Walking in the Tatra Mountains

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Landscapes of the TATRA MOUNTAINS (Poland and Slovakia): walks and car tours

by Sandra Bardwell

The Sunflower series always delivers a useful pocket guide book. The car tours, the fold-out maps and the clear symbols all make these books handy to throw in the backpack. The route descriptions are easy to follow and ensure you don’t miss any highlights. These books are good value for money. (K, Amazon)

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Description

Tatra MountainsFor those who love mountain walks, there can be few places where hikers are better catered for than in the Polish Tatras and the Slovakian Tatras. Skilfully constructed paths make walking in very rough terrain comparatively easy; signposting and waymarking are almost universally excellent. Hillwalkers will be in their element here, but there are often shorter, easy suggestions for the less hardy or they can create their own walks from the detailed maps in the book (which show all waymarked routes). In addition, those touring Slovakia or Poland by car will find that the tours lead to dozens of short walks and picnic spots, so that even those with little walking experience can make the most of these wonderful mountains.

In each of the six national parks covered in the book you can look forward to sampling local drinks and dishes at one or more of the mountain inns. Walking in the national parks featured in this guide will undoubtedly be a very rewarding experience — the enjoyment of magnificent scenery and the excellent facilities for hikers, and perhaps also for successfully undertaking what may seem quite daunting walks in relatively high mountains. The experience can be rewarding on another level: being among people who are obviously enjoying themselves, who don’t seem to need an array of the latest outdoor fashions, and who are quietly proud of their mountain heritage.

Area covered: Within the compact area covered by this guide (140km east–west, 65km north–south) are two outstanding national parks in southernmost Poland: Pieniny and Tatra, and the best of neighbouring Slovakia’s mountains in four national parks: Tatra, Slovensky Raj (Slovak Paradise), Low Tatra and Mala Fatra.

Where to stay

All the walks start from a town or village with a choice of accommodation listed under ‘Nearest accommodation’, with an alternative location in some cases. If you prefer not to make reservations, local official tourist information offices are a reliable source of assistance, although this approach would be inadvisable during the July-August peak season. Accommodation in private homes, usually on a room-only basis, is plentifully available, except in the Low Tatras. Basic campsites for tourers and tents are few, but there is one near each of the featured national parks; most sites also have chalets for hire. The only youth hostel is that in Zakopane, the base for the Polish Tatras.

Edition/contents etc

7 car tours, 50 long and short walks, 20 short walks/picnic suggestions for motorists
136 pages + fold-out car touring map; plans of Zakopane, Kroscienko, Tatranska Lomnica, Stary Smokovec, Strbske Pleso; large-scale (1:50,000) topo maps
3rd ed, 2016; ISBN 978-1-85691-477-2; UK retail price £12.99 / USA retail price $18.00

Table of contents:

IMPORTANT: Place names in Poland and Slovakia often contain characters with unusual accents, several of which are not included in western European fonts. Accented characters such as these often appear incorrectly when viewed on the web and if used may be replaced by unrecognizable symbols when viewed on a different computer. Many accented characters in the place names shown here have therefore been replaced by characters without accents, to help avoid the risk of totally different characters or symbols appearing when you view the index ( though the more common accents appear as normal). On some computers, even these “common” accents may give unexpected results – this will be due to differing keyboard set-ups.

For the above reasons, some of the place names appear here with (strictly speaking) incorrect or incomplete spelling. However, we emphasise that in the book, the appropriate font has been used to ensure that all place names appear with correct spelling and with the correct accents.

Preface 5
Acknowledgements; Recommended reading;
Useful contacts 7

Travel 8

Car touring 9
Car tour 1: PIENINY AND TATRA NATIONAL PARKS 11
Car tour 2: ACROSS THE BORDER 13
Car tour 3: SLOVAKIA’S TATRA MOUNTAINS 15
Car tour 4: SLOVAK PARADISE 16
Car tour 5: LOW TATRAS NATIONAL PARK 18
Car tour 6: MALA FATRA 20
Car tour 7: ORAVA VALLEY 23

