The Tatras

The Tatras are the highest part of the Carpathian mountain range, and for centuries they were Poland's natural border in the south. Arriving in Poland by air, the granite peaks rear up out of the clouds, slashing the skies like the claws of some mythic beast.

Traditionally, the lands beyond here belonged to Hungary, but by the mid-seventeenth century, the Ottoman Empire - Poland's traditional foe - had crept all the way up to the Tatras. As the Sultan's Empire crumbled, the Hungarians moved back in, and they enjoyed warm relations with the Poles. Today, it is the goodly Slovakians who live beyond the mountains, and border skirmishes are not likely to interfere with your hiking trips.

The Tatra mountains cover some 785 square kilometres, three quarters of which lie in Slovakia. The highest Polish peak is Mount Rysy, which rises to 2499 metres above sea level. However, the most distinctive peak is Giewont, which is known affectionately as the 'Sleeping Knight'.

The Polish part of the Tatras was formally declared a national park in 1955. The lower and middle parts of the range are cloaked in forest. Beechs, which were traditional in this area, are now rarer, being superceded by larches, and above all spruces. These continue to grow beyond 1250 metres, along with stone pines, and it is in this area that wildlife is at its richest. Deer, wild boar, lynx, wolves and bears are to be found, as well as a great variety of birds and the Apollo butterfly.

Higher up, in the rockier areas, live the chamois and the alpine marmot and vole. The golden eagle is now very rare. However, as country dwellers know, it is quite likely that you won't see any mammals at all, as they are shy of humanfolk. In this case you may have to make to do with the slightly surreal stuffed collection in the Tatra Museum.

There are rare types of flowers on the starker rock faces, but the richest flowers can be seen in the meadows and down in the valleys, where yellow crocuses form carpets in Spring. It is in the valleys too, that you can discover the caves. These are a very popular aspect of the Tatras, and steeped in legend. Much like the English band of Robin Hood, the region was once inhabited by outlaws - the famed 'zbojnicki'. Seven caves are open to the public, six of which lie in the beautiful Koscieliska valley. Another popular feature of the range are the lakes, most famously the vast Morskie Oko, the 'Eye of the Sea.'

For skiers, the Kasprowy Wierch Peak is serviced by cable-car, and there are chairlifts in the Goryczlowa and Gasienicowa valleys. For hikers, there are 250 kilometres of trails in the park, ranging from leisurely strolls to hair-raising ascents for serious climbers. Entrance to the valleys is possible by bus, but from there you must continue on foot to the heart of the Tatras. Mountain bikes are permitted only on a few paths. Owing to the unpredictability of Mother Nature, there are basic safety precautions which are essential to bear in mind.

With the collapse of the Iron Curtain, border relations are now freer than ever. Thus for dedicated hikers, the opportunity to explore the region in depth is very much an option. Poles are the first to say how wonderful the Slovakian Tatras are, and it's well worth bearing this in mind if you want to get a full flavour of this wild region.

A sample of Tatra beauty is found below:



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Matthew from United Kingdom Reply Jun 16th, 2017

Glad to find the Tatra mountains because I never heard of them before and I've been puzzling over it as a clue in my crossword. They look amazing though.

Art Pansze from United States Reply Jan 17th, 2017

Planning to visit in May. Will some of the lower elevation hiking trails in the Tatras be open? Understand higher elevation trails are probably still unde rsnow. We are interested in day hiking, sodo not need lodge/hutaccomodtions on trails. Thank you.

Yvonne from United States Reply Nov 10th, 2016

Looks lovely; would love to vacation in the summer!

Guest from United States Reply Dec 14th, 2015

this site is very nice & just helped me on my homework

Pharmd937 from United Kingdom Reply Jun 3rd, 2013

Very nice site!

from United States Reply Mar 11th, 2013

im Doing a project and this is helpfull thanksss!

Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply Dec 11th, 2012

Hello Dear,you will for sure enjoyed your future stay in Zakopane as the snowfalls have been good until now,the temperatures below zero celsius and the weather by day with blue sky most of the time. If you are beginner or dium level in skiing, you will improve without any doubt, then yo will for sure have some very nice time after skiing in shops, restaurants, pubs, disco... Zakopane and its mountains are very beautiful in winter as you can ski down some of them, summer even more as you can walk up and down them on most of the peaks, cliffs and hills. We wish you to have a nice time in Zakopane.Staff of Apart-center and Ogrodygorskie residence(26 very comfy and cozy apartments in Zakopane);-)

dragonskin from United Kingdom Reply Dec 11th, 2012

im going in 9 days,,i will let you all know what i think

Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply Nov 11th, 2012

Tatra mountains are very nice to walk on until snow is coming, after that , it is the time to enjoy skiing in a beautiful and romantic surroundings.

cynthia from United States Reply Nov 9th, 2012

wow those moutains are awesome coool

oliver doyle from Ireland Reply Aug 24th, 2012

Too much useless information and no information on opening times of cable car or funicular

Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply Jul 10th, 2012

Skiing in Zakopane is really advised for beginner-medium level skier as most resorts/ski complex which are in different locations and belong to different owners have a short length and wideness,have a low-medium ski grade.Some resorts are longer and large, so they are advised for person with medium-advanced ski level.So,if you are not satisfied of the ski conditions of the slopes where you have skied, you can change ski resorts to experience other style of slopes.Alps and Tatra mountain on polish side are very different because of all what I wrote previously.Snowfall should be very good at the end of January and February but only God knows about it at the actual time.There is also a nice atmosphere in Zakopane in winter after skking in streets, pubs, bars , restaurants with all folklore of a highlander ski touristic city.You may check the zakopane-life website for details of slopes, also ,, my answer helps.Staff of Ogrodygorskie Residence of apartments, Zakopane.

John from United States Reply Jul 8th, 2012

Would like as much info as possible about skiing Zakopane area-vertical, snow quality vs alps, number lifts ? We're considering flying over The end of Jan 2013 and would appreciate all opinions. Tthanks

Rosemary from Sudan Reply Apr 25th, 2012

i love it and would like to reach there one day

wassam from Pakistan Reply Dec 19th, 2011

your information is very good

alex from United Kingdom Reply Nov 30th, 2011

been 8 times lovely place and wonderful mountains cant wait to go back

Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply Sep 20th, 2011

Hello Tatra p., I invite you to walk in the Tatra mountains.Also, you may try a nice beer named Tatra Jasne or Mocne.Zakopane has a lot to offer to visit and see like a lot in Poland.Welcome soon

tatra p. from United States Reply Sep 17th, 2011

Omg, my name is tatra!! I didnt know there was a mountain range with the same name until recently! This is soo cool haha.

brian ward from United Kingdom Reply May 25th, 2011

for the past 4 years i have every month walked the Tatras in 4 countrys,astoundingly beautiful and on many occasions in winter never saw anybody

from United States Reply May 16th, 2011

Glad I married a Polish woman! going there in June.

lavish from United States Reply Apr 7th, 2011

wow its wonderful and very attractive. love it

Lorek from Poland Reply Sep 23rd, 2010

There are plenty of places to explore, visit, trek, hike, sightsee.It can be very easy or very hrd depending o the risk you want to take.But , you are all right, Poland and specially Zakopane and Cracow are wonderful cities and their people also.See you soon maybe.

princess sinous from United States Reply Sep 23rd, 2010

i think that the mountain is pretty cool and i would like to explore it one day and take pictures of me on it is it dangerous or safe?

Tushar Kamal from India Reply Jul 29th, 2010

brave boy

Norma Soto from United States Reply Jul 4th, 2010

I was there June 12th,2010 it is the most beautiful" place that i have ever been first time to Europe my first time to Poland...I love "Poland". i am ready to go back..i want to go back ad play.

Kathy from United States Reply Jun 18th, 2010

I was there yesterday, other than the sunburn, it is the most beautiful place I have visited. I would highly recommend this place for a vacation - also if you are a skier, they have some great jumps! Go for it! Poland is a beautiful and friendly country.

Kasiek from Poland Reply Jun 5th, 2010

This is the most beautyful place in my country. I went there a few times and I be back to Tatra again. You have to go to Zakopane.There is one minus - too many turists!!!!!

miss mj from Philippines Reply Jun 4th, 2010

its beautiful.i wish i can go there someday.part of my desire.

Sam from United States Reply Mar 30th, 2010

Can't wait to get up into those mountains...!

