If you ask about the greatest marvel of Slovakia, the most frequent answer will be probably – the High Tatras! A mountain range along the border between Slovakia and Poland with its tallish peaks, enchanting mountain lakes, crystal clear torrents and mysterious caves is without doubts one of our most precious national treasures. A piece of paradise, hidden in the dense woods, abundant with lively fauna and flora, representing one of the principal tourist destinations not only for Slovaks, but also becoming a considerable center of the winter sports within Central Europe. Being a part of the Western Carpathians, the High Tatras comprises of Western and Eastern Tatras, Belianske Tatras, High Tatras and more on the south also Low Tatras. All of them worth a visit!
An unique profile of the Tatras had been created by activity of glaciers during thousands and thousands of years, which gave life to many brooks, torrents and mountain ponds, giving to Tatras its rare appeal. Among the best-known of these gems of nature are the most visited lakes – Štrbské (signed also in the list of the most beautiful places of the world) and Popradské pleso, the biggest Veľké Hincovo pleso, or the highest situated Modré pleso in altitude of 2192 metres. For all nature lovers become unforgettable excursions to innumerous cascades: Skok, Studený Potok, Kmeť… Sought after are also attractive Tatra´s caves. Among nearly three hundreds of them, the most popular surely is the Belianska Cave, open to public since 1884. With its length 3641 metres, in altitude of 890 metres above sea, lies just a couple of kilometres from pitoresque village Ždiar from 16th century. The cave shaped by spectatular stalactites, offers one of the most best experiences in the High Tatras. Worth a visit are also the caves near the village Demänová.
Thanks to its unique location, in the High Tatras you´ll find several baths and health resorts, where are cured respiratory diseases. In fact, the area offers all the types of the touristic infrastructure and accommodations – for sportive, active and adventurous kind of visitors, but also for those, looking for peace and tranquility, or top-class luxury, surrounded by majestic mountains.
Amidst all this beauty you´ll find The National Park of Tatras (Tatranský národný park/TANAP), established in 1948 as a first national park in our country. The area is of great importance regarding to protection of various species of animals and plants, of which many are endemic, for example a chamois – a kind of mountain goat and symbol of Tatras. Maybe you´ll be lucky enough for a casual meeting with one of the biggest european carnivores, which lives here of a base nature. Except the brown bears the park is home also of the deers, roe-bucks, wild boars, wolfs, foxes, alpine marmots or eagles, you can find here many protected species of flowers.
The park with the total area of 74 000 hectares is since 1993 on the list of UNESCO World Heritage. There are 600 kilometres of the tourist routes and several cyclist paths. For the nature lovers there´s a real adventure of Tatranská Magistrála – the route with length of 45 kilometres, which takes three full days of walk all along the mountain range from below to the mounts of 1000-1200 metres.
Many of the routes takes the visitors to the charming valleys – to name the most familiar: Mengusová valley, Great and Little valley, Studená valley, or directly to the mounts. A very special excursion, offering a breathtaking view on two countries – Slovakia and Poland, is climb on the Rysy, the highest mount of Poland (2499 m). You shouldn´t miss neither the Kriváň – a national symbol of Slovakia, captured in many piece of work in the field of literature, painting or film. They say that Kriváň is also the mot beautiful with its pike typically bent (from the meaning ´krivý´- crooked). The highest peak of all the range Tatras is the Gerlachovský štít with altitude of 2 655 metri.
Meanwhile the most exclusive experience you can get in Tatras is admittedly mounting to peak Lomnický štít. With its height 2634 metres it is today the most popular mountain of the High Tatras, also thanks to its accessibility to public. You can get there very easily by cableway, capturing during the way the most enrapturing views. You can find here also an observatory and a meteorogical station. The cableway circulates on the peak since 1940 and except the marvellous panorama, a cup of good coffee or shot of typical strong local alcohol Tatratea in a cosy caffe bar Dedo (granddad), you can go through a lifetime experience on Lomnický štít: to spend a night in the highest situtate room of all the country! One of the most romantic hotels in all of Europe offers just two rooms, both fitted with telescopes, from where you can observe the stars above you. You´ll come back home with the unbeatalbe memories of the night, spent ´on the roof of Slovakia, in Tatra – the smallest, but exceptionally beautiful alpine mountains in Europe.
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