Updated: Dec 20, 2019
Surprisingly, living in the Czech Republic for the past 7 years, I have never been to High Tatras in Slovakia until NOW. This place you’re probably overlooking but shouldn’t.
For any of you readers considering visiting an European hiking destination with alpine views and shimmering clear lakes, I have advice for you: Go to the High Tatras.
The High Tatras Mountains (Vysoké Tatry) is like the Swiss Alps, only cheaper and less crowded.
WHERE TO STAY IN HIGH TATRAS
If you want to base yourself closer to the main trails, which we did, choose Stary Smokovec or Štrbské Pleso (the picture on the right); From Prague we took a direct train to Poprad (The gateway city to the High Tatras) and then took a local suburban train to Stary Smokovec.
WHAT TO SEE IN HIGH TATRAS
There are so many trails in High Tatras, everyone can find something for themselves! For our first time we picked a popular hike to Terry's cottage (Teryho chata), located in 2015 meters above the sea level. We started this hike from Stary Smokovec. The track was medium hard, long, but definitely spectacular! Here are the photos from this hike.
We saw everything on our way - the mountains lakes, the waterfalls, the cottage, and even the wild fox. :) The track took us about 6 hours on the way up, and 3 hours on the way back. It's possible to cut the way by taking a cable car from Stary Smokovec to Hrebenek (11 euros) it saves a couple hours on the both ways. The really beautiful places start after Hrebenek anyway, so it's worth to take it if you want to make more hiking on this day.
Another great hike is the top of Koprovský štít through Hincovo pleso (the biggest mountain lake in Tatras), starting in Popradske pleso. We are thinking to do this one maybe next year :)
Some general advices for High Tatras:
1. I don't recommend you to stay in Poprad. We've been there a couple hours on the last day and we didn't like it, there are definitely better options to stay in Tatras. I mentioned them before.
2. In summer Tatras have the highest season, the most popular month to go is July, August and September. July can be a bit rainy but the August is probably perfect. (It's more crowded in August though).
3. It rains quite often in Tatras. So don't forget to take a raincoat with you.
4. The approximate number of hours for some trails written on signs don't correspond the reality, always add at least one hour to it. From our experience:)
5. The mountain cottage is impossible to book in advance, it is like an emergency for people who do the long tracking in mountains. You might sleep there with 10 other people in the room. Be aware of it :)
6. The High Tatras become more and more popular, so I recommend you to book everything 2-3 months in advance if you go in summer.
And now more photos from our hiking!