Slovakia

Right in the heart of Europe, Slovakia is a land of castles and mountains, occasionally punctuated by industrial sprawl. More than a quarter-century after Czechoslovakia’s break-up, Slovakia has emerged as a self-assured, independent nation. Capital city Bratislava draws visitors to its resplendent old town and tankard-clanking drinking culture. But Slovakia shines brightest for lovers of the outdoors. Walking trails in the High Tatras wend through landscapes of unearthly beauty, with mirror-still glacier lakes backed by 2000m peaks.

BRATISLAVA

Our first stop on our testing trip was Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It is set along the Danube River by the border with Austria and Hungary. It’s surrounded by vineyards and the Little Carpathian Mountains, crisscrossed with forested hiking and cycling trails. The pedestrian-only...