Visiting Zadielska gorge in the Slovak Karst National Park – the deepest gorge in Slovakia

Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
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Zadielska gorge (or Zádielska tiesňava in Slovak) also called Zadielska valley (Zádielska dolina) is located in the eastern part of the Slovak Karst National Park, right behind the picturesque and tourist village of Zadiel. The gorge was formed by Chotárny stream (also called Blatnica), which creates small waterfalls and cascades.

Zadielska gorge is around 4 kilometers long and more than 300 meters deep, which makes it the deepest gorge in Slovakia. And at its narrowest point it is only 10 meters wide.

Narrowest point in Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
Narrowest point in Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

Visiting Zadielska gorge

During your visit to Zadielska gorge you can admire amazing cliffs and vertical walls. Its most interesting part is considered 105 meters tall pyramid-shaped rock which has been created by water activity and its name is Cukrová homoľa. It is the highest pyramid-shaped rock in Slovakia.

Zadielska gorge is surrounded by nice forests that on some places look like primeval forests.

Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia - 2
Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

There are around 120 caves and caverns in Zadielska gorge, however none of them is open to the public. There is even rich and rare fauna and flora. Due to its uniqueness the gorge was declared National Nature Reserve already in 1954.

Due to the large number of caves lots of bats can be seen here in the evening and nights. There’s also the largest species of bats living in Slovakia – The greater noctule bat (Nyclatus lasiopterus).

Zadielska gorge from plateau, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
Zadielska gorge from plateau, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

If you are really good in the sound recognition you can hear up to 70 species of birds mainly in the early morning and evenings. Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila helica), large Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) and Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) are all living here as well.

There are even some mammals living here, from which the most attractive are wolf and lynx. However there is no reason to be afraid of them. They are very shy and you will hardly be able to see them. However in winter you may have the chance to discover their footprints in the snow.

Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

The gorge offers pleasant walks along the stream in the shadow of the rocks and trees and is certainly an unforgettable experience. The walk through Zadielska gorge following the red trail is suitable even for seniors or very young children and thanks to the old asphalt road even for mothers with strollers.

During the hot summer days the gorge is a very popular place among those living in the nearby cities (such as Košice, or Rožňava), as they can enjoy here at least 10°C lower temperatures than elsewhere in this region.

Path in Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia - 2
Path in Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

There is one hiking trail that takes you through the gorge and several additional around, so you can even explore the surroundings, forests or plateau. From here you will definitely enjoy spectacular views of the surroundings as well as the whole region.

Nearby are ruins of Turňa castle as well as the only waterfalls in the Slovak Karst National Park – Hájske waterfalls. You can get there from Zadielska gorge by following other paths.

Trail Signs in Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
Trail Signs in Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

At the bottom of the valley is a parking space. Cars are not allowed within the gorge, so you must go there on foot. Neither bicycles are allowed for higher security of the tourists.

At the top of the gorge is the Zadielska cottage where you can get some refreshments before making your way back to the bottom of the gorge. Short and rising path marked in blue color takes you then up to the plateau, through which you can also get back to the bottom of the gorge. However this is more demanding tour.

Zadielska gorge - map
Zadielska gorge on the map

View from plateau, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
View from plateau, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

Path in Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
Path in Zadielska gorge, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

Zadielska gorge as seen from plateau, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
Zadielska gorge as seen from plateau, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia

What to visit around Zadielska gorge

As mentioned above you can visit ruins of Turna castle and Hajske waterfalls. All these three places can be seen and visited in one day, although it is better to stay here longer (if you wish to have some rest here as well).

Hajske waterfalls in winter - panorama, Slovakia
Hajske waterfalls in winter – panorama, Slovakia

Slovak Karst National Park boasts three caves that are open to the public – Domica cave, Jasovská cave and Gombasecká cave. All of them are very nice and worth a visit!

Domica Cave, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia
Domica Cave, Slovak Karst National Park, Slovakia by Jojo

Only 2 kilometers from Domica cave you can then visit Baradla cave in Hungary, which is the most beautiful and largest cave in Hungary. If you have a car you can make Domica cave, Gombasecká cave as well as Baradla cave in one day.

Baradla Cave, Aggtelek National Park, Hungary
Baradla Cave, Aggtelek National Park, Hungary

And finally there is the most beautiful city in Slovakia – Košice. It is situated just 40 kilometers from Zadielska gorge, so once here, do not forget to visit this city as well!

St Elisabeth Cathedral and St Michael Chapel, Kosice, Slovakia
St Elisabeth Cathedral and St Michael Chapel, Kosice, Slovakia

Julius

I am someone who left his open-spaced cubicle after spending there 8 years of his life. Someone who started to live more outside! :) I am in travel blogging since 2010 and with Traveltipy I am going to conquer the world :)

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