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4-Day High Tatras Slovakia Trek

Trekking in the High Tatras, Slovakia

The High Tatras (Vysoké Tatry in Slovak, Tatry Wysokie in Polish) are a mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains, located in northern Slovakia and southern Poland. The mountain range is a protected area in both countries (Tatra National Park of Slovakia & Tatra National Park of Poland) and a designated transboundary UNESCO biosphere reserve. 

We spent 4 days trekking in the High Tatras on the Slovakian-side, starting in Tatranská Kotlina village and ending in Strbske pleso lake. With our arrival and departure days in Poprad, our entire trip was 6-days.

Our self-guided High Tatras hut-to-hut hiking trip was organized and compensated by TravelSlovakia.Sk. We have nothing but the highest praise for this Slovakian tour operator. Their communication is swift, precise, and thorough. Every part of our experience was seamless: the booking process, email communication throughout, pre-trek meet-up (with a guide), and the actual trek. 

High Tatras Hut to Hut Hiking Route

This 4-day trek strings together some of the most popular hiking destinations in the High Tatras, including Zelene Pleso (Green Lake), Zamkovského chata (mountain hut), Popradské pleso (lake), and Rysy (peak).

  • Arrival Day: Arrive in Poprad, Slovakia.
  • Stage 1: (Poprad) – Tatranská Kotlina – Chata Plesnivec – Biele pleso – Zelené pleso – Chata pri Zelenom plese
  • Stage 2: Chata pri Zelenom plese – Veľká Svišťovka – Skalnate pleso – Zamkovského chata
  • Stage 3: Zamkovského chata – Hrebienok – Horsky Hotel Sliezsky Dom – Batizovské pleso – Sedlo pod Ostrvou – Popradské pleso – Majláthova chata na Popradskom Plese
  • Stage 4: Majláthova chata na Popradskom Plese – Žabie plesá – Chata pod Rysmi – Rysy – Popradské pleso – Strbske pleso – (Train to Poprad)
  • Departure Day: Depart Poprad, Slovakia

When can you hike in the High Tatras Mountains?

Trails are open from mid-June until the end of October. We recommend trekking in the High Tatras in late June, September, or early October. We hiked in the Tatra mountains in mid-August and the trails were overcrowded. Our experience would have been far more enjoyable had we hiked at the beginning, or end of the hiking season.

How difficult is this 4-Day High Tatras Trek?

Moderate. Most of the trek follows the red Tatranska magistrála trail, a clearly-marked tourist hiking trail, frequented by tons of families with small children.

Though this isn’t a “high-alpine” hike and there aren’t strenuous ascents/descents, it’s not a walk in the park. Much of the route crosses boulder slopes, where slabs of rock have been purposefully positioned to create a mostly-level hiking trail. Though the trail cuts nicely across these granite slopes, it can get increasingly taxing, because you have to maintain focus throughout. It’s not like walking on a dirt path. 

Specifically, there are only two “difficult” sections along the route:

On stage 2, as you ascend to Veľká Svišťovka, you’ll hike up a gully, which is secured with chains (20 meters). This steep, but short, section was a bit slippery and you have to use your upper body strength to foist yourself up.

On stage 4, you’ll hike to Rysy, a peak on the Slovakian-Polish border. The ascent isn’t overly difficult, but the final stretch to the summit requires a bit of scrambling.

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High Tatras, 4-Day Hut to Hut Hike, Slovakia

High Tatras Trekking Guide Overview

  • High Tatras Trekking Map
  • Hiking in Tatra National Park: tips, responsible hiking
  • High Tatras Mountain Huts: our experience, what to expect, food and drinks
  • Self-Guided Hike with TravelSlovakia.SK
  • How to Get to the High Tatras / Arrival Day in Poprad: Transit, Where to Stay
  • Stages 1 – 4 Explained: stage overview, where to stay
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This post links to products and services we love, which we may make a small commission from, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog!! Our trek was compensated in part by TravelSlovakia.SK – Sabrina and Kati

