Slovakia

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Slovakia is reckoned to have all the ingredients of a fine holiday destination except the sea and, it might be said, any large lakes like the Alpine nations benefit from. It does have beautiful mountain scenery, castles (Krasna Horka, Muransky Hrad and Spissky Hrad) and national parks (The Tatra National Park, the Low Tatra National Park, Pieniny National Park, Slovak Paradise for caves, Muranska Plateau and Poloniny National Park for wolves, bears and wooden churches). Eastern Slovakia has the lions share of these atttactions.The High Tratra fulfilled a role as a scenic holiday playground for visitors from the richer western half of former Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) and will probably continue to do so. In addition the region has several ski resorts.

Old towns such as Kezmarok and Tara Lubovna retain often attractive historic centres but often have large apartment block estates on the outskirts. The region is also reputed for its mineral springs – the Empress Maria Theresa had them enumerated in the eighteenth century and there are a number of spas such as Bardejov.

Whether these attractions add up to a strong likelihood of a property boom in Eastern Slovakia is dubious. The country’s per capita GDP was almost $18,000 in 2006 (up from $12,840 in 2002) but living standards are higher in the relatively more prosperous and developed west of the country with people in Eastern Slovakia only achieving incomes of about one third those enjoyed in Bratislava. The eastern areas suffer from poor transport links and although road improvements are being made the region’s economy is going to be heavily dependent on rising living standards in neighbouring countries (eg. Poland and Hungary) and greater accessibility.