The ad blocker plugin on your browser may not allow you to view everything on this page. For the best experience on our website, please disable this ad blocker.
To access all acount benefits, sign in now
Small Groups: 8-16 travelers-guaranteed!(average of 14)
Act now to take advantage of these terrific savings on last-minute departures, available exclusively on our website. You won’t find these deals anywhere else!
When you travel with O.A.T., we promise that you’re getting the best combination of value and experience, at the best price—even with international airfare included
When you refer new travelers to O.A.T. through our Vacation Ambassador Referral Program, you’ll earn $100 per person in your choice of CASH or credit—and the more travelers you refer, the greater the rewards: up to a FREE TRIP. Watch our video to learn how.
Learn about how you can guarantee your trip price—with OAT’s exclusive Good Buy Plan. The earlier you reserve and pay in full by check or electronic funds transfer, the more you'll save.
Many OAT travelers don’t stop at one annual adventure. For those who reserve two or more trips within one calendar year—either with OAT, Grand Circle Cruise Line, Grand Circle Travel, or a combination of the three—we’ve introduced a new Sir Edmund Hillary Club benefit to reward your exceptional passion for discovery.
Every time you travel with O.A.T., you'll receive a Frequent Traveler Credit worth 5% of the advertised cost of your trip, applicable toward the next O.A.T. adventure you take within one year.
At O.A.T., we strongly believe that word of mouth is our best advertisement. And it works. Just ask the more than 500 Group Leaders who have chosen an O.A.T. adventure for their travelers this year—and traveled FREE! Watch our video to learn how.
Watch our video to learn about the benefits of our Travel Protection Plan. You can cancel your O.A.T. adventure at any time—up to the day of your departure, and for any reason—and retain the FULL value of your trip, including your deposit.
See what differentiates us from other travel companies and how these differences have made O.A.T. the undisputed leader in small group travel along the road less traveled.
See why O.A.T. travelers are different from typical tourists—and especially how they love stepping out of their comfort zones and going off the beaten path to discover local culture. Plus, meet a few of the O.A.T. travelers who know the benefits of small group travel.
With itineraries designed exclusively for experienced American travelers, we’ve been providing indelible travel memories for more than 40 years. Find out what makes OAT the undisputed leader in small group travel along the road less traveled.
Create the adventure that's right for you. Learn how to personalize your trip, or view standard air routing and travel times.
Many OAT travelers return to discover the world with us time and time again, and to show our appreciation, we've created the Sir Edmund Hillary Club, a membership rewards program for travelers who've joined us on three or more adventures.
Over the past 10 years, our travelers and industry experts have given us high marks in independent surveys from Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and more. When you embark on an O.A.T. adventure, you can expect an award-winning experience.
Alan and Harriet Lewis created the nonprofit Grand Circle Foundation with the mission of changing people’s lives through travel—which includes both the travelers who journey with O.A.T., and the local people who welcome us so warmly into their homelands.
O.A.T. Vice Chairman Harriet Lewis created the Harriet’s Corner online community as a place where travelers can learn and connect. Enjoy stories, trivia, and short films featured in our Inside Scoop e-newsletter … ask and answer questions in our Travel Forum … view issues of our Dispatches quarterly magazine … and much more.
Join the community
Enjoy stories, traveler insights, and unique videos featured in our weekly e-newsletter.
Exchange thoughts, experiences, and opinions openly with other travelers, whether you're looking for information on a future trip, or have valuable insights from your own travels you'd like to share.
This quarterly magazine is filled with notes from the field that celebrate the adventurous spirit of our most experienced O.A.T. travelers.
Our free 101 Tips for Women Travelers booklet features advice from seasoned travelers, staff, and guides from around the world.
Share your photos and videos of memorable moments made with Overseas Adventure Travel.
Upload your best travel photos for a chance to win a free O.A.T. land or small ship adventure.
Having Trouble Logging In?
Either your username OR your password is not correct.
