Visit primeval forest Stuzica in Poloniny Slovakia
One of the places I really love visiting not that far from my home town is primeval forest Stuzica in Poloniny Slovakia. Yes, we have ancient primeval forests even in the middle of Europe. They are definitely different from those rainforests in the Amazon jungle or Central America, but magical in their own way. Let me show you…
If you love undisturbed nature, then forest Stuzica is the place to go.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland there… not knowing where to look first. There was something jaw-dropping everywhere I looked. Pure nature at its best 🙂
The last time I visited Stuzica forest in Poloniny was in September 2020 so the photos in this article are from that hike.
Basic facts about Stuzica forest
- Stuzica is spelled as Stužica in Slovak.
- it’s situated in the Bukovec mountains (Bukovske vrchy) which belongs to the Outer Eastern Carpathians mountain range.
- the forest can be found in the very East of Slovakia next to the border with Poland and Ukraine.
- to be more precise its location is in the Poloniny National Park which is the Easternmost national park in Slovakia.
- the forest lies in the altitude of approx. 620 m to 1208 m a.s.l.
- the highest point is the Kremenec mount forming the border of Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine.
- Stuzica and the whole Poloniny are located in Snina district with its main town Snina. Did you know that Snina is my home town? That’s another reason why I love the area so much 🙂
- Besides Stuzica, there’s 2 other primeval forests in Poloniny – Havesova and Rozok.
Other things to know about forest Stuzica
- it is free to visit, no need to pay any entrance fee.
- it’s a well-preserved primeval beech forest consisting mostly of beech and fir but also some maple trees.
- it is a protected National Nature Reserve since 1993 with the 5th level of protection (the highest in Slovakia).
- under the name of Stužica – Bukovské Vrchy it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
- with its 8 square km it’s the biggest primeval forest in Slovakia.
- the Stuzica river and a couple of creeks flow through the forest making the place even more extraordinary.
- Stuzica is full of many original Carpathian plants, mushrooms and animals, including a number of endemic species not found anywhere else in the world. That makes it one of the most interesting protected areas in the entire Slovakia.
- the closest village is Nova Sedlica which is the Easternmost village in Slovakia. You can hike to Stuzica from the village following the red trail sign. Before you get to Stuzica it’s mostly uphill, then downhill to the Stuzica river and again uphill towards the Kremenec mount.
- the largest fir tree ever measured in Stuzica had 392 cm in diameter while the largest beech found there had 322 cm in diameter. Did you know we had big trees like those in Slovakia?
- thanks to high level of protection and its secluded location, forest Stuzica is very untouched by humans.
- as it’s a protected virgin forest, you will spot some fallen trees all around that are kept there. Sometimes you might need to walk around, under or jump over a fallen tree while hiking. Unlikely to many other areas around Slovakia, wood is not harvested in Stuzica in Poloniny. Yay!
- if you are lucky, you would not meet any other person on your hike around the forest.
If you ever manage to visit Stuzica, I recommend you to just stop for a while, breathe and listen to the forest sounds. It’s not easy to describe the atmosphere in there but just imagine silence. Only birds chirping, trees swaying in the wind, the sound of water flowing in the creeks… Aw, and that smell. Smell of fresh air, of life, of plants, of peace…
To be honest, I could spend hours just strolling around Stuzica on my own. The forest gave me so much positive energy.
Things to remember
- good hiking shoes are a must
- it’s not possible to buy anything there so bring food and water. The last place to get something to eat or drink is in Nova Sedlica village.
- ideally, carry a reusable water bottle you could refill if you run out of water… I mean, if you don’t mind drinking fresh creek water 🙂
- it’s not allowed to make fire in Stuzica
- PLEASE do NOT throw rubbish in the forest.
TIP: Check more of my photos from Stuzica.
TIP 2: Here’s other 15 things to do in Eastern Carpathians in Slovakia and Poland.
TIP 3: As you can see, Slovak nature is stunning. But there’s at least 9 other reasons to visit Slovakia.
Did you enjoy my photos from uniquely preserved primeval forest Stuzica? Would you like to visit it? Or have you been there already? Tell me in the comments below.