The region of the High Tatras opens its gates to every visitor who wants to discover natural, cultural and historical jewels of Slovakia. Welcome to a region with administrative centres in the town of the High Tatras, village of Štrba and town of Poprad.
Town Vysoké Tatry (High Tatras)
The whole territory of the town is located within our oldest national park – the Tatra National Park (TANAP). The second largest town in Slovakia as to the area (380 km2) is interconnected by the so called Cesta Slobody (Road of Freedom) up to the settlement of Tatranská Kotlina. 15 parts of the town are administered by the settlement of Starý Smokovec, one of the most popular tourist centres along with Tatranská Lomnica. The territory of the town stretches in the High and Belianske Tatra Mts. in the northernmost part of the region of Spiš. With the number of inhabitants (5 000), it is considered a small town with developed tourism.
The oldest Tatra settlement is a key centre and the most significant part of the town of the High Tatras. This important crossroad of tourism is the seat of municipality, a railway junction of the Tatra Electric Railways, a turning point – with a cableway to Hrebienok, the seat of the Mountain Rescue Service of TANAP and Mountain guides of the Tatras. Starý Smokovec is just 13 kilometres far from Poprad and can be reached by public transport within 20 minutes.
- Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II. visited the area of the High Tatras in 2008, paying the historically first visit to a mountain resort ever, as claimed by the British media.
- The settlement part under Slavkovský štít (peak) is a starting point for difficult hiking trips and sough after because of its mineral water (Seltzer). This refreshing drink is available at five springs in Starý Smokovec. You will find them at the car park near a wooden summer house or next to a former amphitheatre.
- The dominant feature of the settlement is the more than 100-year old Grandhotel**** Starý Smokovec. This “old man” of the Tatras is unique due to its architecture and luxurious atmosphere in Art Nouveau style.
TIP – Take a funicular from Starý Smokovec to Hrebienok and enjoy the same feeling as Queen Elizabeth II. It is worth coming to a place without problems and worries, only beautiful nature and fresh mountain air around you. Only a few minutes from this starting point for various hiking trips, there are Bílik´s chalet, Rainer´s chalet and Hotel Hrebienok. If you feel like tasting traditional specialities, you will love the roasted Tatra trout with Lyonnaise potatoes and a chocolate ball of Queen Elizabeth as a dessert, all served in Grandhotel Starý Smokovec.
- There are four Smokovec settlements (Horný, Dolný, Starý and Nový). Each with a typical feature combining art and technology, preserving the mountain style as well as standard, though. There are sanatoriums for treating of respiratory diseases and tuberculosis and healing pavilions. You need between two to three hours to go through the whole area of all settlements.
- There is the House of Slovak writers called Timrava located in Horný Smokovec. It belongs to the Literary Fund and serves the recreation and creative moments of writers.
- Vila Flóra in Horný Smokovec deserves attention to be paid to, being an exhibition hall of the Tatra gallery where prominent Tatra painters show their works of art.
- There is also a chapel from the turn of the 19th and 20th century in Starý Smokovec.
TIP – If your time is limited but you feel like going for a short walk, come to visit the waterfalls of Studený potok. Start this half-day trip with a funicular taking you to Hrebienok or walk along the green marked tourist trail.
(1 285m above sea level) – The attractive destination of visitors to the High Tatras is located at the south-eastern end of the ridge of Slavkovský štít (peak). It is a 7-8-minute drive by a funicular from Starý Smokovec, surmounting a vertical drop of 246 metres or on foot lasting around 45 minutes. The area around Hrebienok is a popular destination for lovers of winter sports and a starting point for hiking trips to Malá Studená dolina and Veľká Studená dolina (valleys) and to Slavkovský štít (peak).
- The first ski lift was built here in 1956, with a length of 750 metres, leading to the area of Slavkovská vyhliadka. The steep meadow along the lift was the scene of the World cup in alpine skiing in 1970.
- Several attractions make Hrebienok a very special place. You can sledge down a 2,6-km long trail day and night or have an adrenaline experience with Skifox (combination of skiing and sledging), Snowbike (snow bike with mini skis instead of wheels), Snowcoot (mix of BMX and snowboard), or snowtubing (wild ride on a snow toboggan). The ski resort Jakubkova lúka is ideal for skiers – beginners or families with children.
