Ultimate Travel Guide to High Tatras Slovakia: How to Plan Your Trip

High Tatras Slovakia Travel Guide

Well the news is out, I’m now officially listing Slovakia’s High Tatras as one of my top travel dupes!

The perfect spot to enjoy stunning mountains scenery and incredibly alpine activities for a fraction of what the Alps or the Dolomites might cost you, I honestly can’t believe that this amazing spot in central Europe isn’t more know about… or visited!

And that’s even by professional travel bloggers!

Because whilst I’ve been to neighbouring countries like Czechia and Poland 3 or 4 times before, I had never ventured into the Slovakian Tatras… or at least I hadn’t until my trip there last month.

And as you might have guessed, I was blown away.

Hiking here as a solo female across 4 amazing days at the very beginning of spring, the offbeat and solitude of this striking environment was nothing short of astounding.

So if you’re looking to discover one of Europe’s last untouched mountain areas, Slovakia’s High Tatras come highly recommended…

Slovakia, High Tatra, Popradské Pleso and Me


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Why Visit Slovakia’s High Tatras?

Slovakia, High Tatra, Me With View

If I haven’t spelled it out well enough in the introduction, then you really want to visit Slovakia’s High Tatras if you’re looking for stunning alpine lakes, epic mountains landscapes, fab hiking, great biking and skiing.

And if you want to enjoy all these for less, as well as escape large crowds, the High Tatras in Slovakia really are a fantastic travel idea.

Because, despite being located in the heart of the EU, the Tatras are a surprisingly cheap and uncrowded destination.

Also a wildlife hotspot, the highly endangered Tatra Chamois is one of the endemic species here that is thankfully now increasing in numbers following a programme to save them that began in 2001.

As well as chamois, marmots, brown bears, wolves and lynx, plus red and roe deer at lower altitudes, can also be spotted across this pristine environment.

Fantastic for families, couple, groups and solo travellers, as I found out, the High Tatras are also a very safe destination, with a fantastic diversity of attractions and one heck of a photogenic backdrop!


About the High Tatras

Slovakia, High Tatra, Štrbské Pleso

The High Tatras are a range of mountains that extend across both Poland and Slovakia.

In Slovakia, they are known as Vysoké Tatry, and can be found in the north east of the country, in the Tatra National Park – a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

The capital of the Slovakian High Tatras is the city of Poprad-Tatry, often shorted to just Poprad.

A small place of just over 50,000 people, Poprad is the main access town for the High Tatras and is located in the valley at the base of the range.

From Poprad you can connect to other destinations in Slovakia and Europe by train and plane, as well as transit to the smaller towns in the foothills of the Tatra where many hikes and activities begin.

The High Tatras are actually part of the Carpathian Mountain range that begins in Slovakia and runs all the way down to Romania – making it the second longest range in Europe.

Many of the highest peaks across the entire Carpathians, are in the High Tatras, including the Gerlachovský štít, which is the tallest summit at an impressive 2,655m high.


How to Get to the High Tatras in Slovakia

Slovakia, High Tatra, Poprad Airport

Another of the great things I loved about my time in the Tatras was how well connected the region is, especially by public transport.

This is such a welcome relief compared to many other mountain areas in Europe, and great news for those trying to travel more sustainably, or as a solo traveller on a budget.


Train to Poprad From Bratislava

I began my Slovakian journey in the capital of Bratislava, which meant I was perfectly placed to catch the train to the High Tatras.

With at least 3 trains direct daily, the shortest journeys are around 4 hours long, but still incredibly cheap.

Due to a missed train (won’t go into details, but it might have had something to do with the wine tasting the night before!), I ended up booking a second train on the same day as I travelled and it still only cost me around 15€ an absolute bargain!

I booked my train journey from Bratislva to Poprad-Tatry through the National Slovak Railway site and opted for second class.

The train was an old Soviet style train, but inside it was clean and comfy, with good reserved seating and a fold down table each.

The views on the way from Bratislava to Poprad by train are amazing.

I definitely recommend grabbing a window seat on the left side of the carriage if you can.

Seats can be reserved at the time of booking.


Flying to Poprad-Tarty

It’s also great to know that Poprad has its own airport.

At 718m above sea level, it’s one of the highest airports in Central Europe.

It’s also one of the most scenic I’ve ever been to!

With the Tatras looming right behind the airport, you can sit in the gate, as well as the plane, and watch the mountains directly in front of you!

It’s pretty magical.

