Slovak Paradise National Park – 21 best places to visit with pictures and maps
The Slovak Paradise National Park celebrates its 30th anniversary this year (2018) since being declared a national park. Slovenský raj as it spells in the local language is still a great example of how healthy nature should look like and it is definitely one of the best places to visit in Slovakia!
So if you are a nature lover, and are looking for a bit of adventure, there is no better place to celebrate its anniversary than by visiting it this year! We already did so and will do again! And here I have prepared an ultimate list of 21 best places to visit in Slovak Paradise National Park with tourist maps and great pictures! Enjoy! 🙂
Best places to visit in the Slovak Paradise National Park
1. Dobšinská Ice Cave (UNESCO)
The most popular place at all in the whole national park is definitely Dobšinská Ice Cave, one of only two ice caves opened to the public in Slovakia! With its length and depth, it belongs to the largest ice caves in Europe!
It is one of the first electrically lighted caves in the world (since 1882) and for its wonderful ice decorations and uniqueness it has become a part of UNESCO back in 2000.
You can get there by train from the cities of Banská Bystrica or Košice, and by bus from Poprad and Rožňava. There is a large parking lot at the cave from where you have to hike up to the cave entrance (hiking trail is 900 meters long). Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2RiPt
2. Suchá Belá gorge
Slovak Paradise National Park is known worldwide for its amazing gorges and the most popular one is Suchá Belá gorge. Not that demanding hiking tour does not take you more than 4 hours (round trip).
The tour is only 9 kilometres long but there are several ladders, chains and bridges on the way. Parts of the trail lead right through the stream that flows through the gorge, so the proper hiking boots are required! Waterfalls and pristine nature is what you can be looking forward to seeing here! Hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2Rjce
3. Prielom Hornádu Canyon
Smaller than Grand Canyon, but equally impressive! Prielom Hornádu Canyon is the second hiking tour you have to take when you already made Suchá Belá gorge.
It is wonderful in any season, but winter time and lower temperatures add a specific charm to it! The whole Hornad river freezes at that time and you can walk on the ice cover through the canyon! But check the mountain rescue service site (Horská záchranná služba) to confirm the ice cover is strong enough (hzs.sk). Hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2Rmtq
4. Tomášovský výhľad view
You don’t have to fly far away to Norway to enjoy amazing views from the Preikestolen rock! Here in Slovakia, we have a similar one! Not that high, though, nor that huge, but equally wonderful!
The rock wall is 200 meters high, and at the top, it has a large terrace. Tomášovský výhľad offers a great view of the Slovak Paradise National Park and its quite easy to get there from Čingov or Spišské Tomášovce villages. In good weather conditions, you can also see the High Tatras mountains from the terrace. Hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2RmW3
5. Veľký Sokol gorge
Veľký Sokol is my favorite gorge in the Slovak Paradise National Park. It is the longest one (4 kilometres long) and you’ll have to pass through several parts, one being different from others.
While the beginning can be quite lengthy and not so interesting, the last part, called Roth gorge, is the most beautiful and amazing one. There are several waterfalls on the way, and you’ll need to use ladders and chains to get on top of the gorge.
The tour is 16.9 km long and it takes 5:37 hours to complete. The tour through this gorge is one way only, so you’ll need to use a different way back. Hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2XJzd
6. Piecky gorge
Piecky gorge is really wonderful piece of nature. With its high waterfalls and the highest ladder in the whole Slovak Paradise National Park, this gorge is suitable for those of you who are not afraid of heights.
Even I had quite a great respect here, however, I couldn’t turn back as I was followed by some well-trained kids and I had to go further. 🙂 But finally it was a perfect decision, otherwise, I would never see such beauty! So if you want to see something really special, you have to overcome your fear! Hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/30tFf
7. Kláštorská gorge
Kláštorská gorge is one of shorter gorges in the Slovak Paradise National Park. It is only 1,5 kilometres long, however, it takes some more time to get to its beginning.
You can get there through already mentioned Prielom Hornádu canyon, from two different places: One is Podlesok from where it takes 1 hour and 20 minutes (4,4km) – this is more demanding and dangerous/adventurous option. Check the map of suggested round trip here: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2XLww.
