The High Tatras Mountains are a concentration of nature beauties. We can admire them standing on mountains meadows gradually changing into deep coniferous forests and mountain pines up to the naked, skyscraping, sheer, rocky giants - the Tatras peaks, each of them having its own name, shape, history.
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Krivan peak (2494 meters) is the best known peak in Slovakia. Krivan means something that is curved. Krivan belongs to western part of the High Tatras.
The High Tatras Mountains have all giant mountain attributes - long still valleys, emerald mountain lakes, roaring waterfalls, mountain torrents, high mountain flora and fauna. Villages below the Tatras have a sport, curative and recreational character.
The charm of the Tatras nature cannot be described by words. The high mountain climatic conditions, prolonged winter until the spring months, and the snow-covered slopes enable popular spring skiing.
The High Tatras Mountains (Vysoke Tatry) are the most northern and the highest part of 1200 km long Carpathian bow. The main ridge leads in the west-east direction in the length of 78 km. The whole area of the Tatras Mountains, where the High Tatras belong, is 786 sq. km. The mountains are divided to two parts: Western and Eastern Tatras.
The Eastern Tatras have two parts - Vysoke Tatry (the High Tatras) and Belianske Tatry. The length of ridge of the High Tatras is 26.5 km. The highest peaks are Gerlachovsky stit (2655 m), Gerlachovska veza (2642 m), Lomnicky stit (2632 m) and Ladovy stit (2627 m).
Bigger part of the High Tatras belongs to Slovakia. Rest is in Poland. If you want to visit the High Tatras and Slovakia, look for a connection to Poprad which is a city just below the mountains. Zakopane is a similar hub from Polish - northern side of the High Tatras.
Parallel to the Tatras ridge, but ca. 40-km to the south are Nizke Tatry (the Low Tatras) with highest peaks Dumbier (2043 m) and Chopok (2024 m). Chopok is the most attractive skiing resort in Slovakia.
The High Tatras consist mostly of granite. In 30 valleys with several steps you can find 110 interesting mountain lakes, created by the glacial activity, waterfalls of Studeny Potok, the Giant waterfall in Studena Dolina (valley), waterfall Skok (Jump) in Mlynicka Dolina valley.
The typical climate of Tatras means long cold winter and short summer. The average temperature in the height of 1000 meters above sea level is 5 degrees of Celsius, 15 degrees C in July. On the southern slope there are 1800-1900 hours of sunshine, which is comparable to the most favorable localities in Alps. The weather changes often rapidly, in summer the storms often come around noon. For tourism the autumn is the most favorable season with stabile, colder, but sunny days.
The whole High Tatras mountains belong to Tatransky Narodny Park - the Tatras' National Park (TANAP). TANAP covers much wider area. The West Tatras (Zapadne Tatry) and eastern Tatras ridge of Belianske Tatry are parts of TANAP, too.
Flora of Tatras includes several relicts and endemics, plants from the glacial era. Many of them are included in the Red Book of endangered plants. All plants in TANAP are protected!
Typical animals of higher level of Tatras are chamois and marmot, on the forest level also roebucks, stags, boars, bears, otters, and of course many squirrels always waiting at the trails for some nuts from tourists. The sky belongs to eagles.
Administration of TANAP has set these rules for visitors
- Visitors can use only marked trails, public trails or roads.
- All vegetation of TANAP is protected.
- It is not allowed to break branches, tear plants, take seeds or forest fruits.
- It is not allowed to catch or disturb animals.
- It is not allowed to bring dogs and cats to the mountain environment.
- Driving outside public roads is not allowed.
- Camping and parking is allowed only at reserved places.
- Staying overnight in the nature or at parking places is not allowed.
- It is not allowed to defile the environment, to swim in the mountain lakes to set the fire and to make noise.
- Only organized mountaineers can climb in the Tatras mountains.
- Skiing is allowed only on reserved slopes.
- Visitors must keep the instructions of TANAP guards.
- Mountain climbing is allowed only to organised climbers in restricted areas, and only after acquaintence with conditions through climbing associations or TANAP's Mountain Rescue Service.
- Skiing is permitted only on marked ski slopes and trails, or on MHT, though on MHT hikers have right of way.
- Bicycle riding is permitted only on public roads and marked cycling trails (also indicated on local maps).
- Parachuting and paragliding are restricted to specified areas.
Updates on trail conditions, access to valleys
- Access to valleys is open between June 15th and October 31st. See the TANAP's website for accurate information.
Published: March 23, 2004
Updated: December 13, 2016