The trail up to Great Rozsutec in The Vratna valley at the national park Mala Fatra, Slovakia

Hiking in Slovakia: a local's favourite trails

Slovakia is a predominately mountainous country. So naturally, hiking opportunities are abundant.

From beautiful Carpathian mountains, nine national parks, hidden caves and over a hundred castles towering on top of hills, it is safe to say that hiking in Slovakia is nothing short of extraordinary.

Most tourists don't explore Slovakia beyond Bratislava, which means fewer crowds and more off-the-beaten-path adventures for you.

Whether you prefer a short and easy walk or are up for a challenge, you'll find something on this list of Slovakia hiking trails.

I'm a nature lover who grew up in Slovakia and these are my favourite Slovak hikes.

Reflections of the mountains in Štrbské Pleso, a lake in the High Tatras in Slovakia

1. Štrbské Pleso in High Tatras

The High Tatras is the tallest mountain range in Slovakia, with the highest peak of 2654 m (8707 ft). 

Štrbské Pleso Educational trail is a beautiful and easy 5km hike that leads along the magical Štrbské Lake with stunning views of the High Tatras and scenic Hotel Patria in the background. 

It's an excellent walk for families or a relaxing stroll.

Although you won't find here many international tourists, Štrbské Pleso is a popular resort among locals and Polish people, so in the summer or ski season, it does get busy.

The trail is easy to navigate and well-marked. Start your trek at the final stop of Tatra Electric Railway. Then, walk to hotel Kempinski and turn left to a tarmac road to reach Štrbské Pleso's lookout point.

After your walk, you can grab a nice meal at Koliba Patria or Koliba Pleso restaurants, which all serve traditional Slovak cuisine. Make sure to try our national dish, bryndzové halušky.

Another fun activity is renting a canoe and boating on the mountain lake.

There are many other walks and hikes in the High Tatras for all difficulty levels. 

You can stay at Villa Meribel, Hotel Lomnica or Apartment Luna.

The nearby town of Poprad could be a good base for exploring the High Tatras, with some of the best hikes in Slovakia easily accessible from there.

The Vratna valley in Mala Fatra National Park, Slovakia

2. Vel'ký Rozsutec through Janošíkové Diery

If you're up for a challenge, hike to the top of Veľký Rozsutec, peaking at 1,609 m (5,281 ft). This mountain is located in Malá Fatra National Park.

There are multiple trails to reach Veľký Rozsutec. I recommend the trail that leads through Jánošíkove Diery, with a starting point at Hotel Diery in the small Slovak village of Terchová. 

Picture lush greenery, narrow canyons, rock formations, waterfalls and climbing ladders. 

This hike takes around 6 to 7 hours and is 12 km long, so pack up enough food and water.

There is also an option of a guided hiking trip to Janosikove Diery with transport from Bratislava.

You can stay at Hotel Diery or Jánošíkova valaška wood log cabin.

While here, visit the little souvenir shop Podarúnok where you can buy Slovak souvenirs and unique Slovak cheeses, such as korbáčiky, oštiepok, and parenica.

Terchová is also home to an international folk festival that takes place every summer - Jánošíkove Dni (Jánošík Days).

Jánošík Days is an annual celebration held in Terchová village. This festival is named after the legendary Slovak Robin Hood Jánošík. 

The festival is all about traditional dancing, live international folk music performances and traditional crafts. Many participants dress up in folk costumes and it's a great way to experience traditional Slovak culture.

An aerial view of Zelené Pleso, the Green Lake, with a house on its shores, in the High Tatras, Slovakia

3. The Green Lake in the High Tatras

The hike to Zelené Pleso (Green Lake) starts at Ski Resort Tatranská Lomnica. From there, you can take a cable car up to Skalmaté Pleso.

After you get off the cable car, walk to the right of the restaurant and head toward the Astronomical Observatory. You will then see a red-marked trail for Zelene Pleso. Before you reach the observatory gate, take a sharp left onto the trail that starts climbing up the mountain.

