Pieniny National Park

National Park in Eastern Slovakia

Pyramidal mountains furred with evergreen forests form the majestic terrain of Pieniny National Park, shared between Slovakia and Poland. On the Slovak side, trailhead towns such as Lesnica, Spišská Stará Ves and Červený Kláštor are jumping-off points to walking trails. But the outstanding reason to visit is the opportunity to be ferried along the Dunajec River on a traditional flat-bottomed boat, or pltě, often by a boatman clad in the colourful regalia traditional to Goral people (Slovak and Polish highlanders).

Another highlight of Pieniny National Park's Slovak territory is the enigmatic Red Monastery complex, where you can tour a museum of monastic miscellany or bed down between medieval walls.

Rafting season (mid-April through October) is by far the best time to visit. Outside these times, hiking trails are challenging (or impassable) and some services close.

There's easy access by foot and car to the Polish side of the park, where castle ruins and ever-more hiking trails await.