Caves have always had something mystical about them, because the paths into the “underworld” are full of secrets. As early as 1977 UNESCO ennobled the caves of the Slovak Karst as an exceptional biosphere reserve. Twelve of these huge grottos even received the title “World Natural Heritage”. It is above all the extent of the enormous cave system in the Slovenský kras National Park on the border with neighboring Hungary that attracts and fascinates visitors again and again.
Around 1100 caves in the Karst
No less than 1,100 caves have been identified in the Slovak and Aggtelek Karst, but only three of them can be visited. The Jaskyna Domica in particular magically attracts tourists from all over the world. It is six kilometers long and forms a unit with the Hungarian stalactite cave Baradla. Both systems together cover 21 kilometers. The underground halls with their numerous stalactite formations are spectacular. This is home to around 1500 bats.
Boat trip underground
A boat trip on the underground river Styx is an unforgettable experience. The more than 32-meter-high stalactite found in the Guinness Book of Records in the Krasnohorska Cave. If you want to go to this natural wonder, you have to prepare yourself for some problematic stretches, because this cave has hardly changed since it was first visited in 1964. Here and there are rubble and many a water point has to be passed. It is recommended to be accompanied by an experienced cave explorer.
Decorations like corals
The Ochtina Aragonite Cave outside the actual national park is also open to the public. The flower-white aragonite decoration made this cave a specialty. The centuries did not form stalactites and stalagmites here, but crystals that are reminiscent of the underwater world of corals. In the so-called “Hall of the Milky Way”, these crystals shine like celestial bodies in the light of the lamps. Incidentally, the national park is also an unearthly experience when hiking or cycling through the karst landscape.
Image: Low Tatras Slovakia
The Low Tatras is a mountain range in Slovakia, which extends over an area of 810.95 km². The length is 80 kilometers in east-west direction. Romantic valleys such as Waag or Gran are ideal holiday destinations for hikers and mountain bikers. There are rustic houses, small onion churches and narrow streets. The three highest mountains in the range are over 2000 meters high and are called Dumbier, Chopok and Derese. Anyone who decides to climb to its summit has a wonderful view over the mountains of Slovakia, but also over the valleys that stretch between the mountains. Lush meadows, lonely fields and seemingly endless forests stretch below the peaks of the mountains. In addition to the High Tatras, the Low Tatras are one of the most visited mountains in the country.
Sights and activities
The main attraction of this Slovak region is and remains nature. In the forests there are even a few bears and other wild animals that no longer live in the rest of Europe. The origin has been preserved and the naturalness of the landscape is simply breathtaking, especially in the eastern area, such as Čertovica and Kráľova hoľa. You can experience everything up close when hiking and cycling. The untouched forests offer vacation and hiking destinations. You can also discover a lot here by bike. One of the most popular hiking trails stretches between Chopok and Čertovica. It gives a view of the valleys and mountains of the region. The most beautiful landscape, however, is in the middle of the Low Tatras, near Mount Chopok. In the north of the Tatras there are some recreational hotels, which can be found in the towns of Lucky, Zahrady and Jasna. Anyone who gets lost in the area in winter will know the ski area in the Central Tatras, near the mountain saddle of Čertovica. There are ski lifts here, you can go downhill and cross-country skiing on the numerous slopes in the region.
In addition to the hiking and winter sports activities mentioned above, there are also water sports that are very important here. There are numerous swimming pools in Bešeňová, Čierny Váh, Krpáčovo, Liptovská Mara and Liptovský Ján. These include thermal baths and fun pools with slides, which also offer an adventure for families with children. If you still haven’t had enough of the Low Tatras, you can visit numerous caves and take a guided tour there. The Bystrianska cave is one of the most famous of its kind.