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High Tatras

MAP…

MAIN ACCESS POINTS: Poprad (Poprad Tatry Airport, good train and bus connections, E50 Motorway)

This is the big carrot Slovakia promoters dangle in front of the noses of prospective visitors – and quite rightly. There’s a bunch of peaks here over 2000m high in what is – get this – Europe’s smallest Alpine mountain range. Smallest in geographical extent, it should be emphasised, not stature: the greatest summit and highest point in Slovakia, Gerlachovský štít, tops out at 2655m.

There’s superb hiking – including the country’s most famous hike, the Tatranská Magistrala – and good skiing here (although most people dig the Low Tatras, aka Jasná, for the best skiing). There are also some memorable cable car journeys – not least that which ascends the second-highest peak, Lomnický štít. But generally, these mountains are about wildernesses – brown bears, off-the-beaten-path paths and cosy mountain houses in the middle of nowhere. And outside of a few key tourist centres, you can easily find solitude…

The main hub is the mountain transport hub and supply centre of Poprad, which has plenty of pleasant aspects itself, as you will see… Up from here at the base of the mountains are the Mountain Resorts, namely Starý Smokovec with (to the west) Štrbské Pleso and (to the east) Tatranská Lomnica. Above that of course are the High Tatras Mountains themselves and the points of interest within. And – because on this site we LOVE an element of outlandishness, in the far east of the mountains in the region known as the Belianské Tatry, is the idiosyncratic settlement of Ždiar and its surrounds: a colourful centre of the intriguing Goral culture. Just northeast of Poprad, but overlooked by such a photogenic High Tatras vista we had to put it in this sub-section, is the pretty town of Kežmarok.

This is, no boast, THE most comprehensive collections of English-language information on the Slovak High Tatras you’ll find anywhere on the web…

ALSO IN THIS REGION: Stick around in this sub-section for the best information on where to go hereabouts. But don’t forget to check the best places to stay in the High Tatras courtesy of our Places to Stay/High Tatras  sub-section and (you’ve got the idea by now) for some ideas on where to eat and drink here, check our Places to Eat & Drink/High Tatras sub-section. We also have more information on the High Tatras in our Getting Around Slovakia section!

Our destination content is now growing at such a rate of knots that for one place in the High Tatras, namely Poprad, we now have mini-guides attached to the end of each article that’s related to that destination, where you can see at a glance ALL the associated destination content! This place ranks amongst our Top Slovak Stop-offs – places where we think there are a particularly high concentration of intriguing diversions worth gushing about…


Places to go in High Tatras

  • slovakia-958489_960_720White knuckles and white water

    Leigh G Banks tells of his experience in Slovakia   I’ve just had the most fun it’s possible to have whilst drowning. White water rafting is for crazy people … and, you know what, it should be compulsory for everybody to go crazy at least once in their lives. And it was on a river under the Tatra mountain ...

  • ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukThe High Tatras Mountain Resorts − Starý Smokovec: the Funicular to Hrebienok

    Mountain resorts are an occasionally unerring type of destination. They represent the most straightforward ways, on paper, of accessing the prime mountain country of any given destination. But the flip side of that is that they can appear austere and inauthentic tourist centres, full of people milling around but not actually knowing how to inject ...

  • Slavin War Memorial, Bratislava (far from actually falling down!) ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukIn Pictures: A Ludicrous Little Tour Through the Communist Legacy in Slovakia

    Is Slovakia one of the easternmost outposts of Western Europe or one of the westernmost of Eastern Europe? During Socialism in Slovakia the answer was certainly the latter. And as a result, Socialist Slovakia became, architecturally, and particularly in Bratislava, something of a showcase for the Brutalist architecture that defined the Eastern Bloc: a “look-what-we-can-do” ...

  • Outside the Gallery ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukPoprad: the Elektráreň

    In stark contrast to a lot of Slovak cities, Poprad has rejuvenated the area around its main station. Heading into town from here, out of the station which in itself is something of a multi-floored Modernist marvel, you’ll walk down the verdant double-boulevard of Alžbetina or across the park four blocks south to the main ...

  • img_4389Poprad: AquaCity – The Most Fun You Can Have in the High Tatras With Your Clothes Off

    The impression dawns, some small time after you arrive in the AquaCity reception area (by which time you can already discern the excitable babble of squeals filtering in from outside) that what you are about to embark on is a rollicking good time. You’re going to experience some world-class treatments, sure – but above all, ...

  • Bardejov ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukTop Ten Medieval Towns in Slovakia

    It’s not just the nature that’s spellbinding in Slovakia: some of the smaller towns – whether as a result of castle strongholds against marauding Turks, or being major Medieval mining centres or having healing spas – grew up in magnificence centuries ago and have not lost any of their glory since. Note that we’re talking towns ...