High Tatras Mountains, Slovakia

High Tatras Hiking Route Map

High Tatras Hiking Route
  • Places to stay before/after the trek
  • High Tatras Trek Stage 1
  • High Tatras Trek Stage 2
  • High Tatras Trek Stage 3
  • High Tatras Trek Stage 4
High Tatras Hut to Hut Hike, Slovakia

Hiking in the High Tatras Mountains Tips

Things to Know

  • Trails have colors (red, green, yellow, blue), not numbers.
  • Trail colors do not denote difficulty.
  • There are lots of places to eat, including mountain huts, hotels, and cableway stations.
  • Swimming is not allowed in alpine lakes (more rules below).

Rules for Visiting Tatra National Park in Slovakia

  • It is forbidden to camp or bivouac anywhere in Tatra National Park.
  • It is forbidden to light fires or make campfires in Tatra National Park.
  • It is forbidden to swim and/or bathe in lakes in Tatra National Park. 
  • Only walk along designated, marked hiking trails. 
  • Only hike in the daytime, between an hour after sunrise and hour before sunset.
  • Trails are closed from November 1st until June 15th.
  • Do not pick, disturb, or touch flora and fauna in Tatra National Park
  • Do not litter. Pack out all your rubbish. That includes TISSUES!!!!! 
  • Do not create light, and noise pollution (loud music, loud noise). 

Learn More: Rules for Visiting Tatra National Park

High Tatras Hiking Essentials

Learn More: Hut to Hut Hiking Packing List

High Tatras Photography Essentials

 
Zamkovského chata High Tatras Mountain Hut, Slovakia

High Tatras Mountain Huts

What to Expect, Food, Drinks

We were so impressed by the efficiency and overall management of the mountain huts. Everyone we met was gracious, helpful, flexible, and kind. We’re used to the rigidity of mountain huts in the Alps, so it was extremely refreshing to experience the Slovakian hut culture. Whether it was checking in at 12:30 pm (early), storing our backpack for the day, or eating before the official breakfast time, our needs were accommodated readily. We left Slovakia with the overwhelming feeling “wow, everything was so easy and smooth.”

 

High Tatras Mountain Huts: Things to Know

  • Slovakian mountain huts are generally cash only.
  • Slovakian mountain huts are generally self-service. You’ll order at the counter and pick-up your food.
  • The service is swift and uncomplicated.
  • English is widely spoken. We had no problems communicating.
  • The food is generally excellent.
  • Huts provide bedding in rooms. If you’re staying in the dormitory, you’ll need a sleeping bag.

 

What to Eat in a High Tatras Mountain Hut

Traditional Slovakian Soups & Stews

Kapustová polievka – cabbage soup

Šošovicová polievka – lentil soup

Cesnaková polievka – garlic soup

Hrachová polievka – pea soup

Segedínsky guláš s knedľou – pork goulash with dumplings

Maďarský guláš – beef goulash

 

Traditional Slovakian Dumplings

Bryndzové pirohy – traditional crescent-shaped Slovakian dumpling. The dumpling is filled with a potato and sheep cheese (bryndza) filling and usually topped with bacon.

Halušky s bryndzou – tiny potato dumplings with sheep cheese.

 

Traditional Slovakian Savory Dishes

Varená klobása – Sausage

Bravčová krkovička s kyslou kapustou – Pork neck with sauerkraut

 

Traditional Slovakian Sweets and Desserts

Buchty na pare – sweet steamed buns, or sweet dumplings.

Ovocné gule – fruit balls with berries

 

What to Drink in a High Tatras Mountain Hut

Unfortunately, a lot of beverages are sold in single-use plastic bottles. If possible, try to abstain from buying bottled drinks. Locals seemed to mostly drink beer or Kofola in the huts. Kofola is a carbonated soft drink, which was developed in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s when Coca-Cola and Pepsi were not readily available. It tastes like what you’d imagine communist coke to taste like. But, everyone loves it. So, you have to try it at least once.