Please check that both items are correct before trying again, or use the ‘forgot your password’ and ‘forgot your username’ links for assistance.
If you have forgotten your password, enter the email you used to set up your account, and click the Continue button. We will email you a link you can use to easily create a new password. If you are having trouble resetting your password, call us toll-free at 1-800-221-0814.
If you have forgotten your username, please provide your email address in the box below. We’ll send you an email with your requested username. If you are having trouble, please call us toll-free at 1-800-221-0814.
You’ll receive an email in a few minutes. Please check this email to find your requested username.
If you do not receive an email or you are having trouble logging into My Account, please call us at 1-800-221-0814.
Register using the one of the following:
The Customer Number you have provided is not valid. Please try again
Email Address is required
Phone Number is required
Customer Number is required
Already have an account? Sign In
Inhabited for more than 270,000 years, Slovakia is a land both timeless and contemporary. As the country with the highest number of castles and chateaux per capita, there is ample evidence of past periods of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian rule. Its own rich culture rose to the fore in the 20th century, during the era when the land was half of Czechoslovakia. After the Communist period ended in the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Slovaks began to call for full independence, but on friendly terms. In 1993, the so-called Velvet Divorce made Slovakia its own democratic nation—and it has never looked back.
With one of the world’s highest standards of living and a thriving economy, Slovakia has become a major player in the European Union. Visitors to its capital, Bratislava, find world-class dining, nightlife, and culture. And beyond the city, Slovakia is a natural wonderland, with two stunning mountain ranges—the sweeping Carpathians and jagged High Tatras—as well as hundreds of tarns (glacier-cut mountain pools) and epic underground cave systems (five of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites). Forty percent of the country is forested, a landscape punctuated with fairytale villages and stone castles from times gone by, as well as young vineyards supporting the growing wine industry. No wonder so many Europeans flock here every year to indulge in its charms. Just over a quarter-century since independence, Slovakia is the model of what life after the Iron Curtain should look like.
Click on map markers below to view information about top Slovakia experiences
Bratislava's Old Town
St. Martin's Cathedral
Click here to view more information about this experience
Click here to zoom in and out of this map
*Destinations shown on this map are approximations of exact locations
Though it has only been a capital city since 1993, Bratislava has been a destination since the Old Town was rising in the 14th and 15th centuries. Its Old Town Hall and Neo-classical Archbishop’s Palace transport visitors across the centuries, as does Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, where the Kings and Queens of the Habsburgs were crowned. Compact in size, Old Town is perfect for a stroll down to the banks of the nearby Danube. Visitors are only steps away from the spire-dotted neighborhoods that boomed in the 18th century, when artists and entrepreneurs filled the city’s cafés and corridors. Bratislava’s leisure heyday was interrupted by the Socialist era, and you can still see heavy-looking architecture and political statues that call to mind those years. But that era is just a memory now, and the Old Town feels new again.
The hills above what is now Bratislava have been settled since the Stone Age, when the Celts called the land Oppidum. But the first reference to Bratislava in writing comes from 907, when a military fortification began to rise. Over the next 800 years, the castle that we see today took shape, its final elements put in place by Maria Theresa in 1768. With its white walls reflecting the light and four red-roofed towers, it looks like a fairytale illustration. Visitors seek out its Crown Tower for the best views of the city and the winding Danube beyond. Inside, the castle boasts fine art, like the Baroque Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and historical collections from the Middle Ages.
Between 1563 and 1830, there was nowhere more regal in (what was then) the Kingdom of Hungary than St. Martin’s Cathedral of Bratislava. This was where king and queen after king and queen were crowned, 19 in succession, including the famed Maria Theresa. Built during the 13th and 14th centuries, and set into the town walls as part of the fortifications, the cathedral had been enlarged and expanded upon by the time it was coronation central. Despite boasting a solid gold crown atop its spire, the interior was originally fairly sparse, letting the pomp and circumstance of royalty provide the flash. Today, the cathedral contains Baroque and Gothic artwork, huge altars, an underground crypt with catacombs, and one of those legendary crowns, a model from the 19th century.