The airport is also very close to Poprad itself, as well as the smaller Tatra towns and a taxi takes just 15 minutes to get there.

If you’re coming from further afield, this small airport makes the High Tatras incredibly easy to access, as you don’t have to route through the capital of Bratislava if you don’t wish.

I flew from the Tatras back to London and was delighted my direct Ryanair flights took just 2.5 hours.

As always, I used Skyscanner to find the best flight deals.


Driving to Poprad

You can also drive to Poprad of course.

If you’re road tripping through Slovakia or Central Europe, this option will give you more flexibility, especially if you want to hop over the border and explore the Tatras in Poland too, where the main town is Zakopane.

If you’re looking to rent a car, check out Discover Cars who offer some great rates.


Best Time to Visit?

Slovakia, High Tatra, Church

Slovakia’s High Tatras really are an all-year destination, with the peak season being the summer months of July and August.

From ski resorts in the winter, to incredibly hiking and cycling opportunities in the summer, this incredible outdoor playground really is open 12 months of the year.

I visited the High Tatras in March and while spring was bursting into life in Bratislava, the Tatras were still very much a snowy land.

This did mean a lot of the higher altitude hikes were out of reach, but thankfully I still got to enjoy some of the epic ones on the lower elevations… more about this later on.

It was also very cold – regularly under zero degrees at night – but thankfully some gorgeous blue sky days still allowed for epic views of the snow-capped mountains.

If you want to hike in the Tatras too, I highly recommend you head there in the months of May and June, when the trails will be snow-free and the crowds of the summer holidays won’t yet have arrived.

If you’re keen to ski or snowboard, then December through February are the best months to go.

Keep reading to learn about the best ski resorts in Slovakia’s High Tatras to head for.


Things to Do in Slovakia’s High Tatras

Slovakia, High Tatra, Hiking Signs

With so many great things to do in the High Tatras of Slovakia, I’m going to keep this list quite short, sharing the highlights so you can then research further.


Summer Months

With great weather from May to September, the summer months in the High Tatras are the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors here.



Take it from me, Slovakia’s High Tatras have some of the best hiking I’ve ever enjoyed in Europe – no joke!

From uncrowded forest trails to stunning lakes, high peaks to alpine towns, this is an amazing way to explore the area.

Not only are there clear signs at the start and end of the trails, but along the way, the colour coded system of symbols also makes following the various route very easy.

You can use the Tatra Electric Railway to get to the nearest town or village for the start of your chosen hike, and then plan either a linear or circular route to get you to a train station for the journey back.

I definitely recommend downloading a map of the hiking trails before you set off to as a back up.

My top High Tatra day hikes are:

  • Popradské Pleso to Štrbské Pleso
  • Hriebienok to Zamkovskeho Chata

Learn more in this guide I wrote to hiking in Slovakia.



There’s also fab mountain biking to enjoy in the High Tatras during the summer, with lots of dedicated trails and routes to choose from.


Winter Months

Between November and April, thick snow blankets this high altitude region and activities are definitely limited to winter sports.

And by that, I mainly mean skiing… although nordic walking and spas also feature!



There are 2 main winter resorts in Slovakia’s High Tatras – Tatranská Lomnica and Štrbské Pleso.

Ski lifts and passes here can be bought at the resort directly, or online in advance for black, red and blue runs.

If you don’t want to ski, but want to admire the views or enjoy the apres ski, then there’s a great system of cable cars and chair lifts that can take you up various mountains as a non-skier too.



After a hard day on the slopes, relaxing in spa is a great way to unwind.

The spa at Hotel Ovruč, during your stay at this fab accommodation in Štrbské Pleso, comes highly recommended with jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and UV sauna.


All Year Attractions

There are also several great things to do in Slovakia’s High Tatras all year round, especially the cultural and heritage attractions, which are ideal in sun or snow!


Štrbské Pleso

  • Tatras Tower – a fab observation deck you can climb up for epic views
  • Poseidon statue – a famous icon near lake viewpoint that’s worth the short walk to get to


Starý Smokovec

  • Tricklandia – an interactive illusions exhibition ideal for families
  • Vila Flora – a small museum & gallery in an alpine chalet
  • Vila Alice – a picturesque historic house
  • Smokovec Church – a cute, traditional church
  • Tatry Vnútri – a local art gallery


How to Get Around the Slovakian Tatras?

Another amazing thing about travelling in the High Tatras, especially as solo traveller without a car, is how easy it is to get around the region.