We particularly liked the TATRAS IPA and the non-alcoholic Birell Pomelo & Grapefruit Radler.

 
Batizovské pleso, High Tatras Trek, Slovakia

TravelSlovakia.SK Self-Guided Hike

Our Self-Guided Hiking Experience with TravelSlovakia.SK

Our experience with TravelSlovakia.SK was outstanding. We especially valued their communication and organization. Everything about our trip was seamless. There were zero hiccups.

We enjoyed meeting up with their TravelSlovakia.Sk representative the day before the trek. The guide came to our accommodation in Poprad, at the time we requested, and walked us through the itinerary. He also gave us trail maps and answered all our questions.

What’s Included:

  • Accommodation for 5 nights with half board (breakfast and dinner): 2 nights in a Poprad guesthouse, 3 nights in mountain huts.
  • Meeting with a TravelSlovakia.sk representative on arrival day.
  • Mountain rescue insurance for 4 days
  • Hiking Map, which you’ll receive on the arrival day.
  • Important phone contacts (emergency numbers)
  • Transit Timetable for stage 1 (getting to the trailhead) and stage 4 (returning to Poprad)

What’s Not Included:

  • Lunch
  • Transport to/from hotel in Poprad on arrival/departure day
  • Public transport
 
Rysy Summit Hike, High Tatras, Slovakia, Poland

How to Get to the High Tatras

Arrival Day in Poprad, Slovakia

How to Get to Poprad

Poprad, Slovakia, is considered the gateway to the High Tatras. The easiest way to get to Poprad is by train. From Bratislava, it’s a 4:30 hour train-ride to Poprad-Tatry.

Book your train ticket to Poprad-Tatry.

Arrival in Poprad

TravelSlovakia.SK. booked our first and last nights at Penzion Atrium, a guesthouse and restaurant located at the historical square of Spišská Sobota. It’s a 23-minute walk from the train station to the guesthouse. However, if you’re traveling with luggage, you can also take a taxi.

We loved the location. From our room, we could see the pastel-colored renaissance houses lining the town square, the Church of St. Juraj, and the Tatra mountains off in the distance.

Another highlight of our stay at Penzion Atrium was eating dinner in their garden restaurant.

Book your stay at Penzion Atrium.

Find a place to stay in Poprad: Booking.com  |  Airbnb

 
Chata pri Zelenom plese, High Tatras Trek, Slovakia

Stage 1: High Tatras Trek

How to Get to Tatranská Kotlina Trailhead

Take a SAD Poprad Bus to Tatranská Kotlina.

From Penzion Atrium, walk 23-minutes to the Poprad train station (where you arrived yesterday) and continue walking to the nearby bus station.

Travel Slovakia.SK emailed us the bus departure times a few days before our trip. The schedule states the departure times, cost, time, and platform (under “Note”).

How much does the bus cost? 1.90 EUR

Transit Time: 46 minutes

Stage 1: Tatranská Kotlina (trailhead) – Chata Plesnivec (hut) – Biele pleso (white lake) –  Zelené pleso (green lake) – Chata pri Zelenom plese (green lake hut)

  • Distance: 9.8 km
  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
  • Elevation: 917 m ascending / 61 m descending
  • Time Needed: 5 hours (with breaks)
  • Lunch Option: Chata Plesnivec
  • Highlights: Walking between the limestone White Tatras (Belianske Tatras) and the granite High Tatras and staying the night at Zelene Pleso.
 

Stay in Chata pri Zelenom plese

  • Showers: Free. There are three showers.
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: Dining Room
  • Payment: Cash Only
  • Food: Good
  • Half Board or à la carte: Half Board only.
  • Rooms: Dormitory, and 4-bed rooms

Dinner: This hut prepares a 2-course dinner menu (soup + main dish). Unless you communicated any dietary restrictions (upon making your reservation), you’ll eat what everyone else eats. Starting at 7 pm, you can pick up your food at the counter. Everyone serves themselves.

