Geography in Slovenia
Slovenia is located in Central Europe on the south-eastern edge of the Alps and in the transition area between the Alps and the Dinarides in the north of the Balkan Peninsula. In the north the country borders on Austria, in the east on Hungary, in the southeast and south on Croatia and in the west on Italy and the Adriatic Sea. Since the break-up of Yugoslavia, there has been a dispute with Croatia about the exact course of the border in the bay of Piran.
Despite its small size of only approx. 21,000 km², Slovenia has very different landscape forms.
In the north-west run the high mountain ranges of the Karawanken, Steiner and Julian Alps, where the country reaches its highest elevation in the summit of Triglav at 2864 meters above sea level.
The north-east of the country is characterized by low mountain ranges and hilly areas of the Bachergebirge, the Matzelgebirge and the Windischen Bühel, which merge northeast of the Mur into the plains and heights of the Übermur area. The so-called Murinsel, which is surrounded by the Drava and Mur and is 4000 km² kilometers in size, is already largely on Croatian territory. Both flat landscapes merge into the Pannonian Plain on the other side of the Hungarian border. The center of the country and the south (part of the Istrian peninsula) are dominated by extensive karst areas, which are typical of the Balkan coast.
In the extreme southwest of Slovenia lies the approximately 47 kilometers long Adriatic coast, where the country has its lowest point.
The most important rivers in Slovenia are the Soča, the Save, the Drava and the Mur, through which the country mainly discharges its precipitation into the Danube and over to the Black Sea. Only the Soča provides a small part of the drainage into the Adriatic.
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Flora and fauna in Slovenia
The different and rapidly changing topographical conditions in Slovenia create special habitats for around 3000 plant species, 60 of which are endemic. More than half of the national territory of Slovenia is covered with forest and around a third of the country is under nature protection. Beeches and holm oaks grow in the country’s karst regions, as do chestnuts. On the Adriatic coast there are cypresses, holm oaks, pines, pines, oleanders and even palm trees near the beach.
The Triglav gentian, the Triglav rose or the Julian poppy, which are unique in Slovenia, can be seen on the mountain meadows that bloom between spring and summer. In addition, dolomite carnations and the so-called single-headed piglet, gentian and edelweiss as well as peony bushes and gladioli can be found on the mountain meadows. Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, fennel and sage grow near the Adriatic Sea. Vines and olive trees are also found here.
Of the typical ungulates of the Alps, the already exterminated ibex, mouflon and chamois are back at home in Slovenia. Beech martens, marmots and mountain hares are less common. The same applies to the 600 to 700 Slovenian brown bears, wolves and wild cats. Alpine salamanders, geckos, lizards, blindworms and the European pond turtle as well as scorpions are also found in Slovenia. A very special animal in Slovenia is the cave olm, which only occurs in the Dinaric Mountains. Storks, gray herons, black grouse and capercaillie are particularly common in eastern Slovenia. Also turning Golden eagles circle in the mountain regions and the griffon vulture is very typical for Slovenia. In addition, many migratory birds breed or rest in Slovenia.
National parks and nature conservation in Slovenia
Slovenia, which is one of the EU countries with the greatest biodiversity, is making great efforts to preserve the diverse and sometimes endemic fauna, flora and habitat diversity. The Ministry of the Environment expressly emphasizes the great value of intact nature for tourism, which is why the tourist offer in Slovenia is geared towards people who are looking for peace and quiet, want to enjoy the landscape and are interested in the flora and fauna.
The Triglav National Park in the Julchen Alps is the only national park in Slovenia and, with an area of approx. 840 km², covers 4.1% of the country’s area. It is also recognized as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. In addition, there are 3 regional parks, 52 nature reserves, 44 protected landscape parks, 1217 natural monuments, 26 bird sanctuaries and 260 combined fauna-flora-habitat areas in Slovenia.