David from South Africa Reply Mar 12th, 2010

that's btiful, i wish i could go there. it's superb

mackenzie hayslip from United States Reply Mar 1st, 2010

i love this pic its totally awsome! omg!

Eugenio from Estonia Reply Feb 24th, 2010

Polish Tatras are the most beautiful mountains in Europe. Morskie Oko lake, Zakopane town, highlanders culture ..... awesome!!!

milay from Nicaragua Reply Feb 2nd, 2010

nyce mountains

:) from United States Reply Jan 24th, 2010

these mountains are so beautiful!

ernalyn from Philippines Reply Dec 4th, 2009

nice pic ....but something scary,,,

ernalyn from Philippines Reply Dec 4th, 2009

nice....but something scary,,,

ernalyn from Philippines Reply Dec 4th, 2009

nice....but something scary,,,

kasanya alex from Uganda Reply Dec 1st, 2009

this mountain were formed by faulting.forces caused by geothermal reaction causes the tension and compressional forces

KS from Poland Reply Nov 23rd, 2009

Polskie Tatry s¹ najpiêkniejsze na œwiecie! Polish Tatra Mountains - are best of the best :)

from United States Reply Nov 12th, 2009

that shit sucks big balls

? from United States Reply Nov 12th, 2009

that sucks

bob from United States Reply Nov 9th, 2009

:() WOW!! That is a really nice pic!

shy from United States Reply Nov 4th, 2009

dis shit is cool

benson njau from Kenya Reply Oct 27th, 2009

it is wonderful

kal from United States Reply Sep 16th, 2009


dhurba Poudel from Nepal Reply Sep 6th, 2009

I haven't such a beautifil picture,,,,,,,,,,i love it,,

Patti from United States Reply Sep 3rd, 2009

the Tatra Mountains are fantastic. Beauty beyond belief

alisha sanchez from United States Reply Sep 1st, 2009

i think it is relly cool

MARIA from United States Reply Aug 17th, 2009


shan from India Reply Jul 30th, 2009


from Nepal Reply Jun 20th, 2009

wow what a picture

kim elijah from Philippines Reply Jun 11th, 2009

thatz wonderful volcano gave feature to the philippines.

niki and agos from United States Reply Jun 5th, 2009

well! hello we think the tatra mountains are the best plase on the word. The last month we visited it, was a very exited and extrange experience. 1.000 kiss bye bye

Peter N. from United Kingdom Reply May 27th, 2009

Well of course, Castle Dracula was in the Carpathians (albeit the Transylvanian section, in today's Romania) so the Count would feel at home here. Check the film Nosferatu by Herzog,. filmed in this region (Slovak side)

dr.acula from Albania Reply May 13th, 2009

good place to stick a castle at the top of that patch of snow on the right hand side of the picture

from Spain Reply May 13th, 2009

Dentro de unos dias podremos apreciar la belleza de los Tatras si Dios Quiere. Ya os contaremos. Jose ( Asturias ) y Maria ( Canarias ) saludos desde España

renee from tullawong high school from Australia Reply May 4th, 2009

is this a world heritage sit?

yeshi lhamo from Nepal Reply Apr 28th, 2009

this is really beautiful and its really look like my own country TIBET. i wish i will be there back tomy country soon, Free Tibet

Tiffany from United States Reply Mar 31st, 2009

yall are stupid for commentin a stupid picture of a mountain.....

from United States Reply Mar 3rd, 2009

omg! thatwas so cool. can you say tikki tikkitembo no sa rem bo charri barri rutchi pip perry pemm bo?

sravz from India Reply Mar 2nd, 2009

This pic is cooooooooooooooooollllll....I'm loving it...........

cassie 4 reals from United States Reply Feb 23rd, 2009

wow this pic is so cool everyone should print this and show it to yor friendz!!!!!!!!

Kaitlyn from Canada Reply Feb 17th, 2009

WOW THAT IS SOOOOOOO BEAUTIFULL!!!!! I love majestic pictures like that they really make me smille!!

maha from Pakistan Reply Feb 3rd, 2009

man we have so many mountains here in pakistan this is nothing like them but anyway wow!!

rockstar from India Reply Feb 1st, 2009

hi,friends i am rocky this picture looks osum and this picture shows the green.

mia connelly from United Kingdom Reply Jan 8th, 2009

hi im mia connelly im 9 im on this because im learning about extreme survival and mountains this is well good pic i love mountains expecialy the ones that go over the clouds well pic mia from redcar

MPAO from Portugal Reply Dec 25th, 2008


gdhdggrff from China Reply Dec 18th, 2008

this is awsome.