Breakfast: There’s a large breakfast buffet, available from 6:30 am to 8 am. The breakfast includes yogurt and muesli, sliced fruit, sliced meat and cheese, frankfurters (sausage), sliced vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers), hard-boiled eggs, and tea. Coffee is not included. If you want coffee, order at the self-service window. You can order an espresso, Turkish coffee, or Nescafé.

 
Veľká Svišťovka, High Tatras Slovakia Hiking Guide

Stage 2: High Tatras Trek

Stage 2: Chata pri Zelenom plese (hut) – Veľká Svišťovka (peak) – Skalnate pleso (lake) – Zamkovského chata (mountain hut)

  • Distance: 6.3 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate. There’s one difficult section, where you have to climb up a gully, secured with chains. 
  • Elevation: 507 m ascending / 592 m descending
  • Time Needed: 5:30 hours with a lunch break
  • Lunch OptionSkalnate pleso cableway station panoramic restaurant, or the Skalnata chata hut 
  • Highlight: The ascent to Veľká Svišťovka and the food at Zamkovského chata
 

Stay in Zamkovského chata

  • Showers: Free. There’s one shower.
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: Limited, but you can charge your devices in the dining room.
  • Payment: Cash only
  • Food Quality: Excellent.
  • Half Board or à la carte: à la carte. For dinner, you can choose any soup and any entrée. The portions are very generous.
  • Rooms: Dormitory, and private rooms

When we arrived, we were astounded by the number of people at the hut. Despite being so busy, the staff kindly checked-us-in early (around 12:30 pm) and made us feel welcome and comfortable.

 
Batizovské pleso, High Tatras Hiking Itinerary, Slovakia

Stage 3: High Tatras Trek

Stage 3: Zamkovského chata (mountain hut) – Hrebienok (funicular/cable car station) – Horsky Hotel Sliezsky Dom – Batizovské pleso (lake) – Sedlo pod Ostrvou (saddle) – Popradské pleso (lake) – Majláthova chata na Popradskom Plese (mountain hut)

  • Distance: 15.6 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate, but long.
  • Elevation: 919 m ascending / 847 m descending
  • Time Needed: 8 hours with breaks
  • Lunch Option: Hrebienok, or Horsky Hotel Sliezsky Dom
  • Highlights: Batizovské pleso lake and descending from the Sedlo pod Ostrvou saddle to the Popradské pleso lake.

Though there are no grueling ascents and/or descents, this stage felt long and monotonous. You’re essentially following a balcony path around the mountains, without the benefit of seeing the mountains. 

If we could do it again, we’d modify this stage, and opt for a more alpine route. When we reached out to TravelSlovakia.Sk after our trek, they suggested an alternative route via Zbojnicka hut and Prielom saddle, for experienced hikers. That would make this stage 24 km (10-11 hours). However, you could break up the stage, by overnighting at Zbojnicka hut.

If you’re an experienced alpine hiker, we recommend discussing this option with TravelSlovakia.Sk.

 

Stay in Majláthova chata na Popradskom Plese

  • Showers: Yes.
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: In-room
  • Payment: Cash only
  • Food Quality: Excellent
  • Half Board or à la carte: Dinner includes a soup and entree of your choice from their menu.
  • Rooms: There are three private rooms (1x double/twin, 2x 4-bedded) and one tourist dorm for 5 people. Each room has its own bathroom.
  • Note: If Majláthova chata isn’t available, TravelSlovakia.Sk will reserve you a bed/room at the Popradske pleso hut.

Breakfast: In addition to the breakfast buffet, you can also choose an egg dish from their menu. Coffee is included.

