Figuring out which tourist town, quaint village, or mountain-tucked chalet to set up base during my trip to the High Tatras was a daunting decision at first. But I quickly learned that the train system connects the towns and villages, making it easy to take transit to whatever hike you want to try out. After realising this, I ended up looking into Nová Lesná, a quiet village nestled away from the more popular destinations in the High Tatras.
I wanted to escape the more popular towns and find a more remote location. From here, I took the train to some of the more popular hikes in the area: Mlynická Dolina to Furkotská Dolina Loop Hike, Zelené Pleso Hike, and Mount Rysy, to name a few.
If you're stuck on where to stay in the High Tatras, I would suggest choosing which hikes you want to try first and then looking at the map detailing every hike in the area and finding which town, village, or chalet sits closest to the walk you want to try the most. However, the train system works really well, so you can always do a hike or two around where you're staying before taking transit to another epic adventure trail into the High Tatras.
To help you choose where to stay in the High Tatras, I've created a guide on the best towns, more remote villages, and mountain huts in the area. So read on to find a destination that supports your vibe and your hiking goals.
Best towns to stay in the High Tatras
The following towns attract more tourists but still give off a rustic, outdoorsy feel! These three locations sit directly on the Tatra Electric Railway, so it's super easy to hop from hike to hike or place to place.
Starý Smokovec lies in the centre of the High Tatras, making it a hotspot for hikers seeking easy access to trailheads, and you'll find the lower station for the cable car to Hrebienok here as well. Teeming with fresh mountain air, adventure opportunities, and picturesque chalets lined in front of soaring peaks, Starý Smokovec feels tailor-made for tourists who crave more rustic explorations over seaside lounging.
The Tatra Electric Railway connects Starý Smokovec to Tatranská Lomnica, Štrbské Pleso and several other destinations. There's also the lower station for the gondola leading up to Hrebienok, where a network of trails await.
You'll find several hikes and hiking networks near Starý Smokovec, with the most popular way of accessing trails being taking the cable car up to Hrebienok, where an array of paths lead to various mountain huts. For example, the 6km Zamkovského Mountain Chalet Hike is one of the many routes from Hrebienok. And from the Zamkovského Hut, there are even more paths winding to other huts in the area, such as the Popradské Pleso hut (this is a long route, though!).
Other great hikes setting out from Starý Smokovec are the physically demanding but unbelievably epic 12.4km Slavkovský Štít Hike and the wild Prielom Pass, which grants a stunning view over Zamrznuté Pleso, the "frozen lake".
The lovely town of Tatranská Lomnica is also a part of the centre of the High Tatras, meaning easy access to many nearby adventures.
This charming mountain town sits at the end of the Tatra Electric Railway, so it's close to the web of trails carved throughout the High Tatras. You can take a tram to Starý Smokovec as well. There's also the lower station for the cable car heading to Skalnaté Pleso, and from Skalnaté Pleso, you can take another cable car to Lomnický štít.
You'll find one of the most epic hikes in the High Tatras starting from Tatranska Lomnica: Zelené Pleso Hike. To bask in the views etched along this incredible adventure, you'll want to take the cable car to Skalnaté Pleso, where the best part of the hike begins! Or visit five waterfalls on the point-to-point Vysoké Tatry Waterfall Hiking Tour. Point-to-point means you'll have to take transit back to Tatranska Lomnica at the end of your hike.
Situated in the western part of the centre of the High Tatras, Štrbské Pleso is another fantastic platform for hikes in the area! It's also a haven for cross-country and downhill skiing. The glacial lake of the same name is one of the main reasons why people go here!
Like the other two towns mentioned above, Štrbské Pleso sits along the Tatra Electric Railway. Another excellent adventure option is to take the Solisko chair lift, which leads to a mountain hut and some unreal hiking trails.
Speaking of unreal hiking trails from the Solisko chair lift, the path leading up to Predné Solisko is one worth trying. Other hikes leading from Štrbské Pleso are the 9.6km Popradské Pleso and the Mlynická Dolina to Furkotská Dolina loop (which I highly recommend!).
I mentioned that I spent a few nights in Nová Lesná, a quiet village tucked into the mountains. Yet, despite not being one of the more popular destinations, I could still easily access transit as Nová Lesná lies along the Tatra Electric Railway. Therefore, it was surprisingly easy to knock a lot of hikes off my High Tatras bucket list!
If you crave a smaller location but want to be a little closer to one of the more touristy towns in the centre of the High Tatras, consider Dolný Smokovec! Or further from the main small towns but closer to the more hustling and bustling Poprad, there's Veľký Slavkov.
Staying in chalets is a great way to experience the High Tatras' wild, intoxicating backyard. One I can't help but recommend is the Rysy Mountain Chalet. I'm not sure if it stood out to me because the hike up to Rysy peak was challenging, and this chalet was an excellent place to pause before taking on the final ascent. But, in general, the Rysy Hut explodes with cosiness and charm, right from its rustic decor to its tasty, standard meals. Another hut to look into is the Zelené Pleso Mountain Chalet, as it is nestled into peaks dusted with snow and overlooks the "Green Lake".
If you want to revel in city lights and vibes at night and explore the High Tatras by day, I suggest staying in Poprad! You won't be fully immersed in the mountains, but the Tatra Electric Railway makes it easy to jet off to some trails or explore some quaint towns for a few hours. Admire the Renaissance buildings, delicious dining options, or hit up a spa when you're craving a day off the trails.
Before I sign off, I want to quickly note that on average, the Tatra Electric Railways costs €2 for a one-way ticket, a week-long pass will have you dishing out €14, and if you're there for a month, it's worth buying a pass for €16. I discussed this transit option a lot, so I thought it was important to reference this information. I hope this guide on where to stay in the High Tatras helped highlight a place or two worth visiting. Best of luck in your travels!
Mins Lukas Savela is a team member at 10Adventures Tours, helping people to explore the most beautiful places on earth.
25. Aug 2021 at 7:25 | Mins Lukas Savela