Somebody please help - there doesn't seem to be much information on Slovakia on any travel sites...
I've just booked my flights for a week in Slovakia - I will be picking up a hire car at the airport and aiming to travel out to the Low and High Tatras for some walking/sightseeing. My flight arrives at 20:45 on a Saturday evening so I'm looking for some accommodation suggestions not too far away from the airport. I've already done a long weekend in Bratislava last year so I'm not bothered about stopping in the city centre, I would rather stop somewhere on route to the Low Tatras (but within 30/45 mins drive because it will be getting late).
I don't do hotels so ideally would like a nice pension or guesthouse type accommodation, maybe in a little village where we could walk to a restaurant/bar and enjoy a few drinks and a meal.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
I was thinking of maybe Modra which is only 30 mins drive away. But then I started thinking that maybe I should stop there for 2 nights instead of 1 and enjoy the wine making region - has anyone been? This would then mean that I cut my time short in the Tatras by a day so would then do 2 nights in the Low Tatras and 3 in the High Tatras. Or should I base myself somewhere in between the two for 5 nights and just travel by car each day? I don't want to feel like I'm constantly unpacking and re-packing.... Therefore, any suggestions for a nice village/town with restaurants and bars to keep us entertained in the evenings?
Am really grateful for any help - Slovakia just seems like such a grey area compared to Slovenia and Croatia, which I had no previous problems finding information about.
I've been 3 times in Slovakia- but mostly for skiing in High and Low Tatras. I made only a short 1 day-trip by train to Bratislava so I can't help with the advices as for the cities nearby, sorry. But by my experience in Tatras I've always found the better and cheaper places to stay when I hadn't reserved anyhing and tried my chance in seaching of accomodation on arrival. Almost every cottage offers accomodation - so you need only to choose city/place and to go to see 3-5 pensions. Pay attention that the prices are very different now in Slovakia - and it doesn't always depend on conditions. You can find 2 pensions close to each other and offering almost the same good accomodation - the one will be 150 euros per double room per night and the other will be 20 euro. We have really enjoyed our stay this winter in a very lovely pension with the fireplace for 26 euro per double.
As for the Tatras - please feel free to ask me - I know a lot.
If you're not planning to ski -High Tatras are more picturesque and better for trekking. But in Low Tatras you will definitely find the better ski-centers.
You can easily reach Tatras from Bratislava by non-expensive and comfortable fast train (about 3,5 hours to Liptovsky Mikulas- L.Tatras, 4 hours to Poprad - H.Tatras). The train is from Vienna with a stop in Bratislava. I don't know the schedule but the evening train is around 5 p.m. from Bratislava. You can also make a stop in Zilina - very beautiful old interesting city on the way.
If you prefer to go by car - you can easily make a stay in one chosen place - because it only takes 1 hour (about 70 km) to reach the Low Tatras from High.
In High Tatras I would recommend to stay in Tatranska Lomnica. Here is the cable-car to Lomnicky Stit (the highest peak in Tatras). Note that the cable-car to the highest point doesn't work in windy days so you'd better stay few days to catch the weather and don't sleep too late because after 10-30 a/m in ski-season the tickets may be sold.
I recommend you to find in Lomnica the restaurant "Stara Mama" - it's near the railway station - national food there is very good.
All other small towns of High Tatras could be easily reached in 10 mins - 1/2 hour by comformable light rail as well as Poprad - center of the region.
In Low Tatras the main town is Liptovsky Mikulas, ski-center Jasna. You's better look for accomodation in Demanovska Dolina - it's on the way to mountains and the famous Demanova caves are there worth to see. In L.Mikulas there's a good akvapark (better then in Poprad) - you can relax in its spa-area after the day of trekking. I also like the pub Route 66 in Mikulas - very good atmosphere.
If you need more information - I'm ready to help Hope you'll like Slovakia
It's true that most sites seem only to provide information about Bratislava and not the rest of Solvakia. For accommodation you could try Casamundo for renting apartments and holiday homes etc...they actually have a selection outside Bratislava..
