Touching the paradise

Season: Summer and autumn 2024 / 2025


Group: 5-7 people

Price: 899 €

An active experience exploring the extraordinary natural beauty of the Spis region of Northern Slovakia with focus on trekking and wildlife observations in three national parks Slovak Paradise (Slovensky raj), High Tatras and Pieniny.

In the first, you will hike through canyons and ravines accessible only by a system of metal ladders and wooden bridges, and explore meadows with uniquely rich plant diversity (about 70 species recorded per one square metre). The second offers unforgettable mountain hiking along the highest peaks of the Carpathians. Even the third park is the smallest, but is not less rich in wildlife diversity and allows for special wood-boat rafting experience in the breath-taking Dunajec river gorge. In addition, you get an opportunity to see one of the largest castles in Europe, an extraordinary ice cave, medieval town of Levoca (all three UNESCO world heritage sites) and to walk in the footsteps of a neanderthal.

The tour is led and developed by a conservation ecologists, offering a unique insight into the spectacular nature of three national parks (the heart of the Western Carpathians) and the rich region of Spis. Organising the tour, we also strive to keep the nexus between culture and nature alive and to support farmers who preserve the rich meadow biodiversity and sell their ecological produce in the region. We wish to highlight the restaurants that are ready to buy local farm products and to offer the local culinary heritage. At the same time, we wish to point out villages with living folklore traditions and to prove that the preservation of cultural heritage can be profitable in today´s world.

Your experience

Day 1: Arrival Krakow, Poprad or Kosice – Ganovce

The group or individuals will be met on the day of arrival at the preferred time and point (usually at the airport of Krakow, Poprad or Kosice) and transferred by a mini bus to village Ganovce where the group will stay during the trip. This picturesque village near Poprad witnessed life of a Neadertal man (being the most northeastern archeological site of this kind in Europe) as well as is famous for its healing thermal waters. Based on the time of arrival, specific programme will be arranged in Ganovce including opportunity to relax and walk in unique valley of Ganovsky stream. The day ends with a welcome dinner and presentation of the upcoming programme.

Day 2: Dobsina Ice Cave – Slovak Paradise National Park

After breakfast, we depart on exploration of the Dobsina Ice Cave (35 minutes drive from Ganovce). It is one of the largest ice caves in Europe nestled at the southern edge of the Slovak Paradise National Park. It is included on the UNESCO world heritage list for its uniqueness and beauty. After the cave visit, we will move on to the unique Vernár Meadows with a high diversity of flora, the result of centuries of interplay between man and nature. The excursion will provide an opportunity to learn how this unique floristic composition of the meadows was created and why grazing and mowing the meadows is essential for their preservation. We will talk about the tradition of sheep breeding and the uniqueness of sheep milk and meat products. In addition, we will observe butterflies, which are abundant in the meadows and we will also climb to the top of several hills, which offer a beautiful view of the wider surroundings of the Slovak Paradise. The excursion will also include a hand mowing demonstration in costumes accompanied by songs and dances presented by the Vernár folklore group and field lunch. After return – festive dinner in Ganovce.

Day 3: Sucha Bela Canyon – Klastorisko (old ruined monastery site)

After breakfast and transfer to Podlesok at the northern rim of the Slovak Paradise National Park, you set out with a guide along the enchanting and romantic Sucha Bela Canyon for an exciting hike with ladders and metal walkways. At the top, we hike through forest to a secluded place Klastorisko where we will have a picnic and time to explore. The site of a former monastery where people sought refuge in during the Tartar invasion of Europe is now a popular spot in the park. Later in the afternoon, we take a leisurely walk through the Carpathian mixed forest back to Podlesok where we get more information in the park’s visitor centre. There is an option for horse riding tour (separate charge) or a stroll in the Podlesok area enjoying the view of the majestic Tatra Mountains as your backdrop. In the evening, we will have special dinner with Slovak culinary specialties there before returning back to Ganovce.

Day 4: Spis Castle – Spike Podhradie

After breakfast, we will leave Ganovce for a day trip with a guide to explore some of impressive cultural sites in the region of Spis as this part of Slovakia used to be called in the past. First we head for the mighty Spis Castle (UNESCO world heritage site) – one of the largest castles in Europe, unfortunately now in ruins. Still it impresses all visitors by its high walls and towers and its beautiful surroundings. After the visit of the castle, we head for short exploration of a little historic town of Spisske Podhradie (translated as the town under the Spis castle) with a stroll in the bishop’s quarters. Then, we head to Levoca – a well-preserved fortified medieval town inscribed on the UNESCO list. There we have lunch and then we do sightseeing exploring the city architectural and cultural treasures. It is a place of one of the major annual religious pilgrimages in Slovakia, also visited by John Paul II in 1995. After a few hours there, we go to back to Ganovce for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Tatra Mountains Trek

We go to the Tatra Mountains which include the highest peaks of the entire Carpathian mountain range. We select a suitable trail to suit the group ability and preferences. The hike will go above the tree line to the level of alpine meadows with mountain lakes reaching a selected mountain chalet for refreshment. Lunch will be picnic-style with beautiful views. If the group will be willing there is a possibility to hike up to one of the peaks (strenuous endeavor), but rewarded by spectacular view. In the late afternoon, we return to Ganovce for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Pieniny National Park with rafting on Dunajec River

A day of adventure in another great national park – Pieniny bisected by the Dunajec river making the natural border of Slovakia and Poland. We start our visit by a rafting trip on the Dunajec river (2 hours). Afterwards we go for a lunch in a restaurant. The afternoon we will explore park’s unique wilderness and historical monuments (Cisterian monastery) with a national park ranger. At the end, we go back to Ganovce for farewell dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Departure

You will be transferred from Ganovce to the place of your flight departure in accordance with your flight schedule. Breakfast provided.

  • All local taxes and site entrance fees mentioned in the itinerary
  • Private transfers from/to airport and during the stay in Slovakia
  • English speaking guides at all sites
  • 6 nights standard (double or twin) in Ganovce (private guesthouses)
  • 6 times breakfast, 6 times full dinner, 2 picnic
  • 2 guided day hikes, 1 botanical excursion, 1 rafting trip and park excursion with a ranger
  • Complete tour 24 hour assistance


  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone/fax calls, medical bills,
  • Personal travel insurance
  • International airfare
  • Any other services not mentioned in the inclusions (e.g. lunches based on personal selection)
  • Extras not specified
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Optional add-on extension (£115 per person)
  • Single room supplement (£115) and extra room service, extra services in the spa hotel

Photos: Peter Olekšák, Jakub Antypenko, Michal Petru, Svetlana Belova

This tour was created with the financial support of the European Union. Views and opinions expressed in the web-page are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.