We were always aiming to travel all around the world. But Coronavirus and the pandemic situation helped us to look at Slovakia differently. There are so many beautiful places in Slovakia! I have a hard heart when I think how much the beautiful nature in Slovakia is uncovered for other countries. And with that, I also want to write more about it. Both for people in Slovakia to get inspired for the new journeys. And for future tourists to help them see more unknown, but magic nature in Slovakia.
Note: this article is part of a series of blog posts about backpacking in Slovakia. You can find the rest of the articles about Slovakia here:
- Vlkolínec village, Donovaly, Bojnice castle and Čičmany village
- High Tatras (Morskie Oko, Solisko and Štrbské pleso – lake), Stará Lubovňa and Zakopane
First tip: rent a car for exploring Slovak nature
On the RentalCars website, we’ve booked our car already 3 times and never had any problems. We took the car in Bratislava on Wednesday around 4 pm and brought it back on Monday at 9 pm. It cost us 73 euros. I think it is an amazing price for the comfort and freedom to choose different places. Of course, you should also count the cost of gasoline, which got us 73 more euros, but in total 150 euros for 5 and a half days for 2 people is a decent price. Of course, it may vary from the car, time of the year, and cost of the gasoline, so it’s up to you to decide.
For comparison, a one-way ticket for one person, for example, to Liptovsky Mikulas from Bratislava costs 13-15 euros. We found our accommodation in a small village called Liptovská Kokava (pretty much in the middle of the nature of High Tatras). For very cheap money we’ve got the whole apartment for us. If you travel by public transport, you need either to choose bigger cities for accommodation (where it will definitely cost more) or adjust your timing to the transport.
Another option for accommodation is to find some apartment or cottage in bigger resorts. There is one close to the High Tatras, called Holliday Village. It is close to the city of Liptovský Mikuláš so it has good transportation options from the city center. You can choose from either hotels or small cottages close to Tatralandia – Tatralandia is huge wellness and swimming pool center.
Choose plan B in case of bad weather in the Slovak mountains
The Weather in the North part of Slovakia is unpredictable. Plus one more point to the car. If we wouldn’t have it, I don’t think we would see as much as we did. The whole of our trip was showing heavy rain. And it did rain from time to time. But we still managed to catch some good weather for hiking and walking in the beautiful nature of Slovakia.
Plan B – a water reservoir in Low Tatras
Our plan B was to go to a small lake (water reservoir) called Čierny Váh. Or better to say, there are 2 small lakes there, one below the other. It is possible to go up for horná nádrž (the upper one), it’s a beautiful view from there. But since it was raining, we got to the lower part of it with the car and walked around it.
Plan B – wooden church also in Low Tatras
Our second option was Svätý Kríž wooden church. It’s very beautiful from the outside and also nicely made inside. And it will save you from the rain. The church is situated in the nature of Low Tatras, just a few kilometers from Liptovský Mikuláš.
I’ve attached the map at the end of the article with some more suggestions and our plans B for the bad weather. Since in the end, we’ve managed more walking in nature, we didn’t visit all of them. But it can be an inspiration for you – there is always what to do. Also, you will find all the other places I’ve mentioned in this article.
Walk one of the valleys in the High Tatras
In case you are not a very big fan of huge hikes but like to walk a lot, this one is for you. 17 km long valley in the mountains with astonishing views, called Silent valley (in Slovak it is Tichá Dolina). What can be better? Most of the way is asphalt, so it’s even possible to go there on bikes. There is one rental company for electric bikes at the beginning of the valley. But in case you don’t want to spend much, I recommend you either taking your bike or walking.
You start the hike from Podbanske, where the famous hotel Permon with the big Wellness center is located (one of the best and most well-known wellnesses in Slovakia). Also, it’s nice just to walk in Podbanske, there are many small roads in the forests with some animal statues made for children’s education.
Hiking to the Ďumbier peak
One of the goals of Robo for this year was to manage hiking to the top of Ďumbier mountain. It is the highest mountain in Low Tatras. So our main goal for the weekend was to go up on Ďumbier.
There are different hiking trails going up to Ďumbier (I think around 4 different ones, from each side of the mountain). We chose the one which starts in the south part, close to the hotel called Trangoška. It is probably the easiest way up, yet still, you need to count with around 5-8 hours of hiking, depending on how fast you are. The total rise is around 900 meters.
One of the nicest hiking in Slovakia
We got quite lucky all the way up to it. There was no rain and you could even see a bit of nature. But once we’ve got to Chata generála Milana Rastislava Štefánika (Cottage of Milan Rastislav Štefánik), in the half-way to the top, where we decided to have a rest, the fog came and overtook the view. And all the way up to Ďumbier it was raining. As well as halfway going down.
By the way, the Cottage of Milan Rastislav Štefánik is a good place to have a short rest during the hiking to the top of Ďumbier. They cook there a few dishes and you can have also hot coffee or tea for decent prices.
The way to the cottage is mostly just going up. I would say it is intense hiking, but manageable. From the cottage up to Ďumbier mountain is less rise, but it got some rocks, so you have to be careful.
Hiking to Popradské pleso (Poprad lake)
I was writing about Štrbské Pleso in the previous article about our road trip in Slovakia. Štrbské Pleso is one of the most popular places in Slovakia when we talk about nature. There are several hotels, wellness, and many hiking trails around and It is also an option to walk around when it rains because it is accessible with a car. Yet usually you will not see much then.
We decided to have a little hike to Popradské Pleso from Štrbské Pleso. It is definitely easier than hiking to Ďumbier. The rise is around 270 meters and together it is about 10 kilometers there and back. There are two roads going to Popradské Pleso – asphalt and the forest one. We went up with the forest and get down with asphalt, so I could recommend doing the same. The asphalt ends a bit farther from Štrbské Pleso, but it’s easy to walk back. Or you can take a train and go one stop there.
There are many more possibilities for hiking around Štrbské Pleso. One easier option is Waterfall Skok. It is the same 10 kilometers way, just the rise is a bit higher – 430 meters.
P.s.: Don’t forget to buy your Horalka and eat it where it belongs!
Bonus: Where to eat around Low and High Tatras?
Since we were living in a village called Liptovská Kokava, which is very close to Liptovský Mikuláš. So we were there for the food quite often. I’ve mentioned all the places we’ve visited on the map below with the price ranges. Definitely give a try for burgers and some traditional Slovak food, once you are there.
Hope my tips were useful for you. I’ve learned a lot to enjoy what you have no matter any circumstances. Weather will never be perfect, pandemics will happen, but we have to always find a bright side from all of it.