Poprad is one of the most important cities in eastern Slovakia, thanks to mountain tourism – it is the administrative, economic and cultural center of the Tatras region.
Poprad essentially came into existence in the 13th century, when the king of Hungary invited German colonists to settle in a region of isolated farming. Only the industrial revolution, with the coming of the railroad and large-scale tourism in the nearby High Tatra mountains, brought growth to Poprad, today one of Slovakia’s more important mid-sized cities.
Attractions in Poprad
In town, historical buildings in the central street and square still reflect the historical German and Polish influences. The 13th century Early Gothic church of St. Egidius, one of few high street Protestant churches in Slovakia, retains traces of interior wall paintings from the middle ages. A Renaissance bell tower built in 1592 with three original bells stands next to the church. Museum lovers appreciate Podtatranske Museum (Museum under Tatras).
How to Get There
Thanks to the nearby national parks, Poprad is reachable by many modes of travel. Its airport offers various charter flights and the train station has frequent connections to Bratislava and Kosice as well as Budapest and Prague. Buses travel here from most regional centres. By car, the E50 highway gets drivers on their way quickly to most destinations.
The High Tatras National Park north of Poprad, Slovakia’s best-known, attracts the vast majority of Poprad’s visitors. The park offers spectacular access to the small alpine mountains in the summer, and a string of lively ski centres for most of the winter. Towns of interest in the immediate vicinity include Kezmarok, with two Protestant churches (not open every day) a castle rich in regional civil war history and a stately renaissance manor in neighbouring Spisska Bela.