The High Tatras on a budget
Hiking? Amazing views? Crystal clear lakes? Gorgeous nature? And all of this for a reasonable price? Hell yeah, that’s the High Tatras!
Not many people know how powerful these mountains are. It was my first time in that type of the mountains and all the nature and views were mind-blowing. Listen carefully, if the view from Alpes leaves you speechless, you should definitely explore these Slovakian mountains. It’s not only much cheaper but it actually offers a lot, just, they are not that popular among people. And the life thought me that usually not over popular places are the actually the best ones. 🙂
Read what you should expect from the High Tatras but also how to get there, where to sleep and what trails to take.
The High Tatras and the Low Tatras
Did you know that there are both the High Tatras and the Low Tatras? The High ones are, obviously, higher and can have more difficult routes than the Low ones. The High Tatras are located on the North and they are quite rocky and good for climbing. Also, there are also many activities you can do in High Tatras and cycling is one of the most popular.
On the other side, the Low ones are full of forest. However, it’s good to know that Ski resort Jasna is one of the largest in Central Europe. These two parts of Tatras are quite close to each other so it’s definitely possible to visit both of them at the same time. The most popular route in the Low Tatras is definitely a National park: Slovak Paradise (Slovensky raj). It’s a set of trails with incredible nature.
Unfortunately, I spent my time only on the High Tatras. Since I injured my knee, I was unable to visit the Low Tatras ones as well. 🙁
The High Tatras – Routes
I did only a few routes and even this was enough to fell in love with the place immediately. As these routes are the most recommended ones, I decided to give a short impression of them below.
Štrbské Pleso (1.346 m) to Popradské Pleso (1,494 m)
It takes about 1-1,5 hour to walk around Štrbské Pleso. The area is very touristy and there are restaurants where you can rest.
If you are going from Štrbské to Popradské Pleso, it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes, more or less. Take into account that this walk can take a bit longer, especially if you are not in good shape or too experienced. Or if you simply don’t rush, enjoy the view, take pictures etc.
By the way, “Pleso” means the lake, but something like the mountain lake, a lake on a higher level. As the lakes are very beautiful, whenever you see somewhere written Pleso, it means some great view is waiting for you.
Popradské Pleso (1,494 m) to Sedlo pod Ostrvou (1.966m)
Make sure you wear hiking boots and you dress in layers. I must admit that this route was both quite exciting and exhausting. I wasn’t at all in the shape and wasn’t expect it’s going to be this difficult. The route, according to signs, should take around one hour but it took me around two. It wasn’t only tiring but the views were gorgeous so I also took the time to observe and enjoy it.
Since I wasn’t prepared for this kind of hiking at all, I hurt my knee ligaments very bad. Going back from Sedlo was very painful for me and it took me even more time to get back. The good thing is that I was so impressed with the view that I didn’t regret any single moment for doing it.
Note that the trail is quite risky and slippery (for beginners) and even though was May, we experienced a bit of a snow. Of course, if you are experienced in this kind of hiking, you’ll not have any problem.
Other places tourists usually visit are Tatranska Lomnica, Zelené Pleso (green lake), Lomnicky Štit (during the winter), Ždiar, etc. The best would be if you check this website for all the routes. There are plenty of them and you’ll for sure enjoy all of them!
Accommodation and the costs
You’ll find a plenty of places to rent there – hotels, hostels, studios, guest houses, cottages, etc.
To be honest, going to Tatras from Brno (the city in the Czech Republic where I currently live) and spending 3 nights, was one of the cheapest trips ever. We went by car to Štôla which is just below the High Tatras, 11 kilometers from the lake Štrbské Pleso. This point is usually the starting point for many hikers on Tatras. If you are going by car, I’d highly recommend Štôla and that area. It’s calm, warmer than on the top of the mountains, close by and has incredible nice views from your window. 🙂
We went at the beginning of May and rented one floor in a small cottage. It cost 8 euros per night (wow). It turned out we were the only ones in the house and had the ground floor for us as well! Actually, for the whole trip, we spent around 50 euros per person including fuel. However, that is because I live 350 km from the High Tatras.
Accommodation: you should also check…
It would be the best if you are staying close by trails. For example, the main city in the High Tatras is called Poprad and many people are staying there. It’s a bit more expensive than the other places, however, it depends on the type of the accommodation you are searching for. Also, if you’re spending your time in this part, it definitely makes sense taking the overnight there.
The best is to see which trails you want to do and then check on maps what villages around as the best ones. As usually, for renting accommodation, you can use Booking.com, Hotels.com, local ones and similar websites.
How to reach the High Tatras?
Unfortunately, looks like the connections to this mountain are not always that simple, depending on the country. Note that you can access the High Tatras from the Polish side as well, however, I haven’t been on this part. If you want to visit the High Tatras from the Slovak side, you can use one of this options:
If you are flying, the most convenient would be to fly to Poprad, of course. You can also fly to Bratislava and Košice in Slovakia, or even Budapest in Hungary. From there you can take a bus/train to the High Tatras (Poprad, Štrbské Pleso, etc).
If you are going by bus, you can use the connection to the same cities – Bratislava, Košice, Budapest or even some places in Poland. From there, again, you can use a bus or a train.
You can always check Blablacar application and see if there are people traveling from your place or the place suitable for you. Believe it or not, there are many rides around the High Tatras, especially in Poprad. From Poprad, you can use transport to all the other small places and there start your trail.
If you are visiting this beauty or if you did visit the mountains already, let me know in comments. You’ll have a great time there, but be careful with your knee! 😛