Note: The Tatra Mountains do not include the mountain range called Low Tatras (pl: Tatry Niskie, sk: Nízke Tatry). High Tatras stretch in the northern part of Slovakia bordering Poland and belong to Carpathian mountain range. High Tatras are divided into three parts Western, High and Belianske Tatras. High Tatras belong to the national park (TANAP) and also are registered in UNESCO because many protected animals and plants occur in High Tatras. High Tatras consist of peaks, mountain lakes and basins. The highest peaks are called Gerlachovsky stit (2655), Krivan (2494), Rysy (2499) and Lomnicky stit (2632m). Gerlachovsky stit is the highest peak in Slovakia rising to 2655m above the sea level. In November of 2004 a huge storm destroyed a considerable part of the forest and disturbed natural fauna and flora. The trees that used to protect the soil from erosion are gone now and the topsoil is being exposed to rain and erosion. The disaster did not have such catastrophic impact on tourism, and all ski centers, hotels and cottages go on providing their services. The town of Poprad, stretches below the High Tatras offering a beautiful town center, various types of accommodation, small airport for tourists and incredible view of High Tatras scenery.
Transportation and orientation in High Tatras is very easy. Trains, cog railway, cable railways, and trams these are possibilities how to get to any locality in High Tatras. If you want to see High Tatras from birds perspective you can take a cable railway from Tatranská Lomnica to Lomnicky štít or take a tram and travel under the highest peaks and take delight in magnificent nature. The easiest access to High Tatras is from Poprad or Tatranská Štrba where are two main railway stations with an access to cog railways or trams leaving for the mountains.
The trains running between Strbske Pleso, Vysoke Tatra and Tatranska Lomnica are an inexpensive way to get around, although the schedules are not the most convenient. Trains run mostly one per hour, and unfortunately the schedules do not always overlap. Coming back to Strske Pleso from Tatranska Lomnica can take nearly two hours on account of the schedules. If you don't plan on renting a car, staying in Poprad would be more convenient as all the trains come through Vysoke Tatra and then onto Poprad on a regular basis.
Be prepared for slightly higher costs and cooler reception from the locals than elsewhere in Slovakia as this is a resort area.
Tatras sport activities
High Tatras do not just offer opportunities for hiking but also for different kind of sport activities. Snow condition during the winter is perfect for skiing or snowboarding. Funiculars are accessible to many alpine localities, such as Solisko (1840m) or Skalnata chata (1751m) where tourists can take another funicular and go to Lomnicky stit (2632m)and see whole Tatras below them. In High Tatras is possible to ski in nine localities and each one consist of two to nine slopes. Cycling is other activities that are very interesting for people who love adrenalin. Cyclists can choose either between asphalt or field roads. Different kind of roads with various level of difficulty is suitable for less or more demanding people.
Throughout the Tatras there are scattered 'Chatas' or Chalets. These mountain chalets are an excellent way to experience the Tatra mountains. A well developed system of trails links the chalets with each other. If you're on the Slovakian side of the mountain range, you might want to take the funicular car from Starý Smokovec up to the first Chata. From there you can follow the trails up into the mountains. Every so often you'll come across a chata, where you can buy food, warm up over a cup of coffee, or even stay the night if there are any vacant beds. It's a good idea to bring along a map of the tatras.
Cottages and accommodation in the mountains
Skalnatá chata in Skalnata dolina, Zamkovského chata in Mala Studena dolina, Téryho chata in Mala Studena dolina, Bilíkova chata in Hrebienok, Rainerova chata, Mountain hotel Sliezsky dom in Velicka dolina, Mountain hotel at Popradske pleso, the highest cottage below Rysy. Among others, these cottages are located in high attitudes above the sea level. Each cottage offers accommodation and food and most of them offer their service just during the summer because of bad access condition during the winter.
The most interesting alpine huts
The most attractive cottage is a cottage Chata pod Rysmy (2250m) for hikers who look for a difficult ascent. This cottage was built in 1932 and in 1977 was enlarged and now offers 14 beds for 300sk each. Teriho chata (cottage) (2015m) is situated in Mala Studena Dolina and is the highest accessible cottage during whole year. This cottage is attractive for tourists who want to see incredible scenery either in winter or summer. The cost for one bed is 360Sk or emergency accommodation in your sleeping bag for 260Sk.Sliezky Dom is the highest situated hotel in Slovakia 1670m above the sea level and offers 123 beds.