Adventure Europe Travelogues

A Taste of Kosice Outdoors – Slovak Paradise National Park

Somewhere between the borders of Poland and Hungary lies a country that few from my part of the world ( Asia) have visited – Slovakia.

And no…it is not Slovenia as many (including myself) used to have that misconception. Slovakia ( called Slovensko in their native language) used to be part of the big Czechoslovakia nation before they came out on their own. The main difference between Slovakia and Slovenia other than the land and population size ( Slovakia is double that of Slovenia), Slovenia has a coastal element/ access to the sea while Slovakia has the high mountains.

Immersing in the beauty of Kosice

Immersing in the beauty of Kosice

So enough of that…

I visited Slovakia in the summer of 2018, focusing especially on 1 beautiful region every outdoor lover should go – Kosice.

I took a 14.5 hour flight from Singapore – Kocise Airport via Turkish Airlines, with a pleasant stopover in Istanbul. You would even have time to get out of the airport to see a bit of Istanbul before coming back in for the evening flight. While most people on an eastern Europe tour would cross into Slovakia to visit the capital -Bratislava, Kosice is the region where it has a great deal of adventure action, outdoors and culture to behold.

Let me walk you through the rugged and outdoor adventures I experienced here in Kosice and Spis Region when I was here with Lisa, a Singaporean female friend of mine, as we explored the best of the country.

Stopping for a break at this river bank | Slovak Paradise Pitstop

Stopping for a break at this river bank | Slovak Paradise Pitstop

Outdoor Adventures to experience in Spis Region

My Day through Slovak Paradise National Park

When I first heard the name of the national park, I already knew I was going to love it. No place would ever dare call itself paradise on earth unless there is something really surreal and unearthly about it, and that’s what you get here when hiking in Slovenský raj National Park (Slovak Paradise).

Beholding the lovely waterfalls and metal ladders that cross your path as you enter Slovak Paradise

Beholding the lovely waterfalls and metal ladders that cross your path as you enter Slovak Paradise

Walking/ Hiking Trails and  Flower Tales

The entire morning walking through Slovak Paradise, a 1,200 metres high national park in Spis Region, is a really refreshing experience as we breathed in the fresh forest air and smell the wood as we walk through the dirt path, pass the waterfalls, up the ladders and hopping from pebble to pebble over the trickling river bank.

We started our trail at Podlesok ( which was where we parked our car and had an awesome lunch at the wooden cabin restaurant there!), then continue on to Prielom Hornadu –>to Klastorska roklina gorge –> Klastorisko-Kysel gorge. There are other trails one can take but we started ours at 8.30am and finished around 3+pm, as we were going on a slow and relaxing pace with loads of breaks and photo taking.

The lovely chain bridge midway through the walking trail in Slovenský raj National Park

The lovely chain bridge midway through the walking trail in Slovenský raj National Park

Slovakia Landscape: How was it?

The weather was lovely on this beautiful day, with a little cloudy but yet no hot blazing sun cast on our back as we trot along from 8 am onwards. We were accompanied by our very ‘young at heart’ guide called Vladimir, the Slovenský raj National Park guide for up to 15 years. He was very energetic and informative as he shared with us the history about the national park ( started in 1988, same year as I was born) and the different segments/ partitions in the forest – meaning which areas are deemed as ‘Zones of Silence’ to safeguard the original natural habitat, and what areas are protected against deforestation.

Going through the forests and fields of wildflowers here in Slovak Paradise | Spis Region Landscape

Going through the forests and fields of wildflowers here in Slovak Paradise | Spis Region Landscape

The natural park has incredibly preserved plateaus, deep cut river canyons, gorges with waterfalls and even ice caves which can be visited in Summer!

Beholding the famous walk over the river here in Slovak Paradise

Beholding the famous walk over the river here in Slovak Paradise

Look out for some really interesting wildflowers and animals along your trail. We spotted so many exotic flowers like the ‘Orlicek’, a deep purple colour flower, Stokraska, also known as ‘A Hundred Beauties’, Lunaria-mesacnia was also known as Moonflower, pupava ( my version of dandelion) and lastly an orchid-like flower called Cypripedium calceolus.

Walking over steel grills, climbing ladders & splashing through the river

Slovak paradise cannot get more exciting if you don’t work hard to go through the trek. Come prepared with a long sleeve top to block out the wind chills, but no need for thick winterwear as you will work up a little sweat if you walk fast and steady into the hike. It is also useful to have proper waterproof hiking boots given you will be walking on a mix of dirt paths both uphill and downhill, small pebbled walkways and steel narrow bridges. to walk in to prevent slipping and twisting your ankle.

