We can’t say enough good stuff about the High Tatras in Slovakia. On our first day, we made it to Sliezsky Dom which was a fantastic hike with an alpine lake and a waterfall. Our second hike in the High Tatras was just as draw-dropping as the first because we made it to the cottage of Zelene Pleso which is right next to potentially the most beautiful lake in the whole mountain range!

Pin for Pinterest of hiking Zelene Pleso.

The trail is quite easy to follow and rather busy but the views along the way are absolutely mind-blowing and rewarding. We managed to not get lost and followed the signs all the way to the lake since there are multiple ways to get up to Zelene Pleso.

In this post, you can find exactly which way we took with links and step by step instructions. That way you don’t have to worry about anything besides enjoying your hike to the stunning alpine lake next to the cutest little cottage in the High Tatras.

Zelene Pleso is a hard but rewarding hike in Slovakia’s High Tatras

If you’re up for a big long hike (over 20km) then give Zelene Pleso a go. This hard hike in the High Tatras is very rewarding. The final few hundred metres to the lake and the hut will blow you away. You start to feel so small compared to the mountains towering over you which is just one of many reasons why we loved the High Tatras.

Then out of nowhere, this beautiful lake with crystal clear water appears. It’s hard to compare if this alpine lake or the lake next to Sliezsky Dom is prettier. But if you get the chance to do both hikes then you can let us know what you think! 

Beautiful waterfall in the High Tatras.
Jo exploring the High Tatras in Slovakia!

We would definitely recommend starting this hike earlier in the day because it is a gruelling 20 km hike through the forest on uneven trails. The trails are well maintained but they feel very uneven and the rocks that make the trail are almost never even so it does take a bit of focus to not roll your ankle! Besides that, we love how accessible hiking in the High Tatras is and the fact that a car is not necessary to get around. 

It’s super easy to get from Poprad by train or bus to Tatranska Lomnica where the hike begins. From the village, you will be able to walk to the trailhead up to Zelene Pleso and back.

So it’s super convenient and easy to follow when you know where you’re going. We recommend downloading either MapyCZ or Google Maps to know you’re following the right trail.

Dom hiking up to Zelene Pleso in Slovakia!

Practical information about Zelene Pleso in the High Tatras

Distance: 21.2 km return / 13.17 miles return
Elevation: 718 m / 2356 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back or loop
Length: 7-9 hours return
Difficulty: Hard (It’s long and can get very exhausting)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Here’s a picture of the beginning of the trailhead up to Zelene Pleso

Trailhead for Zelene Pleso!
Click here to see a map of the beginning of the Zelene Pleso Trail

If you have the chance to download MapyCZ for this hike and other hikes around Slovakia and the Czech Republic then we highly recommend doing so. The app shows the exact trail colours that are on the signs on the hike which made it super easy for us to follow and not get lost.

This is nice for a change because getting lost on trails is one of our specialties, haha. Don’t worry though we tested it out for you so you don’t make the same mistakes as us.

If you’re not already staying in the town of Tatranska Lomnica, the first thing you want to do is to take a train there to get started on the hike. You can see the timetables for the train here if you’re staying in Poprad like we did.

Once you’re in Tatranska Lomnica the trailhead isn’t too hard to find. As long as you find the signs and get on the right trail then you’ll have no problems getting to the trailhead. It is quite close to the train station as well which is nice. You’ll be in the forest in no time!

Dom exploring the hiking trails in Slovakia.
Jo taking in the views before hiking to Zelene Pleso.

First, let’s make sure you actually get on the right trail!

  1. Make sure you get off at the Tatranska Lomnica train stop.
  2. Head north (up the hill) as soon as you get off the train.
  3. You will get to a main road where you’ll see a park.
  4. At the park, there will be a sign with different trails and hikes.
  5. You’ll follow the green trail for about 5 minutes through the park until you get to a parking lot.
  6. From there you will follow the trail for Zelene Pleso which is the green trail.
  7. You can follow MapyCZ or Google Maps directions as well! =)
Wildflowers in Zelene Pleso!
Beautiful views of the High Tatras near Tatranska Lomnica.
Hiking from Tatranska Lomnica in the High Tatras.

The hike up to Zelene Pleso

This hike is significantly longer than the one up to Sliezsky Dom in the High Tatras but also very different. For a good portion of the hike up to Zelene Pleso, you’ll be hiking through pine forest which is quite pleasant.

At times you’ll come across a portion of a trail where it feels like you’re walking on small rocks that have been placed to make the trail nice but in fact, they are very uneven. So don’t forget your hiking shoes for this hike. You don’t want to be rolling your ankle all over the place like Dom!

Dom with his Columbia hiking boots in Slovakia.

This was by far the busiest hiking trail we did during our trip to the High Tatras and felt like there were people constantly around us. We did go on a Saturday afternoon though and it seems like Zelene Pleso is quite a popular hike among locals and tourists because of its proximity to town.

Regardless of all the people, we were still out in nature exploring the High Tatras and the views we took in were fabulous. They really remind us of hiking back in Canada.

