Poprad is a major tourist and economic centre in the Prešov region of Eastern Slovakia.
- Staré Mesto
- Spišská Sobota
- Stráže pod Tatrami
Poprad is in the middle of Podtatranská kotlina ("Basin under Tatras"). Its area is 63 km². It is the 10th biggest town in Slovakia and the largest town of the Spiš region. Poprad is an important economic, tourist and cultural center of the Spiš region. The river Poprad flows through the town with its small tributary Velický Potok. Poprad is called “gateway to High Tatras“.
The town has about 53,000 inhabitants. The majority of inhabitants are Slovak but the dominant positions among the ethnic minorities are held by Romas and Czechs.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Poprad has a mild climate and its weather is influenced by the High and Low Tatras. Winter is usually long and cold with snow. Summer is short and warm.
The territory belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary since the 10th century and was probably inhabited by Slavic settlers. It was colonized in the 13th century by German settlers and became the largely German town Deutschendorf meaning 'Germans' village'. From 1412 to 1770, as one of the Szepes towns, Poprad was pawned by the Kingdom of Hungary to the Kingdom of Poland, resulting in a strong Polish influence on the city's further development.
The first written reference to Poprad dates from 1256. It was for 690 years (until 1946) just one of several neighbouring settlements, which make up the modern city. The other parts of the municipality are Matejovce (first reference 1251), Spišská Sobota (1256), Veľká (1268), and Stráže pod Tatrami (1276). The most significant of these original towns was Georgenberg (or Szepesszombat, now: Spišská Sobota), which preserved its dominant position in the area until the late 19th century.
- 1 Airport Poprad-Tatry (TAT IATA). The highest-placed airport in Europe, 718 m above sea-level. With the exception of Wizz Air from Luton, mostly seasonal service. The nearest international airport is in Košice, approximately 100 min by road.
Direct trains serve Poprad from Prague, Žilina, Košice and Bratislava. Trains can be caught from Bratislava main train station (Bratislava Hlavna Stanica) approximately every 1 to 1½ hr. The approximate fare for this 5-hour trip is €12. Local electric trains (tram like) reach to the nearby mountain resorts of Vysoké Tatry - Smokovec, Tatranska Lomnica and Stbrske Pleso.
See cp.sk (available in English) for train and bus connections.
A really cheap way of getting to Poprad from Prague is with RegioJet trains. You can choose either the night connection, which arrives in Poprad early morning, or the train during the day. Tickets for normal seats are €10 and in sleeping car €13.5. Onboard it is possible to buy very cheap food and beverages, including beer (under €1) which will be brought to you. RegioJet also has good connections to Bratislava.
The station has luggage lockers, so it is possible to do day trips elsewhere before catching a night train.
From some towns in Czech Republic, Poland or Slovakia it can be easier to catch a bus than a train.
- Bratislava: regular bus connections by many bus companies.
- Košice: regular bus connections by many bus companies.
- Banská Bystrica
- Žilina: regular bus connections by many bus companies, at least once every hour during the day, it takes around 2 hr, tickets cost around €7.
- Zakopane: the bus company Strama goes from Zakopane to Poprad with a few stops in Vysoké Tatry, a ticket costs €5.50 one way . This service is irregular, especially in winter. In front of the station in Zakopane, there is a bus stop with a sign that lists the times the bus leaves for Poprad; it's in Polish, but it's not hard to figure out. If the service is not running, look for the drivers that stop in front of the bus station. Tell the driver you want to go to Poprad. Your best bet is to get enough people who want to go to make it worth the driver's while. Some locals may also be going, so ask if you can join them to form a group. The driver will drop you off at Łysa Polana (Łysa is pronounced Wee-Sa in Polish), the border town between Poland and Slovakia. Wait for another bus to take you to Poprad (not long).
Walking from the city center to any other district will not take more than 20 minutes.
Taxis are an inexpensive and easy way to get around town. Shops and hotels will call a taxi for you, and there are taxi stands in central locations and near shopping malls, etc. A trip anywhere in town will cost €5-7.
Historical buildings – Classic and Baroque houses, Renaissance houses, Burgher's habitation and church of St. John the Baptist (Ján Krstiteľ) in Stráže, church of St. Ján Evanjelista in Veľká, Renaissance bell tower from 17th century and church of St. Štefan in Matejovce, ruin of Poprad castle from 15th century in Zámčisko nad Kvetnicou.
- 1 Church of St. Egidius, St. Egidius square. Early-Gothic from the late 13th century. Interesting wall paintings (like the oldest High Tatras panorama).
