Nízke Tatry (Low Tatras) are mountains in Slovakia, located south of Vysoké Tatry (High Tatras), divided from it by the river Váh. Most of the area (728 km²) is protected by the Low Tatras National Park.
Low Tatras are the second most visited mountains in Slovakia. In recent years there has been a big tourism development – new hotels, camping, chair lifts and ski lifts and also, new tourist resorts. Especially in the eastern part, between valleys Čertovica and Kráľova Hoľa, there are old almost-untouched forests, where many animals have their habitat, including bears. Such forests are great for hiking and walking tours.
The largest national park in Slovakia – Low Tatras, consists of a massive mountain range that reaches up to 1,000 m in length. The southern part of the mountains are granite, to the north are dolomite and limestone. Low Tatras geologically reach with their western parts to the Tatra-Fatra nuclear zone mountains and in the east to the Veporské band.
Veporské band (the main unit Veporicum) consists of Kráľovohoľská region, bounded on the east Muráň break. Kráľovohoľská region in the Low Tatras is made up of transformed rocks, especially pararulas and mainly igneous rocks of granitic descent – mainly grandioritms and tinalits which form the Veporský Pluton.
To the north of Pohorelská line, which separates it from the Kráľovohoľská region, there is a Kraklovská region, forming a substantial part of the Kráľovoholské Tatras. It is made up of converted rock complexes mainly gneisses, schist and amphibolists. The proportion of magmatic rocks is smaller (eg, body A-type granites near Hrončok). Mesozoic rocks are represented mainly by limestone, dolomite and sandstones.
The most important structures here are the unit of Veľký Bok (Big Side) and the waste of hepianska succession. Ďumbierska Tatras is a contact area between Veporské and Tatra-Fatra mountains nuclear zone. Their liaision zone is Čertovická line. Ďumbierska Tatras can be geologically divided into three zones: Bystrická with a predominance of Mesozoic sedimentary rocks tatrika, Ďumbierska with crystal rocks and Demänovská with a predominance of sedimentary rocks forming nappe units.
The peaks of Low Tatras are lower than in High Tatras. Only three of them are higher than 2000 meters above the sea level. The first two mentioned in the following list are also the most visited places of the mountains.
List of the highest peaks:
- Ďumbier – 2042 m
- Chopok – 2024 m
- Dereše – 2002 m
- Skalka – 1980 m
- Chabenec – 1955 m
- Kráľova hoľa – 1946 m
- Kotliská – 1940 m
- Krúpova hoľa – 1927 m
- Zákľuky – 1915 m
The mountains are characterized by continental mountain climate on the slopes, a slight cold climate on the foothill positions. The average temperature in January is around -6 C°, the average temperature in July reaches 15.8 C°. On the back of the central mountains prevails cold climate with the average temperature of -7 to -9 °C in January and average temperatures from 8 to 9.3 °C in July.
The warmest foothill parts have an average annual air temperature aroud 7.5 °C,and the highest peaks have an average annual temperature around 0 °C. In parts of the valley, the average annual rainfall is about 900-1,000 mm / m², on the top 1,200-1,600 mm / m². Because of the predominant airflow there is a higher rainfall especially the northern slopes, while the western part is slightly wetter than the east. The snowcover is reaching thickness to 2 m beyond the forest and is held 110-210 days a year.
Fauna & Flora
Calcifuges and calcareous flowers are represented in the Low Tatras. The protected species which grow here are edelweiss, several species of saxifrage, pasqueflower. Low Tatras are the only place in Slovakia, where a modified saxifrage and comma-shaped crimpy is growing. An interesting occurrence is Tatra ochyrea (moss) which is a Low Tatras endemic.
A lot of hunted animals are living in forests of Low Tatras, represented by the deer, wild boars and roe-doe. Here living wild beasts are represented by martens, weasel, lynx, fox, wolf and in the outskirts the Mountain Wildcat. Favourable conditions are for the existence of brown bears. In the alpine zone are living typical alpine animals such as scratcher, marmot population and the population of chamois, which is originally the inhabitant of High Tatras and was introduced to Low Tatras in 1969-1974. Birds represent the kinds of mountain range, pine and hole bands. A significant nesters are honey buzzard, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, moorcock, Eurasian pygmy owl, boreal owl, Dubnik Three-toed and wall-creeper. A black stork has his nest area here too. Many bird species are among the rare migrants. In 1995, there was confirmed the first nest site of Kolibkar green in Slovakia.
