When someone asks me what to do in Slovakia, the first thing that comes to mind is not visiting Bratislava but hiking in the High Tatras.
Slovakia has unique folk architecture, stunning castles, delicious cuisine, historic towns and plenty of thermal spas but above all, it has a beautiful nature.
The High Tatras (Vysoké Tatry) is an iconic mountain range in Slovakia. Picture lush forests, waterfalls and rocky paths leading to pristine alpine lakes with scenic mountain views.
High Tatras hiking is an excellent way to explore Slovak nature and is one of the best places to go hiking in the country. Whether you take a leisurely walk around Strbske Pleso lake or challenge yourself and conquer some of Slovakia's highest peaks, such as Rysy or Kriváň, you will surely have an unforgettable experience.
If you get lucky, you might even spot cute chamois, a mountain goat native to the Tatra mountains.
But you don't need to be super fit to enjoy this place. There are plenty of other relaxing activities and easy hikes in the High Tatras to take in the breathtaking mountain scenery.
In this guide, I'll share useful information for visiting and hiking in the High Tatras, plus other fun things to do in the area.
Štrbské Pleso in Slovakia reminds me of Canada. It's a glacial lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks and a lush forest with scenic Hotel Patria in the backdrop.
Štrbské Pleso resort village is a great starting point to explore the High Tatras and go on one of the many popular day hikes.
Strbske Pleso educational trail is an easy hiking path around the lake that takes about 2.5h. The educational trail has information boards about the High Tatra's vegetation, wildlife and history scattered along the path.
If you prefer a quieter and more secluded atmosphere, go for an easy hike from Štrbské Pleso to Lakes of Love. I like the cute wooden bridges along the way.
The trail to Lakes of Love starts at the car park opposite the hotel Ubytovňa SHB.
In the summer, a fun thing to do is rent a boat and paddle through Štrbské Pleso lake.
For something more challenging, hike from Štrbské Pleso to another alpine lake Popradské pleso by following a red trail (about a 4h round trip).
It's a beautiful scenic hike with moderate difficulty and spectacular views. Once you reach Popradské pleso lake, there is a hotel with an on-site restaurant and an outdoor patio serving traditional Slovak cuisine, such as bryndzové halušky.
What a fantastic way to reward yourself after your hike!
If you still have energy, you can continue your hike for another 2hours to Veľké Hincovo pleso, the deepest and largest lake in High Tatras.
On the way back, follow the yellow trail and make a small detour to see the Symbolic cemetery dedicated to people who died in the High Tatras.
Another epic hike in the High Tatras is to Zelene pleso (Green Lake).
It's a full-day hike (7-8h roundtrip) that starts from Tatranska Lomnica. The good news is you can shave off 2-3h by taking a cable car to Skalnaté Pleso.
The cable car ride costs around 20 euros and takes roughly 10 mins. You can buy tickets from the information center in Tatranská Lomnica or online via GoPass.
Purchasing tickets upfront is especially recommended during the peak summer season.
Once you get off the cable car, walk to the right past the restaurant toward the Astronomical Observatory. From there, follow the signs to Zelené Pleso (Green Lake).
Once you reach Zelené Pleso, you'll be rewarded by the jaw-dropping scenery of the lake. There is also a cute mountain chalet with a restaurant where you could stay overnight or grab a bite to eat.
Accommodation reservations can only be made by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
If walking along cascading waterfalls, greenery and mountain huts sound like your cup of tea, then I have one more pleasant hike for you.
First, head to Stary Smokovec to ski resort Hrebienok. From there, follow the green trail to Bilíkova chata and the Hrebienok waterfalls (vodopady).
Continue to Rainerova chata.
The last stop is a mountain hut, Zamkovského chata and Obrovský vodopad (Giant waterfall).
You can return back following the red trail.
If you want to go hiking without the planning, try a day hike with a local mountain guide in High Tatras.
If you don't feel like hiking, I have a solution for you. One of the top attractions in the High Tatras is taking the cable car to one of the tallest Slovak peaks - Lomnický štít (2634m), starting from Tatranská Lomnica.
On top, you can enjoy not only the epic mountain scenery but also a drink at cafe Dedo. Hot chocolate or Pilsner beer is a must-try. They also have delicious desserts.
The peak looks beautiful in all seasons, but it seems to be the most magical in winter when fully covered in snow.
