Explore the High Tatras – hiking and exploring the sights

In 2015 we explored the High Tatras and some nearby places and now we are going to share our experience with you. We will discuss our equipment, how we planned this excursion, the places we visited and the obstacles we faced during this exciting journey.

The High Tatras are located in northern Slovakia and southern Poland and are one of the mountain ranges in the Tatra Mountains. Its peaks rise to over 2,500 meters above sea level. There is a transnational national park here, which is home to many rare and endemic animal and plant species.

High Tatras


In November, the weather here is more like winter than autumn, so we have to be prepared for cold, snow and ice. During the day, the temperature is about 0 – 15 degrees Celsius. At night, the temperature is about -10 – +3 degrees Celsius.

As for clothing, a raincoat is a must, and it’s also a good idea to bring a few warm layers of clothing, as taking breaks will come in handy. The terrain can be very tough at high altitudes, so a comfortable pair of boots with sturdier soles is definitely worth it. You may happen to reach areas where the ground is icy and the snow is very deep, so I recommend using crampons.

In addition, it is also very important to replenish enough water and nutrition. It is crucial to avoid dehydration when traveling long distances. In order to get enough energy, you can also bring some chocolate.

Best to have list:

  • Flashlight/Headlamp
  • cane
  • Maps/GPS

For a list of photography equipment, click here.

Plan your trip

Planning is really important. If done properly, it can be a huge advantage and keep your mind uncluttered.

Before the trip, we had to explore the places online in order to get an idea of ​​what we could expect from the trip. My friend Gabor, who is very good at this kind of thing, was most likely to do it. He made a precise and thorough introduction, marking all the places worth visiting.

Sights in High Tatras

When we go on a photography trip we try to plan everything so as not to waste time, so we set out at midnight hoping to arrive at our first stop at dawn.

Strbske Pleso

Get guidance

Our first location was this beautiful mountain lake which not only provides a great spot for photographers but also for skiers, hikers, hikers and visitors who just want to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature.

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As planned, we arrived just in time before the sun rose. The weather was very cold and foggy, with fast-moving and changing clouds. We saw something we had never seen before. The fog completely covered the lake in a few seconds, then it was completely clear 20 seconds later, then covered again, and so on. This gave us the opportunity to capture some unique moments.

High Tatras Štrbské Pleso by Peter Ujvari


Get guidance

Ždiar, this lovely and peaceful village near the mountains provided accommodation for our three day trip and has some great venues for nature and travel photographers.

One of these places is a beautiful pond on the outskirts of the village. There are many natural photography themes here, from landscapes to flower close-ups. If you like taking landscape photos, this lake is perfectly located, as there is a huge mountain range in the background that is reflected in the water. It is true that this background is the only attractive background here, however, many foregrounds can be found around, so we can play with it for a while.

So on the first morning we woke up before the sun came up and set out to explore the beautiful area around this artificial lake.

High Tatras Zdiar by Peter Ujvari

The road to Dolina Pięciu Stawów Polskich

Get guidance

The longest and most fascinating route of the weekend began and ended at a parking lot near the Polish-Slovakian border. At this point, we packed our bags, paid the fee to enter the national park (a few euros), and began our hike.

For a while we usually take a cement road, however, we noticed a small junction and got off and continued walking in the woods, although it may be forbidden. Thanks to this decision, we took a legendary forest path, in good condition, empty and without people. Unfortunately, we did not take many photos here, because we had to hurry to reach the top in time.

explore the high tatras hiking and exploring the sights 4A small wooden house in a glade in the woods

Sometimes, it can be really tough to get to the mountain lake, but the environment is amazing. Stunning trees, misty forests, fantastic flora, snow, ice, steep and endless paths, and trickling streams. Apart from that, the sounds of nature are also very beautiful and calming.

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Dolina Pięciu Polish

Get guidance

The valley is of Ice Age origin. It is bounded by the Zawrat Pass (2159 m), Świnica (2300 m), Szpiglasowy Wierch (Main Tatra Ridge, 2171 m), Walentkowa Grań, Kotelnica, Liptowskie Mury and Miedziane Ridge.

After an unexpectedly long trek, we finally arrived here, our first stop. The restaurants here were open, so we were able to have hot tea, dinner, and a short rest to recover our strength. Our initial main destination was Morskie Oko, which was on the other side of the high ridge we had to cross. Because of this, we didn’t have time to walk around and take pictures, even though the place was beautiful. So we hurried to the next stop, because the sun was about to set and we wanted to get there before nightfall.

explore the high tatras hiking and exploring the sights 5

We were a little disappointed that the sun had already set when we reached the ridge. However, we just assumed that the sun had already set. Looking around, we saw the peaks in the distance swimming in the orange glow of the hidden sun. After taking some photos, we realized that we would not have been able to get there at that moment if we had reached our destination in time as planned. So it all happened for a reason.


Get guidance

After 3 hours of travel from the previous stop, we finally arrived in pitch darkness to Moskovskiy Oko. Its name literally means “Eye of the Sea”, and this is the largest and fourth deepest lake in the Tatra Mountains. It is one of the favorite destinations for hikers and tourists. There is also a restaurant here where you can have a drink and a bite to eat to replenish your energy.

We took a few photos here, but the results were a bit different from what we expected. I personally think the composition wasn’t good enough to compensate for the lack of sunlight. Also, we didn’t have the chance to take photos of the Milky Way etc, because the moon was too bright and lit up the sky, and we could see fewer stars than usual. Other than that, this place is awesome and there are a lot of opportunities for photographers.

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The obstacles we face

Often, during our journey, we have to overcome some difficulties. These difficulties may be physical, mental, or technical.

From these categories, the most typical one in our case was the physical difficulty. The route was longer and steeper than we thought, and at times we were really exhausted. In addition, the terrain was very difficult in some areas, and we struggled in the ice and snow because we had no crampons to prevent our shoes from slipping. In addition, for the last 3 hours of the trip, we hiked in complete darkness on icy and snow-covered roads, and although the moonlight slightly illuminated the ground, flashlights and headlamps really helped us a lot.

High Tatras We hiked in the dark

Also, this may be trivial, but I feel it’s worth mentioning that when you go on a photography trip to a cold place, always wear gloves. In other conditions, it will be difficult for you to operate the camera and set up your gear for a long time. So, guys, I suggest you be prepared for the unexpected and carry the necessary gadgets with you to overcome the problems.

As for psychological difficulties, fortunately, we have not yet encountered situations that test our mental toughness.

Of course, we encountered some technical problems. We had just started shooting seriously and were not very experienced.

Fortunately, the biggest and most hilarious problem was discovering the effect of the polarizing filter when using a wide-angle lens. As you probably already know, the effect is greatest when the camera is perpendicular to the sun. So, since the lens is so wide, this angle changes on both sides of the image. Then, we had no idea what caused this problem and it took us a while to find the cause 🙂

Final Words

It was our first time to the High Tatras and we had a lot of fun so we will definitely go back in the future. Who knows, maybe we will meet somewhere in the mountains.

Have fun, and if you have any questions or feedback, let me know in the comments below or send me an email here.

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