- Enjoy the summer with the popular Summer tubing and a special downhill cycling in the Bike Park. Three tracks of the Bike Park lead from Hrebienok to Starý Smokovec and are easy to handle even for families with children.
TIP – Discover the Tatras in a non-traditional way. Take a funicular to Hrebienok in the morning. and come back to Hrebienok after an all-day hike e.g. to the Zbojnícka chalet and get down to Starý Smokovec by mountain scooters in all comfort. The downhill along an asphalt road is 2.7 km long and designed for everyone who can ride a bike.
is the easternmost and most beautiful tourist centre of the town of the High Tatras. It is located 6.7 km far from Starý Smokovec on the foot of Lomnický štít (peak). All its parks create a pleasant and cosy atmosphere.
- There was the first state spa established in this settlement. Constructional boom and building of the first Tatra grandhotels at Štrbské Pleso, Starý Smokovec and Tatranská Lomnica made this area attractive and unique.
- Grandhotel Praha**** towers proudly at a very special place in Tatranská Lomnica. This elegant hotel with timeless interior, which was ahead of its time with its technical parameters, was built in the early 20th century in 26 months. The historical grandhotel in Art Niveau style offers above-standard services and will spoil all your taste buds in four restaurants and bars. Enjoy a beautiful view of the silhouette of Lomnický and Kežmarský štít (peak) from your room.
TIP: Have you let yourself go on the slope of Lomnické sedlo (saddle) in the winter or finished a great hiking trip in the summer? Come to have a rest in a beautiful environment of Grandhotel Praha, for reasonable prices. Spend pleasant moments in the wellness&spa and its saunas with mountain herbs or the outdoor swimming pool with a view of the Tatras or enjoy a deer ragout with Tyrolean dumplings. Yum!
- There has been one suspension cable car operating to Skalnaté pleso since 1937 and another one to the peak of Lomnický štít for more than 70 years. The cable car to the peak surmounts a vertical drop of 856 from Skalnaté pleso.
TIP: Take a cable car from the station in Tatranská Lomnica up to Lomnický štít and surmount a vertical drop of 1 700 metres, with your head up in the clouds at an unbelievable altitude of 2 632 metres within several minutes. There is only one higher located place in the Tatras you can get to – the peak of Gerlachovský štít. However, with a mountain guide and not so fast and comfortably. If you come with children, they will fall for the Country of marmots at Skalnaté pleso. Walk with them and discover the nature in the fifth level of protection in a funny and easy way. If you are lucky with the weather, you can even see the Austrian Alps from the peak of Lomnický štít, 350 km far! Do you feel like having lunch at Lomnický štít? Why not! The stylish café Dedo offers delicious coffee on the terrace or Italian cuisine specialities. Being close to a starry sky, spend romantic moments in a suite at Lomnický štít with breakfast served at Skalnaté pleso. Don´t forget to book it now.
- Enjoy a panoramic view from Lomnický štít, a small natural botanical garden at the peak or an observatory of the solar corona.
- Skalnaté pleso (1 751m) being a mid-station when heading to Lomnický štít is the seat of the Institute of Astronomy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and a junction of several tourist trails leading to mountain chalets.
TIP: Those who love adrenaline in the summer can have fun at the mid-station Štart riding futuristic bountainboard scooters and Stanley rider go-carts up to Tatranská Lomnica. If you ski in the winter in “the saddle” (Lomnické sedlo), you will be happy about our Apres SKI bar with delicious drinks right on the slope and a great dance music. Near the lower station of the cableway, there is a popular music club Humno Tatry, which will enchant you with its original interior and never-ending fun, making you dance all night long.
- The Museum of TANAP, with the seat next to the bus station, has permanent expositions that teach the visitors on local mountain flora and fauna. Visiting the museum and observing its collections might be a great start of discovering natural beauties of the Tatras. There is the seat of the Research station of TANAP in the same building, too.
- It is about a 5-minute walk from the seat of TANAP to the Botanical garden – Exposition of the Tatra Nature open all year around with 270 species of Tatra plants on an area of 3.2 hectares. Buy seed or seedlings of some of them and plant them into your own garden.
