15 km tratí pre beh na lyžiach nájdete 10 km od Dovalova za obcou Liptovská Kokava smerom na Podbanské. Dozvedieť sa viac >
Vďaka prírodným pomerom je Liptov miestom celoročnej rekreácie
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|Tatranská príro da||Rieky, potoky, ja ze rá||Podzemné gal érie||Diela ľud ských r úk|
Napísali ste nám
Dovalova & Hradok through the eyes of a Kerry man
It all started at Bratislava train station on a crisp mid December morning. First point to note , always arrive early for the train , especially if it’s a Thursday or a Friday as the students are going home and get to ride the train for free. You can reserve a seat but this cost 50% more than the normal ticket , so arrive early and get a seat without reserving. I did not arrive on time and ended up standing for a few hours , but if you have good company this should be no problem and part of the experience. The journey takes about four hours and cost €14. Great value and is the way to travel around this beautiful country.
I got to Hradok and stayed in a nice hotel called the F hotel in the town centre by the river. The staff was friendly and more than helpful even though my Slovak was appalling. The hotel was great value at €25 per night.
The first day I was there I walked up and down the river, lovely pathways and trails with lovely scenery, fresh air and crisp clean water. That evening I went up to the castle for dinner with the lake frozen outside it. It was my first time seeing a frozen lake and it was beautiful to see. The outside of the castle is historical and looks as old as the town itself. The food in the restaurant was very nice. I had a lovely spicy beetroot soup starter and a tasty fillet of beef for mains.
Day two was an eventful day with my first trip up the mountains into the High Tatras. It’s only about a 40 minute drive from Hradok and the roads are in excellent condition, even in the cold weather. I was very lucky to have some local friends with me to guide me on my way. A good tip before you start out on your travels is to bring a spare set of cloths , and socks with you and make sure you have good water proofed hiking boots. A tip for cloths in general is to be sure to have thermal wear for the winter, thermal socks, gloves and a hat. Back to the mountains, it was beautiful to see the snow everywhere, on the ground, on the trees , on the mountain tops. I didn’t know what to expect but the trails up and around the mountain are excellent and easily accessible, just watch your footing in parts as the snow can be icy in patches.
There is one beautiful area about two to three hours into your trek where we came to a huge frozen lake with spectacular scenery around it , and nestled in to it a couple of lovely chalets where you can change your cloths and have a drink and a bite to eat .
We continued on walking for another couple of hours and made our way to the ski slopes. This seems to be a haven for skiers. In Ireland we always think of France , Austria , Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries for skiing. This area is just as beautiful and accessible and for a fraction of the cost. You can get a ski lift up to the peak of the mountain but in our wisdom we decided to climb the slope. Sections of it were tough and the snow deep (in Irish terms), but even I , not the fittest man in the world managed it and by god was it worth . The views of the surrounding mountain range at sunset was a sight to behold and looking down from where you climbed gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. Coming down was actually a lot easier than going up and I recommend sliding down part of the way on your bum as the way to go for a laugh.
Day 3 was a trip to the Low Tatras. I thought I had seen all that had to be seen until I went here. This was amazing. If your into skiing, another great place to go and seems very popular with the locals with what i would consider to be more testing slopes. You can climb the slopes to the top of this but after the endeavours the day before I choose the ski lifts. If you have a fear of heights I do not recommend this as they are open lifts. Walk up to the second lift and all the lifts are enclosed from there and you will be fine. You have to buy a pass for the lifts for about €15 altogether, but mark my words they are great value for what you get.
Going up on the lifts to the top you will see some of the most stunning scenery you will ever see, that is until you make the top. The top is simply stunning. Covered in snow , over two and a half thousand metres in the sky with the clouds below you, and on a clear day you can see Hungary the far side . to get to the very highest point of this mountain you have to climb a peak about 100 metres high. If you have the courage to do it this is where you would more than likely see even better views again. It was amazing to see so far below and so far away , and in the middle of the Valley you have great views of Hradok and Dovalova in the distance. I recommend you take the lift down the other side under the clouds and then back up again and get the lifts back down the way you came. Just be weary of your time as the lifts stop about 4pm.
On the way back we stopped for a bite to eat in Penzion Drak. The service was superb and the food was the best food I had eating out in Slovakia and very reasonably priced.
After this i went to Ginos Water Park and Spa. This was truly outstanding. €16 gets you everything except for spa treatments. The outdoor hot pools are something i have never experienced before and must be seen and done to experienced it properly. The region is known for its natural hot springs , some of which you are allowed bath in. These weren’t natural but amazingly relaxing and a must if you are in the area. The slides here are brilliant. There are different speeds and severity of slides. I went down the “slow” one and was going at a good high speed , very enjoyable and gets the heart racing. Also the wave pool is great fun for adults with huge waves making you feel like you are in the middle of the sea. You also become a laughing , jumping child for just a few minutes of your life again which is great. All in all a great experience.
Day 4 and I walked Hradok for a while. I climbed up to the top of the monument across form the castle where you get great views of the town and surrounding area. I then walked through the forest behind this to Dovalova , roughly about a 5 km trek of through beautiful forests and pathways through fields.
Day 5 and that morning I went to Stanisovska Cave about half an hours drive from Liptovsky Hradok. Caves are a huge part of the tourist industry here but with ice caves and stalagmite and stalactites and they are supposed to be beautiful and big. A lot of the caves are closed in the winter but this smaller newer section of caves were open. They were very dark so we had to wear headlamps but once you had these on it brightened it up. The guide was funny , and informative and after our journey with him it gave me an appreciation of all caves , not just big ones. I would highly recommend a trip here as the guides are friendly and informal and the caves are great to see.
The same company that run the caves also run a mine and mint museum Podzemie Pod vezami in Liptovsky Jan which is also worth a visit , roughly about a 15 minute drive from the caves on the way back to Hradok. In this town Liptovsky Jan there is also a beautiful natural hot spring that you can hop into and a tap nearby that you can drink the spring water from. It actually comes out fizzy.
That night I was lucky enough to see some fantastic classical singers in the church. Afterwards I went to this lovely hotel Permon where they had a huge variety of saunas and steam rooms , over forty I think. I must have tried most and they were all a great experience , different and relaxing .
The next morning was my trip back to Bratislava. The train ride home was good with a stop at the castle in Trencin a must with some great history and stories behind it. I was sad to be leaving this area , where the people are as friendly as home and the scenery just a good , but a different type of scenery. It is a great place if your an active person . want to relax , ski or have a romantic break away. The food and drink is great and very reasonably priced.
I would recommend this area as a must go to place in Slovakia. Flights are cheap to Slovakia with Ryanair into Bratislava. Stay here for a couple of days , December is a must as the xmas markets are great. Make your way to Hradok and Dovalova by train and be in for the trip of a lifetime.
Slan agus beannacht (goodbye and god bless) from Kerry. Hope to see you again some day.
Ian Hanley, Sneem, Írsko, 23.01.2015