A Place Called Slovak Paradise

A Place Called Slovak Paradise

Out of Slovakia’s 9 national parks Slovak Paradise (or in Slovak: Slovensky Raj) definitely has the coolest name. It would be hard to argue with this naming as this small park is a real paradise with its lush forests, wild creeks, adventurous ravines, glens and waterfalls. Could you see yourself climbing up to the top of a 70-something meters waterfall on series of ladders? Or walking in an ice tunnel? Or hunting waterfalls in charming glens? These are the main reasons Slovak Paradise has quickly became our little paradise.

Dobšinská Ice Cave

Dobsinska Ice Cave, Slovak Paradise National Park

Not many ice caves in the world are located so low as Dobšinská Ice Cave in the Slovak Paradise. With the elevation of only 920 to 950 meters it’s still an icy wonderland all year! It belongs to the first electronically illuminated caves in Europe and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

Dobšinská is open to visitors roughly from the middle of May until October. You can explore it during a 30 minutes long guided walk. This was our first time in an ice cave! And walking in ice tunnels, and visiting ice halls was such a cool thing to do.

Check out their official homepage for opening hours, prices and other useful details.

Dry White Gorge (Roklina Suchá Belá)

Dry White Gorge, Slovak Paradise National Park

It’s one of the most popular ravines in the Slovak Paradise. Easily accessible, charming, adventurous and it only takes a couple of hours to do this loop. They say it’s busy, but when we arrived around 3 pm in the afternoon, and started the trail, we met only very few people. 😛 Guess we were late. Still we had plenty of time to enjoy this hike on that long summer day.

The narrow gorge runs in a glen, and there are 4 lovely waterfalls on the way – the highest is 29.5 meters, and the smallest is 8 meters. There are ladders, platforms and iron steps built in the rocks, so that we can safely climb in the glen without any professional climbing equipment. Waterproof hiking boots are useful though, because of the countless creek crossings on the way.

This was our first glen hike in the Slovak Paradise, and it was so much fun! So much that we decided to go back and explore all the lovely canyons in the following years…

Hiking essentials
  • Parking/trailhead: Podlesok parking (fee: 3 EUR/day at the time of our visit – 2018 May)
  • Entrance fee: 1.5/day/adult is collected when visiting trails of Slovak Paradise National Park (May 2018)
  • Route: Podlesok – Suchá Belá (green route) – Pod Vtáčim hrbom (yellow route) – Nad Podleskom (red route) – Podlesok
  • Length: 3.5-4 hours loop

All the beautiful glens and waterfalls

So we’ve actually explored all the glens and ravines of Slovak Paradise in the following years. We’ve written a blog post series with all the details about these hikes. Don’t hesitate to check them out if you want to know more – here they are:

Useful hiking info

As in many European countries hiking trails are marked with colors in Slovakia. There are usually maps and signposts at the trailhead, and you should look for the color signs on the trees once you are on the trail. Signposts are often there to help you at crossings, but it’s always good to have a map with all the trails and their colors on it (at least, take a photo of the map at the trailhead with your phone).

Hornad Canyon, Slovak Paradise National Park

There is a small entrance fee to Slovak Paradise National Park (1.5 EUR/person at the time of our visit, 2018 May). It’s collected at some of the most popular trailheads.

Most of the glen hikes are one-way: only up! This is to ensure safety, and there’s always an easy trail leading down outside of the glen.

Our favorite online trailmap for Slovak Paradise is this one – actually, it’s our favorite trailmap for Eastern Europe.

Where to stay

Hrabušice is a lovely village that’s close to most trailheads of the Paradise. Our favorite guest house to stay when visiting the park is there: Villa Mediasi. It offers nice, spacious, newly renovated rooms and a well-equipped, large, shared kitchen. To our pleasant surprise the staff speaks fluent English – that is not at all common at private guest houses in Slovakia.

