Great Fatra (Veľká Fatra - Slovak pronunciation: ; also Greater Fatra) is a mountain range in the Western Carpathians in Central Slovakia. It is among the towns of Ružomberok, Harmanec, Turčianske Teplice and Martin.
Most valuable parts of the range are included in the Veľká Fatra National Park.
The Veľká Fatra lie to the southwest of the better known Malá Fatra mountains and are less developed, as well as, contrary to the name, being lower.
Flora and fauna
Nearly 90% of the area is covered by forests – beech and beech-fir forests, in some places replaced by spruce plantations and relics of pines. The area of Harmanec is the richest yew-tree site in Europe. The original natural upper borderline of forests was lowered during the Wallachian colonization. There are many extensive upland pastures, where cattle is raised in the summer.
Busses and trains go to the surrounding big cities. The ski centers and attractions are usually accessible by public busses too.
The following peaks/viewpoints belong into the range:
Malinné (1209 m)A peak in the Malinô Brdo ski center
Smrekovica (1530 m)A peak nearby Smrekovica ski area. Not accessible by regular walk paths.
Rakytov (1567 m)
Ostredok (1596 m)The highest peak of the range.
Majer's rockA cliff near Krížna mountain with good overview over the Donovaly valley.
Tlstá (1208 m)View of Turiec basin
- One day hiking is possible in many places of the range, esp. popular are the ones at the ski centers. Some of the hikes can be relatively long and exhausting.
Ľubochnianska valleyLongest valley of Slovakia - 25 km. Ends at the feet of mountains Ploská and Čierny kameň.
Blatnica ValleyA densly forrested karst valley. In places, lime and dolomite rocks are visible, however the best known part of the valley is the rock window at its lower part.
Gader ValleyA long valley with the ruins on Blatnica castle.
SmrekovicaA secluded and small one, only 400 m.
DonovalyNot in Veľká Fatra, but right at its edge.
Many 2- or 3-day walks through the whole range are possible, Hike planners like hiking.sk or mapy.cz can be used to find possible hike paths.
One of the possible hikes measures 82 km and has 5400 m of total elevation difference - so it may be exhausting. Start is in usually in Ružomberok (Malinô Brdo ski center), the end can be either Harmanec (nearby Banská Bystrica - see here, use google translator if needed) or Ľubochňa (see here).
At the ski centers, there is plethora of accommodation available.
Best bet is sleeping in alpine huts or one of the sheep-guards housings. A (non-exhausting) list of available locations:
Chata pod Borišovom
For the multi-day hiking, it is possible to sleep in designated places in tents - but because of the high bear presence (compared to other parts of Slovakia), it may be a bit risky. No bear-caused fatalities happened in the recent years though.
Animals like brown bear, grey wolf and Eurasian lynx live here. Although they usually are more afraid of humans than the other way around, it's always good to be prepared for the chance of meeting them.