High Tatras (in Slovak: Vysoké Tatry) National Park is one of the 9 national parks in Slovakia. It’s the oldest, the most-visited and the best-known. And it’s our favorite!
The temptation is strong to call it an off-the-beaten-path paradise, but it would sound funny from me as a Hungarian. Because half of Hungary is hanging out in the Tatras during both summer and winter and it’s a very well-known hiking and skiing destination in our country. It’s true though that other than Slovakian, Hungarian and Polish people no one seems to know about the Tatras.
Well, it’s time for an introduction then, because it has officially became our favorite hiking place in Central Europe this summer and here are the reasons why we love it so much…
1. Views of the wild peaks
We could already see the towering dark peaks of the High Tatras from the highway towards Poprad. Then from the parking lot where we started our first hike. Then from the lake where the actual hike began. Then suddenly we saw nothing due to the crazy fog.
All of the hikes we’ve done had great views all the way not just from the top. Wild, wonderful landscape as far as the eye can see.
2. Breathtaking panoramas
But of course, the panoramas from the peaks are still hard to beat. Krivan and Rysy are the highest peaks we hiked up to and having all the other peaks and a couple of mountain lakes at our feet was an incredible experience!
3. Challenging hikes
I wouldn’t say that the trails are easy, most of them is not. But the thing is that we don’t want easy hikes, we want challenges and great rewards. That we can certainly get in the High Tatras.
Some sections are even secured by chains and sometimes we just wished there would be chains to hold on to. Still we felt excited to complete the harder trails, too, and they were fun (with one exception, but this is another story for later…).
4. Millions of wildflowers
Though views of the peaks are breathtaking, there are a lot more things worth taking a look. Like all the colorful wildflowers covering the meadows throughout whole summer! Okay, those amazing peaks are there again in the background. 😀
5. Those perfectly clear mountain creeks
We just can’t get bored with the small cascades of the crystal clear mountain creeks neither their color. They are also among our favorite places for resting and having some snacks – while cooling down our feet in their ice cold water.
6. Oh and the perfectly clear mountain lakes
It’s hard to remember any hike where we didn’t end up at a beautiful mountain lake. Or at least had a view of it from above which makes the colors even more magical. Being close to them can reward with glamorous reflections on the other hand.
7. Zelené pleso
Zelené pleso is one of those lakes. It means Green Lake in English and I don’t think any further explanation is needed here.
8. Fairy tale valleys
Conquering peaks is not the only way to enjoy majestic views – and to face challenges. Beautiful paths led us through valleys like Big and Small Cold Valley or Mlynická Valley, all enclosed by dramatic peaks.
9. Charming waterfalls
There’s some really nice waterfalls, too, hidden in those valleys. Like Skok waterfall in Mlynická Valley where we could even climb up to the top of the fall on a steep path secured by chains.
10. Views of Low Tatras
Low Tatras is another mountain range in Slovakia southern from its larger neighbour, the High Tatras. (And most part of it is a national park, too.) Climbing Krivan peak in the High Tatras gave us amazing views not only of the surrounding peaks, but also of the whole Low Tatras below us. Actually, sometimes hiking is not even needed, just driving up to Strbské pleso is enough for some pretty Low Tatra views.
+1: Even crazy fog has its magic
… because the peaks look so mystic. They reminded us of Mordor from The Lord of the Rings movies.
But I just can’t end this post with a picture of Mordor, right? So here’s a peaceful morning view of Strbské pleso, the most easily accessible mountain lake:
What do you think? Have you fallen in love with the High Tatras, too?