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Tatra Hikes: Route to Slavkovsky Peak, A Walk Among The Clouds!


And here we are, reaching our last peak for this 2015 Slovak holiday. I have to say, we started the day in the morning with a little bit of a cold feet feeling regarding the weather but we managed to reach the 2452 m altitude with a big smile and a wonderful experience that for sure we will not forget any time soon! 


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Hiking Stats


  • Altitude gain: +/- 1400 m
  • Distance: 16 km (20 km from Stary Smokovec)
  • Time: 9 hours 40 min  (approximately 8 hours actual walking time)
  • Difficulty: Medium 
  • Route:  br.gif ba.gif GPS Track: MapMyHike





Where is this?



Getting to Slovakia is pretty easy especially from Timisoara now that the Romania - Hungary highway is open. In total, we drove approximately 600 kilometers out of which 350 kilometers were on highways and it took us roughly 8 hours for the whole trip including coffee breaks. In Hungary, we drove on M43, M5, M0 and finally on M2 after detouring Budapest. We have entered Slovakia through Sahy and made our way north through Zvolen, Banská Bystrica and Štrba before reaching our final destination Tatranská Štrba. We chose to avoid highways in Slovakia as there are quite a few of them on this itinerary and it isn’t really worth it to pay the 10 euros (10 days) for the vignette. 


To reach the starting point of our hike to Slavkovsky peak from Tatranská Štrba we will go to Starý Smokovec, a cosy mountain resort some 21 kilometers away, where we will leave the car at the Starý Smokovec - lanovka funicular for the price of 5.6 euro per day. If you choose to not pay for parking you can leave the car somewhere in the mountain resort but you will have to walk on foot to the funicular station.


Entrance fee?



There is no entrance fee for the Tatra National Park but almost at the start of each hiking track there will be a paid parking lot. Some of them can be avoided, but some cannot. The prices are usually between 5 and 10 euros per day

Let's start!


From what we got off the  Internet, we expected a 9 - 10 hours long track, medium difficulty. What we didn't expect was a storm in the night and a rainy morning. Considering this, we started a bit late, waiting to see if the rain will eventually stop or we should cancel this last peak (but somehow we were not prepared for the last option). 

Finally, the rain stopped and we went to Starý Smokovec, our starting point for this hike. To save some time and to avoid a boring part of the track, we decided to go on the funicular that takes you to Hrebienok - thus fast-tracking about 2 km in distance and gaining around 200 m in altitude (the cost: 18 € / 2 persons - round way tickets). The cable car takes you there in around 10 minutes.


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So from this last station, we headed on the br.gif Red Stripe marking for about half an hour and then switch on ba.gif Blue Stripe, at the intersection, starting the ascension through a wonderful green forest. The route is very well marked so you don't need to worry about finding your way.

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After another half hour, the landscape changes a bit, as we start the zig-zag on rocks among junipers. The atmosphere was covered in thick clouds making this hike a nice and mysterious one. 

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Never in my life would I have imagined such weather could bring so much joy, but I tell you, if you haven't already done this, you have to experience a day like this, hiking on a big mountain when clouds are so low you can barely see what's around you (just choose a well marked path so you don't get lost). 

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Spectacular! From time to time, the wind was playing with the clouds, showing us a bit of the landscape we left behind! 

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Soon, as we moved from one side of the mountains to the other, we reached more and more wonderful sceneries. A very narrow path having a rocky wall on our left and an amazingly steep and wonderful valley in our right side. You have to try this, I promise you will love it!

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We were so curious, as we weren't able to see what views were awaiting us or how much we still had to hike until reaching Slavkovsky Stit. It seems that luck was on our side, as suddenly the clouds started to lift up by the time we reached the top, after a 5 hours and 30 minutes hike - you can consider less time if you don't spend as much time photographing as us. 

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Before reaching Slavkovsky Peak, you pass near another peak, Nos - 2273 m but as this is not marked with a board, you can only guess or check with your GPS track. 

