hikes in High Tatras
Stretching for 39.8mi along the frontier between Slovakia and Poland, the High Tatras are Central Europe’s most romantic mountains. These towering peaks have inspired poets and writers for generations, with thrilling spires and craggy ridges, lush forests and peaceful mountain lakes. This under-appreciated corner of Europe is just waiting to be discovered.
Hiking in the High Tatras is a pure delight, with over 372.8mi of pristine trails and routes to suit hikers of all levels. You’ll find a range of hikes from gentle lakeside strolls to epic ascents of rocky peaks and everything in between, meaning that there’s something here whatever your experience or fitness level. You’ll find color-coded trails and easy-to-follow way-markers, as well as full-service mountain refuges where you can find a place to sleep and a slap-up meal after an exhilarating day in the mountains.
The High Tatras are a haven for wildlife, providing a rugged, wild landscape for many different species, some of which are endangered. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a lynx, wild boar, brown bear or a Tatra chamois (a local type of goat-antelope). It’s also a wonderful place to enjoy the magnificent wild flowers of Slovakia, with thousands of different species of flowering plants, ferns, algae, moss and lichens. Wandering through the forests and mountains is a feast for the senses, with fragrant plants and fabulous colors wherever you go.
What’s more, the High Tatras, despite attracting many hikers over the summer season, tend to feel less crowded than other places in Europe, such as the Alps or the Dolomites. It’s easy to lose the crowds, immerse yourself in the wilderness, and enjoy the majestic beauty of the Slovakian mountains. It’s time to put the High Tatras on your hiking bucket list.
Top 10 Hikes In High Tatras
The High Tatras Mountains are packed with hiking trails to suit every visitor, whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced mountaineer. The tall mountains and lush valleys are the perfect backdrop for an easy family hike, in many cases passing by tranquil lakes or through fragrant pine forests. On the other hand, the craggy peaks of the High Tatras offer plenty of challenges for experienced hikers, with some gravity-defying ascents using chains and ladders to reach the best viewpoints in Slovakia. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find a trail to suit you.
- Popradské Pleso Hike: This stunning route is one of the most popular hikes in the High Tatras, and it’s easy to see why! You’ll pass through a gorgeous forest of fragrant pines, with views of the spectacular Solisko Mountain Range. The trail descends gradually to the shores of the magical Popradské Lake, where you can enjoy a peaceful pit stop at the Majláthova Mountain Hut.
- Jamské Pleso Hike: This hike is perfect for families with young children, as the trail leading to the beautiful Jamské Pleso is flat and shaded. The lake itself is simply spectacular, flanked by the Tatra Mountains to the right and the Slovakian lowlands to the south. The trail passes through wonderful woodlands and open fields, and there are plenty of shaded spots by the lake that are just perfect for a picnic!
- Slavkovsky Štit Hike: The trek to Slavkovsky Peak is a challenging hike in the High Tatras, but the route isn’t too technical, and it should be manageable for fit hikers. You’ll gain a lot of elevation in a short distance, jumping from boulder to boulder and passing along a series of rocky switchbacks. The views make all the effort worthwhile, with a jaw-dropping view from the 8045ft-summit.
- Zamkovského Mountain Chalet Hike: This fun family hike snakes through fragrant pine forests, crossing over gurgling streams and passing by a beautiful waterfall. The sheer diversity of the scenery on offer is characteristic of the High Tatras, and makes for an extremely pleasant day out in the hills. The hike is not too strenuous, but as the mountain views open up you’ll be blown away by the beautiful vista.
- Zelené Pleso Hike: The hike to the beautiful Zelené Pleso (Green Lake) is one of our favorite hikes in the High Tatras. The route ascends through the forest (although it’s possible to take the cable car to avoid the initial climb) before emerging on to a beautiful mountain ridge. The trail then descends into the valley until you reach the stunning lake, flanked by craggy peaks and a picturesque mountain chalet. This is one of the loveliest day hikes in the High Tatras.
- Nad Dlhym Vodospadem Hike: This wonderful route is one of the best family hikes in the High Tatras, passing through a beautiful pine forest before reaching a lively waterfall. It’s a great option for kids as the trail is packed with informative panels that include details about the flora and fauna of the High Tatras. There are plenty of good picnicking spots and kids will love scrambling over the boulders near the waterfall.
