Slovakia has a total of 9 national parks. In our current article, we present these protected areas. We will visit famous parks such as the Slovak Paradise or the Tatra National Park, but also immerse ourselves in lesser-known regions such as the Poloniny or Polanyiná National Park on the Polish border.
At your request, we will continue to present the national parks of European countries. After Austria and Romania, let's get to know the Slovak territories.
The area of Slovakia in the northern part of the Carpathian Basin is 49,036 km², while the total area of national parks is 3,179 km².
|Natoinal Parks of Slovakia||Slovak name||Area||Highest point||Bratislava distance||Central city|
|Tatra National Park||Tatranský národný park||738 km2||Gerlachov Peak (2 655 m)||340 km||Poprad|
|Low Tatras National Park||Národný park Nízke Tatry||728 km2||Dumbier (2 043 m)||210 km||Banská Bystrica|
|Slovak Paradise National Park||Národný park Slovenský raj||197,63 km²||Ondrejisko (1 270 m)||350 km||Stratená|
|Slovak Karst National Park||Národný park Slovenský kras||346 km2||Jelení vrch (947 m)||340 km||Rožňava|
|Little Fatra National Park||Malá Fatra národný park||404 km2||Ostredok (1592 m)||240 km||Blatnica|
|Great Fatra National Park||Národný park Veľká Fatra||226,3 km2||Veľký Kriváň (1 709 m)||230 km||Terchová-Štefanová|
|Muránska planina National Park||Národný park Muránska planina||203,18 km2||Stolica (1 476 m)||300 km||Tisovec|
|Pieniny National Park||Pieninský národný park||37,5 km2||Mt. Wysoka (1 050 m)||370 km||Červený Kláštor|
|Poloniny National Park||Národný park Poloniny||298 km2||Kremenec (1 208 m)||540 km||Nová Sedlica|
Find all the 9 Slovak parks below on the map (green color).
Geography of Slovakia
The surface of Slovakia is predominantly mountainous, with the Carpathians occupying almost the northern part of the country. The highest region of the country is the Tatra Mountains. The southern part of the country is flatter, while the west and east are characterized by wide valleys and gorges.
A significant part of the national parks in the country can be found in the northern and central parts, so most of them are mountainous areas.
Tatranský Národný park
The High Tatra National Park is the largest national park in Slovakia with 738 km2. The park has been protected since 1949. Due to its name, it is not difficult to guess that the park was created around the Tatra Mountains.
The Tatra Mountains cover an area of 738 km², of which 550 km² is in Slovakia and the rest in Poland (Polish Tatras).
In terms of tourism, the most important city is Poprad. The Lomnicky Peak (2,634 m) is also located here. Lomnický štít is the second-highest peak in the Tatras and is a very popular destination among hikers and mountaineers.
#2 Low Tatras National Park
Nízke Tatry National Park
The 728 km2 Low Tatras is the second largest national park in Slovakia. It is based in Banská Bystrica.
You can go hiking and mountaineering in the area. The most popular peaks are Dumbier (2,043 m), Chopok (2,024 m), and King's Hill (1,948 m).
The shortest classic hiking trail on the southern side of the Low Tatras leads to the Štefánik hut.
The park is divided into 3 areas:
- Banska Bystrica Region (Banska Bystrica and Brezno districts)
- Zilina Region (Districts of Ružomberok and Liptovský Mikuláš)
- Prešov Region (Poprad District)
Four main Slovak rivers rise below the Kráľova hoľa peak: Váh, Hron, Hnilec and Hernad (Hornad). The park is dominated by forests and rivers.
Národný park Slovenský raj
Who hasn't heard of Slovakia's most famous hiking destination, the Slovak Paradise? The protected area attracts tourists with famous sights such as the Sucha Bela, the Tomasovsky lookout, the Prielom Hornádu, and the Dobšiná Ice Cave.
The park covers a protected area of nearly 20,000 hectares (two-thirds of which are gradually protected) embedded in the Spiš-Gemer Karst area. Overall, there are 6 popular gorges in the diversified gorge system.
There are more than 200 caves and underground abysses. Among the caves, Dobšiná Ice Cave and Medvedia jaskyňa (Bear Cave) are the best-known ones.
The region has been divided by the Hernad River and the beds of several streams into some smaller and larger areas, which over the millennia have formed the fairytale dazzles of the Slovak Paradise. During your hike, you will find many waterfalls in the gorges.
#4 Slovak Karst National Park
Národný park Slovenský kras
The Slovak Karst National Park is bordering Hungary. There are several underground caves in the karst region (more than a thousand caves and ravines) that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It covers an area of 346 km2, plus 117 km2 of protected areas. The most interesting places are the Zádielska tiesňava - Zádielska gorge and the Domica cave (jaskyňa Domica).
