Date updated: 05/19/2023
In eastern Slovakia, where majestic mountain peaks meet deep gorges, vast plateaus and mysterious caves, the Slovenský raj (Slovak Paradise) national park is a natural extension of the Nízke Tatry slopes. Corners of untouched nature, winding paths, roaring waterfalls, overhanging cliffs and dizzying views make one of the most beautiful protected areas in Eastern Europe a true tourist Eldorado.
Slovensky raj (Slovak Paradise) is rich in picturesque landscapes area in the Spis (Spiš) region, which is situated in the Northern part of the Slovak Ore Mountains (Slovenské rudohorie). The highest point (1,545 m above the sea level), Predná hoľa, then (1,272 m above the sea level) Ondrejisko hill, the lowest (489 m above the sea level) - Smižany - Maša valley. The area of this region is 19 763 hectares. 13 011 hectares are under the protection of the Natura 2000 organization.
Almost 90% of the territory is covered with forests including beeches, frs, and relic pines. Various flora representatives including thermophilic and frost tolerant plants can be seen here due to the special microclimate. There are 35 types of protected plants including six endemic species. The fauna of the region is also rich and includes 2200 different types of various insects and amphibians as well as squirrels, rabbits, weasels, foxes, and deers. The forests are inhabited by wild boars, wolves, lynxes, and bears.
Travelers who want to conquer that beautiful region and one of the most beautiful national parks will meet interesting places and unique natural objects here.
Spišská Nova Ves
This is the gate to the Slovensky Raj and the so-called capital of the National park. It is located on the shore of the Hornad Spisska Nova Ves river. The village was established in the XII century as copper ores were found here. One century later the village received town status and its local market was the biggest in the northern part of the Hungarian kingdom.
Despite the small size, the town has plenty of interesting sites. A Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption of Saint- Mary is famous for its high tower (87 meters). Another popular place is the city hall, created in 1779. It is surrounded bu medieval houses of classic, Barocco and renaissance styles.
The hills are covered with thick green, the air is clean and the panorama is breathtaking allowing you to see the High Tatras from here. You can fnd everything in this region (680 meters above sea level). Tomášovský view (Tomášovský výhľad) is a wide ledge on the southern slope of Ludmanka mountain. A beautiful view to Čertova sihoť and Biely Potok valley opens from here.
This rocky wall is 200 meters length narrowing to the northwestern part to 35 meters. The plateau was conquered by the alpinists on October 8, 1938. This place is the Mekka for the tourists since. There are 100 tourist routes here. You can train your alpinist skills here and even take part in the competitions. This is the only part of the national park where the alpinism is legal.
Dobšinská Ice Cave
Along with splendid landscapes, you can fnd mysterious under terrain worlds in Slovensky raj (Slovak Paradise). There are more than 200 karstic caves in the National park. Only 69 of them are examined. And only one cave is available for the tourists – Dobšinská Ice Cave (Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa), one of the biggest under terrain caves in Europe, found in 1870. The ice volume is 110 132 cubic meters.
The length of ice corridors decorated with immutable cascades, fancy crystals and stone caves is 1483 meters. The 515 m long track is open to the public. The thickness of ice, which formed here for 2000 years is 26.5 meters. The Great hall is totally covered with the ice reminding a transparent lake. This is the most mesmerizing scene of this tour.
There are special signs informing about the length, complexity and time you will spend to pass this or that route. Do not forget the rules and the recommendations, wherever the route you take:
- take your time to learn the route. Do not forget to take a GPS-navigator and a map with you;
- take special equipment with you including water resistant boots, multi-layer clothes, and light hat;
- do not forget to put a bottle of water into your bag as well as a medical kit (antiseptics, patches, bandages, painkillers);
- do not start your route during the period of predators' activities (before the sunrise and after the sunset) to avoid meeting wolves and bears.
Podlesok – Suchá-Belá
This is the most romantic and visited place in Slovensky raj (Slovak Paradise). This picturesque valley attracts visitors by the water falls and rock windows. The road to Suho-Bela starts in Podlesok camping. You will be accompanied by the ravines covered with plants and trees, waterfall cascades, sharp risings, and fallings. The part of the routes comes through a shallow creek meaning you need waterproof shoes. The route takes 2-3.5 hours averagely. The length of the route is about 9 km.
Podlesok – Prielom Hornádu – Klastorisko
The route starts in Podlesok tourist center and has many paths of high diffculty. The road becomes narrow as you approach Prielom Hornado. Sometimes it is too close to rocky cliffs. This route includes cable bridges and wooden shelters. The aim of this trip is Klastorisko – the ruins of the Cartesian monastery, created in 1299. This route will take five hours at least. The length of the route is about 13 km.