Tatra National Park Narodowy is a huge national park located on the southernmost outskirts of Poland. In fact, the park is divided immediately between two states – RP and Slovakia, each of which manages its part of a single nature conservation zone. On the territory of the park there are the highest points of both countries – Mount Rysy (2499 m), which is the highest point in Poland, and Gerlachovsky Štit (2655 m), bearing the same title, but already in Slovakia.
Tatra National Park History
The first calls for the protection of nature in the Tatra Mountains occurred in the late 19th century. A few years later, in 1925, through the joint efforts of Poland and Slovakia, a plan of the park was created. In fact, in 1937, the territory for the Tatra Park was determined, and in 1947 it was officially created. In 1954, the Tatra Park was divided, thus creating two national parks in Poland and Slovakia with the same name – the Tatra National Park. Initially, the Polish park had an area of 215.56 square kilometers, but nowadays the area is slightly smaller and is 211.64 square kilometers. Of this, 151.9 km² is forested, and the remainder is mostly meadows. Specially protected areas are 115.14 km², of which 61.4 km² are forest ecosystems. In 1992, the Polish and Slovak national parks jointly received the status of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Location of Tatra National Park
The reserve is located in the south of the country, near the city of Zakopane, on the border with Slovakia. The territory of the complex is part of the Carpathian Tatras.
The Tatra Mountains are the highest stretch of the mountain range in Eastern Europe. The peak point of the Tatra Mountains is Mount Gerlachovsky Shtit, whose height is 2655 meters. The Tatra Mountains are located simultaneously in two countries – Poland and Slovakia. The border of states passes through this territory. The plot is divided as follows: 25% falls on the Polish Tatra Nature Reserve, the remaining 75% are within the borders of Slovakia.
The territory of the national park consists of the High and Western Tatras. The highest point of this part of the reserve is Mount Rysy, with an altitude of 2499 meta above sea level. The area of the Tatra National Reserve of Poland is 21197 hectares. It is one of the largest national parks in the country. Of the entire territory of the reserve, about 11.5 thousand hectares are under strict protection.
The division into High and Western Tatras also characterizes the different structure of the reserve. The territory of the High Tatras is crystalline rock formations, pits and lakes. The Western Tatras consist mainly of caves – single and whole systems, this also includes karst springs.
On the territory of the park there are about 650 caves, there are streams, about 30 mountain lakes. The most famous cave in this area is Velká Snežná, which is also the longest (about 18 meters) and deepest (about 814 meters). Of the lakes, the largest in the park is the Sea Eye (0.349 square kilometers). The largest waterfall in the reserve of Poland is Velká Siklava (70 meters high).
How to get to Tatra National Park
The best starting point for a trip to these places is the small Polish town of Zakopane. From here in the direction of the Tatra (or rather – Tatzhansky) park there is a huge variety of minibuses. They depart from an improvised platform located about a hundred meters to the right of the bus station of the city. It’s not hard to find. There are really a lot of minibuses there.
The fare, depending on the specific direction, ranges from 6 to 10 zlotys (1.59 – 2.65 dollars). Cars are sent as the cabin fills. However, in the summer months, the required number of people on popular destinations (like the Sea Eye) is recruited very quickly. In about 10-15 minutes. Therefore, you do not have to wait very long.
The road itself takes about 40 minutes to reach the Tatra Park. On the way, a mini-bus passes the border of Slovakia (more precisely, past it). Return flights also depart quite frequently. In summer, even in the late evening, the interval of movement rarely exceeds 30 minutes.
All minibuses going to the Sea Eye Lake come to such a car park, which in July was filled with cars literally to the brim. The queue at the ticket office of the Tatra National Park on the day of our arrival was also quite impressive. However, it moved quickly. As a result, we stood in it for ten minutes, most of which I spent photographing the surrounding nature.
Nature of The Tatra National Park
The nature and climate of the Tatra Mountains vaguely resembles the Alpine ecosystem. The main difference is the frequent fluctuations in weather conditions. This area is dominated by temperature changes, cloudiness and a significant amount of precipitation in the form of snow. Snow begins to melt in the month of May-June, but in some corners, especially in the highlands, it can last all year round.
The flora of the reserve is characterized, depending on the height above sea level. At an elevation of up to 1250 meters, deciduous forests predominate, mainly fir, birch, beech. At an altitude of 1250–1800 meters, European spruce grows. Over 1800 meters begins a section covered with alpine meadows.
In the Tatra National Park you can meet such representatives of the flora: Swiss pine, edelweiss, thistle. In spring, saffron grows in the Valley of Kościeliska.
The fauna of the Tatra Reserve is diverse. It is inhabited by some representatives of the fauna that are on the verge of extinction. The park inhabited by chamois and alpine marmot, specially protected animals since the beginning of the XIX century. You can meet a brown bear, a Eurasian lynx, a wolf, an otter, a falcon.
Flora and fauna Up to a height of 1250 meters, white fir and European beech mainly grow, up to 1550 meters the territory is covered with European spruce, up to 1800 meters ordinary meadows prevail, and then there is alpine vegetation.
Attractions of Tatra National Park
The Tatra Nature Reserve in Poland is a unique place with an extraordinary and picturesque nature. The most interesting places that tourists are advised to visit are:
- the highest mountain of the park is Lynx;
- a popular route to The Sea Eye Lake;
- five lakes valley;
- Mount Giewont (is a symbol of the Tatra Mountains and the city of Zakopane), on top of which a high cross was erected at the beginning of the XX century;
- Kasprowy Verkh, which can be reached by cable car;
- Kościeliska Valley;
- Mount Gubałówka, the top of which can be reached by mountain tram.
Routes in the Tatras are divided into categories of complexity, each has a distance of hours of walking along it, installed composting toilets, garbage cans, equipped with special places for rest and snacking. It is also possible to reserve a bed in the Tatra chronisks (national housing). Here, tourists who go hiking for several days can spend the night.
Tatra National Park Opening Hours
November–February: from 09:00 to 14:00.
March, April: from 08:00 to 15:00.
May, June, September: from 07:00 to 16:00.
July, August: from 07:00 to 17.00.
October: 08:00 to 16:00; from 15 October to 15:00
Tatra National Park Tickets
Full ticket – 5 PLN, reduced – 2,50 PLN.
Full ticket for 7 days – 25 PLN, discount ticket for 7 days – 12,50 PLN.
Group ticket (group up to 10 people) – 45 PLN, discount group ticket – 22,50 PLN.
Parking is subject to a fee.
TELEPHONE (+48) 18 20 23 300
TELEPHONE (+48) 18 20 63 799
OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE TATRA NATIONAL PARK http://tpn.pl
ADDRESS: Tatrzański Park Narodowy, Kuźnice, Zakopane, Poland