  • High Tatras Mountains: Tatranská Magistrala – the Kit List

    There is a running joke in Slovakia about the Czechs. Lots of Czechs come to the Tatras mountains each year. Of all visiting nations, the Czechs are apparently the most Gung-ho when it comes to forging off alone in the peaks without a guide (perhaps with the mentality that, if they speak 99% of the ...

  • High Tatras Mountains: the Tatranská Magistrala Stage 4 (Horský Hotel Popradské Pleso to Pribylina)

    The final day of the Tatranská Magistrala trail begins on the shores of Popradské Pleso, surrounded somewhat ampitheatrically by sheering 2500m + peaks. The route by which you came down on stage 3 of the trail lies across from you on the eastern shore. Read Englishmaninslovakia’s separate piece on Popradské Pleso here. Today, under normal conditions, it’s ...

  • High Tatras Mountains: the Tatranská Magistrala Stage 3 (Zamkovského Chata to Horský Hotel Popradské Pleso)

    Zamkovského Chata is your recommended stopover between stage 2 and 3. This is a long day’s walk: you should allow 6.5 to 7 hours all told. Head back up through the woods from the chata on the green path to where you turned off from the red route. On the Tatranská Magistrala, in red as ever ...

  • High Tatras Mountains: the Tatranská Magistrala Stage 2 (Chata Pri Zelenom Plese to Zamkovského Chata)

    Time: Via Red Route to Zamkovského Chata: 4 Hours; Via Yellow/Green/Blue Route to Zamkovského Chata: 3.5 Hours; Teryho Chata Out-and-Back From Zamkovského Chata: 4 Hours with 30-minute Break for Refreshments at Teryho Chata Wakey wakey. This is the toughest day of hiking, and not because of the distance. Oh no. This is tough because of the ...

  • High Tatras Mountains: the Tatranská Magistrala Stage 1 (Ždiar to Chata pri Zelenom Plese)

    Ždiar, as mentioned in Englishmaninslovakia’s introduction to hiking the Tatranská Magistrala, is the best starting point for beginning the walk. It’s a beautiful village, with many examples of the Goral architecture (the Goral people are a Slavic group of traditionally highland-dwelling people living in southern Poland and northern Slovakia): prettily painted blue, red and gold log ...

  • On Video: Ice Walking in the High Tatras

    A nice wintery video, this one… two hikers walking on Slovakia’s clean mountain  ice… plenty of frozen lakes up in the High Tatras, too, so why not take the winter-only opportunity to see them from a different angle; right on top of them!

  • High Tatras Mountains: On the Edge at Skalnaté Pleso

    It’s a turbulent collision of worlds, Skalnaté Pleso. The cut-off point between the lower slopes of the High Tatras mankind has succeeded in taming to some extent and the wild peaks rearing above that mankind (let’s hope) never will tame. Cowering just below the point where the mountains sheer away in broken walls of rock in ...

  • The High Tatras Mountain Resorts: Štrbské Pleso

    Štrbské Pleso, probably Slovakia’s most famous lake and certainly the number one tourist destination in the High Tatras, may not seem the most likely choice for Englishmaninslovakia.com to write about – except that, somewhat surprisingly, it’s not actually been covered in English in much detail anywhere else on the web. When we realised this, dear ...

  • How to Get Between Poprad, Ždiar and Zakopane in Poland

    It’s a topic that’s thrashed out on travel forums again and again, because the online info is always conspicuously lacking in some of the necessary detail: how to take the beguilingly scenic trip across the east of the High Tatras between Poprad (Slovakia) and Zakopane (Poland), the two big mountain supply towns on either side? I was the same, back ...

  • High Tatras Mountains: An Intro to Slovakia’s Classic Hike, the Tatranská Magistrala

    Ever since moving to Slovakia, hiking its most renowned mountain trail, which traverses the entire length of the Tatras mountain range, was something I had been obsessed with doing. The opportunity presented itself this weekend just gone with a friend (and fellow hiking enthusiast) out from the UK so this introduction to the hike and the ...

  • Poprad to the Mountains: Tatras Electric Railway

    The electric trains that run between Poprad and the High Tatras mountain resorts are more than a means of getting about: they are an experience in themselves. I, being quite passionate about public transport, am a huge fan of a transport network that not only gets you from A to B but also does so via beautiful ...

  • img_2725Poprad: Nine Reasons to Linger

    Poprad is the gateway to the High Tatras. Whether you’re coming here by road or rail you’ll have to pass through this sizeable city to those tempting and frankly quite bizarre looking mountains just beyond. And of course the question is: why stop? Why indeed, when there’s the beginnings of a mountain wilderness with scintillating hiking, and climbing – ...

  • Tours: Tatras Adventure Trips with Adventoura

    Adventoura runs some of the coolest organised tours of the Slovakian Tatras around. It’s based out of Poprad. Here www.englishmaninslovakia.co.uk talks to the founder to give you an idea of what you can see and do with the company…  Question One: What inspired you to set up Adventoura? And why in Poprad? At the time Adventoura went on market ...