Europe > Central Europe > Slovakia > Eastern Slovakia > Slovak Paradise National Park
Flora and fauna
Forests cover 90% of the park, and there are over 900 species of plants.
Brown bear, golden eagle and black stork live here, as do more common red deer and wild boars, and wolves.
The nearest town is Spišská Nová Ves, which can be easily reached by train. From Spišska Nová Ves you can walk to nearby Čingov, where the main trails start. Visit a tourist office and pick up a map of the park before you go hiking.
During the summer season a small number of buses from Vydrník and Spišská Nová Ves railway stations to Podlesok and Hrabušice píla, these buses generally run Saturdays only in June and daily in July and August. Bus numbers 810438 and 810436 - fares and timetables can be found using the CP journey planner. Alternatively buses run around every 2 hours to Hrabušice, the nearest stop is Rázc.Betlanovce which is around 1.3km (around 15 minute walk) from Podlesok. Note that many journey planners (including CP) show the 1 Podlesok bus stop in the wrong place. It is actually located on the eastern end of the triangular junction - and there is actually an unrelated shelter on the southern end.
Fees and permits
You need to obtain a permit on entrance to the national park. These cost €1.50 for 1 day, €3.50 for 3 days and €5 for 6 days, multi day permits are only valid for consecutive dates.
On foot - most of the gorge walks all run uphill only with the notable exception of the Prielom Hornadu (blue on map) which runs in both directions. At Klastorisko and near the top of the Green trail from Podlesok, at the Suchá Belá crossroads there's a 1 a bike hire hut. Bikes are carried up on trailers at the start of the day and you can hire then heading downhill only - returning them to Podlesok. The bikes are of BMX style with one gear, disk brakes and front suspension. And note that while the route is mostly downhill - there are some flatter and uphill sections (particularly near the start of starting from Klastorisko). Cost is €5 per bike and are generally available from 1st May to 30th October. Phone +421903792443 for more information, in case of bad weather always phone before ascending and ensure operation of the bikes.
- 1 Dobšinská Ľadová Jaskyňa (Dobšinská Ice Cave). Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as part of caves of Slovak Karst. First European cave to be electrically lit, in 1887. From a total of ~1200m of caves, about a 475m-long circuit is accessible.
- 2 Kláštorisko (Spišské Tomášovce is the nearset village.). Archeological site with ruins of the Carthusian monastery. The only tourist center inside the park, with restaurant and housings.
It is very popular with hikers as it has a number of unusual routes through gorges and waterfalls. There are numerous sections where fixed ladders are used to climb.
- 1 Dolina Kyseľ / Ferrata HZS. 1.5-km long ravine, ferrata equipment mandatory. Equipment can be hired from various shops and restaurants in Pila, Podlesok and from Turisticky Raj at the western end of Prielom Hornadu. Gear can also be hired from the cycle hire facility at Klastorisko although they only have a very small amount of gear available, you need to get to the summit early if planning on hiring from here, gear is also cheaper in the villages. We arrived at the summit at around 1230 (admittedly on a bank holiday Friday) and found that it was too late. You will need to purchase a €5 ticket (available from shops which hire out gear) to enter the Ferrata. This is not available at the Ferrata although a sign at 48.93750 20.42803 provides instructions for how to pay by SMS.
- 2 Suchá Belá. A crossing of paths in the park
- 3 Veľký Kyseľ. One of the wildest ravines in the park, with many waterfalls.
- 4 Malý Kyseľ. 2-km long ravine alongside a stream, with ladders etc., Only going uphill possible.
- 5 Kláštorská roklina. One of the most visited ravines, 1.5-km long, only possible to go uphill. 13-m waterfall on the path, many ladders on the way.
There are multiple restaurants located in Podlesok just South of the car parks.
The restaurant at Klastorisko closed at the end of the summer 2018 season, as of early July 2019 no food or drinks where available here.
An excellent option is the Hotel Flora located in Čingov. This is a good base point for hiking in the Slovenský Raj, as it is only minutes from the trail head. A room goes for about €35, give or take, depending on the season.