 
Zabie Lakes, Rysy Hike, High Tatras, Slovakia

Stage 4: High Tatras Trek

Stage 4: Majláthova chata na Popradskom Plese (mountain hut) – Zabie lakes – Chata pod Rysmi (Hut under Rysy peak) – Rysy (peak) – Popradské pleso (lake) – Strbske pleso (lake)

  • Distance: 13.1 km
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult. The final ascend to Rysy requires a bit of scrambling. 
  • Elevation: 1029 m ascending / 1203 m descending
  • Time Needed: 8 hours with breaks
  • Lunch Option: Chata pod Rysmi, or Majláthova chata
  • Highlights: Zabie Lakes, Rysy summit (Polish-Slovakian border)
 

How to Get Back to Poprad

You can take a bus or a train from Štrbské Pleso to Poprad. We opted for the train because it’s a more comfortable option (more space). Travel Slovakia.SK also sent us the departure times of the Štrbské Pleso – Poprad train and buses, which made this step of the journey seamless.

When you head to the Štrbské Pleso train station, purchase your ticket at the ticket counter, before heading to the platform.

Train Transit Time: 1 hour 6 minutes, or 1 hour 16 minutes

Train Ticket: 2 EUR per person

Stay in Poprad

After the trek, we returned to Penzion Atrium for a final night.

Book your stay at Penzion Atrium.

Find a place to stay in Poprad: Booking.com  |  Airbnb

 
High Tatras, Rysy Views, Slovakia and Poland

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  • Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I’m grateful more than ever for my health and safety, my friends who are like guardian angels, the dawning of a new chapter (I’ll tell you about this soon), and Kati - the kindest and the most loving and non-judgmental human I know.
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Seceda is one of the most popular destinations in the Italian Dolomites, partially because it’s so easy to get to. There’s a cableway connection from Oritsei in Val Gardena, which means you don’t have to hike more than 10 minutes to get to this viewpoint.

A more interesting approach to the Seceda ridgeline is from the Resciesa Plateau. Starting in Ortisei, take the Resciesa funicular up to the plateau and descend to Malga Brogles in Val di Funes. From the hut, you can ascend to Seceda via the Panascharte notch or the Mittagscharte notch.

Another option, is to forego a cableway ascent altogether and hike from “the bottom.” Starting at the Praplan car park above Santa Cristina, hike to Seceda via Baita Gamsblut and Rifugio Fermeda. You can make this a circuit hike by combining the ascent to Seceda with the summit to Monte Pic (highly recommended).

You’ll find more details on these two Seceda hikes on the blog (link in bio).
  • A month ago, we re-visited the Dolomites, intent on seeing the changing colors and hiking as much as humanly possible. In preparation, I spent hours pouring over Tabacco trail maps, charting out new routes to hike.

Alas, the weather didn’t care about my thoughtful planning. In fact, the conditions were so dreadful, we cancelled the first four days and the final five. When we did arrive, we were welcomed by a blanket of snow. After a few dry days, we experienced another storm leaving us knee-deep in snow for the next six days.

This trip obviously didn’t go as planned. But, the silver lining was our accommodation. Bad weather isn’t so bad when your hotel has an integrated wellness & sauna area, or an in-house patisserie.

As we’ve learned more than once, the weather is often unpredictable in the Dolomites. Our recommendation is to choose a lovely place to stay, so your time spent inside is just as enjoyable as your time outside.

We’ve summarized our favorite hotels in the Dolomites (link in bio), based on five independent trips. Take a look.
  • Only gratitude, relief and joy today.
  • Sunrise in the Karwendel Mountains.

The weather forecast predicted early afternoon thunderstorms, so we woke up extra early and started hiking at 5:30 am. Seeing the sunrise as we crested the Mandlscharte was like entering heaven.

After a long and difficult 9-hour stage, we arrived at @solsteinhaus in rain. Luckily, the thunder never came.

The highlight of this incredible day was meeting @clarazijlstra and @jaqi_sta - two brilliant and talented women who radiate passion and warmth! Hope to see you both again! 💛💛💛
  • Italian Dolomites Tip:

Skip Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) and Lago di Sorapiss and hike to Lago di Coldai instead for a crowd-free alpine lake experience.