Slovakia has a temperate climate with sunny hot summers and cold, cloudy, humid and snowy winters. The climate is continental, with four seasons, and while the overall climate is mild, there is a considerable temperature difference between summer and winter months.

It is generally warmer in southern regions and the lowlands, where summer temperatures can climb above 30°C 86°F on hotter days, and where rain is more common in winters than snow, which usually melts in a few days.

Northern, and especially mountainous regions have a colder climate, with summer temperatures not exceeding 25°C 77°F. Especially in the mountains, snow is common in winters and it can get quite cold.

If you are planning on visiting the mountains, please note that, as in any mountainous region, the weather can change dramatically in a matter of minutes and it can rain or snow! even in summer. Take appropriate equipment and don't underestimate the weather.


There are some similarities between the Czech and Slovak cultures but the two nationalities remain distinct. One of the most striking differences is that while Czechs are largely atheists, Slovaks are largely Catholics, like their Polish neighbours.

Slovakia was a part of the Hungarian empire for almost a millennium, and a strong Hungarian-speaking minority of 9.7% remains, concentrated mostly in southern Slovakia. Historic German populations were uprooted and expelled after WWII but their historical influence remains.

In the eastern part of the country, there are many Romas/Gypsies and some Rusnacs/Rusins and Ukrainians. There are also some Czechs, Poles and still some Germans living in Slovakia.


Much of the central and northern part of Slovakia is rugged and mountainous. Gerlachovský štít at 2,655 m 8,711 ft in the High Tatras is the highest peak. The Tatra Mountains in the north, shared with Poland, are interspersed with many scenic lakes and valleys. These areas experience lower temperatures and traditionally people here lived off sheep grazing.

The lowlands are in the south with the lowest point of the Bodrog River being 94 m 308 ft above sea level. The soil here is much more fertile, especially the area between Small Danube and Danube, and was more agricultural. The weather is gentler and especially summers can get surprisingly warm.

Holidays and festivals

Slovakia is a predominantly Catholic Country, so major Christian holidays are observed, as well as some other holidays. Unless indicated otherwise, these days are public holidays and banks and most amenities and shops will be closed:

Slovak Republic Day
1st January - Conveniently, Czechoslovakia split into two on the 1st of January, so New Year's Day is a national holiday. It is traditionally celebrated by sleeping until midday.
6th of January - Celebrates the arrival of the Three Magi into Betlehem. Shops and banks are closed.
Mardi Gras period
'Fasiangy' - this is not a national holiday, but rather a festival season. Some villages will hold a traditional market with food and drinks offered, and there might be a march through the city in masks, and numerous balls, dances and carnivals are held. 6th January till Ash Wednesday February or March.
March/April, dates depend on the lunar calendar. Good Friday and Easter Monday are both national holidays. There is a number of different traditions relating to Easter. The traditional food served includes eggs and special Easter Ham, with bread and horseradish.

Religious people will go to mass, and it might be the only time when its likely to see people in traditional clothing in some villages, but this is increasingly less common. Everyone will be dressed up, though.

Throughout Slovakia, kraslice are prepared, which are egg shells adorned with ornaments and painted over with colours. These, along with sweets and money are given to boys, who visit friends' and neighbours' houses, where it is their job to make sure the women will be healthy and prosperous the following year by spraying them with water or perfume and beating them with a willow wand adorned with ribbons. It is called oblievacka and sibacka. It tends to involve copious amounts of alcohol, food and wet T-shirts, and is not taken seriously by anyone. In recent years it became less popular. If you are female, do not wear clothes you like when venturing outside on Easter Monday as you might have water thrown or perfume sprayed at you. If you want to protest this clearly barbaric tradition, make sure to do so in waterproof clothing.

International Labour Day
1 May - This is celebrated by not working.
Day of Victory over Fascism
8 May - Celebration of the end of WWII in Europe.
International Children's Day
1 June - Not a national holiday, but children might have time off school and various activities will be organised for them, and they usually get treats.
St. Cyril and Methodius Day
5 July- arrival of the first Christian missionaries to Slovakia
Slovak National Uprising Memorial Day
29 August - Holiday to commemorate uprising against Nazis during WWII.
Constitution Day
1 September - Children love this one as school starts one day later.
Day of Blessed Virgin Mary
15 September - A patron saint of Slovakia.
This is not a national holiday, but a festival that celebrates the wine harvest, usually held in October in wine-making regions. Cities cooperate so it is held on different weekends in different places and you can visit several. This includes open air markets selling street food, drinks especially young wine, and various handicrafts.
All Saints Day
1 November - This is a day to remember those that have passed away. Halloween is not celebrated in Slovakia, and this is quite a serious religious holiday. All shops are closed and many people will go to the cemeteries to light a candle for their loved ones.
Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day
17 November - Commemorates student demonstration that brought about the end of Communism.
St Nicolaus' Day
6 December - This is not a national holiday, but is seen as a start of the Christmas period. Traditionally, St Nicholaus leaves some sweets if the child was good or coal/onion if the child misbehaved that year in their shoe overnight surprisingly enough, most children get sweets, not onion. Celebrations are held in towns, where someone dressed as St nicolaus think Santa Claus and his helpers angels/devils help him distribute sweets among crowds of eager kids. Christmas markets open and Christmas lights are turned on.
Feast of St Lucy
13 December - Not a national holiday, but many traditions are connected with this day, varying by the region. For example, you can take 13 pieces of paper, leave one blank and write names of 12 boys on the others if you are a girl. One is burned every day until Christmas Eve, what remains is a name of your future husband blank = single forever.
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day 24-26 of December are national holidays. In Slovakia, Christmas is mainly celebrate during Christmas Eve, when a traditional family dinner is held, after which presents are opened. As Christmas Eve is meant to be a fast in Christian Calendar, no meat is eaten that day. The tradition dinner starts with a thin wafer, eaten with garlic for health and honey for happiness and properity. This is followed by a soup either mushroom or cabbage soup, and a main of fried carp and special potato salad. Many varieties of Christmas cakes e.g gingerbread are also eaten. Traditions differ, however.
31 December - New Year's Eve is not a national holiday, but is widely celebrated, mostly by partying. At midnight, people toast the New Year with a glass of champagne. Many cities will have a firework display to celebrate New Year. Fireworks and drunk people abound.