For general information about Slovakia in general you could try http://www.slovakia.com/ which has different sections about tourism, travel etc.
This Slovakian Mountains site has some useful information too.
Or for more specific regional info you could try this High Tatras site and this for the Low Tatras.
Apparently Stary Smokovec in the High Tatras is nice and is relatively busy in the evenings, though you may be better off staying in Poprad itself and taking the train into the mountains. Hope that helps a bit...
Thank you both for your responses - love_it - there's some good websites there so thanks very much.
Galka_mak - you've said exactly what I wanted to hear!! My best holiday structure was when I went to Croatia and just rocked up to places and found private rooms if we fancied staying there. Somebody had previously told me that Croatia is pretty rare in terms of the amount of so many private rooms available and that I would be best to pre-book my accommodation in Slovakia. I don't particularly like doing this as it ties you down so to hear that there are plenty of options is fantastic. That has pretty much relaxed me about the trip now. I will obviously do some research about what places I fancy visiting the most and still need to book the first night's accommodation somewhere because of our late arrival.
I meant to say that we are going in June so definitely won't be skiing but will be doing lots of walking! We arrive on the 20th June which I think may still be just outside high season - fingers crossed there's still lots of rooms available!
I think I've definitely decided on basing myself somewhere in the middle of the low and high Tatras. Because we've got a car then its not too bad to just do day visits. If we were going for longer than a week then I would have travelled around a bit more but unfortunately my other half has work commitments. I have looked up your suggestions and like the sound of Demanovska Dolina.
I very much hope I enjoy Slovakia too - I have never been so indecisive about my holiday destination as I have this year because for the last two years I have been to Slovenia and feel that nowhere can be as beautiful as there..... but hopefully Slovakia will prove me wrong!
Thanks so much
If you're going in summer - I'd recommend you to chose the point closer to high Tatras. Demanovska Dolina is not the best choice to spend the evenings - its rather a quiet place and you will go to Liptovsky Mikulas each evening.
In high Tatras - Stary Smokovec and Tatranska Lomnica are a bit more vivid. The lake Strebske Pleso is very beautiful - so don't forget to go there by car or by train.
One more reason to stay in that region and my other recommendation if you're with a car- is to go to Poland - to Zakopane and surroundings. From Tatranska Lomnica it's only in about 50-60 km- and it's definitely worth to spend a full day and evening there. The road is not autobahn but it's easy to follow, has all the indications in English, no border - so you won't face any problems going there. In winter under the heavy snow and in darkness it had taken us about an hour to get from Lomnica to Zakopane so in summer I think that will be 30-40 minutes.
Near Zakopane there's a very beautiful place for the summer trekking - the lake called Morskie Oko - don't miss it (http://www.zakopane-life.com/poland/morskie-oko-zakopane). There's also a lift to the mountain called Kasprowy Wierch (that's the link to the cable car site http://www.pkl.pl/index.php?strona,menu,pol,glowna,0,0,1403,angielski,ant.html).
And you should spend the evening in the center of Zakopane - you won't regret. The street named Kropuwki is pedestrian, there are many resraurants and shops there and the life doesn't stop there till the late night. I recommend you the "Korchma Sabala" with the national food- try there the mushroom soop made in specially baked bread - that's something absolutely amazing. And the very specific Polish drink is a hot beer with a fruit flavour - don't be afraid and try it, it's not bad.
Some other useful links for you:
High Tatras and Tatranska Lomnica (info, maps and photos):
The lake Strbske Pleso:
Low Tatras: http://www.nizketatry.com/en.html
Aquaparks in Poprad and Liptovsky Mikulas:
If there's something more you'd like to know - please ask- you have enough time to plan
Have a nice weekend
We cycled teh danube cycle path a couple of years ago. When on the slovakian side we found plenty of guset houses to stay in, We had no information and no bookings. If you go in season, guesthouses will be open.