International festival of folklore and traditional folk – Folk Festival pod Poľanou is one of the biggest events in Slovakia. Since its inception in 1966, it is held annually on the second weekend in July in Detva, in the heart of Slovakia, the center of one of the liveliest and most peculiar folklore regions.
Detva in these days fully come to life with music, singing, festive atmosphere and welcome about 1,500 performers. Year after year, under the Homeland Sunday, folklore groups of Slovaks living abroad are presented. The most interesting achievements of Folklore Festival pod Polanou in Detva is a cycle of events dedicated to boosting the production of folk musical instruments Instrumentum EXCELLENS. Special attention is paid to fujara, the Unesco jewel.
Visitors can also choose from a number of side events such as church programs, lessons from the shed, school dances, play on the fujara (a musical instrument), traditional folk crafts fair, carving court, etnographic exhibition, artists exhibition and others.
The Forestry museum in Vydrovská Valley near Čierny Balog (Black Balog) was created at the top of Montenegro forest railway station ( Černohorská lesná železnička). About 3 km long circuit leads on both sides of the river Vydrovo and illustrates the visitors on nearly five dozen stops the functions of forests. The museum contains a number of machines and other devices for logging. A part of the museum is an international art exhibition called Eco-artul for whom as basic material serves wood. It is appropriate to combine the museum exhibition with a visit to the Museum of Montenegro forest railway in Čierny Balog.
A historical exhibition of mining and metallurgy is located to the east from Liptovský Hrádok in a section Maša. It includes the topics: Gold mining in Magurka, Kriváň and in Bocianska Valley, Low Tatras iron bearing and their uses. The exposition is housed in the original building prisons, which was a part of the Hrádok hardware business in the mid of the 18th century.
Horehronské Museum Brezno was founded as a history museum in the then Brezno district in 1960. Since 1965 it has the status of the regional museum focusing on history and ethnology of the district. The museum is located in the former city hall and in the renovated burgher’s house from the late 16th century. Both buildings are cultural monuments. The city hall, originally Renaissance, acquired its current appearance with late-baroque adjustments in 1779-1780. The museum also manages the technical monument – mangle, which is a part of the farmstead-craft settlements in Brezno.
Low Tatras have a lot to offer in the sumer time.
Brankovský waterfall is a national monument and it was declared as a protected area in 1980. It is located in the territory of national park. Brankovký waterfall is the highest waterfall in the Low Tatras. It lies at an altitude of 775-830 m above the sea level, on the northwestern edge of the national park. The waterfall was created by dip of a mountain river on the limestone rock stage, which is well visible. Its flow is relatively steady, at about 3 l/s. Flow wateriness is influenced by the yield of precipitation in different seasons. The surface of the rock wall is slightly uneven, what creates many smaller areas and cascades. It was declared as a national natural monument in 1980.
Thermal Park Bešeňová
The complex consists of 8 outdoor swimming pools with geothermal water from 28 ° C to 40 ° C, outdoor toboggan, 3 indoor pools from antikor with clear heat water from 27 ° C to 36 ° C, stainless toboggan in pool hall, atrium with 2 outdoor whirlpools (Jacuzzi with water of 30 to 40 ° C temperature), Wellness Center – Wellness world (complex of saunas and inhalation), cooling pool, whirlpool, Kneipp’s bath, tepidarium, hydromassage showers and more.
Čierny Váh (Black Váh) is one of the sources for the river Váh. As it is longer than the Biely Váh (White Váh), it is included in the total length of Váh. Water Works on this river consist of two reservoirs, the upper reservoir was built on the karst plateau Vyšné Sokoly at an altitude of 1160 m and the lower reservoir is the Údolná reservoir at an altitude of 733 m. Here is the largest hydro power plant of this kind in Slovakia. As for recreational purposes, it is ideal for fishing and boat riding.
There is an artificial water reservoir in the Krpáčovo area, which is used as a swimming lake in summer. In the winter, it is also known as good destinations for skiers. Krpáčovo consists also in one of the longest and most beautiful valleys in micro region Chopok-south. Vajskovská dolina is not marked with the civilization and thus is very romantic. Tourists can go walk around and spot the extraordinary scenery and wild slope Skalky.
