1. Visit the new three-star Hotel Matysak near Bratislava’a Main Railway Station, a 15-minute walk from the city center, for its unforgettable historical wine cellar – one of the largest archive cellars in Central Europe – as well as one of the city’s best specialty restaurants.
2. Explore the “Tinkers Exhibit” at the Povazie Museum on Zilna and see how Tinkers created decorative and practical objects out of metal wire, which can be gold- and silver-plated and as intricately woven as lace. More than 300 items of the Slovak folk art are housed within a giant bird cage-like structure (made out of wire, naturally).
3. Explore the historical town of Levoca with one of the largest Gothic churches in Slovakia, St. James – boasting the tallest wooden Gothic winged altar in the world – Spisska Kapitula, a one-street walled village from the mid-13th century, and the Spis Castle.
4. Take in a performance at the Slovak National Theater in Bratislava – it’s where Viennese opera fans go for first-class performances at bargain prices. If you prefer dance, there’s ballet, modern and folk, classical concerts, jazz, folk music, rock and all the latest sounds.
5. Purchase some unique Slovak folk objects made of glass, fabric, metals, and jewels, as well as candles and decorative paper products at the In Vivo Shop in Bratislava.
1. Tour Spreewald, 1.5 hours southeast of Berlin, known for its charming canals where you can go bating and sample traditional pickles at the pickle-making facilities.
2. Visit Bautzen, close to the Poland border and home to the smallest Slavic nationals – the Sorbs – known for their traditions, especially the beautifully decorated Easter eggs.
3. In Saxon, Switzerland, located just below Dresden on the Czech border, marvel at the romantic fairyland scenery of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
4. Explore Dessau, 45 minutes south of Berlin, home to UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites: the Bauhaus Building, the Masters’ Houses and the Garden Realm Dessau-Woerlitz
5. Tour Ore Mountains, a former mining region on the border of the Czech Republic, known worldwide for its folk art, which is still is widely practiced and very popular.
6. Visit Bad Reichenhall, close to the border with Austria in the Bavarian Alps, with beautifully tended parks, an elegant pedestrian area, cozy restaurants and countless historical sights. This alpine town is one of Bavaria’s most precious jewels.
7. Stroll the Fuerst-Pueckler-Park in Bad Muskau, located half in Poland and half in Germany. Designed from 1815 to 1845 on the banks of the Neisse River, it’s one of the biggest landscape parks in Europe and recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
8. Take a detour to Zelazowa Wola, the birthplace of Frederic Chopin, and visit the cottage where he was born that’s now a museum.
9. Visit the Lindenau museum in Altenburg south of Leipzig, for its renaissance paintings and antique vases.
10. Visit Karlovy, a traditional, but lively Czech spa town two hours from Prague.
11. See the Czech Republic’s beautifully furnished Nelahozeves Renaissance Castle, with its art collection (Rubens, Valazquez, etc.) musical memorabilia and Delft porcelin.
12. See the beautiful city of Graz in Austria, with its historic monuments and the UNESCO-honored Old Town.
13. Experience Lower Austria’s LOISIUM Weinvisionen Langenlois (wine center) combining stunning architecture, historic wine cellars, and exhibits that capture the art, science, and mythology of winemaking.
14. Go to the Danube Bend, an hour north of Budapest, and see the original royal residence at Esztergom where the Hungarian civilization was born in the 11th century.
15. Dine at the Kor Care in downtown Budapest in the general area of St. Stephen’s Basilica where the food is reported to be fantastic and the Hungarian wines excellent.
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