You probably know already that Slovakia is a hiking country with beautiful scenery and nature. There are numerous hiking routes with all levels of difficulty and different dining and accommodation options. This little guide will help you to choose the right one. I picked five mountain cabins you can reach from a beautiful historical town Starý Smokovec in the High Tatras region. And if you are looking for more inspiration, you can check out mountain cabins around Štrbské Pleso.
Only 30-45 minutes from Starý Smokovec, you can reach a mountain hotel Hrebienok. It is a real hotel with a big capacity (around 150 beds), a restaurant and everything you need. Prices start from 20 euros for a night. During the winter, you can literally step out of your room and start skiing, since the hotel is located up on the hill. And next to the hotel, there is a unique church made out of ice. You can reach the hotel by a cable car or foot. It is a nice and easy walk on asphalt pavement, suitable for baby trolleys and wheelchairs.
Just a short walk from Starý Smokov, you can find a beautiful wooden mountain cabin called Bilíkova Chata. Again, it is not a difficult walk. It takes around 40 minutes, and it is suitable also for children. Actually, it is located very close to the mountain hotel Hrebienok. So, if you prefer something more adventurous than a comfortable hotel, but still with easy access, this is the right choice Prices start from 20 euros per night, but the capacity is very limited, so make sure you have a reservation at least one week in advance. A part of the mountain cabin is a very nice restaurant serving traditional Slovak food.
This little mountain cabin is made out of stones, and it looks like from a fairy-tale. Unfortunately, it is really small, so you can not spend a night there, and the cabin doesn't have a kitchen either. But you can stop by for a cup of hot tea or coffee. Inside of the cabin, there is also a very nice exhibition dedicated to High Tatras sherpa carriers, also with some historical skiing equipment and other interesting stuff related to mountain life.
Zámkovského chata, often called "Zamka", is located approximately one hour and thirty minutes from Satrý Smokovec. This mountain cabin once served as a shelter for Jewish people, political prisoners and others who needed to hide during the tragic times of the Second World War. Close to the cabin is a beautiful waterfall, and it is a nice place where you can rest in between your hikes. The cabin provides 23 beds, so to secure your spot, I recommend making a reservation in advance. Prices are quite friendly, starting from 13 euros, and if you are a student, you can get a discount as well. A part of the cabin is a restaurant serving Slovak traditional food and little snacks.
Last mountain cabin on this list is located 1725 meters above the sea level. You can hike there or choose a more comfortable option and take a cable car. There are no beds, only a restaurant. It is a place where you can re-charge your batteries before you ski down the hill or continue your hike. An interesting fact about this cabin is that the owner of the cabin, Laco Kulanga, is a real legend! He is about 70 years old. He spent his whole life in the mountains and still holds a record in bringing 211 kilograms up to the mountain cabin (In High Tatras, people volunteer to carry stuff like food, beer or anything that is needed up to the mountain cabins in order to get free accommodation or other benefits). If you are lucky, you can sit with him and listen to his amazing stories.
Starý Smokovec at the High Tatras is a perfect starting point for your hike. It is easily accessible by a car or tram from Poprad. And besides that, you can find everything you need here. There are several restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, sports stores, a pharmacy and even a gallery and a museum. From Starý Smokovec, you can also reach five mountain cabins that I just mentioned in this little guide.
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