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Slovakia and Liptov Region – Forgotten Paradise

As I travel around the world and talking to people, one of the first things on what they ask me is: Where are you from? And here begins my saddness when I see, that almost nobody even heard of this country, despite it is in the European Union and even one thousand kilometers away from their home. After this experiences, I do not even try to say, that I am from northern Slovakia – region named Liptov. Such a dissapointment every time I see people to do not have idea what is it that country I came from. Many people confuse us to Slovenia. But no, we are Slovakia. We are bigger and do not have see ;).

That is, however, not a deficit. We have such a buautiful mountains and what is important – is located on northern Slovakia and surrounds region Liptov. They are Tatra Mountains – Low and High Tatras. From our region you can ride on a MTB dozens of hours and you will still have a lot of options to ride. If you would have enough, you can visit near mountains “Velka Fatra” and there you find another MTB terrain to ride in.

The disadvantage of this region is still that interesting routes are not signed and many people, even local, ride only on the well-known routes and do not have a knowledge that around them are many possibilities to ride. In the recent years it has gradually improved and hundreds of signed cycling routes were added, however, it oftens do not offer a circruit to get back from the place where you started. You need to come back to hotel on a main road or by the same signed route.

That was my idea – to offer people the possibility to ride in the deep forests and reach top of the hills and enjoy wonderful views. I have constructed (so far) 50 possible routes to ride in this region. It is not the final number, but only beginning. The routes are divided by length, difficulty and expected hours of riding. You can choose from 10 to 160km long route, difficulty one to five and expected time up to 12 hours.

Every route is saved on the platform Bikemap from where you can download map, gpx and kmp files to your cyclocomputer or smartphone. However, sometimes can happem that hardware in the forests far away from settlements have problems to track correct route and especially at the long routes it can be critical, because there are a lot of possibilities to get lost. And in this region were some cases, mainly hiking, that happend this to them. However, in the mountains are numerous of tourist shelters where you can cover before rain. But when you are lost you can find them very hardly. It is pure adventure.

To offer MTB riders to enjoy pure MTB ride in the MTB paradise with thousands of forest routes and singletracks, I decided to draws routes and show visitors that here you can ride totally freely, without a lot of tourists as it is in Switzerland, Italy and Austria, where everybody go on a mountain biking. Here you can experience pure adventure in deep forests, away from settlements and experience feelings from fear to total exitement.

As in the every region in the world, some added value gives to the visiting to meet some locals, who know what is best to experience and what is worth to visit and what is not worthed. I, therefore, dedided to offer people also to guide them to visit places and experience activities, only locals know. One of the thing for the enjoying mtb holiday is to not looking always to map and before every crossroads decide whether turn left or right. Just follow your guide and ride safe, fast, crazy, easy and just feel it, no stress :).

Look at our palette of bike routes for MTB and come to ride with us. Contact us and pend your next holiday in Slovakia, region Liptov. You will experience something new and you will, definitely, not regret your decision to exchange Austria and Switzerland to Slovakia.

Caves in Jánska Valley

I knew about that particularly Low Tatras behind the villages of Liptovsky Jan and Demanova have limestone character. For limestone mountains is typical that in these types of mountains occur numerous of caves. In these mountains are opened for public 3 of them, but the most interesting parts of these caves and other much more interesting are for public, obviously, closed. Only in Jánska Valley are discovered more than 30 caves and cave gaps. Neighbouring Demänovská Valley has another numerous of caves and the longest cave system discovered in Slovakia with lenght of almost 33 kilometers.

Here you can find the list of caves in Slovakia with lenghts. You can see that 12 of them with length of more than 50 kilometers are located in these two valleys.

The most interesting is cave system in mountain “Krakova Hola” – Hipman’s cave system which is with 499.9 meters the deepest cave system in Slovakia. This system consists of cave Stary Hrad (Old Castle) discovered by Petr Hipman and Hana Kynclova in 1967 and Jaskyna vecna robota (Cave of eternal work). These two caves was connected several years after the discoveration of cave Stary Hrad. More about cave Stary Hrad with photos below:

In the massif of Krakova hola (1753 m a.s.l.) on the northern side of the Nizke Tatry Mountains (Low Tatras) one can find the deepest Slovak caves – V Zaskoci Cave, Stary hrad (Old Castle) Cave and Javorova priepast (Maple Chasm). Owing to the depth of 424 m primacy belongs to the cave Stary hrad, which is over 5 km long. In giving this name to the cave the discoverers were inspiredby the impressive rock formation which at the heigth of 1488 m serves as an entrace way into the underground.

The cave is composed of a system of narrow passages interrupted by chasms 7 to 44 m deep and passing in the lower part into more massive canyons. These spaces, developed 160 – 580 m deep below the massif surface prevailingly in the dark-coloured limestones of the Middle Triassic, are only a minor part of the so far undiscovered system which drains the waters of Krakova hola into the springs at the bottom of Janska dolina Valley.

The cave of Stary hrad was discovered by Petr Hipman and Hana Kynclova in August, 1967. Exploration of the cave, which is still bringing new discoveries, is pursued by Zvolen Regional Group of the Slovak Speleological Society.