Picnics and short walks 24

Walking 30
Grades, waymarks, maps 30
Equipment and safety 31
Effects of altitude 32
Weather 32
Where to stay 33
Nuisances 33
Country code 33
Polish for walkers 34
Slovak for walkers 36
Organisation of the walks 39

THE WALKS
1 Pieniny: The Three Crowns 41
2 Pieniny: The Sokolica ridge 45
3 Pieniny: Dunajec Gorge 48
4 Polish High Tatras: Dolina Biaego and Stràyska Dolina via Sarnia Skaa 51
5 Polish High Tatras: The ascent of Giewont 54
6 Polish High Tatras: Along the Poland-Slovakia border ridge 57
7 Polish High Tatras: The ascent of Ornak 60
8 Polish High Tatras: A ridge walk above Chochoowska Dolina 62
9 Polish High Tatras: A lakes tour 66
10 Polish High Tatras: The Valley of the Five Polish Lakes and Morskie Oko 69
11 Slovakian High Tatras: Popradské Pleso and Vel’ké Hincovo Pleso 73
12 Slovakian High Tatras: Predné Solisko and Furkotská Dolina 76
13 Slovakian High Tatras: From Mlynická Dolina to Furkotská Dolina via Bystré Sedlo 78
14 Slovakian High Tatras: The ascent of Kriván 81
15 Slovakian High Tatras: Téryho Chata 84
16 Slovakian High Tatras: The ascent of Slavkovsky Stít 88
17 Slovakian High Tatras: Skalnaté Pleso and Lomnické Sedlo 90
18 Slovakian High Tatras: Two lakes and two mountain inns 92
19 Slovakian High Tatras: From Tatranská Javorina to Biela Voda 96
20 Slovensky Raj: Hornád Gorge and Tomáovsky Vhl’ad 99
21 Slovensky Raj: Hornád Gorge (western end) 103
22 Slovensky Raj: The Hornád River and historic Klástorisko 105
23 Low Tatras: Two valleys above Jasná 108
24 Low Tatras: The ascent of Chopok and a fine ridge walk 111
25 Low Tatras: The Pol’ana spur 113
26 Malá Fatra: The ascent of Kraviarske 116
27 Malá Fatra: The ascent of Chleb 119
28 Malá Fatra: The ascent of Vel’ky Kriván 121
29 Malá Fatra: The traverse of Boboty ridge 123
30 Malá Fatra: Dolné Diery and Nové Diery 125
31 Malá Fatra: The Juraj Jánosík walk 128

Transport information  131
Index 135
Fold-out touring map – inside back cover
Town plans – reverse of touring map

Guidebook index

IMPORTANT: Place names in Poland and Slovakia often contain characters with unusual accents, several of which are not included in western European fonts. Accented characters such as these often appear incorrectly when viewed on the web and if used may be replaced by unrecognizable symbols when viewed on a different computer. Many accented characters in the place names shown here have therefore been replaced by characters without accents, to help avoid the risk of totally different characters or symbols appearing when you view the index ( though the more common accents appear as normal). On some computers, even these “common” accents may give unexpected results – this will be due to differing keyboard set-ups.

For the above reasons, many of the place names appear here with (strictly speaking) incorrect or incomplete spelling. However, we emphasise that in the book, the appropriate font has been used to ensure that all place names appear with correct spelling and with the correct accents.

Belianske Tatras 5, 13, 28, 72, 92, 94-5, 96
Beskid 66, 67
Biay Potok 51-2
Biela Voda 94-5, 96, 97, 134
Biely Potok (near Cingov) 102, 106
Biely Potok (near Terchová) 124, 125, 134
Boboty ridge 123, 124, 124
Bôr 108-9, 113, 114
Bukowina Tatrzaska 13
Bystré Sedlo 74-5, 80
Capie Pleso 74-5, 80
Cerveny Klastor 42-3, 49
Chata (mountain inn or refuge, Slovakia)
Bilíkova 84, 86-7
Kamenná 108-9, 111, 112
Lúcky 108-9, 110
Mikulásska 108-9, 110, 111, 112
na Grúni 29, 117, 119, 120
Plesnivec 92, 93, 94-5
pod Soliskom 74-5, 76, 77, 80
Popradské Pleso 73, 74-5
pri Zelenom Plese 92, 94-5
Rainerova 28, 84, 86-7
Skalnatá 86-7, 90, 91
Téryho 84, 85, 86-7
Vrátna 29, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 122
Klástorisko 102, 105, 106
Zamkovského 84, 85, 86, 86-7

