Give a high five to countries that haven’t existed very long
What: Slovakia has existed since 1993 and its capital Bratislava is a strong contender for the ‘new Prague’ title with its hip cafes and bars and well-preserved old town, but it is blissfully tourist-free. Head to the High Tatras National Park for cheap skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Recharge your batteries at Aquacity, an affordable spa complex.
What: Kazakhstan was placed firmly on the map thanks to Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy creation who hails from the Central Asian Republic, independent from Moscow since 1991. The world’s ninth biggest country remains largely unexplored.
What: Montenegro split from Serbia & Montenegro in 2006. It’s small but perfectly formed, with
a wild, untamed beauty. The Dalmatian coast offers dreamy beaches, while the mountains are perfect for hiking.
What: The Czech Republic and Slovakia parted ways
in 1993 following Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution in 1989. Since then, tourists flock to capital Prague for its tasty beer, upcoming microbreweries and attractive old buildings.
What: Formed after the demise of Yugoslavia in 1990, Serbia’s main draw is the annual Exit Festival, which takes place in Novi Sad from July 7-10. This year’s sizzling line-up includes Arcade Fire and Tiga. Cool city Belgrade is worthy of a weekend break.
– Janine Kelso