This relatively small mountain range—just 62 miles long—runs perpendicular to the Danube River in Bratislava. Hidden treasures abound here, including castle and church ruins, and the verdant slopes boast tranquil panoramic views of the river, grassy fields, and surrounding deciduous forests.
The Little Carpathians are the ideal setting to cultivate wine vineyards, which is why numerous viticultural centers are located here. Journey to the base of these mountains to sample traditional Slovakian wines, and tour a wine cellar to get a better idea of how this local business runs.
Ancient palaces, traditional street musicians, and a Home-Hosted dinner: delve into the charm of Bohemia
Learning to craft traditional Bohemian ceramics in Slavonice and witnessing Prague's bustling street life are just some of the experiences that await travelers in this video.
Watch a detailed overview of the experiences you'll enjoy on our Jewels of Bohemia adventure.
Immerse yourself in Slovakia with this selection of articles, recipes, and more
Discover Bratislava’s realistic sculptures that add an artistic—and humorous—aspect to the city.
Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is a city on the Danube River whose centuries-old buildings attest to its long history. But several more recent works of art are also likely to catch your eye as you stroll along the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, thanks to local sculptors who have made the city exceptionally rich in public art with modern sensibilities—often with a touch of humor.
It takes an upward glance to view the typical historic monument to some past ruler or general mounted high on his horse. But you have to look downward at the intersection of Panská and Laurinská streets in Bratislava to see one of the most popular local sculptures: Cumil the sewer worker, portrayed in bronze as he emerges from a manhole wearing his hard hat. Created by sculptor Viktor Hulik in 1997 in the spirit of “low art,” Cumil seems unperturbed by the fact that all of his many admirers are looking down on him.
Cumil’s popularity has pleasantly surprised his creator, who worked with fellow artist Juraj Melis to create several works of public art when improvements were being made to Bratislava’s pedestrian-only zone in the Old Town. With a grin on his face, Cumil rests his chin on his hands and seems to be contentedly viewing the world from his low perspective. He has even occasionally inspired imitation from “living sculpture” posers who put on metallic face paint and mimic his position.
Modern art reflects the city’s past
Two other sculptures of life-sized figures created as part of Melis and Hulik’s project are nearby and offer a contemporary perspective on people from Bratislava’s history. Not far from Cumil on the street named Rybárska brána, a statue of a smiling man greets passers-by with a tip of his top hat. He’s known as Schöne Náci, a term of endearment meaning “beautiful Ignác,” reflecting the full name of Ignác Lamár, who was a beloved figure on the streets of the Old Town during the first half of the 20th century.
The original Schöne Náci had aspired to become a comedian and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather. But he ultimately found his calling in the heart of Bratislava, where for decades he strolled from cafe to cafe in top hat and tails brightening everyone’s day with cheerful, elegantly presented salutations. In particular, he was known for greeting women with the phrase “I kiss your hand” in three languages: Slovak, German, and Hungarian.
Another notable sculpture is found in the city’s Main Square. A life-sized Napoleonic soldier leans in a casual pose on a park bench facing the Roland Fountain and Old Town Hall, always ready to look over the shoulder of any visitor who takes a seat. While the relaxed pose is a modern twist, the soldier’s long coat and hat portray a uniform from the early 19th century, when Napoleon’s troops occupied the city—then called Pressburg—twice, in 1805 and 1809.
An abundance of work from Slovak sculptors
Slovak sculptor Tibor Bártfay has also created many works that contribute to Bratislava’s wealth of public art, including a statue of Hans Christian Anderson in Hviezdoslavovo Square in honor of the Danish author’s 1841 visit to the city. A versatile artist, Bártfay’s work ranges from the fanciful “Witch near the castle” (also called “Girl with ravens”) next to Bratislava Castle to the more abstract, spherical Peace Fountain at Hodzovo Square.
