It doesn´t eclipse the vertiginous heights of Tatra´s peaks nor the alluring mountain ranges and deep forested valleys of the Low Tatras or Mala Fatra. Such wild rivers as Dunajec (Pieniny National Park) do not run through it and its area cannot be compared to that of an average city in central Europe.
Regardless, once you visit this wonderland and experience the incredible adventure hidden in its deep and mysterious forests, bottomless gorges overlooking hundreds of waterfalls and streams adorned by chains and ladders, you will want to return again and again.
Welcome to a paradise without palms about which we have already written; Slovak Paradise. Now we will show you the best of which, with a little effort and a small dose of courage, you can discover. Today we take you through the Top 6 Hikes in Slovak Paradise! Enjoy…
BEFORE YOU GO..
Remember this very important information!
- The National Park is dotted with a number of gorges, waterfalls, chains and ladders. Proper footware is required – sandals or trainers are not recommended.
- All gorges are one-way only. Kindly adhere to the direction in this article.
- Updated information of the hazards in the National Park can be found using the Mountain Rescue Service app and are very useful.
- If you are afraid of heights or have problems with balance in heights, then we would recommend the southern part of the Paradise. There is no shortage of astonishing natural treasures in the south.
- Re-evaluate undertaking the tours with children under 5. They may not be able to reach some of the chains or climb many of the ladders.
THE TOP SIX HIKES
Not only home to the longest ladder (click on images to enlarge) of the Paradise, with heights which will make your head spin, but also a ravishing crossing through a rocky gorge. Here your only companion will be the stream beneath you and the ladder overhead. This is Piecky. One of the most beautiful gorges of the Paradise where there is no shortage of a great adventure between rocks, waterfalls and chains. And if you favour silence interrupted only by sounds of gently running water, you are in the right place.
Short info: 4h 20 min – 12,6km / 510 m / 510 m / map/
5. SOKOLIA DOLINA
The ultimate challenge of the entire Paradise. A legitimate, unfalsified, wild and romantic gorge. This crossing is only for those who are not afraid of heights. The reward at the end of this route is the tallest Závojový waterfall and breathtaking depths from viewpoints above it are a definite decoy.
Short info: 6h 55 min – 17,7km / 980 m / 980 m / map/
4. PRIELOM HORNÁDU
Imagine that you are, not rafting down a wild river nor walking along its bank, but traversing parts of it at a height of 20 m by risers which are rammed into vertical walls over the river. And now imagine, that these risers are have room for maximum 2 people who you will run into as they come from the opposite direction. This is a precise description of the hike through the Prielom Hornádu gorge, which is in its ways and location unique in Central Europe. And if you include the hike up to the magical Tomášovský viewpoint to your trip (for an incredible view into the depths of the gorge and of the High Tatras in the distance) your day will be truly memorable and remarkable.
Short info: 5h 40 min – 17,7km / 675 m / 675 m / map/
Several decades ago, a forest fire destroyed the lower part of the Kyseľ valley and for years tourists were unable to admire its utopic (there is no other word to describe it) uppermost section. A section whose beauty, hidden in waterfalls, streams and narrow crossings, is the most characteristic of the name “Paradise”. But, that which was closed for years has been reopened to the public and allows guests to admire the upper part of the valley in hiking boots or the adventurous souls can make their way up via ferrata: clipped onto a rope over waterfalls and lakes.
Short info: 7h 25 min – 17,7km / 994 m / 994 m / map/
2. VEĽKÝ SOKOL
Crossing 6 kilometers of the mightiest, longest and wildest Paradise gorge without getting your feet wet is impossible. The route transforms from a hike to a maze of jumps from rock to rock. The often noticeably overflowing stream seems to have its own head and puts ever-changing obstacles in the tourist´s path. The highlight of the hike are stone gates, somewhere in the middle of the gorge, which close to a width of a meter and then spit you out to a world of waterfalls. And the cherry on top is the wild Roth gorge which seems alien to this planet.
Short info: 5h 30 min – 17,2km / 545 m / 545 m / map/
1. SUCHÁ BELÁ
All gorges which have thus far been introduced have their own charm; choosing the most beautiful hike was not easy. Despite this, Suchá Belá with its plethora of cascades, waterfalls, rock formations, crystal-clear lakes, ladders, chains, risers and, in spots, claustrophobically narrow spaces is probably the uncrowned queen of this fascinating natural world. A gorge which is a shimmering entré into this amazing Paradise.
Short info: 3h 35 min – 17,2km / 455 m / 455m / map/
- In case of emergency: tel. 18 300, web: Slovak Mountain Rescue Service
- Web: Official (Slovak only), Touristic (English, German, French Available)
- You will find information about entrance fees here (translator used)
- We recommend purchasing mountain insurance prior to your trip through one of the insurance providers listed here
- Starting points of the hikes (click for location): Podlesok, Píla Piecky, Letanovský Mlyn or Čingov, Dedinky and Stratená
- Accommodation in the townships Hrabušice or Čingov (possibility of staying at Kláštorisko cottage)
- Best time to visit – in principle does not matter; however, in the winter, waterfalls become icefalls and, in turn, climbing equipment is imperative
Getting there – viaairplane to Poprad International Airport and/or train (from Bratislava, Prague as well as Budapest with a stopover in Košice), by car via D1 highway to Poprad
GET DIRECTIONS (click on the map)
© Expedition Slovakia 2016 with the english version by Mimi Fabian
IN THE NEXT POST: WE WILL SHOW YOU THE AMAZING (UNDER)WORLD OF TOP SLOVAK CAVES