Enter a primeval forest full of surprises

Camp under the star-spangled sky with the Milky Way perfectly visible to the naked eye. Hike in a primeval forest teeming with life you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy fun with your family in a natural swimming pool in unspoiled nature. Explore a region peppered with preserved wooden churches that are anything but ordinary, from the saddle of your bike… In Slovakia, we will show you a place where your summer holiday can be both sustainable and adventurous as well!

We are speaking of Poloniny National Park, which lies in the far eastern corner of Slovakia. Its towns Stužica, Rožok, and Havešová are part of the UNESCO-protected primeval beech forests of the Carpathians. If you are ready to experience an exceptionally calm environment, head to Nová Sedlica, the easternmost village in Slovakia and one of the main entryways to these wild woods that remain untouched by civilization. It is approximately 140 km from Košice, where Slovakia’s second largest international airport is located.

The wooden church Ruská Bystrá is one of the eight unique wooden sacral temples that have made it onto UNESCO World Heritage List. ©Košice Region Tourism.

Follow the marked hiking paths and educational trails to be enchanted by the beauty of this unusually scenic countryside, a prime example of how forests must have looked thousands of years ago. Apart from rare flora, the park with its peaks, deep, stunning valleys, and characteristic, small reservoirs is a safe and undisturbed haven for rare animals such as the brown bear, the grey wolf, the Eurasian lynx and even the European bison.

The European bison (in Slovak: „zubor hrivnatý“), a relative of the American bison, is the largest land mammal in Europe. Apart from the Poloniny National Park, you can spot this endangered species also in the bison reserve in Topoľčianky in western Slovakia. ©Slovakia Travel.

Thanks to a very low level of light pollution in an area known as Poloniny Dark Sky Park, an unforgettable experience awaits every night. Choose a campsite, set up a tent and admire the twinkling stars above. Even without a telescope you’ll see literally thousands of them, including the majestic Milky Way. You can also visit the scientific astronomic observatory atop Kolonické sedlo hill, which offers visitors tours of the night sky.

Poloniny Dark Sky Park. © Tomáš Slovinský.

Take advantage of more than 250 km of marked cycling trails in the park, rent a traditional or e-bike, and enjoy the wind blowing through your hair while you traverse woodlands and meadows. Be sure to stop and see the outstanding wooden churches from the 18th century near Topoľa, Uličské Krivé, and Ruský Potok. Don’t miss the chance to climb the lookout tower to take in its impressive view of the largest drinking water reservoir in Central Europe, called Starina. If you’re looking for refreshment, visit the nearby recreational area of the Sninské rybníky ponds, where a natural swimming pool uses vegetation as a natural water filter.

There is even more to do in Poloniny! If you really want to discover all its scents, tastes, colors and hearty hospitality, visit the park during the weekend of August 19-21 . This is a time when you can learn from the locals how to play a traditional flute, how a handmade rug is woven, or how to prepare a delicious dish of bryndzové pirohy, with typical Slovak sheep’s cheese. Keep your summer green and enjoy an eco-friendly adventure vacation in Slovakia!

Primeval forests in Poloniny received inscription into the UNESCO World Heritage List because of their intact and virgin character which represents the climax of a natural environmental system. You will be surrounded here by countless gigantic beech trees, fir trees, and maples. ©Filip Kulisev.

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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