Slovakia, officially known as the Slovak Republic, is a sovereign state in Central Europe covering 49,000 square kilometers, with a population of around five and a half million, according to 2013 figures. Once part of a larger state, Czechoslovakia, it has been independent since the end of Communist rule in 1993. It has a varying geography, with cities, rural areas, and mountain regions, and is landlocked by Austria, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.
The 2011 census reported that 80% of the residents identified as Slovaks, with Hungarians coming in second at 8.5% as the largest ethnic minority in the country. It also has small numbers of Roma and Czechs, at 2% and 0.6% respectively, and “other nationalities” at around 7%, including expatriates and other foreigners.
The official language is Slovak, although many of the younger generations now also speak English. Hungarian is also spoken in the southern regions due to the large Hungarian population there. In addition, the Slovak language is very similar to Czech, causing many Slovaks to move to the Czech Republic and vice versa.
For many an expatriate, moving to Slovakia might also entail adjusting to a new climate. Those relocating to the country will be pleased to hear that, as it is situated in between the temperate and continental climate zones, Slovakia has warm, comfortable summers and cloudy, humid winters.
The south of the country, specifically in and around the capital Bratislava, experiences the warmest weather in the summer, whilst northern Slovakia has a milder summer. The northern regions have harsher winters, too, and can expect snow all through the winter, especially in the mountainous areas where it can last until March or April.
Moving to Slovakia is made easier by the vast number of airports throughout the country. The main international airport is based just outside Bratislava, the capital city, and serves domestic and international flights, as well as military and governmental planes.
Two smaller airports are based at Košice and Poprad, which also cater for international travelers. All of the airports have established travel links by rail and road to make your onward journey as easy as possible. If you are having your belongings shipped to Slovakia, you can do so using the international port in Bratislava, which connects the country to the rest of Europe via the Danube river.