EXPLORE A UNIQUE CULTURE, RICH IN HISTORY AND FULL OF ALPINE ADVENTURES.
Views of the most famous peak in the High Tatras, Lomnický štit at 8642 ft.
Explore hidden high lakes and lush pines forests.
Visit Renaissance buildings and historic landmarks in the medieval town of Levoča.
Embark on one of Ryder-Walker’s newest treks. This journey takes us into the High Tatras of Slovakia, the highest mountains of the mysterious Carpathian range, that runs along the border of northern Slovakia and Poland. These mountains are defined by their dense pine forests, isolated alpine lakes, and vibrant wildlife. Slovakia remains one of the most amazingly wild regions in Europe. Far removed from the tourist culture of the Alps, these mountains are still a place of deep nature and wonder. While the High Tatras have become a favorite vacation place for Polish and Slovakian tourists, the international tourist community has yet to fully discover them, which provides an exciting and undiscovered adventure for us.
Slovakia is a country with an incredibly deep and varied history. Originally inhabited by Celtic tribes, Slovakia has hosted numerous cultures and invaders, including the Romans who followed the Danube on their conquests, as well as the devastating Mongol invasion in the high middle ages. The Slavic people themselves immigrated in the 11th century and have called the mountainous country their home for centuries. In the modern period, Slovakia became a crucial interest in multiple empire projects. These included the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, followed by the resistance of the Ottomans by the Hapsburg Empire, and of course the incorporation of the country into Czechoslovakia under the rule of the USSR. The country has returned to its Slavic roots, existing in a state of community with neighboring Poland. The two countries share the region of the High Tatras as their favorite place for alpine recreation. Today Slovakia remains remarkably wild, with many animal species that are extinct in much of Europe inhabiting its dense woodland, including red deer, lynx, and even bears.
On our trip through the High Tatras, we stay in a mixture of exciting styles of accommodations, including three different four-star, grand hotels dating back to the Hapsburg empire located in the resort towns of Tatranská Lomnica, Starý Smokovec and Štrbské Pleso. Midway through the trip we are treated to a night in the Bilikova Chata, a charming mountain chalet that rests on the flank of the Slavkovsky Peak – famous for its mountain goat population and the Sliezsky Dom, a modern high mountain hotel surrounded by jagged peaks, and on the shores of a stunning alpine lake located at the base of Velicky Waterfall.
We begin our trek through Slovakia in the lively resort town of Tatranská Lomnica and wind our way through pine forests and lake-strewn valleys to the lakeside Hapsburg resort of Štrbské Pleso. Tatranská Lomnica is the athletic center of the High Tatras, and one of its main tourist hubs. The town supports a cable car which runs over 1,700 meters to the peak of Mt. Lomnický štit, as well as many fine dining locations and luxurious resort hotels. The town is also famous for its stargazing, being the first location in which we get to enjoy Slovakia’s remarkable night sky. From there we travel through Slovakia’s most visited and perhaps most beautiful valley, the Valley of Zeleného Plesa, or the Valley of the Green Lake. Our journey continues into the mountains, crossing alpine passes and looking down on a collection of Slovakia’s crystal-clear alpine lakes. A highlight of the tour is our cultural outing to the medieval town of Levoča, a town with human history and ruins dating back to the stone age.
Outside of Levoča is the Spiš Castle, one of the largest ruined castles in Europe. It was originally constructed by the kings of Hungary in the 11th century, however, a mysterious fire destroyed much of the original architecture which was later reconstructed in a more Gothic style. Today the castle is a remarkable destination for historians and tourists alike, featuring a museum dedicated to the macabre weapons and torture instruments used by the medieval Hungarian kings. Finally, we journey to Štrbské Pleso, a ski resort surrounded by an artificial marsh created by the aristocratic architect Karol Móry, who flooded the area in the 1900s to create an atmospheric lake that he hoped would increase the value of his property and manor house. Overall, the Slovakia trek combines places of historic interest with corners of the High Tatras that, to this day, remain virtually uninhabited.
2019 Highlight Video
Arrive at Tatranská Lomnica, one of the most beautiful villages in the High Tatras. Meet other guests and your guide(s) at 7 pm for welcome drinks and dinner at the four-star Grandhotel Praha.
Today we head out on an excursion into the Valley of Zeleného Pleso (Valley of the Green Lake). Our journey is to the lakeside mountain hut of Chata pri Zelenom plese. Views abound, including the most famous peak in the High Tatras, Lomnický štit at 8642 ft. It is also Sovakia’s second highest peak. Return to the Grandhotel Praha.
Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2500/1450 ft.
After a quick gondola ride, we set out to walk along the magistrala. Soon we find ourselves surrounded by lush pine forests as we hike up to a beautiful high lake alongside the Téryho Chata (Téryho Hut). From here we explore hidden lakes higher up in the valley before descending by the Hrebienok funicular to our lovely, four-star hotel in Starý Smokovec.
Distance: up to 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss 2700 ft.
Today’s outing takes us by van to the medieval town of Levoča (UNESCO). Known for its many Renaissance buildings and landmarks, this walled town is packed with history and boasts a Gothic Church with the world’s highest wooden altar. After lunch, at a traditional café in Levoča, we head to Spiš Castle. Built in the 12th century, it is one of the largest castles in Europe and is on UNESCO World Heritage List of 1,000 of the most important monuments in the world. Return to our hotel in Starý Smokovec.
We begin today with a short funicular ride from Starý Smokovec to the Hrebienok station. Our destination is the Zbojnícka Chata (Robber’s Hut). Built in Velka Studena Dolina (Great Cold Valley), the hut is surrounded by majestic peaks and beautiful lakes. From here we explore hidden lakes higher up in the valley or simply hike back down to our atmospheric alpine guest house, the Bilíkova Chata, where we have dinner and spend the night.
Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss 2215 ft.
Today we follow an incredibly scenic high traverse just above the treeline towards Sliezsky Dom, located on the banks of Velicke Pleso. We have lunch here and also spend the night. Spa options are available in the afternoon, or we can embark on an adventure, hiking up towards Velicky Waterfall to Velicka Valley and Kvetnicke Pleso (Lake) or even to Polsky Hreben pass.
Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2000/1250 ft.
We continue on this high-level route walking under soaring mountain peaks. A highlight today is lunch at Batizovské pleso, a stunning lake at the foot of Gerlach peak (8711 ft.), the highest peak in the High Tatras. After lunch we descend to Propradské Pleso for afternoon drinks and finish at our four-star hotel, the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras, situated on the banks of lake Štrbské Pleso.
Distance: 11 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2100/2850 ft.
Our final hike will be a loop hike high above the lake. The trail up and through the Mlynická dolina (Mlynická Valley) passes several lakes until crossing a high pass named Bystré sedlo (Bitter Saddle). The final descent takes us past Vyšné Wahlenbergovo pleso, a small heart-shape lake, and ends with the Solisko ski lift down to the Grand Hotel Kempinski. A farewell dinner celebration follows.
Distance: 5-9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: up to 3000/1900 ft.