The Region of Žilina

Subregions of the Žilina Self-Governing Region:

Geographical location & Administrative division

The Žilina self-governing region is situated in the north-western part of Slovakia and is the third largest region in the Slovak Republic. It borders the Czech Republic in the west and Poland in the north. It also shares the borders with three other Slovak regions – Trenčín, Banská Bystrica and Prešov. It includes 5 subregions (Horné Považie, Kysuce, Liptov, Orava and Turiec) and 11 districts (Bytča, Čadca, Dolný Kubín, Kysucké Nové Mesto, Liptovský Mikuláš, Martin, Námestovo, Ružomberok, Turčianske Teplice, Tvrdošín and Žilina).

  • Total area: 6809 km2
  • Number of inhabitants: 690 434 (2016)
  • Population density (per km2): 101.4  
  • Seat of the ŽSR: Žilina
  • Unemployment rate: 6, 92 % (2016)
  • Average monthly salary: 918 Euro (2015)
  • Number of district towns: 11
  • Number of towns: 8
  • Number of villages: 296

Natural conditions

Surface of the Žilina region is mostly mountainous, with relatively high average altitude. The valleys along the rivers Váh, Orava, Kysuca and Turiec are located at an altitude of up to 300 meters above sea level and are surrounded by mountains and highlands: Western Tatras, Low Tatras, Veľká Fatra, Malá Fatra, Beskydy, Strážovské vrchy hills, Javorníky, Chočské vrchy mountains, Kysucká vrchovina highlands and many more. The highest peak is Mount Bystrá in the Western Tatras (2248 asl).

Four territories in the region were declared national parks - High and Low Tatras, Veľká Fatra and Malá Fatra. There are also four protected landscape areas, 62 national nature reserves, 39 natural monuments and 9 of protected natural monuments.


The Žilina Region is a territory with great investment potential. There is a solid base established for high-tech sectors such as software engineering, information and communication technology, electrical engineering, electronics. A development of service industry – financial services, R&D, tourism, logistics, trade and commercial services – has been accelerated in recent years as well. The region has a long tradition in mechanical engineering (railway equipment, bearings, special machinery and tools), which was followed by the automotive industry. The leader of the regional economic growth is the South Korean car producer KIA Motors that has realized the largest foreign investment in the region. Forestry plays an important role as woodlands cover 50 % of the region. Due to the rich wood resources, wood processing, pulp and papermaking industries are well-established in the region. The territory is abundant of mineral springs, several of them with healing effects, what significantly contributes to the development of spa and wellness services as well as beverage sector. Another fast-growing and promising field of economy is tourism.


The region borders Poland and the Czech Republic and shares 9 border crossings with the neighbours. Due to its strategic geographical position, important corridors of the international road network lead though the Žilina region, the most significant are: E 50 the Czech Republic – Žilina – Košice – Ukraine, E 75 Poland – Čadca – Žilina – Hungary and Austria, E 77 Poland – Trstená - Dolný Kubín –Šahy – Hungary, E 442 the Czech Republic – Makov – Bytča – connected with E 50 and E 75. Two motorways cross the Žilina region, some of their sections are currently under construction: D1 Bratislava - Košice and D3 Hričovské Podhradie - Žilina - Čadca - Poland. The Žilina City also plays an important role in the railway transport industry as it is a central rail junction with direct rail lines through Čadca and Zwardoń to Poland, and from the Czech Republic through Čadca and Žilina to Bratislava or Košice. An inter-modal transport terminal near Žilina was completed in 2015, and now the facility can serve transportation needs of the northwest Slovakia, the Ostrava industrial region in the Czech Republic, and the southern part of the Katowice province in Poland. An international airport situated in Dolný Hričov also operates in the region.


Nature and culture are the main treasures of the Žilina Region. More than a half of the region is occupied by natural territories of different protection level. The region also boasts 22 national cultural relics, 1096 immovable relics and 1386 movable relics, 1 town protected area, 3 protected areas of folk architecture (the village of Vlkolínec is listed in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage) and 19 protected zones. 
The surface predetermines the region to be an attractive destination for both winter and summer tourism. 25% of all marked hiking trails and cycling routes of Slovakia are situated in the Žilina region; therefore the territory is very popular with visitors. In winter, a rich variety of sport possibilities is enriched by numerous ski resorts, which offer not only cross country skiing trails and ski tracks of high quality, but also the most modern ski lifts and cable cars within Slovakia. Tourists can enjoy services of more than 400 hotels and restaurants and many tourist information centres. Those who like to spend the holiday relaxing or simply prefer water sports can visit numerous open-air thermal pools, indoor swimming pools, lakes or dams. 
Excellent natural conditions, services of high quality, plenty of ski resorts, water parks, spas and cultural peculiarities annually attract more than 800 000 tourists what is more than the population of the region. Žilina region is the second most visited region in Slovakia and has occupied the first position in Slovakia by the number of overnight stays in recent years.


Culture & Education

The National Chamber Orchestra plays an important role in the regional culture as well as 3 theaters, 5 national libraries, many museums and municipal libraries. Visitors can also find 2 observatories in the region. There is a developed network of secondary schools with 4 universities: The University of Žilina, The Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin, The Armed Forces Academy of General Milan Rastislav Štefánik in Liptovský Mikuláš and Catholic University in Ružomberok.

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