Spot Butterflies In The Carpathian Mountains

Posted on: 29 May 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The High Tatras and White Carpathians at the western end of the great Carpathian Mountain chain, form the mountainous heart of Slovakia and cross into the east.

This beautiful region covered in forested hillsides and flower-filled meadows, punctured by jagged rocky peaks and carved by deep gorges, offers a wide range of habitats for an exceptional variety of butterflies and other wildlife.

From Brno, in the Czech Republic, drive north-east into Slovakia and the High Tatras Mountains. Based in the village of Zdiar and spend  two nights exploring the peaceful alpine meadows and conifer forests, backed by towering, jagged granite and limestone peaks of the High Tatras range. Here, butterfly species include Shepherd’s Fritillary, Dewy, Blind and Mountain Ringlets and Mountain Green-veined White.

tatras-mountainsExplore the valley meadows where an abundance of butterflies include an exciting variety of fritillaries such as False Heath, Pearlbordered and Cranberry Fritillaries. Travel west to the White Carpathians, famed for its patchwork of large, flower-filled meadows which are dotted with solitary limes and extensive mixed forests.

Then, spend 5-nights in a small, family-run hotel on the edge of the quiet village of Lopnik in the Czech Republic. As well as providing home-cooked meals, the hosts will introduce you to the local plum brandy called Sliwowitz.  Here, Butterfly species include Camberwell Beauty, Scarce Swallowtail, Blue-spot Hairstreak, and Scarce and Dusky Large Blue. Flowers are also abundant and large patches of Yellow Flax and Pyramidal Orchids of an unusual deep purple variety are dazzling. 

Large Copper ButterflyLocal bird life on offer includes River Warbler, Hawfinch, Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike and both Grey-headed and Syrian Woodpecker. The nearby Vah River Valley is home to Assmann's Fritillary amongst many others whilst, to the east, the low dolomite hills provide habitat for Eastern Pale Clouded Yellow, Turquoise and Eastern Baton Blue.

Next, explore the sand dunes and pine woodlands of Zahorie, to the abundant Rock Grayling, plus Ilex Hairstreak, Lesser Clouded Yellow and both Dusky and Oriental Meadow Brown, two tricky species that test identification skills to the limit.  Other wildlife highlights include bird species such as Golden Eagle, Water Pipit and Common Rosefinch, and mammals including Chamois and Marmot.

The tour costs £995 p/p including flights, transfers, comfortable hotel accommodation with private facilities, all meals and expert lepidopterist guiding.  Naturetrek’s 8-day Butterflies of the Tatras & White Carpathians tour, departs London on July 12th 2008.  For further information telephone 01962 733051, email or visit

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