Veľká Fatra National Park lies in central Slovakia – in Žilina and Banská Bystrica Region. The National Park was declared on 1 April 2002 as an upgrade of the Protected Landscape Area to protect a mountain range with a high percentage of well-preserved Carpathian forests, with prevailing European beech, which cover 90% of the area in combination with ridge-top cattle pastures dating back to the 15th – 17th centuries, to the times of the so called Walachian colonization. In places there are also relict Scots pine forests and the Harmanec valley is notable as the richest Irish yew tree location in Central and probably all Europe.
Veľká Fatra National Park is also an important reservoir of fresh water thanks to high rainfalls and low evaporation in the area. The core of the range is built of granite which reaches the surface only in places, more common are various slates creating gently modelled ridges and summits of the so called Hôlna Fatra and limestone and dolomite rocks creating a rough and picturesque terrain of the so called Bralná Fatra. There are also many caves, but the only one open to the public is Harmanec Cave.
Various rocks and therefore various soils, diverse type of terrain with gentle upland meadows and pastures, sharp cliffs and deep valleys provide for extremely rich flora and fauna. All species of big Central European carnivores live abundantly there: brown bear, gray wolf and Eurasian lynx.
The area is popular for hikers and trekkers. The UNESCO World Heritage village of folk architecture reserve Vlkolínec lies nearby. The best starting points for hiking are the towns Martin, Ružomberok, Turčianske Teplice, ski resorts Donovaly, Malinné and Vlkolínec.