Trencin, Slovakia

festival-goers are pictured on July 19, 2008 during the summer music festival Pohoda in Trencin, 130km from Bratislava. AFP PHOTO/ SAMUEL KUBANI (Photo credit should read SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

If you enjoy finding under-the-radar destinations and attending outdoor music festivals, you’ll want to know about Trencin and the annual Pohoda Festival. In the western part of the country, about two hours by car or train from the capital city of Bratislava and about three hours from Vienna, Trencin is home to the magnificent 11th century Trencin Castle, one of hundreds of medieval castles and chateaux in the Slovak Republic. The Pohoda Festival, on July 11-13, is described as a “music and arts festival with an international acclaim, where alternative, indie, electronica, world music, and punk meet classical; alongside literature, dance, visual art, film, and theater.” Held near the ancient castle on a former military airfield surrounded by three of the Western Carpathian Mountains, the festival would be an ideal introduction to this central European country. The Slovak Republic has seen growth in its tourism industry over the last 25 years since it gained independence. Quaint villages, historic towns, mountain ski resorts, national parks, and welcoming citizens make Slovakia a destination worth visiting. The High Tatra Mountains feature streams, caves, hiking trails, and snowy winters. Slovakia also boasts hot springs, spa towns, wineries, breweries, rich food, and attractive prices.

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