At the heart of Central Europe, Slovakia is characterised by a relief with varying altitudes. The Carpathian Mountains extend across most of the northern half of the country, while vast plains largely used for agriculture stretch out across the southern half.
Due to their ecological importance, many of the country's regions are protected land. Slovakia has 9 national parks and 14 protected zones plus 118 protected sites, 383 natural reserves and 230 natural monuments.
The geography of Slovakia, comprised of rocky crests and green valleys, is ideal for the proliferation of plant and animal species. With a large number of natural parks and reserves, Slovakia's flora and fauna is similar to that of the other Slavic countries surrounding it.
This means that Slovakia is home to many different birds, including several species of migratory birds like the cormorant, the heron, the greylag goose and the pheasant, as well as predatory birds like the eagle and the vulture. In the mountains and valleys in the north you will find a wide array of fauna: elk, deer (including the red and roe deer), chamois, wild boar, grey wolves, golden jackals, red foxes, brown bears, lynx, squirrels, stoats, hedgehogs, marmots and the common rabbit.
The flora in the forests includes fir, oak, maple and Carpathian beech trees, while reeds cover the areas around the lakes.
With a geographical location in the middle of Europe, Slovakia has been influenced by many of the great artistic trends that have crossed central Europe, and as a result has an admirable cultural heritage. The Slovakian people are specialists in open-air museums. Visitors can discover the architecture of the countryside, the traditional habits, the culinary customs and the country's traditions.
In terms of the museums, the quality of their contents varies greatly from one to the next but in general they have nothing exceptional to offer. However, there are two that visitors might nevertheless find interesting: the Bratislava City Museum, which retraces the history of the city, and the East Slovak Museum in Ko?ice, which holds a large number of artistic and religious objects, as well as items used in daily life, from the Middle Ages.