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Hiking in the High Tatras: Couple at Viewpoint

5 Reasons to Go Hiking in the High Tatras of Slovakia

Slovakia

Our week spent in the High Tatras of Slovakia was not quite the hiking extravaganza that we thought it was going to be for one simple reason: it rained. A lot.

And by “a lot”, I mean that it rained 5 of the 6 days that we were in the area, some of those for the entire day. When it wasn’t raining, the weather spent most of its time creating a thick fog that obscured the mountain range so thoroughly, we often couldn’t tell that there was a mountain right in front of us!

Basically, a pessimist could sum up our week hiking in the High Tatras as: shoulder season travel doesn’t always pay off, and perhaps we would have been better off checking out other great places in Slovakia instead.

We don’t choose to look at it that way, though. While we did get wetter than we planned, hike fewer miles than we planned, and walk away with fewer pictures than we planned–we still adored hiking in the High Tatras.

Why?

Hiking in the High Tatras: View over Valley

The High Tatras are incredibly gorgeous.

Forget foothills–the High Tatras rise up out of the ground suddenly, leaving acres of flat farmland abruptly interrupted by the insertion of beautiful mountains.

It makes for quite the sight when driving toward the High Tatras National Park (“Vysoke Tatry” in Slovakian), and the views inside the park continue to get better.

We hurried outside during every second of sunlight we received, eager to bask in the views of the mountains at their prettiest: sunlight reflecting off the mountain lakes, flowers lit up colorfully, and the mountains cleared of fog all the way to the top, leaving their peaks exposed and ready to be admired.

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Our time in the High Tatras has not exactly gone as planned, but today we were finally greeted with partly sunny skies and no rain for a whole day! * Mountains are one of our happy places, and moments like these make battling the weather completely worth it. From this spot we could hear the river roaring below, see for miles in most directions, take in beautiful views of the peaks, and enjoy it all in almost complete solitude. * Here's to chasing beautiful moments spent in nature--they're totally worth the effort. * * * * #slovakia #hightatras #thisisslovakia #pureslovakia #likeamountaingirl #optoutside #liveoutdoors #wearetravelgirls #girlswhotravel #dametraveler#girlsvsglobe #gltlove #naturelovers #mountaingirls #mountainlovers #passionpassport #neverstopexploring #getoutstayout #adventureanywhere #travelandlife #discoverglobe #roamearth#stayandwander #alifewelltraveled #keepitwild #wildernessculture #artofvisuals #justgoshoot #traveladdict#beautifuldestinations

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The wildflowers are stunning.

We spent so much time stopping while hiking in the High Tatras to take photos of these beautiful flowers! With the mountains hanging out behind them, a field of these flowers easily resembles something out of a fairytale.

Read Next: An Interrupted Day Hike in Triglav National Park

Hiking in the High Tatras of Slovakia: Wildflowers

Hiking in the High Tatras is very affordable.

Both lodging and food are very affordable in the High Tatras of Slovakia: we paid just $22/night for our amazing Airbnb (a cozy one bedroom apartment that we had all to ourselves, located about a 15 minute drive from the park), and less than $75 in groceries to feed ourselves for just under a week.

Other than those two things, our only expenses in the High Tatras were parking (about $2.40 an hour in most places, with a max rate of $7-10/day), and one chairlift ride that we took to save time (about $15/person round trip).

Where We Stayed in the High Tatras:

Airbnb: Cozy Apartment Near Tatra Mountains — We loved this adorable one bedroom flat! It was clean, had gorgeous views of the mountains whenever the fog cleared, and was about a 15 minute drive from the High Tatras. The hosts were generous, kind, and took excellent care of us even though we didn’t share any languages. If we head back to the area, we’ll definitely check to see if this apartment is available!

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Hiking in the High Tatras: View of Peaks

We loved checking out the mountain lakes.

Crisp mountain air and beautiful lake views–it’s hard to imagine a better combination! We visited both Popradske Pleso and Strbske Pleso while in the area, and caught sight of many smaller lakes while hiking in the High Tatras–we even saw one small pond that was still partially frozen over!

Hiking in the High Tatras of Slovakia: Popradske Pleso

You won’t have to fight the crowds.

Visiting in early September, we experienced the High Tatras without any crowds at all: while businesses were still open for the most part and there were people around on most trails, there was absolutely no congestion.

Even in the summer, though, visiting the High Tatras will be an extremely peaceful experience compared to hitting up popular mountain towns in Western Europe–outside of Hungarian, Slovakian, and Polish families, the High Tatras are still a relatively unknown travel destination that are fairly untouched by heavy tourism.

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path summer hiking destination in Europe, be sure to check out the High Tatras of Slovakia–if we walked away with such a wonderful impression after drawing the short straw with the weather, I feel pretty confident stating most other outdoor lovers with love hiking in the High Tatras as well.

