Sunday, 8 March 2015

Slovakia Day 3 - Lower Tatras and The Caves.

Our third and final day in Slovakia was a really busy one. We started out by heading to Jasna, which is the biggest ski resort in the Low Tatras mountains. They've just had a massive €200million put into the area, and it's been used very wisely. Heated ski lifts and cable cars take you up to the top of Chopok, and one of the cable cars even runs on two cables instead of one to make it safer and more stable during high winds.

I'm wearing: Barbour Jumper, M&S Trousers, Karrimor Snow Boots.
Before Jane and John came to pick us up, we had a delicious breakfast at the hotel and packed our bags, and then went outside to take a look at the 'mountain beach'. The 'beach' was covered in snow, but it was a lovely area outside. We were quite happy to be leaving the hotel (Tri Studnicky) as the receptionist had been really very rude and unfriendly towards us when we checked in the night before. The twin room we were in was a tiny room in the attic of the hotel, and we weren't too impressed after our huge room at the gorgeous GrandHotel Starý Smokovec as you could barely move or even open the suitcases inside it.

As well as the size issue there was only one mirror (which was in the bathroom), and the room was so hot I got really stressed out. Like, so stressed out that in the morning I got up as quickly as possible and then ran out of the room and down to breakfast, and then refused to go back to the room. It felt like a sauna, and there were no temperature controls in the room to make it cooler, so I tried to open a window. But the windows wouldn't open. So we had no fresh air whatsoever. Also, their spa and wellness centre only opens from 3pm-9pm so we couldn't even try that out. 

Anyway, after leaving the hotel we started our day by going up on the ski lift to the top of Chopok Peak, stopping off halfway up to admire the view and get some photos. First though, I got a photo with one of the Jasna 'mascots' - a yeti ^

I'm wearing: Superdry CoatKarrimor Snow BootsJack Wills Headband, M&S Trousers.

We finally got to Chopok Peak and it was absolutely freezing and the visibility was only a few metres on front of us. It was really unfortunate because by the looks of the photographs, on a clear day the views from Rotunda are absolutely incredible. 

We did have another amazing hot chocolate though! I don't know how the Slovaks made hot chocolate, but it's bloody delicious! They even give you a spoon to eat it with because it's so think :O

After our hot chocolate we went back down the mountain on the cable cars and chair lift as we had to get to the Demänovská Cave of Liberty in Liptov for our time slot. Naturally we had to get some chair lift selfies first! And just as we reached the bottom, the sun came out. Typical!

The Demänovská Cave of Liberty was incredible, and well worth the €7 it costs. It lasted one hour, and although the tour guide only provided the tour in Slovakian, I was quite happy to just wander around taking photos, and Shev got the translation from Jane and John. 

The Cave of Liberty is the most famous in Slovakia, it was discovered in 1921, and contains stalagmites and stalactites that are over 200,000 years old, and the cave itself is believed to be around the 1million year old mark. They even found cave bears bones when it was first discovered - cave bears became extinct over 27,000 years ago! It was such an experience to walk through a piece of history, and reminded me very much of the cave I visited in Yallingup in Australia back in 2008.

The cave is really quite narrow and tight in places, and I found some parts quite claustrophobic. You also have to climb up and down a lot of steps (over 900!). The colours of the rocks were stunning, and there was even one section which was white with what looked like silver glitter covering it. It glistened and looked utterly magical!

There are loads of lakes within the cave, some more impressive than others. The Emerald lake was my favourite, it was incredibly eerie but also stunning, I can't believe it was so bluey green, it was such a vivid colour!

After the caves we went for a late lunch before our flight, Shev and I asked for traditional Slovak food, and Jane and John had just the place in mind! The Strachanovka Hotel is apparently a favourite of theirs and their colleague is even getting married there soon. We didn't know what to order so we let them do it for us. They ordered us two huge platters of food to share, potato dumplings with bryndza-sheep cheese, potato dumplings with sauerkraut, potato pies stuffed with bryndza, bacon, sausage, and a the other was Deer ragout with homemade spinach dumplings. Just l o o k at it all! It was all insanely good, and I couldn't get enough of the sheep cheese and dumplings!

After our late lunch we had a look at the market outside, and then drove to Poprad-Tatry airport to get our flight home. Our 3-day trip to Slovakia had come to an end, and it was such a brilliant one! It was lovely to venture somewhere that is still mostly untouched by tourists, somewhere where the locals live and work and holiday, and somewhere that is so incredibly beautiful. 

Take a look at my Slovakia travel vlog below to see everything we did while in Slovakia, and make sure you subscribe! I'll be in Australia in two weeks so will do some vlogs when I'm there :)

A huge thank you to the Tatry Mountain Resorts tourism board for hosting us and giving us some true once in a lifetime experiences! If you've enjoyed my blog posts on Slovakia and the High Tatry Mountains, and you'd be interested in visiting whether for skiing or their summer activities, take a look at their website.

Also an extra massive thanks to everyone who looked after us and was so lovely throughout our stay; Joseph at the GrandHotel Stary Smokovech, Jan our ski instructor at Strbske Pleso, our driver Monica in the high tatras, and John and Jane in the low tatras.

*I was a guest of the Tatry Mountain Resort throughout my stay in Slovakia and I can't recommend the GrandHotel Starý Smokovec enough - just embrace the seventies grandness! Wizz Air provide a direct service between London Luton and Poprad-Tatry, with prices starting from £49.99, however my own personal experiences were not particularly pleasant with them, they broke my new suitcase and were very unhelpful and rude when communicating about the damage. If I were to travel to the High Tatras again I personally would fly to Kosice with a different airline and get the train or a car to the High Tatras from there.


  1. Oh Catherine! What a beautiful adventure! I'd feel like you about the hot room, I'd just get really claustrophic...Everything looks fab in this post...the hot chocolate, the views and the cave! What a fab trip!
    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

    1. It was *such* an adventure! It was just wonderful!

      C x

  2. Those caves are stunning! Now imagine...a hot room in those caves? (In a big enough cavern so that isn't claustrophobic, naturally) Ah, that would be my dream. I'm getting serious winter-wilderness-adventure-runtime-wanderlust from your Slovakia posts...keep them coming! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

    1. Omg, I'm hyperventilating just thinking about it haha!

      Ahh you must go to Slovakia with Henry, you'd both love it!

      C x

  3. Oh my gosh those views from above the clouds are incredible.I haven't been skiing in years but your posts really make me want to go again! x

  4. Great photos! We've done Zakopane in Poland. Now, we just have to get across the border to Jasna. :-)

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