"Chamois country" Top 5 Page for this destination Vysoke Tatry by evaanna
Vysoke Tatry Travel Guide: 118 reviews and 404 photos
The Tatra Mountains are the smallest mountains of the alpine type in the world. Smallest not because of their height which is really imposing, with 20 peaks reaching over 2500 m a.s.l. but because the length of this mountain range does not exceed 26 km. That is why the Tatras are crowded, more so on the Polish side, where sometimes you have to queue to get to the top of a mountain. The Slovak side of the Tatras is more deserted but no less interesting. So, when in the 90s the visas for Slovakia were no longer required, we betrayed the Polish mountain village Bukowina Tatrzanska on the other side of the Polish - Slovak border, where we had spent many a holiday, for the great open spaces, peace and closenes to nature of Slovakia. We didn't move far, only to Javorina, the village nearest to the border crossing at Lysa Polana.
We were lucky to find accommodation there and had stayed there sometimes even twice a year until our host, a friendly retired forester died and his wife sold the house. Javorina is a great starting point for hikers - that's where a few hiking trails start and they have been described in my tips. If you fail to find a place to stay there, the next village to stop at is Zdiar, where there are dozens of private pensions. It is also a skiing resort with a ski lift so in winter it is certainly more attractive. Yet, for me Javorina is the best place to stay, a little gate to the very heart of the Tatras.
The Tatras are wild, rugged and often dangerous so you must be an experienced mountaineer to explore some of the trails. The weather can change quickly and many a climber has been caught unawares by a violent thunderstorm or downpour.
The fauna of the mountains is very interesting: lynxes, wolves, foxes, hares and many more. If you are lucky, you can meet chamois moving gracefully on the steep mountainsides. And there are deer in the lower parts of the mountains overgrown by forest. The belling of stags can sometimes be heard all through the night. But the most exciting are the visits of wild bears which sometimes approach the villages in search of food. Our host once saw one in his neighbour's yard, and the same day we had heard it growl in the forest near a hiking trail. Once I even thought we were being followed by a bear but those were just the heavy footsteps of two hikers behind us. Anyway, life is never boring in the Tatras. The people you meet greet you and exchange information on the distance and difficulty of the trail, everybody is friendly and helpful, has to be. The Tatras are not to be treated lightly, having claimed hundreds of lives, all the year round.
Unfortunately, the southern slopes of the Tatras have recently suffered a great loss. A few years ago a hurricane uprooted or broke masses of trees so, instead of the beautiful spruce forest, you can now see acres of tree stumps dotting the area. This opened up the views of the actual mountains which can now be seen much better from the road called Cesta Svobody, where my husband went cycling this year, but the cost of that is much too great. However, the parts of the Tatras that our pictures show have been largely unaffected, so there is still a chance to see them and let it remain so.
All the pictures on this page were taken either by my husband or me, please don't use them without permission. If you want to read more about the Polish side of the Tatras, have a look at my Bukowina Tatrzanska page.
- Pros:Beautiful and majestic
- Cons:Dangerous and hard to climb
- In a nutshell:A challenge for intrepid nature lovers
Cesta Slobody is a great scenic route encircling the Tatras from the east and the south. Starting at Lysa Polana, it... more travel advice
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