1. Hiking Trails and Wildlife in the High Tatras
The High Tatras sit in Slovakia, close to the Polish border. Snow stays all summer here atop jagged granite peaks, waterfalls tumble from stark rock walls, and deep narrow gorges and ridgetop trails offer great hiking, while a wealth of alpine flora is found along quiet forest paths and richly green meadows. This hiking tour will take you to the tallest and most beautiful mountains in Slovakia and Central Europe. The High Tatras ridge has been a popular hiking destination for visitors locals for a long time. On this hiker’s odyssey, you’ll make easy scrambles up local peaks, traverse long green valleys to high summit ridges, and meet the friendly locals who share the trails with you (hiking is Slovakia’s national sport!). Hikes range in length from five to eight hours, with a return to the hotel at the end of the day. They also vary considerably in difficulty (a few are fairly strenuous); trails are often exposed and chains, ladders, and metal platforms are used to negotiate some of the trickier spots. If you feel like skipping any of the hikes, you’ll find opportunities to explore the local culture. To complement the challenging hikes, you’ll get a taste of the history and culture of the ancient lands of central Europe with visits to unspoiled medieval towns like Levoca, little-changed since the 13th century, Vienna, once the seat of the old Habsburg Empire and the hub of Europe, and Prague, a golden storybook city with beautiful architecture from nearly every major period and style.