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As a note, you are descending following the same path back, reaching Hrebienok in about 3 - 3.5 hours. So here we are, this is our last peak in the Tatras so far, an amazing hike that I recommend not to skip if you ever decide to hike in the Tatras!





Where do I sleep?



On our trip, we chose Autocamping Tatranská Štrba in Tatranská Strba as a base camp from where did all the hikes in the High Tatras. The place is pleasant and the prices are fair, summing up at 15 euros per two persons, tent and car per night. The toilet facilities could be cleaner but at least they have hot water at the showers and sinks. Other than this there the camping is ideally located with many hikes routes at 10 to 20 kilometers away.They even have a playground for small children and you can park you car next to the tent. The camping has a common kitchen with stoves, plates, glasses, silverware and a fridge you can use and there are many places you can sit and enjoy your own food if you bring it with you. If you would like to have a barbecue there is a grill available but I am not sure if they offer firewood or if you have to bring/buy your own. 

There are a lot of other accommodations in the area with prices from really cheap to expensive, depending on your personal needs and budget, but in terms of camping the offer is low and we found this one to have the best location for our needs.


What do I eat?



You can eat whatever you bring with you or you can try out the restaurant that is on the camping grounds. I really recommend the place as the prices are really good and the food is extraordinary, especially the vegetarian and traditional Slovak dishes. A main meal is somewhere at about 3-4 euro, the soup is around 1 euro and a beer is 1.1 - 1.2 euro. Usually, we had dinner here and we payed for two persons something like 10-13 euro with drinks included. I also recommend Tatratea, it is a Slovakian herbal liqueur that comes with many flavours and alcohol concentrations varying from 22% up to 72%. If you would like to try some other eating place you can rest assured as there are many options close by.

Good to know


  • Funicular:
    • A round trip ticket is 9 €/person but you can also get a one way ticket, or not taking it at all if you are not in a hurry and prefer to walk. 
    • The funicular is working every day, no matter the season, but what differs is the opening and closing hours. You can consider they open at around 8 in the morning and close somewhere between 16:30 and 19:00. Check this link for the official info about the schedule and other details.
tatra-hikes-slavkovsky-peak-funicular

Other close destinations?


  • From this track you can also see Lomnický štít, the second highest peak of the Tatra Mountains (2634 m) and probably the most visited one due to the cable car that is installed right on the peak.
    • My impression: I am sure the view there is absolutely great but do take in consideration two aspects: the price - 40 € / person and the crowded place. 
    • Also, as we mentioned before, in other articles, there are many routes in the Tatra Mountains that are only available for experienced mountaineers and mountain guides  (UIAA). So if you don't fit in this category, you should know that you can't hike anywhere else from Lomnický štít and all you can do is sit and wait in line for a picture and then start descending back using the cable car. 
    • If you would like to experience this peak hiking your way up there but don't have the technical skills, you can take a guided tour - the prices are around 200 € / 1-3 persons.
  • There are plenty of  other hikes you can choose from but I will guide you towards two I've made myself and can offer info about:
    • Rysy Peak- the highest peak in Poland and one of the most visited in Slovakia. 
    • Bystrá Lávka Circuit - I say, maybe one of the most impressive hikes in Slovakia.


Hope you found the information helpful and accurate, but remember, if you have any questions drop them in a comment below!




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Tatra Hikes: Route to Slavkovsky Peak, A Walk Among The Clouds! Reviewed by Karina on 09:20 Rating: 5

2 comments:

  1. Well done! We were going to do that hike but ended up taking a different route as we found that we had done so much hiking in the last month that we just didn't quite feel up to the challenge. I think that we will just have to return to do this hike now. The views are amazing so glad that the clouds lifted so that you could see them.

    Here was the hike that we did instead. www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2012/08/another-day-in-mountains.html

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it's better to go for the moment and do what feels good or right then. We also had resting days, combining them with hiking days. And in nice places like this, it is always a good option to return and explore more. Thanks for sharing your hiking option - I have to say, your dinner...looked quite yummy there! I like their "rich in cheese" cuisine :)

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