Lying on the border with Poland, the HIGH TATRAS (Vysoké Tatry) are visible from space. The highest peak, pyramid-shaped Gerlach, is the tallest mountain in northern and eastern Central Europe at 2,655m high. The beauty and splendour of the mountains made them a magnet for Romantic and Nationalistic types in the eighteenth century, and in 1844 a student in Bratislava wrote a song beginning with the words “There is lightning over the Tatras” – today the national anthem. The mountains are awash with rare flora and fauna, and if you’re lucky you might glimpse a lynx, wild boar, brown bear or Tatra chamois (goat-antelope).
Poprad is an excellent transport hub, directly linked with Bratislava, Prague, Budapest and Kraków; however, there’s not much happening to keep you there. From Poprad you can catch a train or bus to the Smokovec resorts (divided into two adjoining halves, Nový (new) and Starý (old), bustling ski resort Tatranská Lomnica, or spindly Ždiar, one endless street of painted wooden cabins. Wherever you stay you’ll want to move between the villages; if you’re using public transport you’ll have to plan ahead a little because the trains and buses are erratically timed.