It was nice 4-day long weekend at the beginning of May. We'd already heard many interesting stories about Slovenský raj (Slovak Paradise) so we decided to try it for ourselves.
Slovak Paradise is a mountain national park situated in East Slovakia. This mountain range isn't very high – the highest peak there is Ondrejisko - 1270 metres.
What makes this area especially interesting is hiking trails equipped with ladders, chains and bridges.
We stayed in Hrabušice at Privat Beata. On booking.com there are photos of lovely rooms available in nice house. It may be like this, hard for us to say because we got small, dull room in the one-storey house opposite to the one advertised on the site. Our room overlooked the terrace used by all the guests so we had our curtains drawn all the time. The bathroom was on the corridor and the kitchen was in other part of the house.
However, we didn't complain – the price was low, location great and we didn't stay at our room for long.
On the first day we decided to go along Suchá Belá to Kláštorisko (green trail). Suchá Belá's a beautiful canyon. The trail's medium difficult with wooden and iron ladders, chains etc. And it's one-way – you can only start hiking from camping Podlesok.
The most difficult part for me was going on slippery wooden logs. It was very tricky not to slip into the stream which was flowing briskly just right under our feet.
After about 2 hours we got to Kláštorisko - the only mountain hut available in Slovak Paradise. The place got its name from nearby ruins of Cartesian monastery which was built at the end of XIII century (!).
The place's great – I was very impressed by the view of ruins surrounded by beautiful forest. There's also a big nice plain on which you can lay and contemplate the nature And the fried cheese with chips served in Kláštorisko restaurant is a must!
We were so delighted with Slovak Paradise that we decided to go along blue trail Prielom Hornádu - for me it's the best hiking trail in Slovak Paradise.
In this canyon there are iron steps fixed on the rocks several metres above rapid Hornád river. I think that my adrenaline level was at the highest on these points.
Also, the trail is 16-kilometres long (!). We hadn't known about that and were very surprised that we kept walking and there seemed to be no end... Finally, we got to Podlesok Ranč restaurant and had the best garlic soup ever!
Next day, we went to check out an interesting yellow trail – Stredné Piecky. We started hiking from Hrabušice Pila. In this village there's a parking space but we decided to leave car just right at the point where the trail starts. Again - steps, ladders, slippery logs and beautiful waterfalls along the trail.
When we got to the route crossing we chose blue trail and after a while, at Mala Polana (986 metres), we got onto the red trail. At the last part of the red trail we went onto yellow trail which leads directly to Hrabušice Pila.
That day in the evening we met with our friends who stayed in Podlesok camping. They weren't very content with their place – someone stole their reflex camera next day! Besides, it was cold at nights and it started raining the following day.
In the morning we went to Hrabušice Sokol to start hiking along Veľký Sokol. I was quite surprised to see that many hikers there wore casual trainers and I, in my hiking boots, was barely keeping my feet on those slippery wooden logs. Mysterious...
It was rather long hike. After several hours we got to Glacká cesta (898 metres) and got onto red trail. Then, at the same place where the day before (Mala Polana), we started climbing down along red trail directly to Sokol. On our way back we were surprised by cloudburst.
On our last day we decided to go to Aquacity in Poprad. It was very relaxing experience – there are nice waterslides, indoor and outdoor thermal pools, water massages - great thing after several days spent on hiking!
What's worth remembering when going to Slovak Paradise is that the most interesting trails with ladders and chains (all mentioned in this post) are one-way. And there's quite a lot of people so it's not that easy to get away with going against the stream.