On the southern outskirts of the village Liptovský Ján the travertine uphill area has thermal and mineral springs. In 1963 they found a new spring in the depths of 95 m with a temperature of 29.4 ° C. Its water and water from other nearby wells is filling the pools, which are recreational facilities in summer. Thermal water from here has proven its medicinal effects; it heals skin diseases, diseases of motor apparatus, metabolism, feminine, nervous and even heart disease and blood vessels.
Liptovská Mara – Aquapark Tatralandia
The largest aquapark in Slovakia and one of the largest in Central Europe. It is located 2 km northwest from the center of Liptovský Mikuláš, on the north side of dam Liptovská Mara. The source of thermal water is a well where water flows to the surface from the depth of over 2500 m with a temperature 60,7 ° C. Part of an extensive complex are 11 swimming pools (6 of them the year round, 4 covered) with water temperature to 38 ° C, several water slides (9 year-round, 28 seasonal), steam bath, sauna, wellness center, housing facilities (Holiday Village Tatralandia, 155 bungalows and apartments), catering facilities (restaurant Zbojnícka koliba, the cafeterias and restaurants in Druid, U Kelta, U Piráta , U stroskotanca and more), sport arena and other sports facilities.
Tále’s natural swimming pool is located in the Low Tatras in the tourist resort Bystrá Dolina – Tále. The entrance to the lake is free and swimming is at your own risk. Next to the swimming place there is a mountain park Tarzania and 18-hole golf course Gray Bear.
Bystrianska jaskyňa (Bystrianska Cave) – The largest cave located in Bystriansky Kras (Bystriansky Karst) in the southern part of the Low Tatras National Park, near the village Bystrá. It was discovered on the 29th June 1923. The survey circuit has a length of 545 m and is nearly without elevation (20 steps). The cave is available even for the disabled visitors. The tour tales 45 minutes. The cave temperature is from 5.7 to 6.7 °C. The cave was created by tectonic activity and erosion and was modeled by groundwater flow that currently flows through the cave areas in the depth of 15-20m below the tour route. During the tour the visitors can see three gaps with a depth of about 20m. The cave in its current state is available since 1968 in a length of 490m. Since 1971, the Bottom Guerrilla Hall is used for speleotherapy.
Jaskyňa mŕtvych netopierov (Cave of Dead Bats) – The only mountain cave in Slovakia which is open to public. The cave is situated in the middle of Slovakia in the central part of Low Tatras ridge in Ďumbiersky karst mountain (1,750 m). Remarkable findings of bat bones are located almost everywhere. Their age is estimated to 6,000 years. In the outermost parts of the cave are the skeletal remains of martens, bears and even goats. The cave has average temperature of 3.5 °C but some icy parts achieve full-year average of 1 °C. The cave is situated in the mountain and protected areas of NAPANT. From the custemers is required to wear good mountain shoes and physical fitness.
Demänovská jaskyňa slobody (Demänovská Cave of Liberty) is the most visited cave in Slovakia. More than 175 000 visitors come to see this unusual cave every year. Since 1993 the cave has been used for healing many diseases. It is a stalactive cave which is a part of a national monument Demänovské caves, the longest cave system in Slovakia. The total length of underground space is admirable 24km and there are nine caves, of which only two are available to the public, the Demänovská Ice Cave and the Cave of Liberty. This extensive cave system is located in the National Nature Reserve Demänovská valley in the territory of Low Tatras National Park 12 km south from Liptovský Mikuláš. The entire cave system was created by an active flow of the river Demänovka. The Cave of Liberty was discovered on the 3rd August 1921 by a Moravian teacher Alois Kráľ. The cave achieved its current form in 1933. There are two lines in it, the traditional with the length of 1,800 m and the exclusive, which is about 300 m longer. The tour route has 976 steps. The cave temperature is constant – round 7°C and the humidity is 92-98%. The age of the cave itself is estimated at about one million years. The entrance is located at an altitude of 870 m. Inside the cave is an artificial entrance and its first steps get into the Deep Dome, the most attractive phenomenon Eternal Rain. This non-drying waterfall has arisen by the leakage of the atmospheric precipitations through a tectonic drift.