- Evangelical church, St. Egidius square. Classicist style from the mid-19th century.
- 2 Church of St. George (Juraj), Spišská Sobota. There is an interesting Gothic altar by Master Paul of Levoča.
- 3 Podtatranské museum Poprad, Vajanského 72/4. Tu-Su. you could find expositions Gánovce – The Environment of the Neanderthal Man, Prehistoric Age and Early Middle Age below the High Tatras, Poprad through Centuries, Nature both known and unknown, Manufacture of blue-printing from Elemír Montštek's workshop in Hranovnica and Folk plastics. €2, reduced €1.
- 4 Tatranská gallery Poprad, Hviezdoslavova 341/12. Su-F. It is housed in the former steam power plant, its scientific and exhibition activities present especially the work of visual artists from the Spis region and the wider Eastern Slovakia. But there are also many works of other notable Slovak artists. €3, reduced €1.5.
Poprad offers a lot of pleasure activities for its tourists and citizens.
- 1 Aqua City Poprad, Športová 1397/1. It has several indoors and outdoors swimming pools, sauna, water toboggans, fitness centre, children's playground, hotels, bars, cafés and restaurants.
Poprad has good conditions for sports such as swimming, football, basketball, tennis, and skating, bowling or extreme sports. If you like cycling, Poprad and Svit are connected with bike paths. It is also very popular with roller skaters.
In the winter there is skiing or snowboarding to High Tatras, Svit – Lopušná Dolina, Kubašok – Spiššké Bystré or Poprad – Kvetnica.
- If sports are not for you there is shopping from clothes to souvenirs.
- Young people should visit the International Festival of Mountain Films and the music festival Okey Leto.
In Poprad you can find restaurants which cook traditional Slovak Slovenská Reštaurácia, Italian Cafe Razy Reštaurácia, or Country food Country Reštaurácia. If you like a pizza you can visit Pizzeria Utopia, Pizzeria U Jozefa, Pizzeria Palermo or Pizzeria Albano. On the square of St. Egídius, you can visit the sweetshops - Domenico, Izairi Bidaet, J a R, Jusipi Hajdar or Ramida.
Tipping customs are similar to those in Europe and America though tips are slightly smaller; five percent is usually sufficient in restaurants.
Credit cards are quite commonly used in restaurants in Poprad but always ask if it's important to know before hand.
- 1 Velická izba, Velické námestie 34. Daily 11:00-22:00.
- 2 Penzión Tatry, Na letisko 72/A.
- 3 VEG - Vegetarian restaurant, Nám sv. Egídia 42/97 (north of the large shopping mall, slightly hidden in the ground floor of a tall building), ☏ +421 948 796 363, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 11:00-20:00, Sa Su 12:00-20:00. Vegetarian restaurant with vegan options. Offers Indian-style food, but also burgers and pizza.
- 4 Koliba U Štefana, ulica Športová 226 (pri Aqua City) (across from Aquacity entrance). Excellent traditional Slovak food in a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere.
- 5 Hodovňa, ul. 1. mája 5 (near the St. Egidius square). Nice restaurant in the city center with Slovak dishes and many types of beer.
If you want a good drink and fun you should visit Gamma Ray Pub, Surprise Club, CafeRazy or Subway. Subway is perfect for cocktails and karaoke.
Domenico is a café where you can find many cakes and coffee types. Also, they have good juices and teas.
You can lodge at a range of facilities, from cheap boarding houses to expensive hotels.
Boarding houses are Penzión Elizabet, Penzión Sabato, Penzión Tatry, Penzión Átrium or Penzión Fortuna.
For those on a tight budget, Penzión Fantazia, or Hostel Slavia (behind Penzión Fantazia) are a good bet. Both are about 15 min walk from the bus station.
Hotels are Hotel Európa, Hotel Garni, Hotel Gerlach, Hotel Satel or Hotel Poprad.
- 1 Penzión - Koliba u Štefana, Športová 4425/4. From €20.
- 2 Pension Aqualand, Štefánikova 893. From €40.
- 3 Hotel Satel, Mnohelova 825. From €70.
- 4 Hotel Riverside, Sportova 1397/2. From €110.
- 5 Hotel Mountain View, Sportova 1397/1. From €120.
There are many attractive places of cultural and historical interest, or of natural beauty to visit within half an hour of Poprad, including Levoča, Spiš Castle, Kežmarok, Vysoké Tatry, the Tatra Mountains and the Slovak Paradise National Park.