Little Fatra, The National Park You’re Overlooking But You Shouldn’t
Slovakia has 9 national parks and the most well-known is High Tatras. Have you not heard about it yet? Exactly. That’s a perfect indicator of what an underrated country Slovakia is. On the other hand: it means so much beauty to explore that no one really knows about! Because Slovakia offers quite some beauties. One of them is Little Fatra National Park (or Malá Fatra in Slovak).
Though the Tatras are relatively famous at least in Slovakia’s neighboring countries and a lot of fellow Hungarians take shorter and longer trips there both in summer and winter, it’s not the case with Little Fatra. Shame or not we haven’t heard about it either for a long time. But last summer we’ve fallen in love with Slovakia’s national parks. And after the majestic landscapes of the High Tatras and the lovely glens of Slovak Paradise National Park we were eager to see even more of them. Like Little Fatra.
What to love there?
The name fits perfectly, it’s a small national park with its roughly 230 square kilometres. Still it offers three peaks above 1300 meters, beautiful pine forests and picturesque canyons where you can climb up right next to lovely waterfalls. Its highest peak is Veľký Kriváň at 1709 meters but Veľký Rozsutec (1610 m) and Malý Rozsutec (1343 m) are said to be the most photogenic ones. We can definitely confirm that.
And these are the things that made us love Little Fatra so much. It’s truly small and cute (can we say that about a national park?) but beautiful and varied at the same time. We could explore it within a weekend still it has a lot of small secrets to tempt us back again and again. Waterfalls. Wildflowers. Endless vistas. Rock formations. Mountain ridge trails. Butterflies.
The best intro hike: Malý Rozsutec – Veľký Rozsutec loop
There’s a 6 hours long loop hike that we think is the best introduction to all the pretty features of Little Fatra. We started this hike from the small village of Stefanová that can become a busy place on summer weekends. Our route was quite scenic from the beginning as we headed to Horné diery gorge. There’s a small creek in this gorge and that meant waterfalls all the way as we climbed up with the help of ladders and chains occasionally. These charming glens were the main reason we liked Slovak Paradise so much and we found one in Little Fatra, too.
After saying goodbye to Horné diery we continued on the saddle to Medzirozsutce and soon we had our first closer views of Malý Rozsutec and Veľký Rozsutec peaks. And we conquered them in that order. These two peaks are the crowns of the park. They are unique rock formations in the middle of the pine forest. And the relatively short but steep trails that lead to their top are nice and fun.
Best time to visit
Little Fatra is not a place we know well. At least yet. It’s a place we‘ve recently discovered and we can’t wait to be back again. It’s high enough to make us feel being in real mountains but the hiking season starts earlier and ends later than for most of the high mountain trails of the Tatras or the Alps. And this makes it our perfect spring and autumn getaway. Oh by the way that means it’s time for another visit soon…
|Malý Rozsutec – Veľký Rozsutec hiking info|
What are some of your favorite national parks off the beaten path?