How many times do you have a chance to see up to 4 exceptional places practically at once? Let’s pleasantly destroy yourself in the Slovak Karst in one day. These are 4 wonderful stops of our trip …
You’ll start by climbing the Zádiel gorge, cool off by the Hájské waterfalls, enjoy a breathtaking view from between the ruins of Turniansky Castle and finally stretch your tired legs at the calm Turniansky Pond. You will conquer approximately 25 km (15 miles) of highly concentrated beauty.
Sometimes you wake up to such a beautiful day that you simply need to make the most of it.
Okay, you may be night owls and need to be motivated to wake up early by a pre-set alarm clock, but that does not change anything about this trip being totally worth it!
Transport, refreshments and accommodation
You are already determined and packed, so it remains to decide how to get to the start of the hike.
- One option is to travel by train to Rožňava, from there continue by bus to the village of Bôrka and then to the village of Zádiel.
- The second option will be to travel exclusively by bus, first to Moldava nad Bodvou and then to Zádiel.
- And the last option is to travel by car. At the entrance to the Zádiel gorge, there is a paid guarded parking lot, which you can use.
If you are from far away and do not have an autopilot, we recommend you to stay in a nearby guest-house, where you can get also get a proper meal.
In the area you will also find a buffet or two, a cottage and a restaurant where you can eat and drink.
Along the way you will go through longer stretches without the possibility of refreshments, so make some reasonable supplies.
This really is a hike where you spend your whole day, so pack up, put on shoes and clothes accordingly.
I won’t dictate exactly what to take, but I assure you that half a liter of water and two jam buns will not be enough… I partially tested that for you on the half of this trip and was not satisfied.
The starting point of this hike is Zádielska gorge, which can be reached by following the 🔴 red tourist sign.
This gorge is the deepest one in Slovakia and is part of the Slovak Karst, which can be found on the border with Hungary. It consists of limestone plateaus and deep valleys full of karst formations.
An educational trail with boards full of information passes through the gorge, which is approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) long.
You will walk along various rocks that create its own peculiar atmosphere, completed by the melody of the roaring Blatnica stream.
Your eyes will definitely be captured by the dominant rock formation of the gorge with a height of 105 m (344 feet) – Cukrová homoľa (“Sugar Loaf’).
It is a favorite place of rock climbers.
After a gentle climb, you will find yourself at the crossroads of several hiking and biking trails.
Quite close is the Zádielska chalet, which you can visit in case of interest and recharge your batteries or continue straight down 🟢 the green sign, which leads along a wooden footbridge to a terrain station of the Slovak Karst National Park.
At this point, you will sweat during a relatively steep ascent. You will reach an elevation gain of 220 meters (720 feet).
After this chore comes an unprecedented reward.
You will be enchanted by the ideal view place Na skale (“On the rock”) (670 m / 2200 ft above sea level), from where you can see the Zadiel gorge in full beauty.
But even if you wish for it, the climb is not over yet.
You will sweat for a while by continuing along 🟢 the green tourist sign until you reach Železiarske meadows. If you missed the sun, you will enjoy it here (of course, if the oracle ball told you the right day for this adventure and it is not currently raining). Pass the signpost Bezvody (820 m / 2690 ft above sea level). If you are allergic to birch, cover your airways at the moment, because a fairy-tale birch grove awaits you.
You should be in Hačavské sedlo around lunch (814 m / 2670 ft above sea level).
It’s time to change the color. Join the 🟡 yellow tourist sign towards Turňa nad Bodvou.
You should reach the village of Hačava in a short time.
There you will find small wooden houses and you can read about the history of the village on the information boards in the building near the cycling signpost.
You will walk through a small village and in front of you will be the gorge of Hačavská dolina. This section of the hike partly leads along the state road, which is not very busy.
Hájske waterfalls gurgle at the end of the valley.
The water falls on limestone rocks of varying intensity depending on the weather. Altogether there are up to 9 waterfalls and it is really something to look at.
There is also a gazebo with a fire place by the Great Waterfall, but you still have a long way to go, so you’d better leave your barbecue for another time.
This environment fascinated American filmmakers so much that they shot several scenes of the war film “Behind Enemy Lines”.
I don’t question them at all, because the whole area is breathtaking. A monument of the production is a huge statue of an angel with a broken wing (10 m / 33 ft high), which stands proudly in the Hájsky cemetery.
The village got it in the year 2000. If you already took a selfie with the angel, it is time to return to the yellow tourist sign, which you will follow until it joins the route marked with a 🔵 blue tourist sign.
It will take you through the Zádiel plain to the castle.
You will definitely not miss Turniansky Castle.
The castle walls built in the 13th century were partially swallowed up by the wilderness, but in the middle of them there are pleasant grass-covered little places for enjoying rest and pleasant views.
The castle is dominated by a square tower, which is the most preserved. The castle was destroyed around 1848 by militiamen who were housed here and caused a fire due to negligence. Later, the destruction of the castle was completed by the Germans during World War II while shelling the road leading to Košice.
The whole area around the castle is a nature reserve and the fifth degree of protection applies here.
From the castle you can go directly down the stony path.
Your tired legs have a lot behind them after a long journey, so step down carefully. You are approaching the final leaf of the four-leaf clover of this trip.
Down below the castle, get tempted by the restaurant and strengthen yourself with a good meal, or leave relaxation for later. It also depends on how much time you have set aside for this adventure.
Just cross the main road nearby and you will immediately notice the Turniansky pond, which is home to many species of frogs and salamanders.
Its surroundings provide ideal conditions for the life of various birds and other animals. It is part of a protected bird area.
The calm surface of the pond and the observation of its harmonious surroundings is the finish of a long trip.
And so, you can spend a whole day in the Slovak Karst.
Wandering can be shortened or interrupted in many places, but it’s really worth going through it all at least once in a lifetime.
You will test your stamina, determination, ability to plan and you will enjoy an infinite amount of beauty, all in one day. You are guaranteed to forget all the worries of everyday life.
Nasledujúce dni vám okrem fantastických fotiek túru pripomenie pravdepodobne aj výdatná svalovka, no iste nebudete ľutovať.
In the following days, in addition to fantastic photos you took, muscle pain will probably remind you of the beautiful hike, but you will certainly not regret it.