This “city” is in fact a collection of fifteen tiny foothill settlements that grew up in and adjacent to the High Tatras National Park (Slovak acronym TANAP). The life of its roughly 5,000 inhabitants is closely tied to the park and its various activities. It provides most of the services to be found in a city, most often centred either in the many hotels or in the three largest settlements of Tatranska Lomnica, Smokovec, or Strbske Pleso. The area’s ample restaurants tend to focus on Slovak specialties in traditional settings.
Throughout recorded history until little over a hundred years ago, the High Tatras' only residents were isolated shepherds and hunters, and a tiny village that grew around the healthy waters. This changed with the 19th-century railroad line linking Poprad with the great cities of Central Europe, as increasing numbers came first to explore and gradually to settle and develop the new industry of leisure travel. The various settlements experienced various systems of government, before incorporating as the municipality of Vysoke Tatry in 1947.
Recreational activities abound in and around the settlements of Vysoke Tatry town. Apart from skiing in the winter, hiking or biking in the summer, and other active recreation, there are several small spas in Vysoke Tatry. A small botanical garden of High Tatras fauna at the natural science museum in Tatranska Lomnica is another worthwhile sight.
How to Get There
Unless you travel by car, you will probably get to Vysoke Tatry via Poprad: the airport (with connections to Prague and London), train station (on the main line from Bratislava to Kosice) and bus station (connecting smaller towns) are all easy arrival points. To get up into the foothills, trains run from Poprad to all settlements, and from Strba to Strbske Pleso. The fastest road, E50, also runs through Poprad, but scenic approaches are also possible from other directions.
The village of Zdiar offers the chance to enjoy traditional Slovak folk culture, especially at its local museum. The neighbouring national parks of Slovak Paradise, Low Tatras and Pieniny all provide distinctive and memorable outdoor experiences. The UNESCO World Heritage sites of Spis Castle and Bardejov town are close enough for day trips, as are the cities of Kosice and Presov.