The network of entrance meanders with the passage called Slepa chodba (Blind Passage) at the level of the entrance leads to a system of 4 chasms falling to the depth of 150 m. The largest of them – Hlavna priepast (Main Chasm) can by skirted by a dug spiral passage at present. In the year 1979 the spelunkers found continuation behind the cave in at the depth of 152 m. Through the long meander ended by Studna radosti (Well of Joy) 44 m deep they managed to penetrate to the Siphon ’80 at the bottom of Sien prieskumnikov (Parlour of explorers; -272 m). The water hindrance was overcome by pumping the water out into the rubber tank in the year 1980. Behind the siphon they found the passage Biela chodba (White Passage) whit aragonite decoration and the dripstone formation called Etna under which you can see them refreshing themselves before the ascent to the surface. Behind Etna the cave continues in Revajov dom (Revaj’s Dome) and at the end of the Kanon (Canyon) it is confined by the as yet not overcome siphon Marcelova zumpa (Marcel’s Cesspool) at the depth of 343 m. In the year 1982 the spelunkers managed to dig the way from Revajov dom to Velky kanon (Great Canyon). The way to the depth leads along an impetuous underground torrent through Riecna priepast (River Chasm) with the waterfall 20 m long. The water stream with small cascades gets lost in the impassable joint in the depth of 400 m.

At present the survey continues not only to the depth but also in the counter-current direction of the torrent, in the cave-in at the end of Velky kanon and in the confluent branch above Studna radosti where over the manhole called Mydlikova hroza (Mydlik’s Terror) the spelunkers ascended nearly to the level of the entrance.

The cave of Stary hrad is not open to the public. It lies in the undisturbed and protected mountain environment, on the territory of the Nizke Tatry National Park, in the Dumbier State Nature Reserve. A visit to the underground of Krakova hola is allowed only to the experienced and able spelunkers under the guidance of the Zvolen cavers.

Written and taken a snap by Petr Hipman, chairman of Zvolen Caving Group.

The map of cave

Here you can find photos of the whole cave system.

Here you can find photos from Cave of Sunrise (Jaskyňa Slnečný Svit)

(Source: saske.sk and speleodetva.sss.sk)

Kvacianska and Prosiecka Valleys

These valleys belong to the most beautiful parts of the region Liptov and you must visit it when you are here on a vacation. I pepared from you detailed description and a bunch of photos to underline my statement.

The almost 4 km long Prosiecka dolina valley is deeply embedded between the massive mountains of Lomno and Prosečné (1,372 m). The blue-marked instructive path with several wooden panels bearing details on geologic, geomorphic, and pedologic facts concerning the valley and the local fauna and flora leads through the valley. It starts at the entry to the valley next to the rock called Vráta (The Gate) above which the brook Prosečianka springs. In its central part the valley widens to a grassy clearing called Polhora on the sides of which is a group of rocks bearing names Medveď (the Bear), Sova (the Owl), Ťava (the Camel), Jánošík, etc., waterfalls and caves. At the beginning of its upper part the valley branches to a little valley called Červené piesky with an imposing 15 m high waterfall and the canyons of Nižný and Vyšný Straz, which are the most attractive sections of the valley. Their steepness and wildness will certainly impress any visitor, who will climb it.
Beyond the upper end of the valley is a grassy plain called Svorad crossed by a blue-marked trail heading to the community of Veľké Borové. Veľké Borové is popular as a tourist base for trips to the National Nature Reserve Kvačianska dolina valley. This canyon-type valley deeply cut into the dolomite and limestone rocks between the Čierna hora (1,098 m) and Ostré (1,128 m) mountains runs parallel to the Prosiecka dolina valley. Both create a popular one-day tourist circuit.
The Kvačianska dolina valley has an instructive path with numerous stops. There used to exist an old road in the valley leading along the bottom and communicated the villages Veľké Borové and Huty with the rest of the world. The landmark in the upper part of the valley is called Oblazy – a unique and ancient wooden water mill, and another attractive place is Roháč, a rock promontory in the lower part of the valley and the highest point on the old road. In 1860 a stone cross was erected here and the place provides wonderful views of the entire canyon.

You can find several routes in our collection which lead through Kvacianska valley, however due to the width and terrain of the Prosiecka valley which includes also ladders, waterfalls and sharp rocks, it is possible to visit it only by foot. Route and more photos you can find here.

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Sheep Breeding

I was thinking about some original things a visitor can experience during the vacation in the Region Liptov. Here are many things to do and I write about the possibilities how to spend your holiday actively here. However those things I write there about are widely propagated and everybody can find it everywhere on the internet in 5 minutes.

But what exactly is interesting to experience here and what really belong to this region is traditional sheep breeding. The history of sheep breeding in Liptov goes back to 17th century when East-Carpathian shepherds of sheep came here. During the history and different regimes in Slovakia occured some tendencies to modernise this traditional cheese and milk production via mechanical milking stations, but despite these efforts the traditional sheep milk and cheese production persisted.

In the Liptov we have several “sheep farms” (salaše). It is in quoted, because salaš cannot be exactly translated to english to keep the same meaning. A salaš consists of two or three cottages situated near the meadow at the top of the hills, many times far away the civilization and surrounded by the forests and mountains. These are the bests salaš, no travel agency offers you in the Liptov. You must have a local friend or somebody who can show you the best of them. The sheep milk and cheese are the best you have ever had – guaranteed! No chemical additives, pure cheese from the sheeps kept in the deep nature.

These shepherds are tough guys, because they must milk more than 200 sheeps and protect them of bears and wolves whose sometimes attack on sheeps from the forests. So as a foreigner to find these “sheep farms” you definitely need somebody who can show you this wonderful part of this region and provide you the possibility to taste the best sheep milk products ever.

I see many agencies those propagate attractions for masses those everybody can reach and experience. But none of them will guide you through the best parts of the region which include also traditional sheep breeding in the unknown “sheep farms” – salaše!

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