Mark from United States Reply Dec 9th, 2008

this picture is gourgus! It makes me just wanna jump in the lake!

from United States Reply Dec 7th, 2008

it is so nice and so intresting and beautiful

maya from Philippines Reply Dec 3rd, 2008

nice.... especially the mountain....nice record...thanks for the chance...bye....

maya from Philippines Reply Dec 3rd, 2008

nice.... especially the mountain....nice record...thanks for the chance...bye....

Samrat from Nepal Reply Nov 28th, 2008

It nice! but need some replacement. best of luck!!!!!!

jim arakataki from United States Reply Nov 25th, 2008


NUI from Aruba and Netherlands Antilles Reply Nov 14th, 2008


from United States Reply Nov 2nd, 2008

awesome pic!

from United States Reply Oct 20th, 2008

ithink this was a very good piece of work

Libby from Australia Reply Oct 7th, 2008

Sorry Question rather than commment, Has anyone stayed in Krakow, but done a day tour out to the Tatra's for snowmobiling. If so, which tour company did you use please, having trouble finding details on day tours. Thanks

luv from United States Reply Sep 25th, 2008

awsome pic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kk from United States Reply Sep 25th, 2008

awsome pic!!!!!!!!!!!

j kelly from Ireland Reply Sep 23rd, 2008

can anyone answer the Q about hillwalking in March/April is it possible or is there too much snow??

Rose Holton from United Kingdom Reply Sep 23rd, 2008

Hi there - I am already excited at the thought of visiting Zakopane for the first time in Feb. Just a bit apprehensive about being able to snow-shoe and walk in the mountains in winter. Can anyone offer advice as to how to organise this in advance - as we are not skiers ? Thanks you !

karl schiele from United Kingdom Reply Aug 29th, 2008

zakopane is beautiful l climbed up tatry mountains went to morskie oko after thats just a beautiful place when you leave your heart tells you to go back zakopane is a the best.

fredek from Poland Reply Jul 1st, 2008

Pozdrowienia z zakopanego! Świetny artykuł zakopane kwatery

Zaman khan from Pakistan Reply Jun 16th, 2008

"yes" very interesting and can only enjoy by watching its pics. I belong from hill area and just feel the emotion to be there. it is hot if there are both for kissing.

cj Howe from United Kingdom Reply Jun 3rd, 2008

We've just come back from Poland and we climbed to the top of the Tatra mountains.The view was jut breathtakingly spectacular.

kijai from United States Reply May 29th, 2008

huh??? im kinda lost by some of the comments but these pictures are so stunning and amazing!!! but im alittle skeptical about visiting there!

alex from Philippines Reply May 16th, 2008

i've been there because i love traveling all over the world! it'so ravishing and amazing!!

abucada from Albania Reply May 7th, 2008

i love it. i have been there several times. i even made love at the top

Monika from Canada Reply May 1st, 2008

Iève been there itès AWESOME!

lenas from United States Reply Apr 30th, 2008

Very stunning and breathtaking

ashley from United States Reply Apr 28th, 2008

dat looks fun to be on top of nd scary

Mr. Rajesh V. Bhosale , M & E Officer , from India Reply Apr 9th, 2008

After seeing this picture of Mountains i feel that Nature is the only almighty God , A miracle ,,,,,,,,,, A friend who is always behind me and supporting me forever in this World...........

Mr. Rajesh V. Bhosale , M & E Officer , from India Reply Apr 9th, 2008

After seeing this picture of Mountains i feel that Nature is the only almighty God , A miracle ,,,,,,,,,, A friend who is always behind me and supporting me forever in this World...........

wayne from United States Reply Apr 7th, 2008


jessica from United States Reply Mar 13th, 2008

This is a really good page. The picture is brill

ravi kumar from United States Reply Mar 13th, 2008

hi there its cool

T-baby from United States Reply Mar 11th, 2008

that is really pretty i would love to that

alex from United States Reply Mar 6th, 2008

buitiful picture!

idk from United States Reply Feb 26th, 2008

wow dat is real cool its very interestin

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