The starting point of your hike can be the town of Rožňava.
Malá Fatra národný park
The park was created around the Little Fatra mountain range, with many beautiful hiking trails, high-altitude panoramas, and adventures. The 226-square-kilometre park also has a 232 km² perimeter.
The mountain is mainly covered with mixed beeches, with higher levels of pine and spruce. Pine forests and meadows occur at higher altitudes. About 83% of the area is covered by forest.
One of the most popular sights is the Diery Gorge (Jánošíkove diery), Vratna valley, and the Rozsutec Mountain - or Veľký Rozsutec (1,610 m). The centre is Terchová, which preserves significant folk traditions to this day.
Little Fatra vs Great Fatra
Both national parks are located in the Fatra Range. With the Tatra National Park and the Low Tatras, this four make up the Tatra-Fatra region.
It can be misleading, but compared to Great Fatra, Little Fatra has the higher peaks, but the smaller area. That is why the Great Fatra became the "larger" which refers to its territory and not its height.
Národný park Veľká Fatra
The 404 km2 Great Fatra National Park is located between the Low Tatras and the Little Fatra. It is made up of lower mountains compared to the Little Fatra, but its area is larger than its northern neighbor. Quite a few peaks reach an altitude of 1,500 meters, so it is already considered a high-altitude region.
It is exciting and varied countryside with a focus on hiking. The most popular routes are either through ridges and passes - one of the most popular routes is the Hôľna Fatra, which is the main ridge - or fabulous valleys.
Its highest point is 1,592 meters in Ostredok. In winter, ski lovers will find 5 smaller ski slopes here, the most famous of which is Donovaly.
#7 Muranska planina National Park
Muránska Planina National Park
The Muranska Plateau is located south of the Low Tatras. The wild, karstic mountain area has been under protection since 1997. The park covers an area of 203 hectares and its center is located in Revúca.
The total length of the karst landscape from Červená Skala (part of Šumiac) to Tisovec is about 25 km.
If you visit the park, you can also admire the legendary ruins of Muráň Castle.
It is also home to the lowest living dwarf pine in Slovakia (750 m above sea level). The forest mostly contains oaks, beech forests, pine forests, but even mountain pine forests can be found here.
Ideal starting points for hiking and accommodation:
- Červená Skala
- Závadka nad Hronom
- Sedlo Zbojská
#8 Pieniny National Park
Pieninský národný park
Pieniny National Park was created around the Pieniny Mountains of the same name. The mountains are located in the north of Slovakia and in the south of Poland. Although the smallest national park in Slovakia, it offers countless attractions to visitors.
The Pieniny Mountains consist mainly of limestone and dolomite, with the exception of the hills along the northern border of Pieniny, which are of volcanic origin.
The main line of the area is the river Dunajec, where the most popular activities are rafting, biking, and hiking.
The most famous peak, Trzy Korony (Three Crowns) is 982 meters high. It is also the summit of the Three Crown Mountains.
There are several valleys in the park. The best known of these are the Dunajec River Gorge and the Homole Gorge (Polish: Wąwóz Homole).
Pieniny is the second oldest park. The Polish side of Pieniny was declared a national park as early as 1930 (Park narodowy v Pieninach). The center of the Slovak side is the Red Monastery or Červený Kláštor. Many hiking tours starts around Červený Kláštor, Spišská Stará Ves, and Stará Ľubovňa.
The countryside is rich in wildlife. Roughly 766 butterfly species, 99 species of mollusks, and more than 200 vertebrate species live here. On the rocks and on the forest roads you can meet the Carpathian lynx, but in the waters of Dunajec, we can spot some hunting otters.
#9 Poloniny National Park
Národný park Poloniny
Poloniny is located on the eastern border of Slovakia. The national park is the easternmost and less populated area of the country. The area of the national park is 29,805 ha and its protected area is 10,973 ha. Poloniny was created at the meeting point of 3 countries: Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine.
The Polish continuation of the park can be found under the name Bieszczady National Park (Bieszczadzki Park Narodowy), which together form the Eastern Carpathians Biosphere Reserve.
Its highest point is the Kremenec peak near the triple border (1,208 m). Hiking trails start from several villages, such as Nová Sedlica, Runina, Topoľa and Uličské Krivé.
In recent years, more and more neighboring tourists are visiting the park. However, this remote part of Slovakia is becoming more and more attractive for tourists, we do not yet have to fear that we will encounter large crowds.