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Slovakia travel guide - Travel S helper


travel guide

Slovakia, formally known as the Slovak Republic (Slovak: Slovensko or Slovenská republika; both names are legally accepted) is a landlocked nation in Central Europe. It is bounded on the west by Austria, on the northwest by the Czech Republic, on the south by Hungary, on the north by Poland, and on the east by Ukraine. Slovakia is a contemporary democratic nation and a European Union member.

The primary reasons to visit Slovakia are its natural beauty, vibrant history, and plenty of recreational activities (and due to the small size of the country, it is quite easy to combine all three).

Slovakia contains nine national parks that span a significant section of the country and include the highest peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, the High Tatras, which provide excellent possibilities for mountain and winter sports as well as spectacular views. A significant portion of Slovakia is composed of limestone, which, when combined with numerous springs and rivers, resulted in the formation of numerous caves (12 of which are open to the public, several of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites), as well as the stunning rocky formations, canyons, and waterfalls of the Slovak Paradise and Slovak Karst. Even outside of these regions, Slovakia has some stunning scenery, and the whole country is covered by hundreds of well-marked hiking paths.

Slovakia boasts the greatest concentration of castles and chateaux per population in the world, ranging from basic ruins to well-preserved livable castles with furnishings, so if you’re a fan of medieval history, look no further. Additionally, Slovakia, including the capital, has many Gothic and Baroque cities and villages. Additionally, there are well-preserved specimens of wooden folk architecture, including churches constructed entirely of wood and the world’s largest wooden altar.

There are many mineral and thermal springs in Slovakia, and around some of these world-famous spas, which provide excellent therapeutic treatments or just relaxation, have been constructed spas. You may also relax, swim, and sunbathe on the beaches of many nearby lakes and pools, or go to AquaCity waterpark for a more adventurous experience. Bratislava, in particular, has a vibrant nightlife and is a favorite party destination.

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Slovakia - Info Card




Euro (€) (EUR)

Time zone



49,035 km2 (18,933 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language


Slovakia | Introduction

Tourism in Slovakia

Natural landscapes, mountains, caverns, medieval castles and villages, folk architecture, spas, and ski resorts may all be found in Slovakia. In 2015, over 4.3 million visitors visited Slovakia, with the city of Bratislava and the High Tatras being the most popular locations. The Czech Republic (approximately 26 percent), Poland (15 percent), and Germany are the countries with the most tourists (11 percent ).

Dolls dressed in folk costumes, ceramic objects, crystal glass, carved wooden figures, rpáks (wooden pitchers), fujaras (a folk instrument on the UNESCO list), and valakas (a decorated folk hatchet) are typical Slovakian souvenirs, as are products made from corn husks and wire, particularly human figures.

Souvenirs may be purchased from the state organization UV (stredie udovej umeleckej vroby– Centre of Folk Art Production). Dielo is a store chain that offers the products of Slovak artists and craftspeople. These stores are mainly located in cities and towns.

Costs for imported goods are largely the same as in neighboring nations, but prices for local goods and services, particularly food, are often cheaper.

Geography Of Slovakia

Slovakia is located between the latitudes of 47° and 50° N, and the longitudes of 16° and 23° E.

The Carpathian Mountains span the majority of the country’s northern half, and the Slovak landscape is known for its rugged character. The high peaks of the Fatra-Tatra Area (containing the Tatra Mountains, Greater Fatra, and Lesser Fatra), Slovak Ore Mountains, Slovak Central Mountains, and Beskids are among these mountain ranges. The rich Danubian Lowland in the southwest is the biggest, followed by the Eastern Slovak Lowland in the southeast.

Tatra mountains

The Tatras are the tallest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains, with 29 peaks rising over 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) AMSL. The Tatras cover an area of 750 square kilometers (290 square miles), the most of which is in Slovakia (600 square kilometers (232 square miles). They are split into sections.

The High Tatras, close to the Polish border, are a popular hiking and skiing destination with numerous beautiful lakes and valleys, as well as Slovakia’s highest point, the Gerlachovsk tt at 2,655 metres (8,711 ft) and the country’s very iconic peak Krivá. To the west are the Western Tatras, which have the highest peak, Bystrá, at 2,248 meters (7,375 feet), and to the east are the Belianske Tatras, which have the smallest area.

The Low Tatras are separated from the Tatras proper by the valley of the Váh river, with their highest peak, Umbrier, standing at 2,043 meters (6,703 ft).

The Tatra mountain range is shown as one of three hills on Slovakia’s coat of arms.

