Welcome to Zdiar, Slovakia
Zdiar is a charming village located in the north of Slovakia, almost in Poland. I happened upon this destination through a flyer in the bathroom stall at my hostel in Bratislava. The flyer, promoting an award-winning hostel in Zdiar, stuck in my head until four days later when I was about to go catch a bus to Vienna. At this point, I was feeling like I did not want to see yet another city and I remembered Zdiar. After some googling, I made a last-minute switch to instead go hiking in the Tatras. As one of my favorite experiences of my trip, I am very happy I used that bathroom stall in Bratislava.
The Ginger Monkey - The only place to stay in the Slovakian High Tatras. This is an amazing hostel filled with beautiful people and a wonderful energy. My only complaint is that it is almost impossible to leave!
About a five mile loop that I walked the first day I arrived at the Ginger Monkey. It is easily accessible from the hostel and is a great introduction to a stay in the Tatras. If you time it right you can see the sun set behind the mountains.
Getting from Bratislava to Zdiar - And Ginger Monkey
Getting there is not at all difficult. Take a train to Poprad and then from there take a bus to Zdiar. Just check the bus schedule when you arrive in Poprad so that you know how much time you have to kill before catching the next bus. I didn't do this and ended up waiting outside in the cold for an hour. Once the bus arrives, it takes about 40 minutes to an hour to reach Ginger Monkey. Look for the road sign "petrol station - 500 meters" and get off at the next stop. Then walk towards the church and you will see the hostel.
As I visited Zdiar in the fall, the activity for me was hiking. In the morning, I would be out the door of the hostel in time to catch the 9:05 bus to the base of my hike of the day. Below are images from three of the hikes I did - Stary Smokovec, Zelene Pleso, and Morskie Oko.
Disclamer: One of these hikes was in Poland! The border is roughly a ten minute drive from Ginger Monkey so you can hike in two different countries from one hostel.