After coming home from a two week long holiday at the end of summer in Central/Eastern Europe…I really wanted to explore more of that area. My goal for my time in London was to skip Western Europe and focus on new areas of Europe. While I was travelling in Bosnia, I heard of a hostel called ‘The Ginger Monkey’ in Zdiar a few times, which was meant to be amazing. I looked it up and I was sold when I read reviews about Wally the dog. The best part was the whole trip only cost me around £115 for two nights including flight, accomodation, transportation and food.
Usually, a country’s capital has all the touristy attractions and is the most popular route but I wasn’t gutted on missing Bratislava…I wanted to hike and just roll around in nature before it got too cold. So, my friend Maddie and I took a flight to Poprad in the High Tatras in Slovakia.
I didn’t really know what to expect - I didn’t do much research. It seemed like travelling back in time when we landed and we were pretty much the only tourists at that time. Of course I brought my backpack with my little Canadian flag on it so everyone can see. Barely anyone spoke English and everything was in Slovak. I was meant to do this trip solo but thankfully Maddie tagged along.
Throughout our two days there, we did two massive hikes and I was so impressed by the landscape. I don’t remember the proper names of each hike but the hostel called the first hike the Saddle Hike which took us around 6-7 hours to complete. This was my favourite trek from the trip - the entire hike was stunning and since it was off peak, it wasn’t crowded at all. We went at the end of September so it was still warm and I did most of the hike in just a sports bra until we got to the river and I had to put my toque on... Also, no one warned us of bears but while we were climbing up the first part, we heard bears roar and for a second, I thought this is it…
The other hike at Slovak Paradise National Park was south of Poprad so we had to take a bus and train from Zdair. This one was more like an obstacle course with ropes and ladders to climb. The views weren’t as great as the Saddle Hike but still a lot of fun to do.
Slovakia is a place that is barely talked about and definitely needs way more credit. Maybe it’s a good thing it’s unknown so I can be one of the few annoying tourists snapping pictures every 5 minutes. Regardless, if you’re looking for an affordable holiday, a hearty bowl of goulash and an endless supply of beautiful hikes, I couldn’t rave about Slovakia enough.