Tatra Mountains: High in Slovakia is written by Jacob Gowland Jørgensen.
Off to the Tatra Mountains
Dad, where are you going?
To the Tatra Mountains, my boy.
The Tantra Mountains?
Almost, to the Tatra Mountains, in Slovakia. But I have to fly to Poland.
To the North Pole?
No, to Southern Poland indeed
Wow, that sounds crazy…
I hope so too!
Mountains just around the corner
1 hour and 10 minutes. It took it to fly to Polish Krakow, which is perhaps one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. And from there it only took a couple of hours to get the 150 km to the border and in to Slovakia, for part of the road is brand new highway and there is more on the way.
Here lies the “High Tatras” - the highest and most beautiful part of the Tatra Mountains - and here I was to spend five days in an area I had never been to before. And really, I did not have a very accurate picture of what it looked like either.
In other words, it was a virgin journey, and one I will not forget right away.
The Slovak Riviera in the middle of the Tatra Mountains
The Polish city of Zakopane on the other side of the mountains is known as a beautiful excursion site for both Poles and Germans. But what about the Slovak side?
The small country that was left over after the Czechs slipped into the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia is nicely overlooked by the Danes. But the Tatra Mountains have always attracted the elite of the region, so tourism has been organized for more than 100 years.
The rich from Prague og Vienna was so preoccupied with getting to travel to the beautiful mountains with the fresh air that railroads and large luxury hotels were built in the early 1900s; among others the Grand Hotel Praha that still exists.
There are lots of small and large hotels sprinkled around and by the national park, located in the mountains themselves. With the hotels, there is a fully developed infrastructure; among other things, a light rail that runs around between the cozy villages and lifts up into the mountains.
That was the first surprise.
The Tatra Mountains can rightly be called Slovakia riviera, but in the peaceful, nature-loving and cheerful way. There are clearly more seaside resorts on the North Sea than show-off in Nice over the atmosphere here. Good walks, delicious food in stride streams and a nature that required the camera to come to work. I quickly felt at home here.
To travel is to eat
Once upon a time, I was on a study trip to a city outside Prague, and one of the things I remember most clearly was that there were some very friendly people who unfortunately stuffed cumin in the food all the time. In the bread, in the hot food, in the booze. Bvadr.
My expectation of Slovak cuisine was therefore also at a fairly low level, which fortunately was put to shame.
The diet is suitable for a mountain region, where there is also larger agriculture at the foot of the mountains, so there are plenty of berries, game, river fish and solid vegetables. And soup. Always a little soup. It warms so nicely. And maybe a little sharp. It's hot too! Or a good white wine from southern Slovakia that shares the climate with that part of Hungary, which also has a large wine production.
The prices are in the category where you just order what you want, and that's nice too. It seems this food door at least… We were out to eat at these recommended restaurants, all located inside the national park or just around:
- Zamkovskeho Chata - a mountain hut you can hike to and where I got the best goulash in a long time
- Hotel Lomnica - super checked and modern kitchen with nice touches
- Cottage Pieniny - a top-notch dining cabin by the river, where you can sail or rafting
- Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras - one of the original luxury hotels with a classic gourmet cuisine
- Sojka Resort - a Belgian-Slovak couple runs this good restaurant = good beer and fine local specialties
- Liptovsky Dvor - my personal favorite, where they combined the traditional goodies with a really skilled chef
I honestly did not expect that the food would be so good. It was surprise number two.
Water, water, water in the Tatra Mountains
We stayed in a hotel that in addition to having a beautiful view of the mountains was also a golf hotel. After 20 minutes of testing the golf vacation, I was ready for the second attraction; namely a huge spa area with saunas, water showers, ice baths and not least a hot, outdoor pool.
It was so good to float there after hiking, photographing and eating. And that was surprise number three: the Tatra Mountains are a spa area. There are hot springs, thermal baths and everything else good, so here they have refined the wellness bath for 100 years, and the offers are in line.
We were in too Slovakia largest water park Tatralandia, which in addition to a large children's section also housed a beautiful and completed spa section, including a whirlpool on the roof. There are also several smaller and natural bathing resorts, where for a tenth of the entrance fee to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland can get relaxed 100 percent off. And then there was the spa at the Kempinski Hotel - it had possibly the most beautiful view of them all. I am a fan.
The water also makes the Tatra Mountains come alive in the winter, for it is a huge ski destination, with everything from green to black trails and a lot of other activities.
If you want to combine a delicious spa stay with active hiking in the Tatra Mountains, then hurry to check The Tatra Mountains - The mountain paradise for hiking and spa.
If you want an ice trip in the summer, you can also snore it, because there are several large cave systems in the mountains, and one of them is Demänovská Ice Cave. A cave filled with ice all year round. We tried the neighboring cave, where a river flows at the bottom, and we walked in the most beautiful and surreal surroundings for an hour. It can be recommended.
When handsomeness is only a poor word
The Slovaks are a pretty nice people. People greet each other on the mountain trails, provide space in the ski lift, and the hospitality is legendary. You are not allowed to leave a place without being happy and full, and if it is cold, you can be sure that there will be a glass with TatraTea, which despite the name is not completely alcohol-free… The waiters are happy to send a smile and asks anxiously for one's well - being if one does not eat up.
There is also an underlying coolness that I was personally quite surprised by. Positively surprised. You want to have fun and you want to learn more. There jokes on the loose, and although life does not always bottle up perfectly in the EU country, it is clearly not something to be put off. It is quite admirable, and then it might also explain the ridiculous slogan for the country: Slovakia: Good idea!
Have a good trip to one of the overlooked corners of Europe. Good trip to the Tatra Mountains.
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