View of a lovely cottage in the High Tatras.

Views from Zelene Pleso

When you finally get out of the forest and into the opening, the High Tatras really start to come to life. You’ll feel like you’re in Jurassic World with these enormous mountains all around you.

There’s something fun about just feeling so small compared to these gigantic mountains. We don’t know about you but we love that feeling.

You’ll continue along the trail for a few more minutes until you reach the crystal clear lake and the Zelene Pleso Cottage that you can stay at, and also get food and drinks from their restaurant on the main floor.

So even though we said the hike was exhausting, the views from Zelene Pleso are magical and totally worth the 21 km round trip.

We ate our lunch and just stared at the lake and waterfall in the background. If we didn’t have to hike back down I think we would have comfortably stayed the night in that spot.

We couldn’t help it and ended up taking probably over 100 photos of the area because we thought it was just so beautiful. Basically what we’re trying to say is if you get tired during the hike just remember you’ll be rewarded at the top!

Crystal clear alpine lake in Slovakia.
The most beautiful lake in Slovakia.
Mountain top in the High Tatras.
Zelene Pleso lake in Slovakia.

Where to stay in the High Tatras

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This might be one of the most challenging decisions to make on your whole trip. Is it best to stay in one of the small towns that are directly connected to the High Tatras? Or is it better to stay in Poprad, about a 20-minute train ride away from the Tatras?

When we went we took a weekend trip from Prague by train to Poprad so we thought it would be easier to get a place in town where the train stopped. So we found somewhere close by.

It actually worked out really well and we found a super nice place in Poprad. There are lots of restaurants and grocery stores in Poprad along with reasonably priced Airbnbs so it was the perfect base for exploring the Tatras for us. We loved that everything was so accessible by public transport!

If you’re only in the High Tatras for a few days and want to make the most of it, it might be simpler to stay in one of the mountain towns so you can get straight onto the trails in the morning. However, if you have a little more time or are travelling on a budget, we can recommend staying in Poprad!

The Airbnb we stayed at in Poprad was a 10-minute walk from the train and bus station and from there it took us about 20 minutes by bus to get to Tatranska Lomnica.

Jo taking in the views of a beautiful crystal clear lake in the High Tatras.
Gorgeous flowers in Slovakia.
Views from Zelene Pleso.

How to get to Zelene Pleso Trailhead

From anywhere in Poprad

From anywhere in the High Tatras.

  • There are quite a few small towns along the High Tatras so use this train schedule and find the easiest way to get to Tatranska Lomnica.
  • Most towns and train stops will have buildings where you can buy tickets otherwise you can buy them here.
  • Here’s a MapyCZ map of where to go from Tatranska Lomnica to the Sliezsky Dom Trailhead.
  • Here’s a Google Map version in case you don’t have MapyCz.
Waterfall in the High Tatras.

Before you go

Check the weather. We figured out that one of the most dangerous things about hiking in the High Tatras is that the weather can change quickly. We thankfully didn’t experience any crazy weather but it’s good to be prepared for it. So definitely check the weather beforehand which you can do here

We’d recommend getting some cash before you go. In case you stop by the cottage or any of the shops in town or restaurants up the mountain.

Cute little wooden shack in Slovakia's High Tatras.

What to bring

Bring plenty of water because you won’t be able to get any on the way. Maybe if you go into Zelene Pleso Cottage you can fill it up or buy one if you need to. Lots of food is also recommended since you’ll be gone for 7+ hours if you take in all the views and spend some time at the top!

Remember your hiking boots because they’re absolutely necessary for this one. We have this amazing packing list for hikers that you can scroll through to see if there’s something you may be missing for your hike!

Bring tons of snacks for the hike because it’s a long one and the snacks will help you get through the challenging parts when your energy is low.

So bring:

  • Sunscreen is a must during the summer hiking anywhere in the High Tatras because of the elevation.
  • Hiking boots! You don’t want to be rolling your ankles throughout the hike.
  • A camelbak (backpack for water) or a few water bottles if you’re doing the full hike 
  • Bring some food that you can snack on and will give you some energy. Dates, fruit, PB&J sandwiches, protein bars, vegetables, and smoothies are all great snacks for hiking.
  • This is a great list of hiking gear that you may need on a hike!
Jo taking in the views during our hiking trip in Slovakia.
Jo next to Zelene Pleso.

Other useful info

As long as you have all the apps and links we mentioned above then you should have no problems hiking in the High Tatras in Slovakia. Even though it’s a foreign country and not everyone will speak English in the smaller towns it’s still super easy to get around.

Most beautiful shot from our Slovakia trip to Zelene Pleso.

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We hope you have an awesome time hiking up to Zelene Pleso and exploring the crystal clear lake and cute cottage that is right next to it. Once you get back into town we recommend ordering a large pizza for yourself. From there find the nearest sofa and relax for the rest of the day!

Stay safe and please feel free to comment below if you have any other questions about hiking in the High Tatras that we’ll get back to you! =)

Have fun!

Dom & Jo
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