The High Tatras (Vysoké Tatry), the tallest range in the Carpathian Mountains, tower over most of Eastern Europe. Some 25 peaks measure above 2500m. The massif is only 25km wide and 78km long.Most of this jagged range is part of the Tatra National Park (Tanap): not that this fact has arrested development on the Slovakian ski slopes, much to the chagrin of watchdog groups like International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Tatra National Park complements a similar park across the peaks in Poland.
- The Western Tatras
- The (central) High Tatras
- The Belianske Tatras
Midmountain, three main resort towns string west to east. Štrbské Pleso is the traditional ski centre and is most crowded, with construction galore. Smokovec, 11km east, is an amalgam of the Nový (New), Starý (Old), Dolný (Lower) and Horný (Upper) settlements. Here there's still a bit of a turn-of-the-20th-century heyday feel, plus numerous lodgings and the most services. Tatranská Lomnica, 5km further, is the quaintest, quietest village. All have mountain access by cable car, funicular or chairlift. Poprad is the closest city (with mainline train station and airport), 14km south of central Starý Smokovec.
Notable PeaksGerlachovsky Stit (2.655 m / 8.710 ft) is the highest of the High Tatras and of Slovakia. For of its height and breathtaking scenery it is one of the most visited and challenging peaks. Hire a skilled mountain guide to lead you, otherwise it's hardly possible (and forbidden) to get there.
Lomnicky Stit (2.634 m / 8.642 ft) is possibly the most visited peak, probably because of its accessibility by cable car. You will find the highest situated Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory in Slovakia on the top.
Krivan (2.494 m / 8.182 ft) belongs to the Western Tatras and is the most popular amongst Slovaks. It is said that every Slovak has to climb to the top at least once in his lifetime. Krivan became the symbol of the freedom of Slovaks and since 1955, traditional national walks have been devoted to the Slovak National Uprising and the local heroes.
Crystal clear ice on lake in Tatra Mountains
When planning your trip, keep in mind that the highest trails are closed because of snow from November to mid-June. June and July can be especially rainy; July and August are the warmest (and most crowded) months. Hotel prices and crowds are at their lowest from October to April.