Launches; Everything U.S. Travelers Need to Know

NEW YORK, NY — (MARKET WIRE) — 06/29/2005 — Just in time for U.S. travelers looking for interesting, affordable European vacations, the Slovak Tourist Board in North America has launched a new website, — specifically designed for Americans considering a trip to the “other half” of the former Czechoslovakia.

“While there are plenty of sites out there that have bits and pieces of useful information, we put everything American travelers need to know about our country on,” explains Jozef Steis, Director of the Slovak Tourist Board.

“Not just lists of hotels, restaurants and sights to see, but also five unusually detailed, self-guided driving itineraries that suggest what to see, how long it takes to drive between places, where to stay and eat along the way, with options for extra days or shortcuts. There isn’t a travel website out there — for any country — that has that level of detail. We even tell you how to connect to and from other Central and Eastern European countries,” adds Steis.

Lots of information on off-the-beaten-path destination

In addition to the Itineraries section, the CometoSlovakia web site offers extensive information on Things to See/Do, with detailed pages describing Castles, Towns, Museums, Mountains, Folk Traditions, Caves, Food & Drink and a separate multi-page section on the capital city, Bratislava.

A Facts page includes Slovakia’s low average costs for meals, hotels, museum entrance, opera tickets and other travel items. The site also provides contact information for U.S.-based tour operators and Slovak travel agencies to help independent travelers with arrangements.

“We recognize that many Americans aren’t sure where our country is or what we have to offer tourists,” notes Steis. “That’s why we included a list of Top 10 Reasons to come now [attached]. Even though we’re a small country, the web site gives potential visitors a tremendous amount of information.”

To find out more, log on to The site was developed by A.J. Lazarus Associates (Brooklyn, NY) and (Staten Island, NY).


1) Undiscovered, uncrowded – Experience all the charm of the old Europe in a newly independent country. No crowds, no slick marketing, no mass tourism. With the second fastest-growing economy in the former East Bloc (according to a recent Wall St. Journal report), it won’t stay this way long.

2) Lively cafes and pubs in Bratislava’s Old Town – The cobblestone streets of the Old Town are filled with history and youthful vitality. Tucked away in centuries-old cellars, courtyards or alleyways are cafés, cabarets, restaurants, and pubs popular with locals, especially young people. Savor excellent coffee, Slovakia’s own wonderful, bargain-priced beers and wines, a variety of cuisines and music. Catch the energy and optimistic spirit of the city’s 60,000 students, attending three universities. And watch an entire nation reinventing itself.

3) Castles – For a small country (twice the size of Vermont), Slovakia has an amazing number of castles — 300. Take your pick from evocative ruins on a cliff overlooking a river (Devin and Orava), to fairy-tale perfect where knightly games are re-enacted (Bojnice), or ghostly remains of the largest walled fortress in Central Europe (Spis), and even refined chateaux/manor houses with elegant parks and gardens (Betliar, Strazky).

4) It’s a deal – Compared to prices in Western Europe, you’ll get good value for your dollar on everything from beer and wine to museum entrances and entertainment. Prices outside of Bratislava are even lower!!

5) Old towns where time stood still – Explore perfectly preserved medieval and Renaissance towns, walk cobblestone streets and imagine the merchants and craftsmen who lived there hundreds of years ago. Many Slovak towns rose to wealth more than 500 years ago, then dropped out of sight — and off the path of progress. Such was the fate of Bardejov, Banska Stiavnica, Levoca, Kezmarok, Spisska Sobota and others, places frozen in time.

6) Wooden churches, most built without a single nail. This was the law for centuries when non-Roman Catholic churches were forbidden to use hard materials, such as stone and metal. No other country has preserved as many of these breathtaking wooden beauties as Slovakia has. Dozens are concentrated in the northeastern area near Bardejov (UNESCO World Heritage site) and Kosice (2nd largest city).

7) Mountains – The mountains, and pristine natural areas of Slovakia have long been considered the nation’s main attraction by tourists from neighboring countries. The High Tatras are the Alps of the East — a chain of picturesque, snow-covered peaks. And the High Tatras are just the beginning. Whether you hike, ski, climb or simply gaze at them, the beauty of Slovakia’s mountains will remain with you after you return home.

8) Colorful folk arts, crafts, architecture – No other European country has as strong a tradition of diverse folk arts and crafts as Slovakia. See it in museums, filled with lush embroidery, vivid costumes, carved wooden figures, musical instruments, painted Easter eggs. Wander through living villages like Cicmany or Vlkolinec, where people still build and decorate their houses according to centuries-old designs. Or see fine collections of folk architecture in one of ten open-air museums. Watch a performance of folk dance or music. Or catch one of the many folk festivals held all around the country.

9) Otherworldly caves – So unusual that UNESCO designated several of Slovakia’s caves “World Heritage Sites.” The top 12 of the country’s 4,000 caves can easily be toured — no spelunking skills required. See a rare aragonite cave (only 3 in the world admit visitors) with flowerlike formations. Or learn the meaning of “chill out” in two ice caves. Spectacular stagmites, stalactites and underground rivers, including a real River Styx, await you.

10) A warm welcome/no attitude – Compared to more popular destinations where people are blasé about tourists, Slovakia has warm and unaffected people, eager to meet Americans and show you their country. Some American travel writers have likened Slovakia today to the way Western Europe was after World War II — just waiting to be discovered.

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