This mountain range is ideally characterized by the “est” word ending. This is the highest point of all the Carpathian mountains and the whole Slovakia. This is the most popular tourist region of the country, visited by millions of tourists each year. Here you can find the most beautiful waterfalls in the region.
The worlds’ famous guide Lonely Planet has issued a top ten European tourist directions in 2019. The High Tatras were the number one in this list as the mountain managed to overcome Madrid, the arctic shore of Island, Italian Bari and other famous competitors. The High Tatras have received Best in Europe 2019 title.
The mountain is located in the Northern part of the country on the border with Poland. They are part of the massive Tatra National Park. Here you can find all the necessary infrastructure for both active and relaxing stay. Everything is well developed. The view is splendid, there are many routes for hiking with a special marking. In winter tourists take with them snowboards and skis. In summer they take sticks and sneakers. The High Tatras resort welcomes tourists in all seasons.
For the record:
The High Tatras is a region including High Tatras town, Poprad (with the Poprad International Airport), Strba.
Famous tourist sites: Stary Smokovec, Tatranska Lomnica, Strebske Pleso. They are all located in the High Tatras.
Summer’s top five of High Tatras
The High Tatras is the most popular European tourist direction. Each time you turn your head, you can see a splendid piece of the local landscape including ultramarine lakes, waterfalls, impenetrable mountains, virgin beauty, which transfers you into the parallel world without vanity, where you can listen to silence and enjoy it.
This is a ski resort, but in summer the number of tourists does not decrease as they come here to walk around and to climb the places where it is prohibited to stay during the winter season. Thick-soled shoes are vitally important here as there are stones and roots on the surface. The map of the High Tatras are given for free to all tourists in any town, each route has its number and color. This color can be seen on the trees so that tourists know where they are and where to go.
The tourists who come to the High Tatras in summer may visit the following top five popular places.
1. Gerlachovski Stit. This is the highest peak of Tatras and the Carpathian mountain. The height is 2654 meters above sea level. This place was known as Stalin Stit between 1949-1959, but later it was renamed. You can reach this place starting from a small mountain hotel called Silesia House. It is better to hire a guide as the weather is unstable, clouds cover everything here and you can lose the indicators. A picturesque view of Poland and Slovakia opens from the top of the mountain. The administration of Lonely Planet has stated that they were impressed by the lift to Gerlachovski Stit.
2. Cableway to Lomnicki Stit (the height of the mountain is 2634, it is the second-highest peak in the country) is the most popular cableway in whole Slovakia. It starts from Lomnica. You need to buy tickets in advance as they are sold very quickly. A small red cabin starts a couple of times and the last tour starts at 16.30. Travel time is about nine minutes. The distance is 5428 meters. A ticket costs 46EUR. The cabin lifts vertically closer to the peak.
The view from the cabin is splendid if it is not cloudy. You can see Austrian Alps from here which are located 350 kilometers from LOmnicky Stit. You can drink a coffee on the peak or take your lunch in a small café Deno. There is a unique hotel here where you can spend a night in one of two comfortable suits. It is very romantic to stay at such height from where you can see the stars and the surroundings.
3. Velke HIncovo Pleso is the deepest lake in the region. The depth is 53 meters while the area is 20.08 hectares. The lake is 1946 meters above sea level. It is located close to the Polish border in Mengus valley. It is not difficult to reach this lake as there are multiple hiking routes here. The closest town is Strbske Pleso. If clouds cover this place, you can feel like you are on the edge of the world where an unknown mystery is hidden beyond the mist.
4. Strbske Pleso (do not confuse with the resort having the same name and a lake). This is the most visited lake in Slovakia. It is located close to Velke Hincovo Pleso, but at 1350 meters above sea level. This lake is very beautiful and is open to all tourists. This is the only lake where guests can take wooden boats and admire the views. You can see Skok waterfall from here. This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Tatras. By the way, this tradition of boating has a long 130 years history.
5. Tatras route is the longest tourist route having 46 kilometers length. It crosses the Southern slope of the mountain. The difference in height here is more than one kilometer from 963 to 2037 meters. The road is made of a big stone. It starts in Podbasnske and ends in Tatras Kotlin. You need four days to cover the whole route. There are special houses to spend nights. During the tour, you will see all main sites including Strbske and Popradske Pleso, Hrebienok peak, Lomnice slopes, Skalnate Pleso.
Winter in the High Tatras
If you come here in winter you will enjoy skiing here. This industry started to develop in the XIX century as Slovakian nobles paid their attention to this new and interesting activity. There are three main winter sports centers in the region including Tatras Lomnica, Strbske Pleso, and Stary Smokovec. A free SkiBus can take to any of those three points. The parts of the region are connected with the railroad.
There is one ski pass for all three parts of the resort.
