Slovakia's beauty shines just as bright during cold winter's days as it does in the sparkling heat of the summer's shine. This winter, I retreated to Slovakia for over a month to turn my focus within. I spent much of the time investing in myself through reading, learning, and continuing work on my first book to help young adults overcome their fears and realize their magnificent potential.
I took a few days off from my writing to soak in the beauty of nature and explore Slovakia's beautiful mountain range, on the north side of the country: The Tatras.
My first day trip was to Stary Smokovec and Hrebienok, a wonderful spot recommended by my kind Airbnb hosts.
After a peaceful train ride winding through sleepy little villages, I arrived in the traditional mountain village of Stary Smokovec.
Train ride from Kysak to Poprad-Tatry
Little cafes and souvenir stores lined its snowy streets as I made my way to the cable lift to take me up to Hrebienok. At a sea level of 1,285 meters (~4200 ft), Hrebionok offers wonderful views of the valley below and is a starting point for many hiking trails. I picked the trail to a nearby waterfall with a stop along the way at a tiny old mountain hut to warm up with a cup of mulled wine. Sitting at one of the two small community tables across from the traditional stone fireplace, I started chatting with a sweet elderly couple. The wife kindly offered me a shot of an herbal liquor from the husband's flask that he had been carrying out to ensure they don't go thirsty. It was a lovely mix of bitter and sweet and provided a quick burst of warmth to fuel my next two hours of wandering through the forest, admiring the snow-kissed landscapes.
Stary Smokovec & Hrebienok
Why hike or table the cable car back down the mountain when a SLED is nearby?
I rented a sled and hopped on it for a gorgeous 10 minute sunset ride down the mountain.
Afterwards, I treated myself to some fresh Slovakian bread and grilled cheese with a dollop of cranberry sauce. The cozy "Koliba Kamzik" was a lovely place to wind down and have a nice hearty Slovakian dinner before heading back to the train station to return home.