Tatra Mountains

Unique Mountain Range between Slovakia and Poland

The Tatra Mountains are located on the border of Slovakia and Poland. About 4/5 is in the north of Slovakia and 1/5 in the south of Poland. It is one of the roughest areas in Europe. It is also one of the least visited remarkably enough. The area has over 100 crystal-clear glacial lakes and waterfalls for you to discover for yourself. These are the sights of and excursions in the Tatra Mountains.

The Tatra Mountains are not really known to many travellers. These mountains are ideal for hiking and enjoying nature. You can discover it yourself relatively easily. And you can spot animals like brown bears, wolves and lynx with good luck.

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Best In Europe

The High Tatras was chosen as Best in Europe in 2019 by Lonely Planet. In particular, we look at places that are not yet overrun by tourists. And the High Tatras is perfect to be discovered by hikers and nature lovers. And you will not be disappointed.

A rough trail in the mountains. ©Corno van den Berg

The High Tatras is the highest part of the mountain range. It is part of the Slovak Tatra National Park locally called Tatranský Národný Park. In Polish, the Tatra National Park is called Tatrzański Park Narodowy. I went on several walks in the Tatra Mountains.

Kasprowy Wierch Cable Car Railway (Poland)

The funicular to Kasprowy Wierch. ©Corno van den Berg

The easiest way to reach the Tatra Mountains is via the city of Zakopane in southern Poland. The Kasprowy Wierch Cable Car takes you to an altitude of 1,987 meters. From there you can choose from a great variety in hikes.

Świnica (Poland)

One of the most popular hikes from Kasprowy Wierch is to Świnica at 2,301 meters. This mountain peak is located on the border of both countries. From the top, you have a wonderful view over the steepest peaks, but also some mountain lakes. It can get crowded here, so it's smart to go early in the morning.

Enjoying the view in the Tatra Mountains. ©Corno van den Berg

Siklawica Waterfall (Poland)

The official name of this imposing waterfall is Wielka Siklawa. At 70 meters it is the highest waterfall in Poland. The starting point for the walk is the parking lot at Lysa Polana. The hike is about 2 hours one way, during which you have to overcome about 450 meters of altitude.

The waterfall is more impressive than it looks from a distance. According to experts, this is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Tatra Mountains. The trail leads past two other waterfalls: Mickiewicza Wodospad and Buczynowa Siklawa. You will also pass the beautiful mountain lake Morskie Oko.

Accommodations in Zakopane (Poland)

The town of Zakopane is the base for most hikers visiting the Tatra Mountains. The city is quite extensive, so choose the location of your hotel carefully. I have stayed in various accommodations in Zakopane. They range from budget hotels and hostels to local bed & breakfasts and luxury hotels. Most places to spend the night are on the city's outskirts, although you will also find plenty in the lively centre

My recommendation is Villa Adamo & Spa

Morskie Oko (Poland)

The mountain lake Morskie Oko is popular with day trippers. They like to combine mountains and lakes, which is possible with this walk. Morskie Oko is the largest lake in the Tatra Mountains. The trail is not too difficult, you will see enough families with children on the path. Take into account about 200 altimeters. The distance from the walk to Morskie Oko is 8 kilometres, if you also want to walk around the lake it is 17 kilometres there and back. The path to the lake is paved, by the way, until you reach the lake.

Štrbské Pleso (Slovakia)

Lake Strbske Pleso in the High Tatras. ©Enjoy Tatras

Štrbské Pleso Lake is located at an altitude of 1,346 meters. It is located near the village of the same name in Slovakia, where tourism in the region started about 140 years ago. You can easily walk around the beautiful mountain lake and see the snow-capped peaks. In winter you can ice skate and ski in the mountains here.

Gerlach of Gerlachovský štít (Slovakia) 

Gerlachovský štít, also often called Gerlach, is the highest point of the Tatras, with a height of 2,655 meters. This peak is located in the Slovak part. The highest peak on the Polish side is the Rysy with 2,499 meters. You can climb both peaks relatively easily. Just make sure you have good clothes and shoes with you. The weather can change quickly. Also make sure you have enough (or actually a little more) food and drink with you during your trip.

Liptov (Slovakia)

Liptov, or actually Liptovska Mara, is the largest water reservoir in Slovakia. The lake covers about 22 km2 and you can walk a large part around it. You can also visit the dam on foot. Note the white church on the bank, which will look good on the picture.

Cable Car Tatranska Lomnica to Skalnate Pleso (Slovakia)

Cable Car Tatranska Lomnica to Skalnate Pleso (Slovakia). ©Enjoy Tatras

The cable car from Tatranska Lomnica to Skalnate Pleso takes you to an altitude of 1,750 meters. From there you can take various walks and explore the area. Including the Observatory for Meteorology. Keep an eye out for the various waterfalls along the way.

Treetop Walkway Bachledka (Slovakia)

In 2019, the Bachledka opened at Ždiar; a walk on high-altitude wooden decking through the treetops. You wander through the trees, where you have vistas in various places. This way you see the Tatra National Park from a different angle.

Hiking from Mountain Hut to Mountain Hut

In the Tatras there is more than 1,700 km of marked tourist trails. They run through valleys, but also lead to mountain peaks. Often above 2,000 meters altitude. Along the way, you will come across mountain huts to eat and spend the night.

Cycling the Tatra Mountains

Those who prefer to explore the area by bicycle can choose from more than 1,150 kilometers of marked cycling routes at different levels. Keep in mind height differences. You can also get electric bikes here, so you can easily cover more distance.

Skiing Holidays

In winter, the mountains are ideal for skiing holidays. After having been outside, it is wonderful in the heated thermal baths. These offer relaxation in the snow-covered landscape. And, in the cozy mountain chalets, you have a wonderful view of the mountains and valleys.

Wildlife at Tatra

Brown bears in the Tatra Mountains. ©Erik Sevcik

Numerous animals live in the mountains of Tatra. Think of three of Europe's 'Big Five'. While walking you have a chance, albeit small, to come face to face with a brown bear, a wolf or the rare European lynx. But the chamois, the ibex and deer show themselves more easily. This also applies to birds such as golden eagles and various species of vultures.

The Tatra Mountains have an alpine climate. Since 1993, the Tatras has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The Tatra is often referred to as 'the smallest alpine mountain range in Europe', although you can easily get lost here. The diversity in landscapes is great, so you can easily stay here for a week.