The High Tatras (Vysoké Tatry), the tallest range in the Carpathian Mountains, occupy a near-mythic place in Slovak hearts. Instantly recognisable, the crooked summit of Mount Kriváň (2495m) has become a national symbol in literature and popular culture, with some Slovaks swearing it's their national duty to climb it. Twenty-five peaks reach higher than 2500m and the tallest mountains – like Gerlachovský štít (2654m) – attract the most hikers, revealing Slovakia as a nation of adventurers. You won't be alone tramping between the High Tatras' waterfalls, alpine meadows and more than 100 ultramarine lakes. In winter, snow transforms hiking trails into ski areas, mostly small and family-friendly.
Most of this jagged range is part of 1949-established Tatra National Park (Tanap), the country's oldest national park. Together with an adjoining protected area across the border in Poland, the High Tatras form a Unesco-protected biosphere reserve inhabited by brown bears, chamois and golden eagles.