High Tatras

The High Tatras Mountains of Slovakia (also known as the High Tatry Mountains) are part of the Carpathian mountain range that stretches some 900 miles (1500 km) across central and eastern Europe. The highest peaks in the Carpathians are found in the High Tatras. Slovakia's highest point – and the highest peak in the Carpathians – is Gerlachovský Štít in the High Tatras, which reaches 8,711 feet (2,655 meters) above sea level.

The High Tatras are a popular destination for skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer. Throughout the region there are a number of resort towns, including Štrbské pleso, Starý Smokovec, and Tatranská Lomnica. (The main transportation hub in the area is the nearby city of Poprad.) Starý Smokovec was quite lively during our September 2005 visit. Many people were relaxing in town while others rode a funicular up to the base of the ski area and took one of several well-marked hiking trails.

I assume the High Tatras are quite popular in winter as well. I enjoyed my summer visit so much that I decided to return the following January for some skiing, but I was completely unable to reserve a hotel room even several weeks in advance. Thus, my hopes of seeing the High Tatras in winter were dashed.