Spending The Night in The Mountains | Teryho Chata
Reminiscing about this experience still shortens our breath, just a bit! Slovakia is famous for endless things. The food and history are amazing, but experiencing the Tatras mountains is something out of this world. We planned a hike starting from Stary Smokovec, just a few minutes drive from the city of Poprad. The highlight of it all was not the hike itself, but the location where we spent the night – 2,015 meters above sea level at Teryho Chata. How many times would you have the opportunity to spend the night, literally IN THE MOUNTAINS?!
The Tatras Mountains
These mountains serve as a border between Poland and Slovakia. We already covered the northern side, when visiting Zakopane a while ago. This range of mountains covers an area of 785 square kilometres, double the area of the Maltese islands. The highest peak is at 2,655 meters high, called Gerlach. The mountains are covered in snow during the Winter times and greenery takes over in Summer, thus offering a totally different experience depending on the time you visit.
What to Keep in Mind for Hiking to Teryho Chata During Winter?
Our first mistake – We started our hike from Stary Smokovec around noon.
Start your adventure as early as possible! The earliest you arrive at the top, the longer you’ll have to recover and start enjoying the surroundings before it gets dark. The hike took us five hours in total, considering the stops we made to catch back our breaths while absorbing the views. The first hour is kind of optional because a cable car is available to get you the first station. The cost for that would be €10/person and it leaves from this location. At the time we felt adventurous (and cheap 😉 ), so we went on the full hike on foot.
Rent Shoe Spikes and Hiking Sticks if you’re visiting during winter! 75% of the trail is fairly easy but the last quarter is the tough part as the gradient turns into quite a difficult one. It’s impossible to climb up without the spikes. We rented ours from Intersport at just €10 for 24 hours. The shop is just two minutes away from the hike’s starting point.
We followed the trail thanks to mapy.cz, which does a much better job than google maps for hiking! Download the map beforehand because at certain points, service would be very limited.
Coming in by car as we did requires you to leave it in a paid parking area. You can actually find quite a few around the town. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to find any free parking spots in Stary Smokovec. For those using public transport (which is much easier), you have to board the 8128 train at Poprad-Tatry Station, eventually stopping at Stary Smokovec.
Pack food, water and maybe a hot thermos of tea or coffee! Besides a restaurant at the cable car station, there is nowhere to buy anything along the way.
Arriving at Teryho Chata
Arriving at Teryho Chata is one of the best feelings, ever! You’re instantly welcomed by the heat coming out of the woodburning fireplace as you climb the first few steps of the cottage. We arrived at around five o’clock in the evening, just as the sun was setting.
As dead tired as we were, they welcomed us with an enormous bowl of hot soup, which honestly felt like one of the most satisfying meals of our lives. This was complemented by a delicious main course of traditional pork stew with one of our favourite Slovak side dish, steamed bread dumplings – or as they’re known Parená Knedľa. Any better way to try traditional Slovak food?
The food was good, in fact, it was delicious! The thing is that being delicious is not the only reason you’ll appreciate it so much. Along the way up to Teryho Chata, we came across a number of hikers dressed similarly, all carrying a tall wooden structure on their back. Everything that is in the cottage has to be carried all the way up by these men being food, drinks, gas etc.
Spending the Night in the Mountains
The cottage is made up of one main room which serves as the dining area and the indoor chilling spot. Teryho Chata offers accommodation within the cottage in one of its three cosy dorm rooms. Browse through their website for more information and contact them directly via email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions and/or booking requests. The vibe is fantastic and it’s much cheaper than staying at an ordinary hotel. Remember, you’ll be at over 2km above sea level, just the same height as the low-level clouds. Mesmerising!
We encourage anyone that’s currently thinking about stepping up to the adventure to spend more than just one night there. We really wish we did! Just take a look at their Instagram page to see how fast a day will go by, just walking and staring at the beauty of nature! We promise you’ll come back with epic stories to share! How many times are you going the spend a night in the mountains?