If you think that apart from the Tatras, the north of Slovakia has nothing to offer, you are mistaken! Two of the country most visited attractions are there!
The best places to start exploring this region are Poprad and Spiska Nova Ves, both cities are quite similar and have nothing specially remarkable but a cozy main square (Spiska Nova Ves is better) but they will be a nice spot to eat and get ready to visit the nearby attractions.
As most places in Slovakia, the region is easily reachable by train, both public and private (RegioJet, Students get -50% in this, but never for free) taking from 5h to Poprad and 15 minutes more to Spiska Nova Ves, this line is country main one, so trains are the best here, (actually Slovakia has EU best railway system accoriding to land/price/quality) so expect Dining cars, Plugs and sometimes even WiFi. There are trains from Bratislava starting late in the night and early in the morning (circa 5:50). There are also buses but since trains are for free the most obvious option will be that, anyway, remember that if you want to check any transportation in Slovakia www.cp.atlas.sk is the solution.
So going back to what to see here, we have the most beautiful national park: Slovensky Raj and the biggest castle of Slovakia, Spis Castle.
Spis Hrad (Castle) is the biggest walled complex in Central Europe, and it's preserved in quite good condition (the roofs are missing, but almost all the stone floors and walls are still there), it becomes the main sight from several kilometres away, since it's situated in a hilltop sourronded by a flater area and dark green forests. The castle itself is in Spisky Podhradie, which is non reachable by train but by bus from either Poprad or Spiska Nova Ves (closer option, but check both timetables). Once in Spisky Podhradie, the center is 50 metre from the bus stop and from the main square there is about half an hour treck to the castle entrance (unfortunately, the gate is in the oposite side), but there is an easy trail so don't worry too much, you can even do it with sandals and a little caution.
Castle entrance is 4 euro for students, but well worth it, since a fast tour will take you more than an hour and half, but if you go in a relaxed way, you can spend 2 hours easily, there are also some tourist attractions inside, like medieval costumes, bar, souvenirs, bow and crossbow shooting, and a theatre play which unfortunately is in Slovak (actually makes sense since the castle is crowded by little kids in school excursions). The castle has a chapel, a big tower, long walkable walls, weapon expositions, torture room and incredible sightseeing (you can see the village below with the High Tatras at the end). For people arriving by car, there are 2 parkings, one close to Spisky Podhradie, which is 3e, but you need to walk 20 minutes, and another 5 minutes from the castle gates (I didn't check the price but makes sense that would be more expensive).
Remember to check the timetable for your bus to the next destination, but keep in mind that going downhill is much faster and the bus station is almost in the main square, if you have time, see the village a little bit, get to the Info Office in the main square where a friendly local will meet you with information about the things to do and places to eat in the village. There are 2 churches in the village itself, but around 10 minutes walking there is an old walled monastery (except the ugly socialist building) with the best church of the village.
Another village you should visit is Levoca, you can well see it in 1 h, so plan your way back to Poprad or Spiska Nova Ves throught here and spend some time seeing its walls or town hall, they worth a visit. Buses between all this towns are villages are cheap, for example student ticket S.N.Ves-S.P. Is 0,95 € and S.P-Poprad is 1,50 € and take from 40 minutes to one hour, depending if it is direct or not.
But the best nature outside Tatras in Slovakia is also very close to here, the most famous National Park: Slovensky Kraj (Slovak Paradise) is a few kilometres from Spiska Nova Ves or Poprad, it's prepared for the tourist with beautiful wooden trails and amazing natural beauties like waterfalls or canyons.
The Slovak Paradise is not very easy to reach, but not imposible, happens the same as Spis Castle, you can either go to Poprad or Spiska Nova Ves and once there take a taxi (about 15 € for taxi) or you can go by bus (be ready to see a lot of gypsies) connections checking them in cp.atlas.sk beign the destination Hrabrusice (actually the bus stop is passed the village, is in a crossing between Hrabusice and Betlanovce, ask the driver about Slovensky Raj and he will drop you there). Once in the crossroads bus stop, walk about 10 minutes towards the mountains, following the main road across the bridge, and you will arrive to the base camp, called Podlesok. Here there are bars, restaurants and accomodation, in case you want to spend some more days in there. There is a symbolic price t enter the park, being 1,5€ or 0,5€ if you say that you are student (and the ticket officer is in a good mood).
The park has a lot of trails, but the most common one is Sucha Bela, in which you hike in platforms in a narrow river between stone walls. If you get to the top and also go to Klastorisco (ruins of a castle) and go back, the route will be around 16 km and will be aproximately 5h, there are many other natural routes as Prielom Hornadu, where you go in a bigger river canyon. In the base camp you can get a lot of information about which trail will suit you better.
So if you want to have an amazing spontaneus weekend trip, come to this part of Slovakia! You won't regret it!
In this section you will find all you need to become a little expert in the guide place, without expending a lot!