The Slovensky Raj (Slovak paradise) is part of the Carpathian mountain range in Eastern Slovakia rising to almost 1300m. It is very popular with hikers as it has a number of unusual routes through gorges and waterfalls. Notable and rare animals include the brown bear, golden eagle, common kestrel and the black stork. Quite common are red deer and wild boar, wolf, lynx, and the otter.
There are several trails available through the mountains, the most famous of which is the stunning Suchá Belá gorge which follows a stream up several waterfalls (the highest is 30m) to the top of the ridge. From here you can walk across to Kláštorisko where there are the ruins of a 13th century monastery, and stunning views across the mountains. You can make the descent from here by mountain bike if you are feeling adventurous, it takes around 30 minutes to get down. Due to the nature of the ladders ascending the waterfalls you can only complete the trail one way! Also as it was in the middle of a very hot dry spell the water flow was gentle, and the waterfalls not as dramatic making the ascent easier. I really enjoyed the climb in the company of three friends from England, and anyone with a reasonable head for heights should find the walk enjoyable and exciting – including the descent it took us about 5 hours.
There are other more challenging walks too, with waterfalls up to 70m and more extreme ladder climbs (without rock or chains to steady you) but the Suchá Belá is the most popular.