In Slovakia like in Paradise

Text and photos: Anna Plaszczyk

13 April 2021

Vertical, even several dozen ladders, wooden bridges several meters over the river or metal platforms reside in the vertical walls - such attractions raising the adrenaline we have for the asking behind the Slovak border. Slovak Paradise is National Park where you can, on your way, meet not only obstacles but also chamois or ... wolves .

80 km from the Polish border there is a scenic, karst plateau, a part of the Slovak Ore Mountains. The average height of the Slovak Paradise is a 800 - 1000m above sea level and Velka Knol is its the highest peak (1266m). Paradoxically, at this point the peaks are not the case, but picturesque valleys and gullies.

Slovak Paradise, due to its small height and uplands, it is not a challenging place. However, going there, you need to be aware that some trails are not easy. Many of them are one-way trails on which a lot of ladders await us, thanks to them we will be able to climb the vertical walls. Therefore, while planning a trip to Paradise with children or people with fear of heights, you need to plan your trail as to omit the most difficult trails.

For beginners the best trail would be from Cingov to Tomasovsky výhľad. While walking this trail you will be able to enjoy not only a picturesque gorge of Hornád, but also the High Tatra Mountains! The only gorge where there are no ladders and other difficult obstacles is Zejmarská roklina. From Mlynek - Bielych vod, where you have to leave your car, there is just a few minutes walk to the beautiful waterfall kpt Nálepku. After an hour you will reach the Geravy plateau, where another attraction is waiting for you – the ride on the chairlift. From its final station you have half an hour to get to the parking lot!

I would recommend the trail 4 hour long through Hornád gorge to the courageous people. A scenic trail along the flow of the mountain river connects two touristic centres Čingov and Podlesok. The trail is rich in ladders, bridges, chains and platforms mounted on vertical cliffs above the river, so you need to think twice before you choose it. Fortunately, you can always turn around, because it is not a one-way trail. Probably due to this reason, it is one of the most visited Paradise trails.

Much more difficult and time-consuming is the trail to Sokoliej Valley. Hardly any tourists choose it due to the high degree of difficulty and its length. Almost the entire trail is peaceful and in autumn it is hard to meet other tourists there. It was just there, where one autumn morning I have seen the wolf for the first time in my life. This full day tour we start in Čingov, we go through Biely Potok (we can start in Podlesok alternatively). This is probably the hardest trail in the Slovak Paradise. One-way, full with climbing ladders, where all you can do is climbing. Climbing on ladders near Skalného and Vyšného waterfalls is a piece o cake compared with the upcoming, almost 80 meter climb on ladders, chains and bridges at the Závojový waterfall. From Biskupský chyžiek we can go back to Kláštorisko or Podlesok.

Slovak Paradise is a beautiful place. However, it cannot be underestimated. Trails that appear to be simple and short on a map, may be the cause of headaches for a lot of people. So, before hitting the trail it is good to read the information about the trail chosen by us and watch the pictures that will help us to make decision.