National parks

Slovakia has nine national parks:

Name Established Area
Tatra National Park 1949 738 square kilometres (73,800 ha)
Low Tatras National Park 1978 728 square kilometres (72,800 ha)
Veľká Fatra National Park 2002 404 square kilometres (40,400 ha)
Slovak Karst National Park 2002 346 square kilometres (34,600 ha)
Poloniny National Park 1997 298 square kilometres (29,800 ha)
Malá Fatra National Park 1988 226 square kilometres (22,600 ha)
Muránska planina National Park 1998 203 square kilometres (20,300 ha)
Slovak Paradise National Park 1988 197 square kilometres (19,700 ha)
Pieniny National Park 1967 38 square kilometres (3,800 ha)


Under its mountains, Slovakia contains hundreds of caves and caverns, 15 of which are accessible to the public. Stalagmites rise from the ground and stalactites dangle from the ceiling in the majority of the caves. There are presently five Slovak caverns that have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Dobinská Ice Cave, Domica, Gombasek Cave, Jasovská Cave, and Ochtinská Aragonite Cave are among them. Other public caverns are Belianska Cave, Demänovská Cave of Liberty, Demänovská Ice Cave, and Bystrianska Cave.


The majority of the rivers originate in the Slovak highlands. Some merely go through, but others form a natural boundary with neighboring nations (greater than 620 kilometers (385 miles). The Dunajec, for example, is 17 kilometers (11 miles) to the north, the Danube is 172 kilometers (107 miles) to the south, and the Morava is 119 kilometers (74 miles) to the west. The total length of rivers in Slovakia is 49,774 kilometers (30,928 mi).

The longest river in Slovakia is the Váh (403 km (250 mi)), while the shortest is the ierna voda. The Myjava, the Nitra (197 kilometers (122 mi)), the Orava, the Hron (298 kilometers (185 mi)), the Hornád (193 kilometers (120 mi)), the Slaná (110 kilometers (68 mi)), the Ipe (232 kilometers (144 mi), forming the border with Hungary), the Bodrog, the Laborec, the Latorica, and the Ondava are other important and large rivers.

The greatest amount of flow in Slovak rivers occurs in the spring, when the snow on the mountains melts. The sole exception is the Danube, which has the highest discharge during the summer when the snow melts in the Alps. The Danube is Slovakia’s biggest river, flowing across the country.


In the High Tatras, there are about 175 naturally created tarns. Veké Hincovo pleso is Slovakia’s biggest and deepest tarn, covering 20 hectares (49 acres) and reaching a depth of 53 metres (174 feet). Trbské pleso, Popradské pleso, Skalnaté pleso, Zbojncke pleso, Velické pleso, abie pleso, Krivánske zelené pleso, and Roháske plesá are some more tarns in the High Tatras. Aside from the High Tatras, there are Vrbické pleso in the Low Tatras, Morské oko and Vinné jazero in the Vihorlat Mountains, and Jezerské jazero in Spiská Magura.

Liptovská Mara and Sava are the two biggest dams on the Váh River. Oravská priehrada in the north, Zemplnska rava and Domaa in the east, and Senecké jazerá, Zlaté piesky, or Zelená voda in the west are other well-known dams.

Climate In Slovakia

Slovakia has a moderate climate with hot, bright summers and cold, foggy, humid, snowy winters. The climate is continental, with four seasons, and although the general climate is moderate, the temperature difference between summer and winter months is significant.

It is typically warmer in the south and lowlands, where summer temperatures may reach 30°C (86°F) on hotter days and rain is more frequent in winter than snow, which normally evaporates in a few days.

Northern, particularly mountainous areas, have a cooler climate, with summer temperatures seldom reaching 25°C (77°F). Snow is frequent in the highlands throughout the winter, and it may become very cold, with temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F).

If you intend to visit the mountains, keep in mind that, as in any mountainous area, the weather may change drastically in a matter of minutes, and it can rain (or snow!) even in the summer. Don’t forget to bring proper equipment and don’t underestimate the weather.

Demographics Of Slovakia

According to the 2011 census, the majority of Slovakia’s population are Slovaks (80.7 percent ). Hungarians are the most numerous ethnic minority (8.5 percent ). Other ethnic groupings include Roma (2%), Czechs (0.6%), Rusyns (0.6%), and others or unidentified (7.6 percent ). Unofficial estimates place the Roma population at approximately 5.6 percent.

Slovakia was projected to have a total fertility rate of 1.33 in 2007 (i.e., the typical woman would have 1.33 children in her lifetime), which is considerably lower than the replacement level and one of the lowest rates in the EU.