Village of Štrba
Birthplace of the bronze medallist from the Winter Olympic Games 2010 in Vancouver, Pavol Hurajt is located 13.5 km from the tourist centre Štrbské Pleso and 16 km from Poprad. The area is crossed by the main European water divide between the Baltic and Black Sea. This border village of the county of Prešov includes parts like Tatranská Štrba, with the highest located railway station in Slovakia or the already mentioned settlement Štrbské Pleso. Tatranská Štrba is the birthplace of Miroslav Jambor, a successful table tennis player and silver and bronze medallist from the Paralympics in Beijing 2008.
- Not far from the village, there is the already perished settlement of Šoldov and a natural reserve Pastierske with precious plant species growing in the area. Traditional elements of folk architecture are preserved in the so called wooden house of Štrba – a cultural monument under a preservation order.
The third centre of tourism in the Tatras with the highest located Tatra settlement (1 350m above sea level). The most significant ski resort of the past held the FIS World Championships in Nordic skiing. The modern area for winter sports offers all-year attractions for all ages nowadays.
The tradition of boating on the tarn of Štrbské pleso is more than 130 years old and this unique place was even trying to become one of the seven new wonders of the world. The tarn has an extraordinary atmosphere that you must experience. Boating on the surface of Nové Štrbské pleso is becoming traditional,too.
- Enjoy sports and active relaxation on our “oxygen fitness track” around Štrbské pleso. 6 stops will enable you choose between less or more demanding alternative of fitness exercises.
- Have fun with your kids in our Squirrel rope park for approximately 45 minutes. The track designed for adults has 25 obstacles located on trees in the height of 5 metres, with the total length of 320 metres. Vent your excess energy off in the Fun Park or on the climbing wall.
- Do you feel like surmounting yourself? You will have maximum adrenaline with minimum risk! Do bungee jumping from a ski jump. Less courageous visitors can choose to climb up the smaller ski jump on foot.
- Those who like discovering and playing around, will fall for geocatching at Štrbské Pleso and reveal interesting hiding places in the nature with a GPS navigation system.
TIP: Intensify romantic moments on the surface of Štrbské pleso at Jazierka lásky (lakes of love), a place without a boating possibility but lovers declaring love to each other. These old ponds offer a peaceful place ideal for meditation. They are located around 300 metres from Štrbské pleso. Do you feel like enjoying a view of the surrounding area and seeing the world from above? Take a 4-chair lift to Mt. Solisko. Its “services” are used by skiers in the winter when slopes of Interski, Esíčko and the new slope of Furkota become a ski magnet number one. The more than 40-year old Hotel FIS*** with atypical architecture reminds of the Championships in Nordic skiing. You can feel this nostalgic atmosphere easily, with a delicious coffee and a crackling fire in the fire place located in the lobby of the Hotel FIS.
- The rag railway operating between Štrba and Štrbské Pleso is one of the two rag railways in Slovakia. Take a ride and surmount a vertical drop of 451 metres on a track of 4.7 km.
- Štrbské Pleso was attractive for film makers,too. The Czech film “Román pro muže” (A Men´s Novel) was shot in Grand hotel Kempinski High Tatras and the popular children´s fairytale from the 1980s – “Spadla z oblakov” (She Came out of the Blue Ssky) was filmed in the village. There was a fashion show of a Cuban fashion designer held on the frozen surface of Štrbské pleso or even horse polo, which was really successful. There were also unique sculptures made of six tones of ice in the background of the event.
The entrance gate to the High Tatras welcomes a lot of Slovak and foreign tourists every year, who head for various Tatra resorts. There is a choice of many directions for you. You can find yourself having one foot in the Tatra National Park or the National Park Low Tatras and the second one in the National Park Pieniny or the Slovak Paradise. Poprad is close to all of them. The geographical and strategic location of the town makes Poprad an ideal junction placed right on the main track between Bratislava and Košice with a possible connection to the Czech Republic or Ukraine, with an airport Poprad – Tatry providing international air connection.
- Find out more about the region under the Tatras through expositions in the Podtatranské museum, located in the town centre, or its separate part in Spišská Sobota, a historical jewel of the region of the High Tatras. This conservation area will enchant you with old terraced houses from previous centuries.
- Works of fine arts under the Tatras can be found among large collections at the Tatra gallery, with its unique seat in a former power plant building.
- Come to visit permanent expositions of an important doctor, botanist and scientist - Aurel Scherfel in Scherfel´s house in Poprad – Veľká.
- A copy of a braincase cast of the oldest and best-known man of Gánovce is preserved in the collections of Podtatranské museum.