And another one is Letanovský mlyn, from where it takes only 50 minutes to get to the beginning of Kláštorská gorge. This option is less demanding and adventurous and it is suitable for less experienced tourists. The map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2XLyf
Kláštorská gorge ends at the old Carthusian monastery, called simply Kláštorisko. Although it’s just a ruin it is quite nice and you really can’t miss a walk around its walls from 13.-14. century.
There is also a restaurant so you can get some refreshment here, but you can even stay here overnight as there are also several old cottages around. Kláštorisko is an important crossroads so you can get there literally from every corner of the Slovak Paradise National Park, though one of the best options is through Kláštorská gorge (mentioned above). Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZWYF
9. Zejmarská gorge
This is quite shorter gorge, only 1km long, but it is equally beautiful as all others. Zejmarská gorge is located on the south side of the Slovak Paradise, between the village of Mlynky – Biele Vody and Geravy.
As is typical in the Slovak Paradise, even this gorge is equipped with technical safety devices such as ladders, steps and chains. A creepy brook flows through the gorge and creates beautiful waterfalls in certain places, also known as Nálepkove vodopády waterfalls.
The best place to start a round trip is Dedinky village. The trip is 5.4 km long and takes at least 2 hours. Check this hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZWR0
10. Stratenský canyon
If you find yourself in the national park with a stroller or you just reserve one day for some easy not demanding trip, you can go to Stratenský canyon. In the past, it was a road used by cars but since the short option through a tunnel has been created, this road is not in use any more.
Now it is a great place for a walk and watching the nature of the Slovak Paradise National Park. The canyon is 1km long with almost no elevation, there is a river flowing through it and some side streams. You can park a car right at the beginning of the canyon, or start a tour in Stratená village. Hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZWY7
11. Havrania skala rock
But if you come to Stratenský canyon without a stroller, you can optionally make your trip a bit longer and more demanding. In the middle of the canyon turn to the yellow marked hiking trail, which takes you to the hill called Havrania skala (1153m).
It offers a beautiful view of the surrounding area. Then you can get back by following the green marked hiking trail back to Stratená village. The round trip is 7,9km long and it takes 3 hours to complete. Hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZX2R
12. Palcmanská maša water dam
Slovak Paradise National Park is full of water that is usually surrounded by wonderful healthy forests and rocks. However, the largest water area is that in Dedinky village. It is called Palcmanská maša water dam.
Here you can relax on its shores, rent a boat or a water bike and enjoy views of amazing surroundings from the middle of the lake. But you’ll do the best when you go for round boating trip around the dam.
Dedinky is one of the best places to stay while in Slovak Paradise National Park with lots of accommodation options, especially private rooms and cottages. Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZX8c
13. Stratenská Píla
Stratenská píla is another wonderful part of the Slovak Paradise National Park. It is also easily accessible from Stratená village even with a stroller or bike. Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZXeZ
From here you can then continue further to Geravy and Dedinky and then back to Stratená (but without a stroller). Round trip hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZXfX.
14. Sokolia dolina valley
Sokolia dolina is the most exposed of all of the gorges in the Slovak Paradise. But it is also one of the most beautiful places to visit here. You’ll enjoy massive rock formations and wonderful waterfalls with the highest waterfall in the entire national park, known as Závojový vodopád waterfall.
Sokolia dolina lies on the territory of the national nature reserve Kyseľ, which is home to many rare species of fauna and flora. The location is accessible by a one-way yellow marked tourist pathway from Tomášovská Belá valley.
In spite of technical equipment such as ladders, bridges or chains, the tour is quite demanding and requires extra caution. Check the round trip hiking map here: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZXop
15. Via Ferrata Kyseľ
One of the most interesting and attractive parts of the Slovak Paradise National Park is definitely Via Ferrata Kyseľ. A gorge that has been closed to the public for 40 years after a destructive fire. But now, it is opened again and there is no reason to wait any longer!
