We were so happy about being in a new country, and excited to be seeing this fantastic mountain range from the Slovakian side. We arrived at a place called Lominica after a tremendous drive through stunning scenery from the Zakopane National Park on into Slovakia, the road winding through the mountains, past beautiful villages and log cabin style houses. Lominica and the surrounding little towns are very pretty, low key ski resort towns, We parked up in a large 3 tier carpark of the main ski and cable car centre surrounded by great views of the looming Tatra mountains.
We ventured out for a early evening walk and headed up one of the slopes behind the van to see if we could get a bit of a better view over the surrounding area and town. There are many signs around saying its forbidden to wonder around between 4pm and 8am and we presumed this may be because of the bear population in the area and that evening from the van we heard what could only be the sound of bears growling coming from the wilderness, it sounded not too far away, it was quite exciting to hear the distinctive roar and we were tempted to go out with torches and have a look around.
The following morning, after breakfast and after taking the boys for a run, we headed out on our hike up the mountain. We knew it was to be a steep climb, and unsure if the boys were allowed to come up with us, so we thought it was best to leave them to rest in the van. We did a hot, hard cycle up the first 45 minutes before the tarmacked winding little road ended at the cable car station and from then on, we hiked. You climb very high quite quick as the path is very steep and we regretted not wearing our hiking boots, instead we opted for trainers but we managed ok. The views looking back down the mountain are phenomenal and although it was hard going, a really enjoyable hike. The plan was to hike up to the lake, from there its a gruelling hike up to the peak or you can take a cable car, for us we were happy enough with just hiking to the lake. It took longer than we thought and we were glad to make it up there after another 2 hour hike since leaving the bikes. The lake was pretty and although the water level was low this time of year, it still looked beautiful with the peak looming over us in the distance. There are other little walks you can do all over the place from the lake and amazing views in every direction back down the mountain and beyond into Poland and over towards the low Tatra mountain range. We enjoyed the views for a while and went for a short walk around the area before making our way back down the mountain. The best part was getting back to our bikes and that 45 minute hot cycle on the way up turned into a few minute thrilling downhill buzz going back!
By the time we got back to the van we were so hungry. We headed out with the boys and into the small town to pick up some grocery’s from the small supermarket. We found a nice little bar right by a cute railway station and decided it would be rude not to stop off for a well deserved beer. We enjoyed a very reasonable priced pint at just 1.50euro, it tasted so good after our long days hike, so we had two each!
We decided to stay another day and do another hike in the area, we met a guy on our first hike who showed us a map and recommended a waterfall walk. We set off early after breakfast with the boys and it was a much more enjoyable hike, through a forest and across the mountain instead of straight up it. The boys loving every minute and full of energy after having a good rest the day before. We winded our way through the trees towards the waterfall. We didn’t expect much of the waterfall as the lake we seen on our first hike was very low, but we were pleasantly surprised, there was still plenty of water rushing by, with pretty little pools and small areas to sit and enjoy the area. We soaked our feet in one of the icy cold pools, but couldn’t manage more than a few seconds, very refreshing. There was a little bridge crossing the falls and the walk continued down to another town a few kms further. It was a really pleasant walk and by the time we got down to the little town, we were unsure of how far from the van we had come, after a quick check on google, we soon realised it was about an hour and a half walking along the road. As the boys were tired out, we wondered down to the train station and thought it would be quite nice to get a little train back to the town we were staying. It was a fun little train ride back and saved the boys little paws and after our big hike yesterday we were happy to save our feet too, and for one euro each, dogs free, it was a bargain!
Coordinates to our first stop in Slovakia: 49.167301 20.271299
This National Park, also known as Slovak Paradise is made up of a small mountain range covered in forest and the less accessible part is home to some of Slovakia’s brown bears and Links. We arrived late but still decided to do the hour long walk to the cliff side view point, we left the boys in the van so we could run as we only had an hour and a half until sunset and didn’t want to be in the woods in the dark. Winding our way through the enchanted forest, we passed a large open area with bamboo huts, that had been abandoned, such a shame as the area and the huts were so beautiful. A little further on though the forest and we came to the view point, a cliff edge platform with a sheer drop where you definitely didn’t what to get too close to the edge. we crawled on hands and knees to take a look over. There was wonderful views down the valley in both directions and after daring each other, who could go closest to the sheer cliff edge, we headed back to the van, making it back just before dark.
We were spending the night in the carpark of the national park, with a nice restaurant/bar close by, we went for another very reasonable priced Slovak Beer before relaxing in this stunning location back at the van.