A brilliant holiday with a fantastic guide and good bunch of people (solo trip). The accommodation (Penzion Michael) was modern, clean and comfortable with really good food. All the activities were enjoyable and of a good length to get to grips with if a complete beginner, or simply to enjoy it if already capable. The only reason I did not give the trip 5 stars is because we had a freak warm spell (around zero Celsius) which did impact on the holiday to some extent! This is the first holiday where by the end, I have actually not been content to leave for home. I just wanted to stay there! Overall, a really enjoyable trip that I would happily do again!
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Our guide throughout the trip was fantastic and an inspiration when learning about the local area and country. On the activities side I really enjoyed the snow-shoeing through the woodland, I could have easily made a whole day of that! The downhill sledging, on what are essentially plastic tea trays, was also great fun, 'Just one more go!' Then there was also the dog sledding where the dogs were really friendly.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Outstanding. Our guide, Peter, really went out of his way to help everyone with his friendly, polite and warm manner. He is also incredibly knowledgeable about his country and the local area, as well as wider regions and topics. Always fascinating to listen to and hear anecdotes and tales throughout the trip, I even stopped eating my dinner on several occasions to listen.
I believe he is also a professional photographer and he took photos throughout the trip with brilliant results! This really added to the trip.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I suggest taking a compact camera that you can use on the ski slopes and will fit inside a coat pocket.
Take snack bars, such as fruit and nut bars, for when out on the activities. Beside learning a few Slovak words (please, thank you, yes, no, etc.) I would suggest either learning or taking a little booklet of words to help with food menus. While our guide was really excellent in helping us decipher the menus (some were sort of in English), it was perhaps unfair on him when going round everyone helping out! A few Polish food words would also be of use on the day visit to Poland.
I suggest about €200 spending money. Clothing wise, it was a bit windy on a couple of days so a ski jacket that zips right up and with a close fitting hood would be good. However, on the other days layering is needed (I got quite warm doing the cross-country skiing). But then again, we did have a warm weather spell while we were there! Sounds obvious but, I suggest taking gear for cold weather with items that can be taken off as required.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Everything seems very cheap in Slovakia. Can typically get a full meal and drink in local places for €5-10. The larger (more touristy) places were slightly more expensive, but still cheaper than the UK.
The individual (not group) rate for ski lessons was also brilliant value, 12 euros for an hour and a half lesson, which were also far better lessons than the ones I had in the UK prior to departure! After about 45 minutes, I think we had covered everything that my 3 hour lesson in the UK covered!! (Prior to departure I had lessons with a well established UK wide indoor ski company).
In total I spent about €200 euros while there, this included additional meals at the Penzion, eating out, two ski lessons (3 hours total), two day slope passes, Belinska Caves visit (nothing special), Thermal Pools (lovely), souvenirs, DVD and tips.