Travel Guide Slovakia
Wild valleys and breathtaking highlands make Slovakia one of the most exciting and untouched countries in Europe. Not only deer and lynxes can be spotted and observed in the forests of the country but also wolves and bears as well as the European bison find a safe haven in Slovakia’s green depths. Find out more about the eastern European country in our country information Slovakia.
Our trips to Slovakia:
Highlights in Slovakia
Geography of Slovakia
Slovakia is located in the heart of Europe. Bordering Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and Ukraine, the country stretches along the 48th and 49th latitude. With a north-south extension of 197 kilometres and an east-west extension of 429 kilometres, Slovakia is about as large as Lower Saxony. Especially the northern and the middle part of the country are characterised by the high plains of the Carpathian Mountains. With almost a third of the total area of the Carpathian Arc, Slovakia not only represents a large part of the Carpathians but is also home to the highest peak of the mountain range, the Gerlachov Peak (Gerlachovský štít). The south of the country extends into the small and large Hungarian lowlands.
With around 5.5 million inhabitants, Slovakia is a rather sparsely populated country in the European Union. Most of Slovakia’s population – which consists mainly of Slavs who immigrated in the 5th and 6th century – lives in the high mountain valleys and the country’s capital of Bratislava as well as the surrounding area.
Almost 90% of the country is considered to be the basin of the Danube, Slovakia's most water-rich river. Another large river is the Váh – with a length of 403 kilometres it flows through much of northern Slovakia.
Geomorphologically, Slovakia can be divided into four major areas: The Western Carpathians, the Eastern Carpathians, the Western Pannonian Basin and the Eastern Pannonian Basin. The Carpathians were formed in a similar period as the Alps, about 98 to 36 million years ago. The sediment layers, also known as flysch covers, were originally sediments excavated from the Tethys Sea and today form the basis of the Forest Carpathians and a large part of Slovakia. The basic massif of a large part of the Carpathians is based on gneiss and slate, on which the sand and limestone sediments have deposited. Lime-rich soils often lead to severe weathering and karst formations which in turn result in impressive rock formations. The unfolding of the Carpathians caused the upstream basin to collapse and led to increased formation of volcanoes. The large number of volcanic rocks in the region of Slovakia can be attributed to this.
Travel Tips and Trivia for Slovakia
Climate in Slovakia
Slovakia is mainly dominated by a continental climate. This is accompanied by large differences between summer and winter. While the winter months are rather cold and harsh, especially in the mountain regions, the summer months are rather warm and dry. In summer, the average maximum temperature is around 24°C, while in winter the average minimum is between 1°C and 4°C. The annual rainfall fluctuates extremely between the high mountains and the low plains of the country. In plateaus such as the Tatras, up to 2000 mm of precipitation falls, while in the lowlands only 500 mm of precipitation falls annually.
Flora and Fauna in Slovakia
Deciduous and coniferous forests cover about 40% of the country. Among the trees, beech and oak trees and, in higher regions, pine trees are the most common ones in Slovakia. However, large parts of the country are threatened by the worldwide dying of forests due to human activity and climate change. Due to this threat, about a fifth of Slovakia's total land area has been declared a protected area. As a result, the forests slowly recover and rare animals seek and find shelter in them again.
In the remote mountain regions, wolves, lynxes and even brown bears are present. They mostly hunt the big deer populations and chamois as well as boars and marmots. The European bison, which is highly threatened by extinction, is also found again in the lower plains of Slovakia. The bird life is also quite rich along the rivers. Ospreys, herons and white storks can be found there; they feed on the fish and other animals living in the rivers.