Its one of a trip, I always cherish although it was just a weekend trip, but it was an amazing one.I backpacked to the Slovakian High Tatras Mountains.I was on a business trip to Prague (Czech Republic), a colleague of mine a native of Slovakia, suggested me to visit the Tatras mountains, since i was looking for some cold weather with nice mountains.
I booked over night trains with sleeper seats,you can book cheaper tickets on student agency website of Czech republic.The tickets are very cheap you can get them starting 15 euros each one way for over night trains. You can book your tickets here.
I booked my train tickets from Prague to Poprad, total including return costed me around 45 euros, good money saver considering the distance is more then 600 Km. Also during my train journey I met some amazing Czech guys, they were also going to Tatras for hiking. For them it was strange to see a Indian guy alone in a train going to hike the Tatras, since he had a first hand experience of living in India for 2 months.
The train journey was nice and smooth, once you reach Poprad, you need to take the local train, which you can find from the same train station to a place called Stary Smokovec.
My hotel was booked near Stary Smokovec station, nice cozy place, since I had shortage of time, I just got fresh, had fulfilling breakfast, and started on my way to some sight seeing, I dedicated my first day to see all the nearby attractions, you can buy the whole day ticket from the train station which is cheaper provided if you are covering more places. My first stop was Lomnický štít mountain peak, I bought the cable car ticket to go all the way up, which is in two stages, although the tickets are a bit expensive but worth it, please take the ride all the way up. Because the view from the top most point of the peak is just amazing! I also had a warm apple pie there and a beer! Icing on the cake :-).
Next stop was strbske pleso lake, I took back the train to this place, its a beautiful tranquil lake, I went around the lake and felt a sence of calm and peace, there are also hiking routes defined, if you wish to hike the neaby mountains.I did a mild hike since my plan was to spend next whole day hiking.
The day ended even more amazing I went to Reštaurácia Svišť for dinner, and had heavenly local Slovakian dish, Halušky with home made cheese, yumm! and had a local drink Brushka, quite hot on the throat, but delicious.
Started the Day early since i had to do hiking.I took the hiking map from the our hotel owner, basically with this map of Tatras mountains you can see all the hiking routes defined. In Czech as well as Slovakia, hiking trails are very well marked, there are Green, blue, yellow, red trails, basically they are color coded based on the difficulty,length,type of trails. This link is useful to understand the hiking trails.
I started hiking from Stary Smokovec, I decided to take the longer route red route,which will take around 6-7 hours.It was really worth it, the elevation gradually increased, I also saw a water fall en-route, which was majestic.
After a long hike, i reached near the glaciers,nature at its best,i could feel the chill in my lungs. I just sat there for a while, had my packed lunch and tried to take in all the beauty nature has bestowed upon us. Only nature can give you that true happiness I guess. After a brief stop I headed back to Stary Smokovec. After reaching the town center had my dinner and went to the train station to catch my sleeper train back to Prague.
I would definitely recommend to hike in high Tatras, people here are nice and warm, even if you are alone you will feel nice, mountain ranges are very beautiful, its cheap on the pocket.You can also ski here for lesser price as compared to Alps.