Many other public artworks grace Bratislava’s streets and parks, from a statue of a paparazzi-like photographer sneaking a shot around the corner of a building to a street-level figure pointing upward to direct your gaze to a giant ear on the side of another building. With its exceptional number of outdoor sculptures in both traditional and contemporary styles, the city is a virtual gallery of public art, much of which adds a contemporary flair to its many-layered history.
There are pros and cons to visiting a destination during any time of the year. Find out what you can expect during your ideal travel time, from weather and climate, to holidays, festivals, and more.
After the last of the autumn leaves fall across heavily-forested Slovakia, cold descends and snow moves in. Winter is chilly here—about 30 degrees Fahrenheit on average—and very quiet, as few tourists visit during the winter months. In Bratislava, the holidays bring teeming Christmas markets to each of the city's central squares, where red-and-white stalls sell all manner of traditional Slovak cuisine and locally-made crafts. Even after the holidays end, central Bratislava's old pastel buildings, narrow streets, and orange-tile roofs are particularly charming as snowflakes fall.
Outside of Bratislava and the High Tatras, most of Slovakia's tourist sites close during the winter months.
The High Tatras span the Slovakia-Poland border, and winter is a particularly beautiful time to visit these alpine peaks. Winter sports like cross-country and downhill skiing are popular at several mountain resorts, and winter hiking is also an option. During the holidays, Bratislava turns up the charm with cozy Christmas markets that rival the more commercial festivities in Western Europe.
Warming days herald the arrival of spring in Slovakia, from a high of around 43 degrees Fahrenheit in March, to highs in the 60s in May. Flowers bloom across the country and fruit trees, which line Slovak roads, send out heady blossoms. Bratislava's botanical garden opens in early April every year, and cafes and restaurants in the pedestrian center set up their patios and sidewalk seating areas in anticipation of long summer days.
With mild temperatures and fewer tourists than the summer months, this can be an ideal time to visit Slovakia.
Summers in Slovakia are short and hot, with an average temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Occasional heat waves bring the mercury up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the lowlands, while the High Tatra mountains are more comfortable in the mid-70s. Frequent showers pass through Slovakia in July, the rainiest month of the year. Of course, summer is the busiest month for tourism in Slovakia.
Summer is a popular time to visit Slovensky raj ("Slovak Paradise") National Park, a forested enclave of narrow gorges, caves, waterfalls, and meadows. The unique topography, with plenty of shade and rushing water, provides a break from the heat and plenty of opportunity for adventure.
With forests covering so much of Slovakia, fall colors sweep across the landscape in September and October. Temperatures cool a bit—dipping into the low 40s Fahrenheit by late November. Generally, the weather remains warm and stable, and since tourist traffic dies down after summer ends, this is an excellent time to visit. North of Bratislava, where vineyards stretch across low hills, autumn is the time for grape harvest and wine festivals. In the city, classical and jazz festivals bring music to well-established concert venues, and independent rock festivals enliven the streets.
Across Slovakia, stunning autumn foliage provides a beautiful backdrop for stately castles and charming cobblestone villages. Grapevines turn a burnished red-gold during the harvest as well. When the weather turns cold, Bratislava's cozy coffeehouses and hip underground bars are a welcome respite from wind and rain.
Find out more about the adventure, including activity level, pricing, traveler excellence rating, included meals, and more
Watch a detailed overview of the experiences you'll enjoy on our Jewels of Bohemia adventure.
Small Group Adventure
Days in Slovakia
5 nights from only $1495
5 nights from only $1395
Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.
Activity Level 1:
Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.
Activity Level 2:
Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.
Activity Level 3:
Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.
Activity Level 4:
Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.
Activity Level 5:
Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.
*This information is not available for our trip extensions. You must reserve the main trip to participate on this extension.
**This information is not currently available for this trip. Please check back soon.
Would you like to compare your current selected trips?
View photos and videos submitted by fellow travelers from our Slovakia adventures. Share your own travel photos »