Trekking in the High Tatry (Vysoke Tatry)
Mountain adventure in Slovakia
The Vysoké Tatry (High Tatras) are one of the most unique natural landmarks in the region. This mountain range on the borders between Slovakia and Poland are part of the larger Tatra Mountain range and is a UNESCO "Biospheric reservation."
The 15 highest peaks of Vysoké Tatry are all located in Slovakia with ten of them towering higher than 2600 metres. Visitors will find 85 alpine lakes including Veľké Hincovo pleso, the largest and the deepest. Adventurers can hike, bike, climb, ski, swim or relax in one of the many spas.
There are total of 600 km of paths there. One of the most famous ones is Tatranská magistrála - 70 km long, it begins in Západní Tatry and leads all the way to Bielanské Tatry. The sure-footed make it through in 5 days.
Note: Offtrail camping is not allowed so for longer hikles your want to book accommodation in one of the town or mountain cottages (Horske Chaty).
How to get there from Prague:
Maybe the easiest way to get to Vysoké Tatry by car from Prague is through Brno, Olomouc, Hranice, Makov and Žilina to Liptovský Mikuláš. Or you can opt for going from Brno to Uherské Hradiště and then through Starý Hrozenkov, Trenčín and Žilina.
If you're worried about getting around in Tatry, don't worry - all the places there are easily accesible by the Tatra Electric Railway train line (električka) or the rack railway (zubačka).
The trains from Prague to East Slovakia depart a couple of times a day. You can choose to travel during the day or night - watch your bags extra carefully during a night trip. Find your trains on idos.cz. Try booking your ticket in advance, that will make your trip much smoother.
When choosing a hike, always make sure it is suited for you. Don't overestimate your abilities.
Start your hike early in the morning. It is better to go with a friend than alone.
Always wear sturdy shoes and bring a sweater and a raincoat, even if the wether seems nice.
Don't go off the trail.
It is always good to tell your receptionist where you are going and what time you plan on being back.
Help anyone who gets into trouble.
Don't forget that large predators, such as the bear, Eurasian lynx, marten, wolf and fox live there. It is not likely you will see them, but be careful anyway.
Remember that the highest mountains are not accesible for tourist from November 1st to June 15th.
For weather and avalanches alerts go to the official rescue service website.
The village Podbanské, part of the former mining area, lies on the border of Západní and Vysoké Tatry. Nearby lies the mountain Kriváň (2494 m), though not the tallest one, it is considered the country's most beautiful peak. It is the hikers' favorite mountain in the western part of the High Tatras. Kriváň has also been a major symbol in Slovak ethnic and national activism for the past two centuries.
Podbanské - Tichá dolina – Závory (1.876,5 m) – Kôprova dolina – Podbanské
This trip will take you through Západní Tatry (Tichá dolina) all the way to the eastmost part of Vysoké Tatry - Kôprova dolina. The whole trip will take 9 – 11 hours.
Podbanské – Tri studničky – Kriváň (2494 m)
You can either walk to Tri Studničky or go there by bus. From ther you can walk up to Kriváň in 2.5 hours.
Podbanské - Kôprova dolina and back
Enjoy the view on this 14,6 km long easy trip.
The three level Kmeťov is the longest waterfall in Vysoké Tatry (80 m). You can get to it through Kôprova dolina.
The Štrbské pleso lake (pleso = mountain lake) is the most famous of the lakes in the area and the nearby village Štrbské pleso is the highest placed village in Tatry. Rysy (2499 m) is together with Kriváň the most visited peak in Tatry, partly because it's the highest mountain in the region you can climb without a guide. It is also the highest peak of Poland.
Štrbské pleso – Popradské pleso – Veľké Hincovo pleso – Vyšné Kôprovské sedlo (2180 m) – Hlinská dolina - Kôprova dolina – Tri Studničky – Štrbské pleso
A great adventure for the experienced. You can take a detour and climb the Koprovský štít (2363 m) from the Vyšné Kôprovské sedlo. Duration: 10 – 12 hours
Štrbské pleso – Hincova plesa
Visit the second largest lake and the first largest one - Veľké Hincovo pleso - in one day! Duration: 4 – 5 hours
Waterfall Skok is 25 metres long and is visible even from the Štrbské pleso.
The cemetery contains symbolic graves and tombstones of the ones that lost their lives in Tatry.
Waterpark Tatralandia is the largest water complex with accommodation in Slovakia. It is open year-round thanks to the mineral water which springs from more than 2500 m deep with the temperature of 60 °C.
Štrbské pleso – Popradské pleso and back
This 9 km long ride is fairly difficult.
Tatranská Polianka is a village 11 km away from Štrbské pleso. The first skiing competition in Tatry in 1911 took place here.
Gerlachovský štít (2655 m)is the highest peak of Slovakia. Only members of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation club are allowed to climb the peak on their own. Other visitors have to take a certified mountain guide. The two easiest routes, usually up the Velická próba and down the Batizovská próba named after their respective valleys, are protected by chains, but there are many moments when one must rely on ones hands to hold ones bodyweight.
Tatranská Polianka – Sliezsky dom
If you take the green marked path from Tatranská Polianka, you will get to the hotel Sliezsky dom in 2 hours. Or take a cable car on Hrebienok and then continue on the Tatranská magistrála all the way to the hotel.
Tatranská Polianka – Sliezsky dom
Even though it's only 13.6 km long, this ride is rather difficult.
Starý Smokovec is the administrative center of Vysoké Tatry. It also forms the junction of the Tatra Electric Railway train line, connecting Poprad, Tatranská Lomnica and Štrbské Pleso.
Bored of hiking? Try visiting a cave! Some of the most visited are in the Starý Smokovec area - Belianská, Važecká, Demänovská and Dobšínská cave.
Starý smokovec – Hrebienok
Though only 4,6 km long, this trip is only for the experienced bikers because of the elevation difference.
Tatranská Lomnica is the eastmost of the tourist centers of Vysoké Tatry. It is best known for the cable car to Lomnický štít, one of the steepest in Europe and remarkable for its lack of support pylons between the two stations. Tatranská Lomnica railway station is one endpoint of the Tatra Electric Railway. It is close to the Lysá Poľana border crossing.
Lomnický štít (2634 m) is the second highest peak in the High Tatras after Gerlachovský štít. It is connected by cable car to Tatranská Lomnica.
The thermal bath in Vrbov is a great place to relax and take a break from all the hikes you've been taking.
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