Time to venture out of the city. In the wintertime, nature may be at rest, but not in the Slovakian mountains. We hiked to one of the highest waterfalls (a 23 meter shower) in Slovakia, located in the center of the country near Hrinova (Hriňová). Waterfall Bystre (Vodopád Bystré) is a treasure hidden within the ancient extinct volcano Pol’ana.
The cool, fresh mountain air was cleansing for the mind, and there was not a soul in sight at this national natural monument. We drove up a windy road through small villages and roadside hand-carved wooden crosses until a gate to Vodopád Bystré prevented us from continuing by jeep.
The trail forks into other, smaller trails along the way, so you could spend a day adventuring Pol’ana. We stayed on the path that followed the downstream creek.
While there was no snow below the mountain, the trail was covered in a fresh blanket of snow. Later in our hike, it started misting in the woods. The snow became very damp and heavy, and we watched it roll off the trees and plants in sheets.
The hike is uphill, and unless you’re seeking a workout, take your time to explore your way to the top. Read the náučný chodník (nature trail) signs (in English and Slovak) along the way to learn about the forest. Play in the tree-topped land, and photograph local flora and fauna.
Once we read a nature trail sign about brown bears in the woods, we picked up the pace an extra half step!
The snow was perfect for snowballs!
Until you’re within sight of the waterfall, it can not be heard.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
The last few hundred meters of the climb is steep; watch your step! It’s worth the hike.
See how to reach the waterfall and a map to Waterfall Bystre on my Examiner post “Hiking to Waterfall Bystre in the Slovakian Pol’ana Volcano forest“.
After our hike, we drove back down the windy hill and dined on a traditional Slovakian meal (sauerkraut soup, pork sausage and bacon, beer (pivo) and šišky (similar to a doughnut)) at Pension Victoria (Penzión Victória) in Korytárky.
The restaurant was bustling with patrons, who were dancing and singing to live folk music.
Follow more of our travel adventures on our Native Gypsies Instagram feed.