The greatest waves of Slovak emigration occurred in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. 1.8 million individuals self-identified as having Slovak ancestry in the 1990 US census.


The Slovak constitution protects religious freedom. In 2011, 62.0 percent of Slovaks identified as Roman Catholics, 8.9 percent as Protestants, 3.8 percent as Greek Catholics, 0.9 percent as Orthodox, 13.4 percent as atheists, and 10.6 percent did not respond to the question regarding their religious beliefs. In 2004, about one-third of church members regularly attended church services. The Slovak Greek Catholic Church is a Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite sui iuris. The country’s pre–World War II population includes an estimated 90,000 Jews (1.6 percent of the population). Only approximately 2,300 Jews survive today as a result of the Nazi era’s murderous tactics (0.04 percent of the population).

In 2016, the Slovak parliament approved a new law that would prevent Islam from becoming a state-recognized religion by increasing the minimum number of adherents from 25,000 to 50,000. The bill was approved by parliament with a two-thirds majority.

Language In Slovakia

Slovak is the official and most commonly spoken language. Slovaks are extremely proud of their language, therefore you won’t find many signs in English even downtown Bratislava (outside of the main tourist areas). Dialects are used in certain areas of the nation, particularly in the east, and may sound very different from the official language. Understanding the official language, on the other hand, should seldom be an issue, and efforts to speak Slovak would be much welcomed!

Slovak is written with the same Roman letters as English (with a few accents or diacritics added), thus Western visitors will have no difficulty understanding signage and maps. While certain words are difficult to say, knowing the alphabet, especially letters with diacritics, can help you a lot since Slovaks pronounce every letter of a word with the emphasis always on the first syllable (it may be on second syllable in some dialects in east).

Czech and Slovak are mutually incomprehensible yet different languages. At first glance, they seem to be dialects of each other; elderly individuals in both nations tend to comprehend the other language better than younger people born after Czechoslovakia’s dissolution.

Slovakia has a large Hungarian-speaking minority of 9.7 percent due to centuries of Hungarian influence on its region. The majority of Hungarians reside in the country’s southern areas, and some do not speak Slovak. Other Slovaks, on the other hand, do not speak or comprehend Hungarian.

While English and German are commonly spoken in Bratislava, they are not as frequently spoken in smaller towns and villages, however many younger people can speak English. Older inhabitants, as well as employees in tourist areas, may know some German and Russian. People born between 1935 and 1980 will have studied Russian in school, but few Slovaks will enjoy being talked to in Russian owing to the Communist era’s negative connotations, and English has mostly replaced Russian as the most frequently taught foreign language these days. Because of the considerable tourist development in Slovakia’s north and east, English is becoming more frequently spoken, and you may also try Polish. Other Slavic languages, particularly Russian, Serbian, Croatian, and Slovene, may also be appropriate. A Ukrainian dialect similar to Polish is spoken in the east of Rusyn. To some degree, it is also understandable in Russian.

Internet & Communications in Slovakia

Slovakia’s international dialing code is +421.

In an emergency, dial 112 from anywhere in the world. You may also dial 150 for the fire department, 155 for a medical emergency, or 158 for the police.

Slovak phones use the GSM standard, which covers the most of the nation, while 3G covers the majority of the region. The coverage is surprisingly excellent, and unless you are in a deep valley, you will frequently have service even in the mountains. Orange, T-mobile, and O2 are the three major carriers, and they all utilize the 900 or 1800Mhz standard, which may not be compatible with certain US phones that use the 1900Mhz standard.

They all (along with certain virtual operators, the largest of which are Funfón and Tesco Mobile) provide a range of prepaid cards with different “pay as you go” plans (market research is recommended if you want the best price) and incentives. If you have an unlocked phone, these are simple to get at any phone store, or you can buy a cheap phone that comes with a prepaid card.

There are still some phone boxes accessible, but with mobile phones becoming more popular, their numbers are dwindling. It’s also worth noting that some of them may need the purchase of a prepaid card in order to be used.

Wifi and broadband are accessible almost everywhere, and even in tiny towns, there will be an internet cafe/gaming room. Hostels, bars, cafés, and certain public organizations, such as libraries or government buildings, also provide (free) wifi.

Economy Of Slovakia

The Slovak economy is developed and high-income, with GDP per capita equaling 76 percent of the European Union average in 2014. Prior to the current global economic crisis, the nation was known as the “Tatra Tiger.” Slovakia transitioned effectively from a centrally planned to a market-driven economy. Major privatisations are almost complete, the banking system is almost entirely private, and foreign investment has increased.

