NEW! Slovakia

A bird-filled short break in a quiet corner of Europe

2022 Dates
  • 21 Apr - 24 Apr 2022
Duration4 Days
2022 Price
£1395 pp
£85 single supplement. Deposit £300

pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are inc.

2023 Dates
  • 20 Apr - 23 Apr 2023
Duration4 Days
2023 Price
Price TBC
2024 Dates
  • 25 Apr - 28 Apr 2024
Duration4 Days
2024 Price
Price TBC
2025 Dates
  • 24 Apr - 27 Apr 2025
Duration4 Days
2025 Price
Price TBC
Max Group Size12

This new and original short break is aimed to take in the resident, arriving and passage birds of a superb but under-watched corner of Europe. We are based in south-west Slovakia, a region with remarkably diverse landscapes and habitats, and travel via Vienna, one of Europe’s most desireable capital cities, a place steeped in history.

During two full days we hope to see a wide range of central European birds, in a variety of habitats including forests, woodlands, parkland, wetlands, farmlands, orchards and old vineyards. Raptors include Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Marsh Harrier, Hobby and White-tailed Eagle. There is an impressive list of woodpeckers, and we’ll visit sites for Wryneck, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted, Syrian, White-backed, Green, Grey-headed and Europe’s biggest, Black Woodpecker. A good range of wetland dwelling warblers should be in song, including Grasshopper, Sedge, Savi‘s, Reed, Great Reed and Marsh.

Other birds of note might include Red-necked Grebe, White Stork, Black Stork, Red-crested Pochard, Pygmy Cormorant, Night Heron, Caspian, Yellow-legged, Little, and Mediterranean Gull, Black, White-winged Black and Whiskered Tern, Green and Wood Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Tawny and Long-eared Owls, Turtle Dove, Golden Oriole, Short-toed Treecreeper, Common Nightingale, Bearded and Penduline Tit, Crested Lark, Red-backed Shrike, Hoopoe, Black Redstart, Tree Sparrow, Serin, Stonechat, Whinchat, Collared and Spotted Flycatcher, Hawfinch, Corn Bunting, White Wagtail, the nominate blue-headed race of Yellow Wagtail and many other birds. Although not common, there is also a chance of Great Bustard here.

After this short but bird-filled break, there are many cultural attractions for those who wish to extend their stay, and we will be happy to help you extend your holiday under our ATOL Licence.

Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details from our office! Read more about our Pre-flight Service here!

Day 1: Thurs 21st April 2022 Arrive Vienna and transfer to Slovakia
After relaxing in our complimentary VIP Airport Lounge, we fly to Vienna, Austria. We meet our local guide and driver, and transfer by road to Slovakia. Before checking into our hotel, about an hour away, we’ll make birding stops in one or two woodlands on the way. The exact choices of location will depend upon the latest local birding news: indeed, throughout our stay the expert knowledge of our guide will benefit us greatly. On this our first day we may well see the likes of White Stork, Black Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Sparrow, White Wagtail, Serin, Hawfinch and no doubt a woodpecker or two from the nine species present.

Days 2 & 3: Fri 22nd & Sat 23rd April -Bratislava and Cunovo
We have two full days to explore some superb and diverse habitats - forests, woodlands, parkland, wetlands, farmlands, orchards and old vineyards. We will visit the best birding sites, taking short drives and walks. The going is generally easy. Just to the south of Bratislava is Čunovo, a wooded floodplain by the River Danube with an oxbow lake and reedbeds.

A good range of wetland dwelling warblers should be in song: Grasshopper, Sedge, Savi‘s, Reed, Great Reed and Marsh. Other birds in this excellent area are Golden Oriole, Kingfisher, Syrian Woodpecker, Wryneck, Short-toed Treecreeper, Common Nightingale, Bearded Tit and Penduline Tit. Cuckoo is still a common herald of spring here and should be calling. Raptors include Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hobby and White-tailed Eagle. A convenient birdwatching tower overlooks the Danube Reservoir from where we will look for Red-necked Grebe, Gadwall, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Pygmy Cormorant, Great White and Little Egrets and Night Heron. All three Marsh Terns, Black, White-winged Black and Whiskered Tern, and Caspian, Yellow-legged, Common, Little, Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls, are possible: some of these breed locally and others move through on passage following the course of the Danube. We will also look for waders such as Green and Wood Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank and Common Snipe.

Lowland farmland near the Austrian border hosts Turtle Dove, Crested Lark, Red-backed Shrike, Hoopoe, Stonechat, Whinchat, Corn Bunting and the nominate blue-headed race of Yellow Wagtails. Although not common, there is also a chance of Great Bustard here. The mixed forests, mainly oak and beech, of the Malé Karpaty, the ‘Little Carpathian Mountains’, begin just to the north of the city. They are home to Marsh Tit, Common Treecreeper, Collared Flycatcher, Hawfinch, Goshawk, Stock Dove, Black Stork, Tawny and Long-eared Owls, and many other birds. There is an impressive list of woodpeckers here, too, and we’ll visit sites for Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted, White-backed, Green, Grey-headed and Europe’s biggest, Black Woodpecker.

Day 4: Sun 24th April - Depart                              
After breakfast, if flight times permit, we will do some local birding. Later, we return to Vienna Airport to catch our return flights. There is much to see culturally for those who wish to extend their stay: should you wish to extend your holiday under our ATOL Licence with a city break in Vienna, please contact our office.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • scheduled return flights between London Gatwick and Vienna, airport taxes.
  • ground transportation between birdwatching sites and also to and from Vienna airport by minibus or by small coach, depending on group size.
  • three nights comfortable accommodation with all meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
  • the services of your leaders.
  • entrance fees to parks and reserves, and tips to hotels and restaurants.
  • The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included free of charge subject to terms and conditions. Read more...

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • travel to and from departure airport before and after holiday
  • incidental tips, expenses of a personal nature including drinks and personal insurance.

More holiday information:

Accommodation is in a comfortable hotel or guest house with all rooms en suite.
Food is included from breakfast through until dinner. Picnic lunches will be provided by your guide, and will include a variety of local produce.
Walking is generally light/moderate. There may be some track and road walking, occasionally over rough terrain, though generally an average level of fitness is required.
Weather Typically, temperatures in April will be around a pleasant 17°C with only a little rain expected.  
Insects We may experience biting insects.
Group size is restricted to 12 clients maximum.
Flights Departure from London Gatwick.
If you wish to add an extension either before or after your holiday, please contact us and we will be happy to arrange this for you. 

Your Leader:

Gerard Gorman
Born in the UK, Gerard has lived in Budapest for many years. A very experienced birding and wildlife guide, he has led over 500 group tours around the world, and speaks several languages. His main interest is woodpeckers, and he is author of a guide to all the world's species.


Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday in Europe?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

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About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: 01479 821248