Tatras Lomnica is one of the most popular ski resorts in the High Tatras. It is dynamically developing and offers new opportunities to the visitors. A new cableway for 15 persons was opened recently. It takes you to Skalnate Pleso. A system of artificial snowing was installed for two kilometers of tracks.
Tatras Lomnice has three skiing areas. Yami is the lowest one. Here you can find the easiest tracks, which are suitable for the beginners. More skilled skiers choose Skalnate Pleso (1750 meters above sea level). Audi Ski Arena is located there. Every skier can be as a participant in international competitions. There are start gates, flags on the track and a scoreboard where you can see your time. You can check your skills or compete with your friends to find out who is the best.
The highest and the most difficult part of the resort is Lomnica Sedlo (2190 meters above sea level). Those tracks are for professional skiers and free riders. The difference between the height in the highest and the lowest point is more than one kilometer. Here you can rent equipment and have lessons in local ski school. There are Russian speaking instructors here. The most popular hotels are: «Grand Hotel Praha», «Hotel Lomnica», «Horizont Resort», « Kukucka Mountain Hotel and Residences». They all have their own SPAs.
Strbske Pleso. This resort is located 1350 meters above sea level and is one of the highest in Slovakia. It has a unique feature – a healing air, which helps to heal respiratory diseases. There are several resorts here. A biosphere reserve is also a part of this region.
Skiers can use several tracks of nine kilometers in total. There are both blue and red routes here. You can easily find them on the Southern slope of Predne Solisko. There are also routes for classic skis. Their total length is 20 kilometers. They are suitable for different styles of skiing. This place hosted ski competitions during the Universiade of 2015.
Strbske Pleso invites also biathlons, alpinists and ski jumpers. Snow Park is another place to visit in Strbske Pleso. Both children and adults will enjoy their stay here. You can ride on tubings, try your luck in bungee jumping, take part in different contests accompanied by the mascot of the park. There is all the necessary infrastructure for your stay. A five-star hotel Grand Hotel Kempinski is located close to Strbske Pleso.
Stary Smokovec. This is the oldest ski resort in Slovakia where first hotels and tourist houses appeared in the XIX century. Those houses are a kind of hostel where tourists can take a rest stay for the night and continue their adventure later. Some of those buildings are active currently. The system of hostels is widely spread in Tatras nowadays.
There are no difficult tracks for skiers here. Yakubova Luka slope is almost flat and is suitable for children. Hrebienok pike is higher (1280 meters) and is more difficult, but it is also suitable for novice skiers. This is a unique place and it is recommended to visit it if you are in Tatras. The only working funicular in Slovakia connects Hrebienok and Stary Smokovec. This route was opened in 1908.
Tatry Ice Master contest takes place each winter at the top of the mountain. The masters from all over the world show their skills in the ice sculpture. You can ride sleds here as there is a special track on the slope. You will enjoy this ride with a 100% guarantee. The most popular hotels are «Grand Apartments Hrebienok», «Apartment Luna Hrebienok», «Grand Stary Smokovec»
Hiking is also popular in the High Tatras resorts, but the majority of routes are closed in winter. You can take them from May to October. They are unsafe in winter and you may even have a fine if you decide to walk there during the ski season. However, some routes are still open in winter. You can start on the top of Hrebienok and reach famous Stydenij Potok waterfalls, from Silesian House hotel to Stary Smokovec. As for the more difficult routes, you can take the following: Silesian House – Sedlo (1966.4 meters above sea level) – Popradske Pleso (1500 meters above sea level) – Strbske Pleso.
Interesting facts about the High Tatras
- The territory of the modern High Tatras was an island 200 million years ago. 2.5 meters dinosaurs inhabited this region. You can visit Bratislava paleontologic museum to learn more about their appearance.
- There are several mineral sources in this region. Five of them are located in Stary Smokovec. All the lakes of the High Tatras appeared during the melting os ice and the water filled empty spaces.
- Chamois is the symbol of the High Tatras region. Other animals inhabiting those lands are bears, golden eagle, groundhog, brown trout.
- Queen Elizabeth has visited Stary Smokovec in 2008. She used funicular to mount the Hrebienok peak. This was the first official visit of a ski resort for Elizabeth.
- All stores are closed at 18.00 even in tourist centers. You should keep this information in mind and buy everything you need in advance.
The High Tatras region is called Best in Europe for many reasons. It surprises tourists, charm visitors. There are multiple enterntainment activities here during both winter and summer periods (including the above-mentioned hotel under the starts). Those advantages make the High Tatras the leading resort region in Europe.
However, those titles and awards are not important. The High Tatras region has some exclusive features that attract tourists. Those exclusive features include picturesque scenery during the sunrise, which you can see above the mountains, the limitless number of stars in the sky during the night, the river flow that can be boiling in some moments, but becoming calm later. The charm of this region is in snowflakes and the crystal sound of waterfalls. Every minute that you stay here you will remember for the whole life in your own book of memories.