Tatras and Northern Spiš
The region of the Tatras and northern Spiš, lying in the north of Slovakia, is the most attractive tourist area of Slovakia. It consists of two subregions, Tatras and northern Spiš. The Tatras are a boundary mountain range divided into the High, Belianske and West Tatras. Four fifths of the Tatras are in the Slovak territory. The Slovak-Polish frontier runs in the north of the Tatras. In the south, the Tatras abruptly pass to the basin Podtatranská kotlina.
Photo: High Tatras - Biele Pleso © Marián Vargic
Tatras are rightly often referred to as 'miniature Alps' because on a small area of 341 km2 (132 mi2) they offer the same as the Alps except for glaciers. Lovers of alpine hiking visit valleys of the mountain range or climb to its peaks Kriváň, Rysy or Gerlachovský štít with mountain guide.
Winter is the synonym of skiing. The best ski tracks are available at Areál snov in the commune of Štrbské pleso, Skalnaté pleso above the communes of Tatranská Lomnica and Starý Smokovec, where the ski season lasts until mid-May. The Tatras also offer several climatic spas.
The northern Spiš is unusually rich in architectural monuments from different historic epochs. They are represented by castles like Kežmarok Castle, Ľubovňa Castle and Plaveč Castle, Chateau Strážky, mysterious Monastery Červený Kláštor, precious wooden churches in Hraničné and Matysová, as well as the wooden church in Kežmarok which was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and last but by no means at least by the town monument reserves in Spišská Sobota, Kežmarok and Podolínec.
Photo: Ľubovňa Castle © Peter Ondroušek (click for website)
Further highly attractive places you simply cannot miss out when visiting this charming region are the popular Belianska Cave and the Crater(s) of Vyšné Ružbachy, the biggest travertine lake in Slovakia, uniqueness of which is proved by the fact that there are only three lakes of similar type in the world!
The gem of the northern Spiš is the gorge Prielom Dunajca in the National Park of Pieniny.
Photo: Open-Air Museum in Stará Ľubovňa © Juraj Moravčík (www.moravcikjuraj.com)