Chleb 29, 39, 117, 118, 119, 120
Chochoów 23
Chopok 29, 108-9, 111, 112-3
Chopok Úboc 29, 109, 112, 134
Cingov 16, 17, 28, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 106, 134
Czarny Staw Gàsienicowy 67, 68
Czarny Staw pod Rysami 70
Czertezik 42-3, 47
Czorsztyskie, Lake 11
Debno 11
Dolina (valley in both Polish and Slovak)
Biaego 51, 52-3
Chochoówska 60, 61, 62, 64-5
Demenová/ská 108-9, 134
Furkotská 74-5, 76, 77, 80
Gàsienicowa 65, 68
Grzybowiecka 52-3, 56
Jaworzynka 66, 68
Kezmarskej 94-5, 97
Koscieliska 52-3, 59
Maego Szerokiego
Malá Studená 84, 86-7
Mengusovská 73, 74-5
Mlynická 74-5, 78, 79, 80
Roztoki 69, 70, 71
Rybiego Potoku 70, 71
Siedmich Pramenov 93, 94-5
Siroká 108-9, 110
Stràzyska 26, 52-3, 54, 56, 57, 133
Studená 86-7
Vrátna 116, 117, 123, 124, 128, 134

Dolné Diery 124, 125, 127
Dolny Kubín 23
Dunajec (river, valley and gorge) 24, 42-3, 46, 48-9, 49, 50
Gerlachovsky Stít 86-7, 89
Giewont 52-3, 54, 55, 56, 57, cover
Goryczkowa Czuba 52-3, 58, 59
Gubaowka 24, 25, 132
Harichovce 17
Herbaciarnia Palenica 52-3, 54, 56, 57
Hornád (river, valley and gorge) 28, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106
Horné Diery 124, 125, 126
Horny Smokovec 15
plan: reverse of touring map
Hrabusice 103, 134
Hrebienok 28, 84, 86-7, 88, 89, 90, 134
Huta 42-3, 48, 49
Inn, mountain see Chata, Schronisko
Jamské Pleso 74-5, 81
Jaskyna Slobody 108-9, 114
Jasná 18, 19, 28, 29, 108-9, 110, 112, 113, 134
Kasprowy Wierch 26, 52-3, 57, 58, 67, 68, 133
Kiry 52-3, 57, 59, 60, 64-5, 133
Klástorisko 102, 105, 106
Koliba Podziar 29, 123, 124, 125
Kominiarski Wierch 61, 64-5
Kondracka Kopa 52-3, 54, 57, 59, cover
Konczysty Wierch 63, 64-5
Kral’ovany 21
Kraviarske 116, 117
Kriván 74-5, 77, 81, 82-3
Kroscienko 11, 12, 40, 41, 42-3, 44, 45, 46-7, 133
plan: reverse of touring map
Kuznice 26, 52-53, 54, 66, 67, 68, 132, 133
Làd 42-3, 48
Lesnica 42-3
Levoca 16, 17
Liptovsky Hrádok 18, 19
Liptovsky Mikulás18, 19, 21, 107, 133, 134
Lomnické Sedlo 86-7, 88, 90, 91, 134
Lomnicky Stít 14
Low Tatras National Park 18-19, 108-114
Luková 108, 108-9, 110
Lysa Polana/Lysá Pol’ana 13, 50, 134
Malá Fatra National Park 20-22, 115-131
May Giewont 52-3, 56
Maly Kriván 74-5, 81
Mal Studen Potok 86-7
Morskie Oko 69, 70, 71
Nové Diery 124, 125, 127
Novy Smokovec 15
plan: reverse of touring map
Nowy Targ 11, 12, 40, 133
Obrovsky Vodopád 84, 86-7
Okraglica 41, 42-3, 44
Orava (river and valley) 21, 23
Castle 22, 23
Ornak 60, 61, 64-5
Ostrvné 124, 125,
Párnica 23
Pieniny National Park 11-12, 40, 41-49
Pod Muránom 28, 96, 97
Podbanské 18, 19
Podbiel 23
Podlesok 28, 102, 103, 104, 134
Podziar 124, 126, 127
Polana (meadow, Polish)
Chocholówska 62-3, 64-5
Huciska 27
Palenica 69, 70, 71, 133
Pisana 60, 61, 64-5
Siwa 27, 61, 64-5, 133
Stràzyska 52-3

