Those on the group flights will be met on arrival into Vienna Airport. Those not on the group flights will also meet the group flight at the airport in order to join the group transfer to the start hotel in the mountain village of Terchova (approx 3 hours/245 km) in the north of Slovakia. This evening dinner will be grilled over an open fire for that taste of the great outdoors. You will have your welcome meeting to get to know your leader and the rest of your group.
Today you take an adventure walk to the Janosikove Diery Canyons, you depart directly from the hotel. The canyons consist of various waterfalls and gorges which are accessible by wooden footbridges and iron ladders, sometimes there are chains that will help you manage the trickier sections. Along the way educational boards provide information about the area's fauna and flora. The walk is relatively easy and the views, plus mountain steams and waterfalls make it great fun too. You will walk through the canyons all the way to the mountain village of Stefanova with its impressive wooden houses and many farm gardens. A packed lunch will be taken enroute to give you a chance to rest and enjoy the views around you. After lunch we have a short drive to the extensive 13th century Orava Castle, perched on a limestone cliff some 370ft above the Orava River. The landscape and spectacular panoramic views from the top of the castle tower were featured in the first Dracula film, ‘Nosferatu’ in 1922.
Transfer (20 mins) to Orava River for a traditional style rafting experience along the river (approx. 2 hours). The grade is easy (grade 1-2) so suitable for all the family to relax and watch the world float by. Then you stop at a traditional restaurant for lunch (not included).
After lunch you take a step back in time as you visit the mountain village of Vloklinec, the name roughly translates as 'Wolf's Place'. This small village is a living museum with excellent examples of the old rustic architecture. There are two rows of houses with long courtyards which remain undisturbed by new development. The houses do not have tap water and take their water from a well in the middle of the village which is housed in a wooden shed. Chickens and other farm animals roam free and there is a sense of peace and tranquillity here. Some houses here are used now as weekend houses, but some are still settled by indigenous people - in 1993 there were 30 people living in the village, including two children. One house is arranged as a village life museum and an information center. Sadly about a third of the houses are now in ruins or were burned down during the national uprising in the Second World War. The village is a UNESCO Heritage site.
After your visit a further drive (1 hour) takes you to your next hotel in the town of Tatranska Lomnica, your gateway to exploring the High Tatras.
Today you will make a transfer (45 mins) to the impressive Dobsinska Ice Cave in Slovensky Raj Paradise National Park. The cave is a spectacular natural wonder discovered in 1870. The cave is lit and you will explore by walkways to see various chambers which are ice-filled year round - the air temperature in the 'Great Hall' is from -3.8 to +0.5 'C. The ice is constantly melting and refreezing so no two visits here are ever the same.
Onward to visit Spissky Hrad Castle which is one of the largest in Central Europe and rich in history dating back to 12th century. It is impressively sited atop a hill with great views of the surrounding area.
Continue to the medieval walled town of Levoca (20 min drive), the town became important due to its location on the main trade route between Poland and Hungary. Explore the medieval square which is one of the largest in the region with several interesting churches, a well preserved town hall and city gates. Later transfer back to your base.
Take a train journey today to Stary Smokovc, then ride the funciular up to picturesque Hrebienok which sits at 1285m in the Tatra mountains. You will walk in the mountains, passing mountain huts and waterfalls for a total of 4 hours. The High Tatras are the highest mountains in Slovakia with 26 peaks higher than 2500m, this is fabulous scenic walking country with wall to wall mountain views. Back at your base your evening is free for activities of your choice.
Today is a free day to enjoy optional activities. You can choose from options such as a day trip to the 'Cave of the Dead Bats', go walking or cycling in the area, visit the Aqua Park or the thermal pools. Your leader will assist you in choosing the best option for your family, alternatively you may wish to just relax a little.
Take the morning train to Bratislava (4.5 hours). The rest of the day is free for exploring this city with your guide as you discover the rather muddled mixture of old and new. Start with a visit to the Castle and look down on the old town before exploring its narrow streets. Relax in the main square in one of the many cafes and then visit St Martins' Cathedral and Michael's Gate. You can visit the Clock Museum or the Technical Museum, which shows the history of Skoda cars. Make sure you return to the main square in the evening for the daily laser beam show. This evening you may like to take dinner on a boat along the Danube River.
The group will be transferred to Vienna airport (45 mins), and those on the group flights will depart for their flight back to London.