- Mlynická Dolina to Furkotská Dolina Loop Hike: This incredible route will take you all the way to the Mlynická Valley, passing by a plunging waterfall and some beautiful mountain tarns. The route is a little strenuous, and you’ll need to use your hands in places, but the sheer variety of wonderful scenery along the way makes it all worthwhile. Make sure to bring hiking poles to help with the tough descents, or alternatively, make this into an easy, family-friendly walk by simply taking the out-and-back trail to the Skok waterfall.
- Štrbské Pleso Hike: Looking for an easy, family-friendly hike in the High Tatras? Look no further than this trail to the magical Štrbské lake. The route circumnavigates the lake, offering fantastic views at every stage of the hike, and there are regular information boards to allow you to learn a little more about the unusual flora and fauna found nearby. Come in the morning or early evening to avoid the crowds, and for a real sense of solitude, you can even take a boat ride and admire the mountains from the center of the lake itself.
- Mount Rysy Hike: This challenging trek is one of the best hikes in the High Tatras, taking you all the way to the summit of Mount Rysy, highest mountain in Poland and seventh highest in Slovakia. This is a strenuous hike, not for the faint-hearted, requiring the use of ladders and chains, so try to start early in the day and take your time. The incredible views all the way up and at the summit are your reward for a tough but satisfying day out in the mountains.
- Belianska Jaskyna Hike: This short hike is one of the best family hikes in the High Tatras, passing through a picturesque forest with lovely views of the Belianske Tatry. The destination is the Belianska Cave, which is well worth a visit, but this forest is a destination all by itself. Kids will enjoy the information panels that describe the local animals that populate the region, including wolves, brown bears, and lynx.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In High Tatras?
The best time to hike in the High Tatras is between mid-June and the end of September. During the summer months, the mountains are perfect for hiking, although snow can linger on the high ground until May or even early June. If you’re hoping to avoid the crowds, we think that the best time to visit the High Tatras is in the autumn, in September or even early October. Although the hiking season usually ends at the end of October, visitors can still enjoy many of the trails in October, in addition to seeing the fantastic autumn colors when the leaves turn. What’s more, the weather is usually mild and dry in the autumn, creating perfect conditions for hiking. In winter, the region is covered in a thick blanket of snow that means that many of the trails are inaccessible, but offers the possibility of all kinds of winter sports.
Other Outdoor Activities In High Tatras
The High Tatras Mountains are a haven for hikers, with 372.8mi of well-trodden trails through some sublime scenery. However, if you’re in search of adventure, you’ll find plenty of other outdoor activities in the High Tatras! In particular, this region is well known for its mountain biking trails, with a fantastic network of routes to suit both younger visitors and experienced bikers. In addition, you can also try your hand at caving, canoeing, kayaking, rafting and fishing. Once the snows hit, you’ll be able to go skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing at one of the wonderful winter resorts. This beautiful region is a playground for thrill-seekers and adventurers, with plenty of variety to keep visitors happy for weeks on end.
How To Plan A Trip To High Tatras
Want to discover the beauty of the High Tatras, but not sure where to start? Don’t worry – we’ve put together a guide to planning a trip to the High Tatras that will give you all the answers. We’ve thought of all the most important questions, and compiled insider tips on where to stay, where to eat, and most important, the hiking trails you absolutely should not miss. Head for the hills and discover some of Slovakia’s most beautiful mountains.
Frequently-Asked-Questions About High Tatras
How high are the Tatra Mountains?
The Tatra Mountains include approximately 300 peaks over 64 km along the Solvakian-Polish frontier. The highest peak in the range is Gerlachovsky Peak, which stands at an elevation of 8743ft.
How do you get from the High Tatras to Bratislava?
The best way to get to the High Tatras from Bratislava is by train, which takes just under 4 hours and costs around €50. If you’re travelling by car, the distance is 346 km and takes just under 4 hours.
Where can I stay in the High Tatras?
There are many wonderful towns in the High Tatras that may be used as a good base for a hiking trip. We’d recommend heading for Tatranská Lomnica, Štrbské Pleso or Poprad, for excellent connections to some of the best hiking trails.
Are there bears in the Tatra Mountains?
Local conservationists have identified 45 brown bears in the High Tatras, of which 15 live primarily on the Polish side of the border. Slovakia is also home to a healthy population of wolves.
The best hikes in High Tatras
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