If you plan to drive through the park, and do some hiking in its southern area, Mlynky or Dedinky are nice choices. Last but not least: if you only visit the park as a day trip, Poprad is the closest major city that you can use as a base to explore the area.

Beware of bears!

Hornad Canyon, Slovak Paradise National Park

There are bears in the Slovak mountains. They are rarely seen, and no one has died from a bear attack in Slovakia since long years now. (We’ve never seen any bears yet while hiking in Slovakia.)

But it’s good to keep the general bear safety tips in mind. In a nutshell: make noise (talk loudly, sing, clap) to make your presence known; in case of an encounter, don’t ever turn your back to the bear, and try to leave the area slowly. You can check this for more details, but there’s tons of good advice out there on the internet about bear safety.

Have you ever been to any of the Slovak national parks? Are they on your bucket list?

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Our guide to Slovak Paradise
Our guide to Slovak Paradise

Disclosure: We paid for this trip ourselves and our hotel stay was not sponsored either. However affiliate links are used in this post, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. If you are ready to book your trip and would like to support this website in some way, here’s your chance. Thank you! 🙂

This post was updated in August 2019.

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14 Responses

  1. […] national parks. And after the majestic landscapes of the High Tatras and the lovely glens of Slovak Paradise National Park we were eager to see even more of them. Like Little […]

  2. […] our introduction post about Slovak Paradise for more […]

  3. […] the High Tatras, Slovakia’s high mountain paradise and some about lesser known parks – like Slovak Paradise or Little Fatra. Now it’s time to reveal another secret of Slovakia: Slovak Karst National Park, […]

  4. […] enjoyed returning to places we love so much – like Vienna or the Slovak Paradise and the High Tatras in Slovakia. We also had a bunch of wonderful short getaways in Hungary. It […]

  5. […] Slovak Paradise National Park is one of Slovakia’s 9 parks and one of our favorite ones. It’s the place to chase waterfalls in adventurous glens and ravines. It’s the scene of our first spring hikes and our last autumn hikes in Slovakia. Is it a hidden gem? It’s a pretty gem, for sure. And it’s very popular among the people who know about it – the Slovaks and other passionate hikers from the neighboring countries (yes, that’s supposed to mean us, too). […]

  6. Sophia says:

    Is it possible to get to the park without a car and sleep somewhere close by?

    Many thanks,
    Sophia

    • Our Wanders says:

      Hi Sophia,
      Different trails are reachable on foot from the small towns of Hrabusice or Pila, and some from Dedinky. We’ve seen bus stops, as well, so we guess there should be regular bus connection with larger cities (like Poprad), but we haven’t checked details about that, since we visited the park by car.
      Cheers,
      Bea

  7. […] ľadová jaskyňa in Slovak), another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the wonders of Slovak Paradise National Park (quite an appropriate name by the way)  and it’s located at an unusually low elevation: only 920 […]

  8. […] of Košice. The romantic castle ruins standing on lonely hills. The lovely glens and waterfalls of Slovak Paradise National Park. Astonishing Tatras and Fatras. UNESCO listed karst caves. Slovakia offers seriously beautiful […]

  9. […] from the city. Once you’re there it’s worth checking out the fabulous glens and waterfalls of Slovak Paradise National Park that’s another 30 minutes from the castle by […]

  10. […] Slovak Paradise National Park is a place that we love anyway. It’s home to several lovely, adventurous glens and canyons with pretty waterfalls. As it’s quite close to our home we spend a couple of weekends hiking there each year and we just can’t get bored exploring it. Now we invite you for an autumn hike in the park – we collected our favorite and most beautiful moments from the past weekend in this photo essay. Enjoy! […]

  11. […] of three picturesque gorges: Dolné diery, Nové diery and Horné diery. It reminded us of the Slovak Paradise National Park which is full of these kind of pretty canyons with even prettier little […]

  12. […] Read our detailed hiking guide about Slovak Paradise National Park here! […]

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