- You will be attracted by the design of the construction of the year 2007 – Arena Poprad. This multi-purpose sports hall is one of the most modern “sports” constructions in Europe.
- Discover a water world under the Tatras in the most ecological resort of the world (in 2007 and 2008) - the aquapark Aquacity, with 13 thermal and relaxing pools, water slides, a modern wellnes&spa and a cryo-centre.
- Those of you who are keen golf fans should visit the Golf Resort Tatranská Lomnica with a master 27-hole course and all necessary facilities. Professional golf trainers are ready to teach beginners, too.
TIP: Discover the region of the High Tatras in various ways. Choose a sightseeing flight from the airport Poprad – Tatry, a balloon flight or tandem skydiving, a drive in a horse drawn carriage at Štrbské Pleso or Tatranská Lomnica, or discover the region on your own riding along cycle track heading to Lopušná dolina (valley). You can also take a ride on a 100-year old historical jewel of technology – a tram called Kométa along the tracks of electric railways. It is up to you which option you choose.
Suggested trips in the area
Region of Liptov
- Liptovský Mikuláš
- Tatralandia – adventure and fun in the largest water world in Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland.
- Centre of Koloman Sokol, a world famous painter and a graphic artist; House of Photography, Synagogue, the village of Vlkolínec – enlisted in UNESCO, an open-air museum Pribylina, Museum of Orava villages in Zuberec, Brestovská jaskyňa (cave) in a beautiful environment of the Western Tatras - Roháče; Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa (ice cave) – world´s natural heritage only 10 km from Liptovský Mikuláš.
- Medvedia Štôlňa – (gallery) – a miner´s piece of work you will remember for long, located in Žiarska dolina (valley) in the Western Tatras.
- Liptovská Mara – a water dam – for summer day trips ,with an archaeological site called Havránok or thermal swimming pools Bešeňová located nearby
- Východná – a village famous for the Folk Festival Východná with international attendance s medzinárodnou účasťou
- Važec – a memorial house of Ján Háll, German military cemetery or Važecká jaskyňa (cave)
- Liptovská Teplička – attracts tourists with its “hobbit-like“cellars, a starting point for the famous hiking trip to Mt. Kráľova hoľa.
Region of Spiš
- Ždiar – this Goral village belongs to Northern Spiš region; it is located between the Belianske Tatra Mts. and the mountain range of Spišská Magura and is unique for its folk architecture. It is only 32 km far from Poprad and 13 km from the Polish border.
- Belianska jaskyňa (cave) is the only cave of the Belianske Tatra Mts. open to the public, located next to the village of Tatranská Kotlina.
- Kežmarok – a district town located 15 km from Poprad with a dominating castle of Kežmarok and an articular church made without any nails or metal.
- Strážky – a manor house of the town part of Spišská Belá, a Renaissance jewel of Slovakia.
- Stará Ľubovňa – will enchant you with its castle of Ľubovňa and an open-air museum of folk architecture or the most precious timbered Greek Orthodox church in Matysová. The village of Litmanová located nearby is famous for regular monthly pilgrimages.
- Vyšné Ružbachy – mineral and thermal springs forming the base of a large spa area. There is also a travertine quarry with a gallery of interesting sculptures attracting the attention of visitors.
- Osturňa a Červený Kláštor – typical Goral villages with a conservation area of folk architecture and a Carthusian monastery.
- National Park Pieniny – will attract you with the rafting on the river of Dunajec on traditional wooden rafts.
- Southern Spiš – is the gate to the National Park Slovak Paradise. Discover the Renaissance fortress of the manor house of Markušovce – summer residence Dardanely in Markušovce; the royal town of Levoča and its highest Gothic altar in the world made by Master Paul of Levoča, facade of Thurzo´s or Mariássy´s house or the so called Cage of Shame. The conservation area of Spišská Kapitula is located to the west of the town of Spišské Podhradie and to the east of this town, there is a silhouette of the largest castle ruin of Central Europe – the Spiš castle with an area of 4 hectares. The church in Žehra is precious due to its frescos and paintings from the 13th century.
- Zakopané – is the „capital city“ of the Polish Tatras. This ski resort is the “holy mountain of all skiers” and the highest located Polish city. It is a peaceful place offering various tourist trails or relaxation in water parks and also thermal parks. It is about 66 km far from Poprad.