As you drive towards Zdiar from the Polish border, don't miss a large car park on both sides of the road about 2 km before the village. This is Strednica Skicentrum, well worth a stop even if it's not the season for skiing. It's a well known beauty spot commanding a fantastic view of the Belianske Tatras, the easternmost part of the mountains. Get a drink or a snack from the restaurant there and sit on the terrace at the back or on the logs outside, enjoying the brisk mountain air and the wonderful scenery. The view is stunning with the mountains coming close to you and the meadows and the spruce forest below. Sometimes the visibility can be excellent so you can see every detail even without field glasses but this usually presages rain.
The place is always touristy in wintertime, and in the summer you will find a few people there too, but never a crowd. Enjoy the great feeling of great open space and, if you find yourself there early in the morning or in the evening, when the restaurant is closed, also the silence of the majestic Tatra Mountains.
One of the walks in Zdiar leads to Monkova Dolina. From there, you can take a path back to the main road to a place called Strednica about two kilometres north of the village with a ski lift and a gorgeous view of the Tatras. But, if you are fit and more ambitious, like my husband, and have a whole day for your hike, you can follow the trail that starts in Monkova Dolina to get to Kopske Sedlo (see my Vysoke Tatry page) and even further into the heart of the High Tatras. The trail is quite steep at places but does not require climbing equipment. At most, you may have to resort to using your hands as well as legs in a few places. From Kopske Sedlo Chris went down to Javorina via Zadne Medodoly.
The trail commands great views of the Spisz region on one side and the High Tatras on the other. Mind you, there are no shelters or sources of water on the way. Take your food and water with you.
19 Reviews and Opinions
Zdiar 631, Zdiar, 5955, sk
Good for: Couples
Slovensky Dom houses a restaurant and a small regional museum so you can kill two birds with one stone (whoever made up this cruel phrase?) and enjoy a visit to the museum and have a meal right across the courtyard. This is certainly a good thing to do on a rainy day, although you won't see the mountains from the dining room then, which is the restaurant's greatest asset.
The food is not bad, but my husband once had food poisoning after eating their soup, which must have remembered better days. But, generally speaking, and we have visited the place quite a few times, we were quite satisfied. What I minded a little was the salads being displayed in large uncovered bowls for people to help themselves from, which would be nice if the flies didn't like them as well.
Favorite Dish: We usually had fried cheese with tartar sauce and chips and salad. Chris would also have soup but when we went there last year he didn't dare take the risk as it was hot again. He also had bryndzowe halousky - sheep cheese noodles, but found them a little tasteless and said he had eaten better ones in another place.
Zdiar has plenty of old wooden houses in which you can see the influence of the Podhale style, but the prevailing type of architecture follows the classical layout of the Spisz farm, forming a quadrangle with a yard in the middle. You enter the yard through a gate, which is often ornate. The houses are sometimes painted in bright colours and the windows are decorated. The foundations are often made of stone and the roofs shingled. You won't see many such houses from the main road, which to a large extent bypasses Zdiar. You will only see them in the distance, which is not enough to notice the details. To see them better, you must take a walk along the street parallel to it. This is also where all the restaurants are so you can have your meal while you are there.
8 km south of Zdiar along Cesta Slobody lies Tatranska Kotlina with the famous Belianska Cave. It's the only cave open to the public in the Tatras. 3, 641 metres long, it has two circuits accessible to tourists and abounds in out-of-this-world scenery with pagoda-shaped stalactites, domes and flowstone waterfalls. As I have a mild claustrophobia it's not a place for me but, judging by the pictures on the internet and the number of visitors, it must be attractive. Leaving your car at the car park there is quite expensive as is the visit to the cave. Our uncle visited it once but they demanded 200 Sk for photography inside, which he thought a total rip-off, so he didn't take any pictures. :( He didn't realise it was a bargain - now it's 10 EUR.
There are some nice pictures of Belianska Cave on the internet though. Have a look for yourselves.
There is a good, if rather expensive, restaurant across the road from the car park. I remember having excellent steak there once but last year we gave it a miss as there was no room for our car in front of it.
Admission to the cave in groups of at least four.
Ticket prices for 2009:
Adults - 7 EUR; children - 3.50 EUR; students - 6 EUR;
Opening times: June - August - 9.00-16.00; September - May - 9.30-14.00
The area around Zdiar is fantastic for bicycle lovers, with not much traffic on the roads and wonderful scenery. However, if you don't want to be confined to the main roads, bring a mountain bike rather than a road one. On a road bike you will be able to ride along Cesta Slobody and explore Slovakia but a MTB will let you explore also some dirt roads and pastureland paths, which command a gorgeous view of the Tatras.
You must be in pretty good shape to cycle here - the slopes are long and tiring and the main roads don't run level either - you don't feel it much when you are walking but riding a bike is a different matter.
Equipment: MTBs are best.
Zdiar is a great place for skiers with 11 ski lifts, a cable railway and all the facilities that skiers need. Basically, there are two skiing centres there: one in Strednica about two kilometres north of the village and the other in Bachledova Dolina south of Zdiar. The latter is said to be excellent for beginners, but the other is not too hard either. There are no so-called 'black' skiing trails in Zdiar, which some may consider a disadvantage.
Equipment: Bring your own but ski hire and service are available on the spot too.