Little Fatra (Malá Fatra) is one of the 9 national parks of Slovakia. The area of ​​the park is approx. 226 km² and is home to popular attractions such as the Jánošíkove diery gorge, the Rozsutec Mountains (1,610 m), the Vratna Valley and the Greater Kriván (the highest point in the park).

💡
The mountain is 72 km long and 16 km wide. It is separated from the Greater Fatra National Park by the river Vah.

The Little Fatra National Park offers many beautiful hiking trails, high mountain panoramas and endless adventures. The protected area consists of the Mala Fatra Mountains and their surroundings.

Little Fatra National Park Details
Country Slovakia
Location Fatra-Tatra, Northwest-Carpathians
Slovak name Národný park Malá Fatra
Distance from Bratislava 2 hours / 200 km
Closest big city Žilina
Highest point Veľký Kriváň (1 709 m)
Popular attractions Diery gorge, Great Krivan, Rozsutec, Vratna valley, Strecno castle

Where is the Little Fatra?

Map, distance, approach, contacts

The Little Fatra National Park is located in the district of Žilina and Trencin in the northern part of Slovakia. Its neighbour is the Great Fatra. The mountains are part of the Fatra-Tatra region, including the b7 region. The Fatra is located in the Northwest Carpathians.

💡
One of the centres of the national park is Zilina.

Little Mala Fatra map - Bratislava distance
Map of the national parks of Slovakia

Map

The map above shows all the national parks in Slovakia. Although in this picture it may seem that the Little Fatra (Mala Fatra) and the Great Fatra (Velka Fatra) meet, there is actually a thin separation between them.

Little Fatra and Great Fatra map

Geography and segmentation

Northeast vs. southwest

The central line of the Little Fatra is northeast-southwest. It has a length of 72 kilometres and an average width of 16 kilometres. In terms of altitude, it has a medium and high mountain character.

The Vah River divides the mountains into southwestern and northeastern parts. From the two sides, Northeast Fatra is higher. There are several peaks around 1600 meters. The peaks of the Southwest Fatra are located at an altitude of 1,200 meters. Here, the highest point is Velka Luká (1,476 m).

💡
If you want to conquer the higher peaks, you should target the northeast side.

Cities of Little Fatra

Major cities

At the foot of the Little Fatra, you will find many towns and settlements that are ideal for accommodation or as a starting point for various hikes. The largest nearby town is Žilina on the western side and Dolný Kubín on the eastern side of the mountains.

  • Žilina
  • Terchová-Štefanová
  • Varna
  • Strečno
  • Martin
  • Turany
  • Rutka
  • Ratkovo
  • Dolný Kubín

One of the attractions of the Fatra is its rich vegetation. About 83% of the area is covered by forest. In the mountains, there are mainly mixed beeches, and spruce. Pine forests and meadows occur at higher altitudes.

💡
Compared to the Great Fatra, the mountains are higher - although the area is smaller. 

The advantage of this is that there are no long distances, yet there are many attractions in the park. The main ridge formed several side ridges separated by a deep valley.

In addition to the valley and gorge trails, there are also plenty of ridge routes. Due to its proximity and small area, it is a typical weekend excursion area.

Video

Mala Fatra video

Top attractions

One of the tempting features of the Little Fatra is that visiting the most popular sights is possible in one long weekend.

#1 Great Krivan (1,709 m)

Veľký Kriváň

The highest point of the Fatra is the Great Krivan. The 1,709-meter-high peak is one of the most popular high-altitude trails in the park. The peak is located on the main ridge. From the peak, you have a superb view of the Vratna valley and the surrounding mountains.

Great Krivan, Little Fatra - Slovakia

The loop trail to the Great Kriván starts from the Vrátna tourist house and returns there. Moderately difficult and strenuous hike.

  • Tour duration: approx. 6 - 7 hours
  • Level difference: 1,000 meters
  • Difficulty: Medium

The two most difficult parts of the hike are mainly the short and steep climb under the chairlift and the large level difference in the Snilovské saddle. The route goes first through a forest and then a mountain.

Do not confuse anyone that there is a peak in the Tatras called Krivan as well. 

#2 Diery Gorge

Jánošíkove diery

Huge, vertical rock walls surround the Diery Gorge. The well-built road, secured by iron ladders, metal stairs and wire ropes, is visited every year by countless tourists.

The gorge system consists of three smaller parts. You can walk through the interconnected narrow straits one after the other. The gorges are spectacular and adventurous.

  • Hiking distance: 10 km
  • Level difference: 370 m
  • Duration: 4 to 5 hours
  • Starting point: Stefanova
  • Difficulty: technical, medium
Diery is undoubtedly the most beautiful gorges in Slovakia.

#3 Castle of Strecno

Hrad Strečno

The beautiful castle is located next to the village of Strecno, in one of the bends of the Vah River. The picturesque beauty of the castle is that it rises just above the river on a steep cliff.

Castle of Strecno
  • Address: Hradná Hradná 1, 013 24 Strečno, Slovakia
  • Opening hours: 09:00 to 17:00 (closed Monday, Tuesday), lunch break 12:00 to 13:00
  • Admission: 7 - 3.50 euros

#4 Vratna Valley

The picturesque Vratna is one of the symbols of the Fatra. It can only be approached from Terchova. The valley is divided into four sub-areas:

  • Tiesňavy canyon
  • Stará dolina
  • Nová dolina
  • Starý dvor

In the valley, it is worth visiting the Zbojnícky chodník route, which shows interesting rock formations in the area. At the end of the Stará dolina is the Vratna Chata (tourist house), from where the hiking trail to the Great Krivan starts. Skok waterfall is also worth a trip.

  • Starting point: Terchová

#5 Great Rozsutec (1,609 m)

Veľký Rozsutec

The 1609-meter Great Rozsutec attracts hikers all year round. The uphill offers excellent views of the surrounding valleys. The peak is one of the highest points in the Fatra.

  • Hiking distance: 10.2 km
  • Level difference: 985 m
  • Duration: approx. 8 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Starting point: Stefanovas

Ski resorts

Of the 9 ski resorts in the Little Fatra, the two largest are Vrátna and Kubinska. Each ski resort has black slopes, which is good news for those who like steeper slides. Of course, beginners don’t have to worry either, there are many blue and red tracks as well.

Ski resorts - Little Fatra Length Sloopes Height
Vratna 15 km Blue, red, black 601 m - 1 532 m (931 m)
Kubinska Hola - Dolny Kubin 14 km Blue, red, black 720 m - 1 396 m (676 m)
Ski Makov 6,1 km Blue, red, black 660 m - 948 m (288 m)
Valcianska Dolina 5,6 km Blue, red, black 510 m - 830 m (320 m)
Kl'ak 5,6 km Blue, red, black 802 m - 1 063 m (261 m)
Martinske Hole 5 km Blue, red, black 1 150 m - 1 456 m (306 m)
Kasárne - Javorníky 4,6 km Blue, red, black 905 m - 1 070 m (165 m)
Cicmany 4,3 km Blue, red, black 650 m - 973 m (323 m)
Mala Lucivna 3,4 km Blue, red, black 500 m - 1 140 m (640 m)