Slovakia is a country with an incredibly deep and varied history. Originally inhabited by Celtic tribes, Slovakia has hosted numerous cultures and invaders, including the Romans who followed the Danube on their conquests, as well as the devastating Mongol invasion in the high middle ages.
The Slavic people themselves immigrated in the 11th century and have called the mountainous country their home for centuries. In the modern period, Slovakia became a crucial interest in multiple empire projects. These included the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, followed by the resistance of the Ottomans by the Hapsburg Empire, and of course the incorporation of the country into
Czechoslovakia under the rule of the USSR. The country has returned to its Slavic roots, existing in a state of community with neighboring Poland. The two countries share the region of the High Tatras as their favorite place for Alpine recreation. Today Slovakia remains remarkably wild, with many animal species that are extinct in much of Europe inhabiting its dense woodland, including red deer, lynx, and even bears.
On our trip through the High Tatras, we will be staying in a mixture of exciting styles of accommodations, including three different four-star, grand hotels dating back to the Hapsburg empire located in the resort towns of Tatranská Lomnica, Starý Smokovec, and Štrbské Pleso. Midway through the trip we will be treated to stay in the Bilikova Chata, a charming mountain chalet that rests on the flank of the Slavkovsky Peak – famous for its mountain goat population and the Sliezsky Dom, a modern high mountain hotel surrounded by jagged peaks, and on the shores of a stunning alpine lake located at the base of Velicky waterfall.
Culture and Cuisine
The Slovakian culture is a charming mixture of many historic influences, with the majority of the population being of Slavic origin. The people of Slovakia are enthusiastic about the increased presence of tourism in the country and are dedicated to providing a wonderful experience to those visiting the country – teaching us about the country’s complicated modern history, running world-class hotels, and cooking a delicious array of traditional and locally sourced foods. Some of the must-try classics of Slovakian cooking include Zemiakové placky – a delicious potato pancake similar to latkes, goulash soup – a delicious meat and paprika soup, and klobasa – a remarkably fine pepper, garlic, and pork sausage. Overall, Slovakian cooking is both satisfying and delicious, with modern chefs always looking to incorporate new cooking influences with old traditions.
About Our Trek
We begin our trek through Slovakia in the lively resort town of Tatranská Lomnica and wind our way through pine forests and lake strewn valleys to the lakeside Hapsburg resort of Štrbské Pleso. Tatranská Lomnica is the athletic center of the High Tatras, and one of its main tourist hubs. The town supports a cable car which runs over 1,700 meters to the peak of Mt. Lomnický štít, as well as many fine dining locations and luxurious resort hotels.
The town is also famous for its stargazing, being the first location in which we will get to enjoy Slovakia’s remarkable night sky. From there we travel through Slovakia’s most visited and perhaps most beautiful valley, The Valley of Zeleného Plesa, or the Valley of the Green Lake. Our journey continues into the mountains, crossing alpine passes and looking down on a collection of Slovakia’s crystal-clear alpine lakes.
A highlight of the tour is our cultural outing to the medieval town of Levoča, a town with human history and ruins dating back to the stone age. Outside of Levoča is the Spiš Castle, among the largest ruined castles in Europe. It was originally constructed by the kings of Hungary in the 11th century, however, a mysterious fire destroyed much of the original architecture which was later reconstructed in a more Gothic style. Today the castle is a remarkable destination for historians and tourists alike, featuring a museum dedicated to the macabre weapons and torture instruments used by the medieval Hungarian kings.
Finally, we journey to Štrbské Pleso, a ski resort surrounded by an artificial marsh created by the aristocratic architect Karol Móry, who flooded the area in the 1900s to create an atmospheric lake that he hoped would increase the value of his property and manor house. Overall, the Slovakia trek combines places of historic interest with the corners of the High Tatras that to this day remain virtually uninhabited.
Why You Should Book Now
Ryder Walker is incredibly excited to offer this new trip through the rugged nature of Slovakia. Our most experienced guides and employees have spent the last year exploring the region discovering the most excellent accommodations and exciting hikes. We have chosen a route through the High Tatras which reflects both the country’s brooding history, cozy alpine culture, and magnificent natural wilderness!