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 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.