The trail leads to jaw-dropping Green Lake and a cute mountain hut with an on-site restaurant. You can also stay here overnight if you like. The accommodation rate is pretty reasonable, just book it upfront. 

It's a full-day loop hike that will take you between 6 - 8 hours round trip, so plan accordingly.

Also, it might be a good idea to book cable car tickets in advance in a busy summer season to secure your spot.

Another option to reach Green Lake is from Biela Voda Parking. 

You can stay at the small village Ždiar in one of the many rustic mountain chalets.

A ladder next to a waterfall on the Sucha Bela Gorge trail in Slovak Paradise National Park, Slovakia

4. Gorge Suchá Belá in Slovak Paradise

The Slovak Paradise National Park is breathtaking and one of the highlights of Slovak natural beauty.

You'll find glistening waterfalls and narrow rock formations, deep canyons, valleys and rivers running through lush forests. The scenery of this national park is absolutely stunning. 

One of the main attractions of Slovak Paradise is Dobšinská Ice Cave. This cave is the largest one in Slovakia. Therefore, if you plan to visit Slovak Paradise, you should totally add it to your itinerary.

There are many Slovensky Raj hiking trails to choose from, but I recommend a hike through Suchá Belá.

The starting point is in Hrabušice-Podlesok, from where you need to follow the green hiking trail. It's not a challenging hike. You'll need to climb steep ladders in some places, but that's part of the fun.

This hike will take you about two hours to reach the top. You can't come back the same route. The quickest return trail takes another two hours.

For accommodation, you can stay at Ranch u Trapera in Hrabušice.

The magnificent interior of Jasovska Cave in Slovak Karst, Slovakia

5. Slovak Karst

Slovak Karst (Slovenský kras) is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Eastern Slovakia with hundreds of hidden caves and caverns. 

The most popular caves in the region open to the public are Domica cave, Gombasecká Cave, Jasovská Cave. Just keep in mind that most caves are open only seasonally, from late spring to early October.

Enjoy a pleasant loop hike in Zadielské Valley, also known as Zádielska gorge, along Blatnica Stream with cascades, breathtaking cliffs and vertical walls along your way. You can start this hike in the small village of Zádiel and follow the red trail. 

The most impressive rock formation in Zádielske Valley is Cukrová homoľa, which stands 105 meters tall and is famous for rock climbing.

Along the loop trail, you can stop by Zádielska chata, which serves simple meals and beverages.

Other interesting tourist attractions in the area are Hájske Waterfalls, a 10-meter-high statue of an angel with a broken wing in the Hájsky cemetery and the ruins of Turňa Castle. 

Hájske waterfalls include multiple waterfalls that are easily accessible by car, and the entire walk won't take you more than an hour. There are also firepits and a shelter if you want to have a barbecue.

The castle ruins can be reached if you follow the yellow trail from the Háj village. The 3km trail takes about 40 minutes one way. The ruins are on top of the hill with fantastic views.

You can stay in beautiful Košice, the second largest city in Slovakia. There are many accommodations to choose from. I like Villa Terasse.

Spring flowers and a mountain cottage at the Green Lake in Slovakia

Useful Information for Hiking in Slovakia

  • The ideal hiking conditions are generally between June and October.

  • The emergency number for mountain rescue in Slovakia: 18 300

  • Here's the list of certified local mountain guides who can take you on special mountain tours

  • The most popular mountain ranges for hiking in Slovakia: High Tatras, Low Tatras, Veľká Fatra, Malá Fatra, and Slovak Paradise

Slovak words to decode hiking signs and maps

Štít: peak

Dolina: valley

Pleso:   lake

Zelený:  green

Modrý: blue

Červený: red

Žltý: yellow

Vel'ká:  big

Malá:  small

Chata:  lodge, cabin

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Kamila Jakubjakova

Author - Kamila Jakubjakova

Kamila is a freelance writer and blogger originally from Slovakia and now based in Canada. On her blog, she and her partner share useful tips for expat life in Canada. When she isn't writing, you can find her on a yoga mat or enjoying a cup of tea.

Last Updated 18 April 2023

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