Exploring the East: Hiking in Zádielska

If you want to go hiking, Slovakia has a lot to offer. The valley of Zádielska (Zádielska dolina or Zádielska tiesňava) is certainly a great place to do so. The hike can be done as a loop, in which case I’d recommend walking it anti-clockwise. This way, you’ve got the steep ascent at the beginning, followed by a leisurely stroll when you can enjoy the views.

zadielska-dolina-cliffszadielska-dolina-creekzadielska-dolina-view

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Exploring the East: Caves in the Karst

As mentioned in my last post about Roznava, I stayed in that area – thanks to my student Vojto and his mum – for a few days. It’s a karst region, in Slovak known as Slovenský Kras which means Slovak Karst. And it’s beautiful.

slovk-karstRolling hills with lush forests, meadows with flowers, and if you’re lucky, you can spot an Imperial Eagle. I did, but you’ve got to take my word for it since I didn’t have my camera ready.

A lot of the area is protected and UNESCO World Heritage Site, both above and below ground. Slovakia has many caves, and there are several in this area. If you’re a geology geek, the Ochtinska Aragonite Cave is an absolute must see! And even if you’re not, the crystals are so magnificent – if you were to visit just one cave out of all on offer, go for that. It’s one of three such caves on the planet. Check opening hours by following the link above, guided tours only, and I’m not sure what languages they have available.

Getting to all caves is possible with public transport, but for the Aragonite cave a short hike is included. You need to take a bus to this stop, Gocaltovo. Then follow the pot-hole-riddled

bus-stop-aragonit-caveroad into the forest for about two kilometres until the parking area of the cave. Entrance is  generally quite cheap, photo permission not. This is the reason why there aren’t any in-cave pics.

Anyway, if you prefer to go on a boat ride in the bowels of the earth, head for the Domica Cave. There are bats flying above your heads, and the stones come in a range of colours. Just check that the water level is alright for the sailing trip. And if you can’t get enough of caving, check out this place: http://www.krasnohorskajaskyna.sk/indexangl.htm.

Of course, there’s more to the karst region than just caves. Above ground, you can find some splendid ruins like this old Hussite church: hussite-church

Oh yes, and actually more caves. The minor problem with this one was that there wasn’t

ice-cave-signany ice. I blame global warming.

ice-cave-no-iceBack in August, it was just the time when this plant was bearing fruit. Very refreshing.

karst-plantDefinitely a region to go to on a holiday!slovak-karst-2