The Tatra Electric Railway connects all the main towns and villages in the area, including Poprad in the valley and the row of smaller towns in the foothills of the range.

There’s 3 different lines on the system, which interconnect, and trains run from early morning to late evening, about once an hour.

I found it useful to check timetables on Google, as they aren’t that easy to decipher at the stations.

This means getting to trailheads and attractions, even if you don’t have a car, is very easy here – great if you want to enjoy linear as opposed to circular hiking routes.

Tickets for the Tatra Electric Railway can be bought at the station in the main towns, from the in-person counter, and then validated in the machine onboard the train.

It costs 2-3€ for a return journey depending on the distance.

The trains are modern, clean and comfortable with stops shown on digital screens inside the carriages and announcements given in both Slovak and English.


How Many Days for the Tatras?

Slovakia, High Tatra, Tatras Tower

I spent 4 days in the High Tatras and manged to see and do quite a lot in that time.

However, I could easily have stayed a week.

Here’s the itinerary I followed:

Day 1: Travel from Bratislava to Poprad, explore Poprad and Stary Smokovec

Day 2: Explore Tatranská Lomnica including the town, ski resort, cable cars and peaks like Lomnický stít

Day 3: Hike Popradské Pleso to Štrbské Pleso and explore the ski resort and town of Štrbské Pleso

Day 4: Hike Hriebienok to Zamkovskeho Chata


Where to Stay in Slovakia’s High Tatras?

In my opinion, the best place to stay in Slovakia’s High Tatras is the town of Starý Smokovec.

Very well connected by the Tatra Electric Railway (it’s where 2 lines interconnect), this town had excellent links to Poprad as well as other important sites and towns like Štrbské Pleso, Hriebienok and Tatranská Lomnica.

While Poprad is larger and in the valley, the smaller spot of Starý Smokovec is in the foothills of the Tatras, with the mountains much closer and a more quaint and cute alpine feel to it.

Small enough to feel relaxed and charming, but large enough to have a good number of hotels and amenities (including an ATM), Starý Smokovec is the perfect Tatra base in my opinion.

And the best place to stay in the town is Vila Olivia.

Just a 5 minute walk from the station, this fantastic apartment-hotel offers spacious and comfortable accommodation with gorgeous views from its mountain-facing balconies.

Staying here also allows you discounted entry to local attractions in the Tatras using the MYAPLEND loyalty system.

My apartment boasted a full bathroom with washing machine, a living space with cosy sofa and TV, a kitchenette with a nespresso machine and a double bedroom with strong wifi, making it the perfect place to stay during my Slovakian High Tatra adventure.


Where to Eat

Slovakia, High Tatra, Vegetarian Food

Slovakia is a pretty heavy meat-eating country, so if you’re a vegetarian like me, who still wants to eat local cuisine, it can be tough.

Luckily I discovered Koliba Kamzík while I was in Starý Smokovec.

Located in the centre of town, this cute place offers a large range of local dishes, including some with a veggie twist – hoorah!

The décor is very traditional and cute and, housed inside a characterful wooden chalet, the prices are great too.

Open for lunch and dinner it’s the best place to eat in the High Tatras in my opinion.

Other fab eating spots that come recommended are Salaš Slavkov in Veľký Slavkov and Olívia Restaurant in Tatranská Lomnica.


Are Slovakia’s High Tatras Safe?

Slovakia, High Tatra, Skiers

I travelled alone as a solo female in the High Tatras and felt totally safe.

Walking around the towns of the Tatras in the evening, say to dinner and back, was also hassle-free.

I also felt very safe hiking alone.

Despite encountering almost no one on the trails, paths were well-marked and simple to follow.

Despite this, accidents can happen of course, so it’s a good idea to have a phone with a reliable data connection.

I really like aloSIM, a great eSIM company, that allow you to use your phone throughout Slovakia without any crazy roaming fees.

It’s also important to get insurance of course, to protect yourself physically when enjoying activities in Slovakia’s High Tatras.

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.




So there you have it, my complete travel guide to Slovakia’s High Tatras.

I honestly couldn’t believe how little attention this stunning region gets and while I understand that telling others about it will likely cause more people to visit, and some it’s charm to be lost, this place really is too good of a secret to keep to myself!

Have any questions about travelling in the High Tatras still?

Please just drop them into the comments box and I’ll get back to you…


My trip to the High Tatras was kindly sponsored by APLEND apartments & resorts but, as always, all views are my own.

This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.


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