Get your adrenaline rush on a bobsled ride in Tatranska Lomnica.
It might feel short for some (0.5km), but it's fun nonetheless, especially if you travel with kids. The ride is open year-round.
You have the breaks, so you can control the speed.
If the weather doesn't cooperate, visiting Tricklandia is a perfect indoor activity with fun, artistic illusion exhibits for all ages.
You can wander around and explore the 3D trick gallery, enchanted forest, fatal library room, turned-over chamber, and more.
You’ll have lots of opportunities to snap cool photos.
Aquacity in Poprad is a waterpark and spa. It offers 13 indoor and outdoor pools with warm thermal waters (28-38C), water slides and other attractions, making it a great family destination.
The thermal water comes straight from the Earth and contains around 20 minerals that have natural healing properties. The mineral water’s therapeutic effects are especially beneficial to the skin. In addition, the minerals can aid the healing process of diseases related to the musculoskeletal, respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems.
You can pamper yourself with massages and various wellness treatments.
In addition, there are a few on-site restaurants to satisfy your cravings.
Slovakia has an abundance of underground caves. One of the caves open to the public is the Belianska cave.
You'll explore its magical environment of enormous halls and thin corridors surrounded by interesting rock formations shaped over a hundred years. There is also a music hall with incredible acoustics.
The cave tour lasts about 70 mins, and you'll climb 860 stairs up and down.
The cave is cold, humid and a bit slippery, so dress accordingly.
The High Tatras region has many picturesque wooden churches from the 19th century.
Check the wooden churches in:
Tatranská Javorina (Kostol sv. Anny)
Dolný Smokovec (Church of the Blessed Savior)
Tatranská Kotlina (Kostol Nanebovzatia Panny Márie)
Starý Smokovec church
They're all still operational and have interesting wooden architecture and interiors.
Once you get tired of hiking, you can explore the mountains on an e-bike instead. You can rent e-bikes from the rental shop Požičovňa e-bike Štrbské Pleso.
There are many cycling routes to choose from.
Set in a prime mountain location in Tatranska Javorina, lodge Hohenlohe was originally built in 1883-85 as a private hunting getaway for Christian Craft Hohenlohe-Öhringen.
The original wooden design is still preserved.
Although the lodge is only open to visitors on Thursdays, the stunning mountain scenery makes it worth the visit any time of the week.
The most optimal time for hiking in the High Tatras is from June to October.
All mountain huts, except the hut Chata pod Rysmy and their access trails, are open year-round.
Summer is also the busiest season in the Tatra mountains. If you prefer fewer crowds, then September or October might be ideal. However, the weather in autumn can be more unpredictable.
The ski season in the High Tatras generally lasts from December to March/April. Popular ski resorts in the High Tatras are Jasná and Tatranská Lomnica.
There is a small Poprad-Tatry Airport (TAT) in Poprad, only around 30 minutes drive from the High Tatras. Wizzair Airlines provide frequent direct flights from London (LTN) to Poprad.
Poprad is the closest airport, but larger surrounding airports have more connecting international flights.
Here are airports within a reasonable distance from High Tatras:
Košice Airport (Slovakia) – 2h drive
Kraków Airport (Poland) – 2h 45min drive
Bratislava Airport (Slovakia) – 3h 30min drive
Vienna International Airport (Austria) – 4h 25min drive
Budapest Airport (Hungary) – 4h 25min drive
Tatra Electric Railway connects all main towns within the High Tatras.
Although bus and train connections are available, renting a car will make your trip more flexible and convenient.
Please note that parking lots near popular hiking trails aren't free (they might cost you up to €10 for 4 hours of parking).
You can find accommodation in the historic town of Poprad or small ski resort towns - Štrbské Pleso, Tatranská Lomnica and Starý Smokovec.
High Tatras is a national park and protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Therefore some safety standards and rules apply:
Check the weather forecast prior to hike
Use only marked hiking trails that are open (From 1st November till 15th June, some of the higher-elevation hiking paths are closed, see winter closure)
Keep a safe distance from wildlife and do not disturb the peaceful flow of the nature
Camping within TANAP (Tatra National Park) is not permitted
Setting fire is allowed only in designated areas
Dogs are welcome but need to stay on the leash and wear a muzzle
Do not pick flowers
Do not enter the caves that are not open to public
Littering is not permitted
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Last Updated 6 September 2023