I’m a big fan of getting out of Prague to go hiking whenever possible, so when my small hiking group decided to go to the High Tatras in Slovakia I was the first to sign up. I’m glad I did!
We travelled from Prague to Poprad on the Student Agency Leo Express train. It was comfortable and quick – about seven hours each way. The service on the train was excellent with great food and snacks at even better prices. To top it off the cost was only about 700Kc return for comfort class.
After 45 minutes on the train we arrived in the mountains, Štrbské Pleso is a nice little mountain village which was quite quiet in May. It is hard not to notice the mountains everywhere.
After finding our accommodations (a very cozy tourist hotel for only 20 euros per person per night) we wandered around and then had a fantastic dinner at Furkotka (where we ended up eating every night!). Even from our rooms the view was still nice.
The next morning dawned cold (4 degrees) but clear and sunny. After a breakfast in our rooms we headed back to the train to head towards the start of our hike at Starý Smokovec. From here we headed up into the hills and valleys on our way to our destination at nearly 2000m – Zbojnícka chata. The trip started out in the trees and along the rivers….
…but quickly became snow covered…
…which made for interesting hiking…
…but left me happy!
It was worth the climb to the hut, the views were amazing and the food was very good.
The 22+ kms and elevation gain left us all a little worn out, so after a long day we returned by train to our village, had another nice meal and retired for the night.
Day two dawned wet and cloudy, but we headed out for a long traverse hike which started in Štrbské Pleso. The wet weather made for poor photos, and some of us were feeling the pain from the day before. In the end part of the group carried on to Chata pod Soliskom at over 1800 metres, while others, myself included, opted for a more leisurely stroll and time chilling at a nice cafe.
The following morning we took the train directly from Štrbské Pleso to Štrba, a much shorter and straight downhill ride, and were able to catch our Student Agency train from there.
I’ll be back, that I know for certain! It was great to be back in the mountains again!
Prague is a seriously beautiful city. And this is coming from a non-city person.
But if you are going to live here it is worth spending some time out of the city. Here are some places I can recommend from personal experience:
Just a short 40 minute train ride southwest from Prague will bring you to this lovely village and castle. The train ride itself is worth it as it runs along the Berounka river and through other small villages. You can catch the train either from Prague Main Station (Hlavni Nadrazi) or from Smichovske Nadrazi in Prague 5. The train runs about every 30 minutes but check schedules on Jizdnirady.cz.
Another lovely area not far from Prague is Český ráj. Easily reached in a couple of hours by train, start your hike in Malá Skála where you can also find some nice cafes and restaurants. The hike through the cliffs, rocks and forests is lovely and you can happily spend the day there.
Even closer to Prague, mere minutes from Opatov metro station, you will find the village of Průhonice and Průhonice Park. If you are looking for a quick escape from the city this area will satisfy you. The park is very green and has a diverse collection of flowers. There is a very modest entry fee of 50Kc.
If you aren’t sure where to go or how to get there, consider joining a group. Meetup.com has many groups including Foreigners in Prague United who organize hiking trips in various beautiful places. The group sizes are manageable and you will get to meet people from all over the world as well as some locals.
Have fun out there!