Formally part of Czechoslovakia with its neighbour, the Czech Republic, Slovakia has its own, distinctive identity and culture. A small, landlocked country, Slovakia's only major city is Bratislava, near the Austrian border. Slovakia's countryside is picturesque - think forests, valleys and mountains dotted with small towns and crumbling castles.
Along with the stunning High Tatras Mountains, Slovakia has many national parks and many spectacular gorges and valleys to explore. There are also several historic sites that date back to the Stone Age.
With a pretty, restored old town, but the rest of the city looking a bit worse for wear, Bratislava is a city of contrasts. That's what makes it such an interesting place to visit.