I try to make it a point never to miss out on things highly recommended to me by other travelers or close friends. This is how I ended up at the Ginger Monkey Hostel in Zdiar, Slovakia. My friend Teresa had gone earlier on a trip to Slovakia that was organized by her exchange program in Hungary. I had a long weekend and decided to take my trip to our northern neighbor myself, but was unsure of where else to venture besides the capital, Bratislava.

The problem is that once you leave the cities, it is a little more difficult to find accommodation as a young English-speaking tourist. The Tatra mountains are a popular vacation spot in Slovakia, but much of the accommodation takes the form of small guest houses or rather large resorts. Though I don’t always look to stay in backpacker hostels, in this case I wanted to meet people my age to explore the outdoors with and to kick back in some communal living scenario.

If you have the same desire, look no further than the Ginger Monkey. After taking a train to Poprad and a bus to Zdiar, hopefully getting off at the correct stop and taking a short walk up the hill, there’s no way to miss the place. Perhaps the dog, Wally, will even run out to greet you. The Ginger Monkey is a truly fun place to hang out. The owner and staff have spent some time putting together trail guides and deals on ski rentals and trips to the slopes. I was there in late autumn, sort of the cusp of hiking and ski season, and the hostel was still fairly full, with different groups of people up to fun things everyday. Besides even the local activities, there was abundant advice on travel to and from other locations, offers for carpooling, and more. Not to mention the weekly communal dinner, 1 euro beers, and cosy movie room. It was definitely this magical place and the people in it that made Zdiar a truly awesome time for me. And it turns out I didn’t have to take the train home because I met two guys driving down to Budapest in a rental car right on the day I wanted to leave!

1262797_12532953893268 photo from travbuddy

It seems like many people come to the Ginger Monkey and aren’t in a rush to leave. They now offer a work for stay program so you can put in some hours of work and absorb Zdiar in your time off. So if you are interested in seeing a beautiful part of Slovakia, meeting some cool laid back people, and enjoying the outdoors, check out the Ginger Monkey!




What are your favorite hostels worldwide?  Has a hostel or hotel ever made a destination entirely worth it for you?

post by Jackie Clark