Via Ferrata set is required when visiting the Ferrata. Although you can visit Ferrata Kyseľ individually there is also an option to order a tourist guide from the Slovak Paradise National Park Authorities especially when you have never used Ferrata set before.
Ferrata is open from 15 June to 31 October. The Ferrata is one-way only in the direction from the bottom to the top. Hiking map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/2ZXBf
16. Malý Kyseľ gorge
Malý Kyseľ is one of the most beautiful gorges in the Slovak Paradise National Park. Its most photogenic part is Machový waterfall.
You can reach Malý Kyseľ from the already mentioned Via Ferrata Kyseľ or Kláštorisko. If you come here in the summer months, you can rent a bike at the end of the gorge and take a ride down to Podlesok. A map of Recommended hiking tour from Čingov through Via Ferrata Kyseľ and Malý Kyseľ gorge to Podlesok: https://en.mapy.cz/s/30hU1
17. Ranč pod Ostrou skalou
Do you like horse riding? No problem here in Slovak Paradise National Park. You can find several horse farms here, but one of the most interesting and unique ones is definitely Ranč pod Ostrou skalou.
A ranch is built in old American western style, your kids will love it here! You can take a ride to the nearby meadow or if you just want to try horse riding for the first time, there is a small circle prepared for you. The ranch also offers wonderful accommodation so if you need more horse riding lessons, try this! Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/30tHh
18. Mokrade Hnilca educational walkway
Once you visit Dobšinská Ice Cave do not leave the place immediately after cave tour. Rather stay in the place for some more time and explore cave surroundings. One of the options is to walk through the Mokrade Hnilca educational walkway, which starts at the main parking place near the cave.
It’s only 500 meters long with no elevation, so it won’t take you more than half an hour to explore. There are several information boards on the path so you’ll learn something about the river Hnilec and wetlands in this part of the national park. Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/30hD3
Stratená village means Lost village in Slovak language, so if you really want to get lost somewhere in the pristine nature, you won’t go wrong with this place.
There is a pension here and several private rooms and houses. Stratená is ideal starting point to Stratenský canyon, Dobšinská Ice Cave, Havrania skala mountain, Stratenská Píla or you can go to explore Geravy and Dedinky from here. It lies directly on the most beautiful train ride in Slovakia so you should also hop on a train and take a ride to Telgart or Margecany. Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/30tHV
When going to Slovak Paradise, there are several great starting points to consider throughtout the park. With plenty of accommodation options, perfect awe-inspiring views of Palcmanská maša water dam with steep rocks in the background, wonderful forests and mountains all around, Dedinky village is perhaps the best place.
There is also a small camping, hotel and lots of private rooms, houses and huts you can stay overnight. A short distance from Dobšinská Ice Cave makes this place ideal for those coming to Slovak Paradise with kids. Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/30tIL
Geravy is a set of mountain meadows surrounded by healthy woods. It lies at an altitude of 1000 to 1100 meters above sea level. It is popular mainly in winter months as it is a crossroads of dense network of cross-country ski trails.
You can get there from Dedinky by the chairlift (this time in reconstruction, but it should be reopened next year in summer 2019) or on foot through Zejmarská roklina gorge. Hiking Map: https://en.mapy.cz/s/30hq8
Best starting points for the hiking trips to the Slovak Paradise National Park
As mentioned above there are several great starting points for exploring the Slovak Paradise National Park. For better orientation I’ll list them here once again along with the places you can go to explore:
- Hrabušice-Podlesok (Suchá Belá gorge, Veľký Sokol gorge, Piecky gorge, Prielom Hornádu Canyon, Kláštorská gorge, Kláštorisko)
- Čingov (Tomášovský výhľad view, Prielom Hornádu canyon, Via Ferrata Kyseľ, Malý Kyseľ gorge, Veľký Kyseľ gorge, Sokolia dolina valley, Kláštorisko)
- Dedinky (Palcmanská maša water dam, Zejmarská gorge, Geravy, Stratenská Píla, Dobšinská Ice Cave)
- Stratená (Dobšinská Ice Cave, Geravy, Stratenská Píla, Stratenský canyon, Havrania skala rock, Mokrade Hnilca educational walkway)
Find them all here in this map: