Last Modified: 14 Feb 2014
Family Slovakian Snow Adventure
Trip code: WCFW
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Our Intrepid Family Adventures are designed specifically for the spirited family. We understand that travelling with kids sometimes requires a slightly different perspective. Keeping this in mind, we travel at a slower speed - recognising that showing your family around our exotic destinations can take time. By travelling at a relaxed pace, while still offering plenty of optional activities along the way, we're providing your family with the ultimate travel experience together.
We limit travel times so that you're usually not on transport for more than seven hours or travelling too long after dark. We also try - where possible - to ensure you have at least two nights in each destination so you are not constantly having to unpack those bags. Accommodation is chosen carefully to ensure your family gets the best of both worlds, with some of the creature comforts of home as well as experiencing accommodation unique to the region you are travelling through. Wherever possible you will stay in hotels with small comforts to make your stay more enjoyable - such as restaurants nearby, or accommodation with a pool. On some trips you may even find your family being rocked to sleep on an overnight sleeper train or drifting off while camped out under a canopy of stars - and we reckon it'll be these experiences the kids will love and remember the most.
Best of all, we find trips with children are so successful because kids have such a special ability to break down barriers with their natural curiosity, and because delighted locals always greet them with much affection. For all these reasons and more, you'll discover that Intrepid Family Adventures are an amazing experience for all.
Take advantage of Slovakia’s shimmering landscapes and explore it in a new way every day. Children will love the variety of winter sports on offer, with plenty of free time for a family snowball fight and snowman competitions. Whether a family of experienced skiers or new to the alpine environment, lessons ensure the downhill experience is nothing but fun. Indulge in a host of other adrenaline activities, from dog sledding with eager huskies to the freedom of walking with snowshoes. Above all, instil all ages with a love of the great outdoors and a heart-warming glow of daily delight.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Day 1 Zuberec
Welcome to Slovakia!
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
After arriving at our pension in the small mountain village of Zuberec, there will be plenty of time for relaxing and meeting the other members of your group, before perhaps heading out to enjoy the first of many dinners. We are situated on the western edge of the High Tatra, Zuberec was originally an agricultural settlement. Today the village lies at the centre of three downhill skiing areas and has developed to offer a range of facilities for tourists in the winter and summer months, as well as a number of small guesthouses, pensions and hotels. Most accommodation in this area is built in chalet style, with wooden furniture, offering simple but clean and comfortable quarters. Breakfast is served in our accommodation each morning and we’ll be able to choose from a selection of mountain restaurants and village cafes for our lunches and dinners.
Pension Pribisko (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Skiing/snowboarding
After breakfast we head into the Rohace mountains for a day’s skiing or snowboarding. Downhill skiing has long been the most popular form of skiing; in fact it was first taken up as a leisure activity by the British in Victorian times. However in recent years snowboarding has become the fastest growing winter sport. Both of these activities require different equipment so your first stop will be to get kitted out with the correct boots and then either skis or a board.
As well as experienced ski technicians, our leader will be on hand to make sure everything fits properly and to show us how it all works. Then it’s off to the slopes. The village offers tracks (pistes) for all categories of skiers or snowboarders. Shorter slopes of 400m and 860m are for beginners. On the other hand a longer slope of 1490m is for more competent skiers. The main ski area is situated in the Pod Salatinmi Valley, 1090m above sea level. Here you’ll find a self-service restaurant and artificial snow-making machines to ensure good skiing. If you’re a beginner, you can join a three hour lesson, aimed at your level of ability/experience (additional charge), while proficient skiers are free to ski! For the remainder of the day you’re free to practice our new skills or explore the area before returning to our pension.
Keeping our skis overnight we return back to the slopes. Beginners will be amazed at how quickly they can develop their balance and technique, whilst for more experienced skiers and boarders there’s the chance to try more demanding pistes. Whatever you choose to do today will be a great day to be out and about on the slopes and whizzing over the snow. After lunch, we make the short transfer to Oravice, known mainly for its rich thermal waters.
The healing waters of the thermal pools have healing and restorative effects which helps people with mobility, respiratory, circulatory and nervous system problems. This water also has good cosmetic effects. It is excellent for the recovery of tired muscles after skiing!
- Full-day skiing/snowboard
- AM - Downhill skiing
- Thermal Pool visit
Pension Pribisko (2 nts)
Day 4 Dog sledding
After a good breakfast to set us up for the day, we’ll leave the pension to meet up with the dog team handlers and their dogs – the dogs come from the Lower Tatra to meet us, and we’ll get to know them in the fields around the village. Upon arrival the handlers will show us how to handle the sled and brief us before setting off. The dogs always get really excited as soon as they see the sleds coming out and it’s often a struggle to hold them back, such is their enthusiasm.
Each sled carries two people - a driver (or musher) and a passenger - pulled by a team of 2-6 huskies. It takes a while to get everything ready but eventually we’ll set off in crocodile file, with the dogs tugging hard at their harnesses before they break into a smooth rhythm. All you can hear are the runners of the sled fizzing over the frozen snow and the odd bark or yelp from the dogs. Don’t forget the magic words which the dogs listen to for their direction: ‘Ho’ and ‘Dzi’. While you’re waiting your turn, there’ll be hot drinks and our leader and dog handlers will make a warming fire (if possible). There’s also likely to be the offer to try some of the traditional home-made Slovakian spirit called Slivovica, which will definitely warm us up! It depends on the group, how long the activity lasts, so it should be an enjoyable activity for all!
Pension Pribisko (1 nt)
Day 5 Slovak lunch/Sledding
This morning we’re free to relax in the pension, explore the village or take an optional visit to a local school to interact with Slovak school children during their lessons before joining up with our leader for lunch with a local family. The main dish will be a specially prepared Halusky. This is a traditional mountain dish of hot potato dumplings served with melted cheese and sprinkled with bacon. Over lunch we’ll discover more about Slovakian life and see how families live today. After lunch we’ll take to the slopes around the village again for a sledding excursion. This is great fun for both adults and children as you whiz downhill on small plastic sleds!
In the evening we visit the museum of Orava village accompanied by traditional music and romantic lanterns which is one of the biggest attractions of the region. A magical atmosphere is created as we walk along the snowy paths of a wooden village, without electricity, where our only light is a pair of illuminated lanterns. At the end of the evening we can dance to the traditional music.
NB: The morning on day five is suggested for those wishing to visit a local Slovak school however the date is flexible depending on the group’s wishes. The visit is only available on February and March departures as the school is closed over Christmas.
- Orava Village Museum
Pension Pribisko (1 nt)
Day 6 Snowshoeing
Today we head back to the Rohace forest for a day's snowshoeing, our Group Leader will give a quick lesson on how to put on your snowshoes and how to use them with a pair of poles to move around. It really isn’t difficult at all and, although you might feel a little ungainly at first, you’ll soon discover that you can climb even a fairly steep slope with ease. With snowshoes we can go almost anywhere - which means we can get to places that skiers cannot. We may set off along a prepared forest trail but if a glorious view or interesting diversion presents itself, we have the freedom to get off the beaten track –literally! The group’s ability will dictate how far we go but it maybe possible to climb to one of the highest peaks in the Western Tatra, Brestova, at a height of 1902 metres. As we’re likely to be away from the main skiing areas it’s a good idea to take a vacuum flask and provisions for a picnic.
After lunch we’ll meet up with your leader and make the short drive to the neighbouring mountain village of Oravice (11km), to visit one of the area’s open-air, thermal pools (optional, at additional cost). Such pools are found in many parts of Slovakia and are popular for their restorative properties. As well as offering general health benefits, the waters of Oravice are reputed to have beneficial cosmetic properties - but they also make a great place to relax weary ski-legs.
Pension Pribisko (1 nt)
Days 7-8 At leisure
Today is free for us to choose from the many activities on offer in and around the village. You may wish to head back to the slopes for more downhill skiing or snow boarding (in which case you’ll need to purchase a lift pass). You may decide to try cross-country skiing, along one of the specially prepared circuits on the edge of the village. Alternatively why not strap on some snowshoes and walk amongst the snow covered forests, or even have a go at sledging. Our leader will of course be on hand for advice, should you decide to explore further afield and to help arrange a celebration meal on everyone’s last night together in Slovakia.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Pension Pribisko (1 nt)
- WCFW - Slovakian Snow Adventure - Single supplement (WCFW)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
What's not included
Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary
Passport and visa expenses
Government arrival and departure taxes.
Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation and lunch on specified Fly and Cruise programs.
Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
Excess baggage charges.
Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.
You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: We suggest EUR1-2 per person per day for local guides.
Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Age restrictions apply to this trip - minimum age 5.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Pension Pribisko (7 nts)
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
7 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
Pribiská č. 658
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Pribiská č. 658
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website: