Courier August/September Courier - Page 50

COMPASS Eastern Europe COMPILED BY KENDALL FLETCHER Bratislava, Slovakia For more than 15 years, Discover Slovakia Tours has pro- vided services focused on incoming tourism to Central and Eastern Europe. “We arrange custom designed tours, cultural tours and special interest tours focused on music, history, agriculture, forestry and wine production, as well as walking and hiking tours,” says Marcela Lauková, the company’s managing director. Choir tours are quickly growing in popularity with Discover Slovakia’s North American operator partners. “Come and sing with us in Prague, enjoy a joined concert with a Slovak choir at the castle or UNESCO church, and enjoy a life experience of a teaching lesson on Gregorian chants in the Hungarian Abbey,” Lauková says. General cultural tours are also popular among North American groups, and Slovakia’s capital city, Bratislava, is recognized for its unique heritage. 46 August/September 2018 “Bratislava is located in the heart of Europe,” Lauková says. “One of the Bratislava dominants is the castle hill, which can be seen from a far distance. The most beautiful part of Bratislava is the old town with its small, picturesque streets and markets.” If travelers veer a little further east on the highway, they can visit the UNESCO city of Banská Stiavnica, what Lauková calls a hidden jewel of Slovakia. It has some of the fastest growing tourism spots in the country, with a rich history in mining. The second-largest Slovak city and the capital of Eastern Slovakia is Košice, which hosts one of the oldest marathons in the world (second to the Boston Marathon) and is home to the Gothic Cathedral of St. Elisabeth, the biggest church in Slovakia. For more information, contact Lauková at mlaukova@ or go to Discover cultural gems in Slovakia