 

In the entire 5-7 hour walk, you will cross up to 7 waterfalls while climbing ladders, steel grills ( Stupacky) and more. One of the nicest waterfalls we saw was called rainbow falls, given the pretty rays that burst through the water into colours that you will see when you go up close. Some parts of the trail you can actually stop to refill your water bottle with fresh spring water!

Little thing to note: Don’t expect too much water going down the river and waterfall as you hike/ climb it, in fact, dries up more in summer.

Other activities one can experience in National Park of Slovenský raj 

  • Cycling and mountain biking
  • Rock Climbing in certain areas ( Wish I did!)
  • Water Sports
  • Skiing in Winter Only
  • Tandem SkyDive/ Gliding
  • Horse Trekking and Riding through the forest( Must Try!) – 

 

Relaxing 1 hour Horse Riding and Trekking in Slovak Paradise National Park | Spis Region

Relaxing 1 hour Horse Riding and Trekking in Slovak Paradise National Park | Spis Region

Our horse riding experience in the later part of the afternoon was also really lovely and relaxing. We did it with Salaj Horse School, where they conduct horse riding classes or horse trekking for 15 Euros per hour. I had a lovely chocolate brown horse called Sara, while Lisa’s horse was Aja, and we had a nice peaceful trek through the forest and fields for an hour. Important to wear a helmet for safety which was provided by the owner Laco Salaj of the horse riding school.

Thinking about: Going for Proper Horse Riding Classes for future!!;D

Here concludes my lovely half day in the lovely Slovak Paradise. Where have you been to find your little paradise on earth?

For more information about Kosice Region or Slovak Paradise National Park, click here.

If you want to experience something at an even higher altitude, then there is something even higher up you can experience, stay tuned to read more about the highest mountains in Slovakia – High Tatras~!

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Emma Raphael
    June 10, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    It looks like you had a wonderful time – great photos! I have only made it to Bratislava so far, but I would love to go back and explore more having read your post! Thanks Lydia! 🙂

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      I had the best of times there and I would warmly recommend you visit this place, Emma! Glad you found the post inspiring. 😉

  • Reply
    Sue Slagjt
    June 12, 2018 at 4:02 am

    When we went to Slovenia many people asked us if we meant we were going to Slovakia! Two different countries indeed. It looks like you had a fabulous adventure. So lush and so much to explore.

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 12, 2018 at 7:37 am

      The similarity of the name is what usually makes people think it’s the same country. I had a spectacular time in Kosice. It has an abundance of places and nature to be explored! 🙂

  • Reply
    Cindy
    June 12, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    We are trying to figure out how much of Slovakia we will get to this summer and it looks like this is a gorgeous area – if maybe a little more adventurous than I am. I’m not afraid of heights and usually will climb anything, but those ladders and the path over the river look more than a little intimidating!! Thanks for the tour.

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 13, 2018 at 11:51 am

      Glad you found the post motivating, Cindy. You should definitely explore this area when in Slovakia, its beauty is beyond words! 🙂

  • Reply
    Anna
    June 13, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    What a beautiful nature! I’ve been to Slovakia (Jasná Nízke Tatry) once as a child for a ski trip! Loved it and hope I´ll get to visit again in summer to do more of hiking!

  • Reply
    Lynda
    June 14, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Love those flowers!

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 14, 2018 at 7:33 am

      I do too, Lunda! These are some of the most interesting and stunning wildflowers I’ve seen. 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    June 14, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Lydia I absolutely loved this post! One of my roommates in Holland was Slovakian and at first I thought… where?????
    But he showed me the most stunning photos year round, and have been wanting to visit ever since!
    Just stunning pictures!
    Happy travels xx

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 14, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Stephanie! I really hope you’ll get to explore Slovakia, it’s simply breathtaking. Safe travels! 🙂

  • Reply
    Miriam
    June 14, 2018 at 7:45 am

    It looks like a beautiful destination – the landscapes are incredible & I love the wildflowers. We have never been to Slovakia but you definitely put in on the map for us! Have a great weekend ahead!

    Miriam xx

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 15, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Hey, Miriam! It is a wonderful destination and I am so happy to hear that I’ve inspired you to add it to your bucket list. Enjoy your weekend, too! 🙂

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