TANAP is the oldest national park in Slovakia. Since its establishment in 1949, its basic mission has been to protect the nature of the High, Western and Belianske Tatra Mountains. There is a rich fauna and flora in an area of 74,284 hectares with precious species and endemic species, such as the Tatra Chamois. Marmots living in the subalpine and alpine level include the Tatra Pine Vole, the Snow Vvole and the Tatra Marmot, which can be found in these biotopes only. This level is sometimes visited by the Brown Bear, Wolf, Eurasian Lynx and Red Fox. Small mammals occurring here include the European Mole, Common Vole and others.
Birds of prey are respectable guards of TANAP. They monitor the whole protected area from above and include mainly the Golden Eagle, Common Kestrel, Common Buzzard and others. The flora of TANAP is manifold too. There are more than 1,650 species and varieties of blue-green algae and algae, 1,200 species of lichens, 720 species of mosses and liverworts and 1,400 species of vascular plants.
Several plants occur in this territory only, when looking at the whole Slovakia or even the whole Western Carpathian Mts. These include e.g. Oxytropis camoperstris ssp., Campanula serrata (Kit. ex Schult.), Leucanthemopsis alpina subsp. tatrae. There are five forest vegetation zones in the territory of the Tatra National Park with communities of beech, fir-beech, spruce-beech-fir, spruce and dwarf pine vegetation zones.
This beautiful area is enlisted as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, which proves its significance. The park is also part of the NATURA 2000 system, which aims to preserve or improve favourable living conditions of various precious and endangered plant and animal species as well as natural types of biotopes and to preserve biodiversity in the territory of the European Union. Apart from the main mission, the territory of the national park is also used for recreation, sport, health therapies and tourism. Almost 3.5 million people visit the national park every year.
The net of tourist trails is about 600 km long. If you follow the trails, you can surmount various horizontal or vertical levels. The mountain range of the High Tatras is the highest one in Slovakia and Poland. The highest peak is Gerlachovský štít (2 654.4 m). Other significant peaks, rather difficult to ascend, include Vysoká, Ganek, Bradavica, Prostredný hrot, Ľadový štít, Baranie rohy, Lomnický or Kežmarský štít. They can be climbed with professional mountain guides only. Other eight peaks are accessible during the main season via marked tourist trails.
Alpine glacier lakes, the so called tarns, are interesting natural phenomena. There are 120 tarns in the High Tatras and the best known ones are Veľké Hincovo pleso, Popradské or Štrbské pleso. The most popular one is Štrbské pleso, which is the second largest tarn in the High Tatras. It is located in a well-known sports-recreation locality, is easily accessible and got very popular mainly due to boating in the summer.
Tourist trails lead through numerous valleys too. There is the majestic valley of Tichá dolina, 17 km long, located in the Western Tatras. Or Mlynická dolina, a 6 km-long terraced valley dominated by a pyramid of Štrbský štít (peak) at the end. It is bordered by the ridge of Mt. Solisko and peaks of Bašty. Jewels decorating the valley, such as the Skok waterfall and several tarns, are very attractive for tourists. The last valley to mention is the 12km-long Kôprová dolina. Tourist trails lead tourists to beautiful tarns and waterfalls, attractive saddles or even to the peak of Kôprovský štít.
Make a walk to nature or discover its beauties in another way. Visit the Museum of TANAP with a rich exposition of various life-size Tatra animals including the largest one – the Brown Bear or the Lynx. There is also a big collection of stag antlers representing all their life stages or a memorable place dedicated to those who supported the establishment of the Tatra National Park. There is also a possibility to watch various documentaries about the Tatras in a small cinema hall.
Apart from fauna, you can also admire beauties of the Tatra flora in the Botanical garden – the Exposition of the Tatra nature in Tatranská Lomnica and discover up to 270 species of plants of various biotopes in an area of 3.2 hectares.