One of Slovakia’s nine national parks, the Slovak Paradise is every bit the fairyland it claims to be. What’s more, it lies just an hour or so west of Košice. Nature has been protected here since the end of the 19th century, while the flora of the region has been under such status since 1936. It wasn’t until 1964 that the Slovak Paradise National Park came into being as a whole entity, making it the oldest protected landscape area in the country, and not before time.
Nature is the name of this game, with a plethora of waterfalls hiding around verdant corners, the highest of which clocks in at a whopping 70m. If the water isn’t falling it is flowing, in the form of lakes, rivers, gorges, ponds and the rest. It might just be the caves that the park is most famous for, with over 300 waiting for those for admire the underground. Dobinska Ice Cave is the most famous, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000 and the only one open for visitors. That’s fine with us, as this massive ice cave (one of the largest in Europe) has more than enough to keep us entranced.
There are also cultural remnants within the park, such as the ruins of the 13th century monastery at Klastorisko, a spot where many of the tourist hikes lead to. Dedinky is the main tourist centre in the park, a village of less than 300 that has been around since the 14th century.
How to get here from Košice? By any means necessary, trust us. Dedinky is 100km or so west of Košice, let’s say a 90-minute drive. Railway enthusiasts are advised to get the train from Košice to Margecany, where you change for the train to Dedinky. This journey takes around three and a half hours, but boy is it worth it. You’re heading to a literal Paradise after all.