovakia.
He wasn't actually born in Slovakia, but his parents were. The Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art is in Slovakia, so if you are an art lover, don't miss it. The museum contains the second largest collection of Andy Warhol art in the world (the largest is in Pittsburgh).
5. It has amazing castles.
It may not have as many castles as Poland, but it still has some pretty spectacular castles. The Bojnice Castle is not to be missed. The Bratislava Castle has a very elegant interior, and is located right in the middle of Bratislava. Slovak castles are charming in their own way, without all of the ornate decorations of French palaces.

The Bojnice castle

I posted some links to travel guides for Slovakia. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My pick - Europe's top seven castles

 Europe is home to a countless number of castles. The United Kingdom alone has more than 1,000. Europe is a place full of history, and a lot of that history is preserved in castles. They are a must-see during any trip to Europe. From Portugal to Russia, these timeless wonders still stand today. There are so many gorgeous castles that it was difficult to pick just seven, but I did my best. I tried to also pick some of the lesser-known castles as well as the famous ones. Here they are!

1. The Peles Castle, Romania
The Peles Castle was the first castle in the world to
be powered by locally produced electricity.

2. The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
The Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for the 
Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland.

3. Chateau de Chambord, France
Le Chateau de Chambord was built with 282 
fireplaces and 84 staircases.

4. The Ksiaz Castle, Poland
 The Ksiaz Castle is surrounded by 315,500 
 acres of forest.

5. Highclere Castle, England
Highclere Castle is the sight used for filming the
British TV show Downton Abbey.

6. Catherine Palace, Russia
The Catherine Palace was decorated with 100 kilograms
of gold to gild the the facade and statues on the roof. 

7. Dunrobin Castle, Scotland
   The library in Dunrobin Castle houses over 
   10,000 books.