Don’t go hiking in the High Tatras without travel insurance! We use and recommend World Nomads for their affordability, ease of purchasing & the clarity of their contract!

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Hiking in the High Tatras of Slovakia

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20 Comments

  • Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women September 16, 2017

    That must have been so unlucky to get caught in a period with so much rain. Nevertheless the photos you included here during the non-rainy times certainly back up your written description of how beautiful the place is. What an experience to have, particularly without hoards of tourists there and to appreciate it essentially to yourselves.

    • Kate Storm September 17, 2017

      It was definitely a lovely experience when the sun shined! Even the rain was not that bad, truly–we had a very cozy place to wait it out!

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman September 16, 2017

    Rain and fog bring a different beauty to an area. Of course, it’s a pain to deal with wet gear all the time. I think I would come for the summer wildflower season and pay a premium. It looks like an area that has amazing solitude even in summer.

    • Kate Storm September 17, 2017

      Very true, they do! I agree that next time, though, summer premium is a better plan (or go the opposite direction and head during the winter season–this is a popular skiing area as well!).

  • Lydia Smith September 17, 2017

    Wow, I’m not a mountain /hiking fan but i don’t mind spending a day on High Tratas. The mountain lake and wildflower would just be perfect for meditation. If I ever get to visit Slovakia, High Tatras is a must for me

    • Kate Storm September 17, 2017

      Oh yes, the mountain lakes are incredibly peaceful–I’m sure you’d love it up there. Definitely an amazing place to center yourself!

  • Lisa September 17, 2017

    I always love reading your posts, but feel so lazy afterwards as I’m not a hiker! Still, these Tatras mountains in Slovakia look a dream, and I’d like to try this and see those lakes too. I like how you list all the expenses too; it’s very useful for travelers on a budget.

    • Kate Storm September 18, 2017

      Ha, we don’t feel that athletic a lot of the time! Luckily, many of those lakes are very easy to get to. 😉

  • Yukti September 17, 2017

    After visiting Georgia, Slovakia is always on my wishlist. These mountain slopes of Tratas are so picturesque. I can imagine how pure the air would be there. I really want to breathe pure air in these kind of mountains. Mountain Lakes have won me over. Stunning landscape. Any nature lover would love hiking to high Tratas.

    • Kate Storm September 18, 2017

      Georgia is on our wish list! I’m sure it was amazing. The pure air of the High Tatras was incredible–made for a great place to relax.

  • James September 17, 2017

    It’s good to read about somewhere other than Bratislava in Slovakia. The High Tatras look to have very unique landscapes which made for incredible Instagram shots! I would have enjoyed it just as much in the rain, often that makes surfaces shine and better pictures!

    • Kate Storm September 18, 2017

      Ha, agreed about Bratislava! There were surprisingly few blog posts about the HIgh Tatras when we went to plan this trip, which is of course a good and a bad thing.

  • Abigail Sinsona September 17, 2017

    Traveling during the shoulder or off-season does have its own set of drawbacks. But at least you got to see the positive things out of it. The photos were still so amazing, especially the ones of the wildflowers and the mountain lakes. It is such a beauty that only a few could afford to enjoy!

    • Kate Storm September 18, 2017

      Thanks! Yes, even the rain couldn’t keep away how pretty those mountains are. 🙂

  • Kevin del Prado September 18, 2017

    I really like reading blogs about their hiking experience as I am really a fond of hiking, too. True enough that rain can suddenly ruin your plans and sometimes gets you out of the mood. But anyway, you were still able to capture the beauty of nature.

    • Kate Storm September 18, 2017

      Hiking is the best, right? One of my favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors. 🙂

  • Lexklein September 18, 2017

    We got so lucky today with a picture perfect weather day for our 6-hour roundtrip up to Velke Hincovo Pleso, wayyyyyy up there in the High Tatras. The day before was awful and tomorrow is supposed to be rainy again. We loved the area, too! Glad you got one good day also.

    • Kate Storm September 18, 2017

      Crossing my fingers that you guys get more beautiful days while you’re up there! Your picture on IG today was gorgeous. 🙂

  • Bhusha September 19, 2017

    Eastern Europe incl Croatia, Slovak etc are in my plans for 2018. I hope the plans won’t get flopped! Fingers crossed. Lolz. Thanks for this post on what not to miss in Slovak!
    Hiking in rain? Whoa! That requires some serious guts… You’ve put it right. Its indeed incredibly gorgeous. Good to know its budget friendly too!

    • Kate Storm September 20, 2017

      Oh, I hope you have a blast on your trip! Central Europe and the Balkans are two of my favorite regions in the world–Croatia is one of my favorite countries! Sounds like you have a great trip planned.

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