Sandwiched between bastions of central European culture such as Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, Slovakia is often overlooked in favour of its more flamboyant neighbours. Give this sleepy little country a chance, though, and it might surprise you. Bratislava is a buzzing modern capital, focused around a pretty old town core and packed with lively bars and restaurants. Head east from the bog city to discover a patchwork of bucolic uplands, forests and sheep-grazed fields dotted with traditional villages. Hiking trails seam the countryside all the way up to the Tatra Mountains, offering the perfect way to explore Slovakia in depth.