Pol’ana 108-9, 112-3, 114
Pol’anka 42-3, 48, 49
Polish High Tatras National Park 11-12, 50-71
Poprad 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 50, 72, 98, 133
Popradské Pleso 73, 74-5
Poronin 13
Predné Solisko 27, 74-5, 76, 133
Prezdni Staw 50
Pri Letanovskom Mlyne 99, 101, 102, 103
Pri Tomás Vyhl’ade 16, 101, 102
Refuge, mountain see Chata, Schronisko
Ruzomberok 21
Rysy 50, 70
Sarnia Skaa 51, 52-3
Schronisko (mountain inn or refuge, Polish)
Gorskie 69, 70, 71
Kalatówki 26, 52-3, 54, 55
Murowaniec 67, 67, 68
na Chochoowskiej Polanie 11, 62, 63, 64-5
na Hali Ornak 1, 60, 64-5
na Kondratowej Hali 52-3, 54, 56
przy Morskim Oku 69, 70, 71

Sedlo Pol’any 108-9, 112-3
Sípková 128, 129, 134
Skalnaté Pleso 28, 86-87, 90, 91, 134
Slavkovská Vyhliadka 86-7, 88, 89
Slavkovsky Stít 86-7, 88, 89
Slovak Paradise see Slovensk Raj
Slovakia’s Low Tatra National Park 18-19, 107-114
Slovakia’s Tatra National Park 15, 72-97
Slovensky Raj National Park 16-17, 98-106
Snilovské Sedlo 117, 119, 120, 121, 122
Sokolica 24, 42-3, 45
Spisská Nová Ves 16, 17, 98, 134
Spisské Tomásovce 16, 17
Spissky Stvrtok 16, 17
Stará Dolina 116, 117, 118, 120
Stary Dvor 116, 117, 118, 134
Stary Smokovec 13, 14, 15, 28, 72, 84, 86-7, 88, 90, 92, 96, 107, 133, 134
plan: reverse of touring map
Stefanová 29, 116, 117, 119, 121, 123, 124, 125, 127, 134
Strbské Pleso (village and lake) 10, 15, 18, 27, 73, 74, 74-5, 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 107, 133
plan: reverse of touring map
Strecno 20, 21
Castle 21
Suchá Hora 23
Suche Czuby 52-3, 58
Swiety Jana Chrzciciela 2, 64-5
Swistowa Czuba 12, 70
Symbolicky Cintorín 73, 74-5
Szczawnica 11, 12, 40, 41, 42-3, 45, 46, 48, 49, 133
Tatranská Javorina 13, 28, 96, 97, 134
Tatranská Kotlina 13, 14, 92, 93, 94-5, 96
Tatranská Lesná 14
Tatranská Lomnica 13, 14, 28, 72, 86-7, 90, 91, 92, 96, 134
plan: reverse of touring map
Tatranská Strba 15, 18
Tatranské Matliare 14
Teplicka 22
Terchová 21, 22, 23, 29, 115, 116, 117, 119, 121, 123, 124, 128, 129, 130, 134
Tiesnavy Gorge 124, 124
Tomáovsky Vyhl’ad 99, 101, 102
Tri Vody 108-9, 112, 113
Trstená 23
Trzy Korony 41, 42-3, 44
Tvrdosín 23
Vah (river and valley) 18, 20, 21, 22, 107

Current update

Tatra Mountains of Poland and Slovakia, 3rd ed (2016)

Updates for walks and car tours (drives) given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

To date, Sunflower Books has not received any information suggesting necessary amendments to this title.