Demänovská ľadová jaskyňa (Demänovská Ice Cave) – One of the oldest caves in Europe, discovered in 1299. It is situated in the National Nature Reserve Demänovská valley in the territory of Low Tatras National Park. The cave length is 1,750m. Ice filling occurs in the lower parts of the cave. A floor ice, ice columns, stalactites and stalagmites occur here. Eight species of bats were detected here. The cave is known for a long time. The first written mention is from the year 1719. Accessible length is 650 m.
Važecká jaskyňa (Važecká Cave) – Dripstone cave in Liptovská kotlina, near the village Važec. It is located in Važecký karst on the western outskirt of Važec between Poprad and Liptovský Mikuláš. The entrance , which is situated 8 m above the valley of the White Váh, is at an altitude of 784 m. Underground places are decorated mostly by stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone pools. A significant part of the cave is filled in with fine alluvial sediments. The air temperature is from 6.5 to 7.1°C, relative humidity is 94-96%. A significant paleontological finding of cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) bone were found in the cave. From the cave intervebrates is remarkable the discovery of Eukoenenia spelaea – the northernmost occurrence of this palpigrades, what placed the cave to a biospeleological SCI.
The preserved foundations of the Liptov Castle (Liptovský hrad) are located on a hill called Castle in Choc Moutain. Castle Liptovský – Starhrad has its origins in the 13th century. The first written mention of it comes from the year 1262. In the past it was a royal castle and its primary role was to protect the borders of the country. You can get to the ruins by a marked path from the village Kalameny. Archeological exhibit in the nature above the village Kalameny is an extended exhibition at the Museum Liptovský in Ružomberok. Residues are available to the public to reveal the architecture of the building and conservatory adjustments based on archeological research.
Likavka castle ruins stand on one of the the rocky peaks Choc Mountain on the right bank of the river Váh. Period and the customs of the castle are unclear. According to some it was built by Templar knights, other considered the master builder was Thomas Csókakoi, Royal concierge and Liptov Ispani. The castle is treated from the end of the 20th century and today bears traces of several approaches to reconstruction of this preserved monument.
The Low Tatras National Park and its protection zone have for the pedestrian tourists more than 840 km of marked hiking trails (TZT) and 15 nature trails.
Basic rules of hiking:
• in the territory of the park, visitors can only move along the marked routes and educational paths in the time of the day from the hour after sunrise to hour before sunset, this restriction does not include recreational sites;
• visitors are required to respect the closed marked trails and paths;
• in the territory of the park is prohibited camping and bivouac camp outside parking spaces;
• driving and parking of motor vehicles, motor tricycles and quads, snowmobiles and other vehicles is possible only on local roads and public and reserved places in accordance with applicable law, prohibited is the entrance on forest paths, as well as on outside communications;
• collection of plants and their parts and products in the national park is prohibited;
• environment pollution by garbage is prohibited;
• fires are permitted only in limited spaces and recreational buildings and cottages in designated camps;
• in the territory of the park are allowed only dogs with a leash and a muzzle;
• the movement of specimens, especially rock and building stone mounds in the national park is prohibited;
• in National Park and its protection zone visitors are obliged to behave so as to avoid unnecessary damage, or death of plants and animals, or damage to and destruction of their environment.
Jasná is a tourist center for winter sports and summer recreation located in the end of Demänovská dolina. There is one of the largest ski resorts in central Europe. It is situated on both sides of Chopok and has 7 funiculars, and many ski lifts. Total trail length is approximately 30 km.
Mýto pod Ďumbierom
Mýto pod Ďumbierom is a village located under Ďumbier peak. Ski resort is situated on the south side of Low Tatras in altitude from 598 to 898 m. The resort is suitable for all categories of skiers.
Čertovica is a saddle in the main ridge of Low Tatras separating them on Ďumbierske and Kráľovohoľské Tatras. It is a frequent road crossing on the main ridge of Horehronie (Brezno) to Liptov. When traveling in the valley, there is a parking and seating and it is a good starting point for walking tours. The surrounding slopes are excellent for skiing.
Donovaly is a mountain resort village (850 m) west of the Low Tatras, distributed in a wide valley on the main road from Banská Bystrica to Ružomberok. There are more than 11 km regularly treated ski slopes, 17 ski slopes of more than 7 km with the possibility of artificial snow.