Summer trips around Slovakia (1)

Summer trips around Slovakia (1)

Year 2020 is the year of the corona pandemic. Is there a silver lining? There is! I could see more of my native country. I spent every weekend in July travelling, mostly in Slovakia. These are the places I visited.

Gader Valley

The Gader Valley (Gaderská Dolina) is a fairly long valley in the Great Fatra National Park. I had never been there and I knew it was one of the favourite places of one of my friends. So why not go there?

You can get there from the village of Blatnica. There are multiples activities you can do there such as walking, hiking, biking or rollerblading. There is a paved road in the first part of the valley, making it a busy place. On the flip side, the road in the second part of the valley is unpaved and you will hardly meet anyone. The cycle trail is about 15 km long, so it’s a 30 km long return trip.

Back at the beginning of the valley
Looking back at the scenery around the Great Fatra mountains

Smolenice Castle and Driny Cave

Smolenice Castle (Smolenický zámok) is located in the Little Carpathians and I’d say it’s one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia. From the outside, that is. It’s not worth seeing from the inside as there is literally nothing to see. Okay, maybe not nothing, but definitely not much. It’s the property of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and it serves as a conference centre. What I did like though were the views of the surrounding hills and towns.

If you visit the castle you can combine it with a trip to the nearby Driny Cave (Jaskyňa Driny). I hiked there through a forest as it was really close. It’s the only accessible cave in Western Slovakia and it’s a dripstone cave.

Smolenice Castle
Smolenice Castle
The view from the castle tower
Smolenice Castle from a distance


The city of Trnava is the capital of the region of the same name and is located in the west of the country. The city boasts a beautiful historical centre, city walls and a lot of churches.

The streets of Trnava
Trinity Square and City Tower
The streets of Trnava

Plavecké Podhradie

Záhoráčik. It’s the reason why I went to the village of Plavecké Podhradie. Záhoráčik is a cute nickname for not a very cute seasonal train that runs from the capital city of Bratislava to the village. Being a super fan of train travel I just went there for the sake of taking that train. I took a few pictures and went back right away. The place, however, offers a few attractions. One of them is the Plaveč castle which is in ruins. Also, you can go hiking in the Little Carpathians.

The Záhoráčik train


Dedinky is definitely one of my favourite places in Slovakia. It’s a picturesque village nestled in the southern hills of the Slovak Paradise National Park. I’ve been or passed the village more than 5 times this year and I loved it each and every time. It’s the scenery of the place dominated by a stunningly beautiful dam that makes me come back there. It always takes my breath away.

Kráľova Hoľa, one of the peaks of the Low Tatras
The village of Dedinky and Palcmanská Maša dam
The village of Dedinky and Palcmanská Maša dam
The village of Dedinky and Palcmanská Maša dam
Taking a train to Košice

Muránska Planina National Park

Although I had hiked in Muránska Planina earlier this year, I went there again. One of the reasons was I wanted to take a train along a route where there are no regular trains any more. But this year the national carrier introduced summer train connections on “forgotten” routes and so I had a chance to do something I thought wouldn’t be possible any more.

In addition, the national park is famous for a meadow where there are dozens or even hundreds of ground squirrels (also referred to as susliks). They are so tame that they come so close to you that you can feed them. The national park staff recommend that you feed them with sunflower seeds. It may seem like something only children would enjoy but I’d say interaction with animals can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

When the train gets stuck because tree branches are in its way
The ground squirrels of Muránska Planina come very close to you
Having a relaxed Sunday
Taking a train home

Slovak Paradise National Park – Hornád Canyon

Slovenský Raj, or Slovak Paradise, is one of my two favourite national parks in Slovakia. As I wrote in one of my previous posts hiking there is an adventure. Walking across slippery logs or climbing very steep ladders will get the adrenaline going and the wonderful scenery will take your breath away.

My second hike this year was the Hornád Canyon trail (Prielom Hornádu). It may be one of the easiest and most popular trails in the park but it’s still so much fun!


A lot of my trips this year were planned along the way. I often went to one place or another on a whim. Having hiked the previous day, I was tired and, also, the weather wasn’t very good, so I came up with an idea to go to the city of Prievidza because I had seen a report on the news showing beautiful murals decorating the walls of some blocks of flats. In addition, going there from the north of the country I could take a train along one of the most stunning train routes in Slovakia. And this turned out to be a good choice. Not only did I enjoy the train route I also loved the murals. I had to ask around where to find them and the locals helped me out. Murals are a great way of making a city more lively.

Mural #1
Mural #2
Mural #3
Mural #4
Mural #5
Mural #6

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