Prior to the 2007–08 financial crisis, Slovakia had enjoyed rapid and sustained economic development. Slovakia was the fastest growing economy in the European Union in 2007, 2008, and 2010 (with GDP growth rates of 10.5 percent, 6 percent, and 4 percent, respectively). Slovakia was the second fastest growing Eurozone member after Estonia in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, more than 75% of Slovak exports went to other European Union member countries, while more than 50% of Slovak imports came from them.

Slovakia’s government debt-to-GDP ratio has reached 58 percent at the end of 2013.

According to the Slovak Statistical Office, unemployment fell from 19 percent at the end of 1999 to 7.5 percent in October 2008. Aside from economic development, labor migration to other EU nations also contributed to this decrease. According to Eurostat, which employs a different calculating technique than the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, the unemployment rate in September 2016 was 9.4 percent, ranking sixth in the Eurozone.

Inflation fell from a 12-percentage-point average annual rate in 2000 to 3.3 percent in 2002, an election year, but it increased again in 2003–2004 due to increasing labor expenses and taxes. It was just 1% in 2010, the lowest reported incidence since 1993. In 2011, the rate was at 4%.

As the Eurozone’s sixteenth member, Slovakia adopted the Euro currency on January 1, 2009. On May 7, 2008, the European Commission authorized the use of the euro in Slovakia. On May 28, 2008, the Slovak koruna was revalued to 30.126 for one euro, which was also the euro’s exchange rate.

Slovakia is appealing to international investors because to its cheap salaries, low tax rates, and well-educated labor population. Slovakia has pursued a strategy of attracting international investment in recent years. FDI inflows increased by more than 600 percent since 2000, reaching an all-time high of $17.3 billion in 2006, or approximately $22,000 per capita by the end of 2008.

Slovakia, like other post-communist nations, has significant difficulties in the knowledge economy. Business and government R&D spending are much lower than the EU average. The OECD-coordinated Programme for International Student Assessment presently ranks Slovak secondary education 30th in the world (placing it just below the United States and just above Spain).

Slovakia’s economy has now matured sufficiently, according to the Ministry of Finance, to no longer need World Bank assistance. Slovakia began providing assistance towards the end of 2008.

Entry Requirements For Slovakia

Visa & Passport for Slovakia

Slovakia is a signatory to the Schengen Treaty.

Border restrictions are usually not required between nations that have signed and implemented the pact. This covers the majority of the European Union as well as a few additional nations.

Before boarding foreign planes or boats, passengers’ identities are typically checked. Temporary border restrictions are sometimes used at land boundaries.

A visa issued to any Schengen member is also valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.

Recognized refugees with a valid travel document issued by the government of any of the following countries/territories are free from getting a visa for Slovakia (but not for any other Schengen nation save Germany and Hungary) for a maximum stay of 90 days in a 180-day period.

Slovakia just recently joined the Schengen region, therefore local cross-border transit services may be restricted in certain locations, but this is changing and crossing is quite simple in some places. You should carry ID with you normally, but to minimize trouble, maintain an ID with you in border areas.

If you need a visa, always apply at an embassy ahead of time. You have no possibility of getting a visa at a Slovak border, regardless of how you arrive or your nationality.

How To Travel To Slovakia

Get In - By plane

The city of Bratislava has its own airport.

Ryanair provides low-cost flights to Bratislava from a number of European cities, including London, “Milan”–Bergamo, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Dublin, Rome (Ciampino), “Paris” (Beauvais), “Brussels” (Charleroi), and others. These flights may be very inexpensive, so if you are coming from outside Europe, you may be able to save money by flying to a larger airport and then connecting to Bratislava. Because they do not usually operate on a regular basis and occasionally utilize remote/unusual airports, you may be better suited flying into Vienna.

Norwegian Airlines has flights from Copenhagen and Oslo, while UTAir and Sun d’or Airlines have flights to Moscow and Tel Aviv, respectively.

Vienna Airport (IATA: VIE) is a 35-kilometer (22-mile) drive from Bratislava. It is a more convenient method for large airlines to arrive in Slovakia, although it may be more costly. It also has a considerably higher number of long-distance flights. Buses depart Vienna Airport every hour for Bratislava, taking you directly to the city’s major bus terminal. You may also take the airport shuttle or a cab, which will cost about €70.

Other possibilities include Prague (IATA: PRG) and Budapest (both approximately 4 hours distant by public transportation). There are also direct flights between Prague and Bratislava and Prague and Kosice, with the latter, in combination with flights to Prague, offering the most convenient air access to the country’s eastern region.

The only other international airports in Slovakia are Poprad – Tatry Airport and Koice International Airport.

If you wish to see the Tatra Mountains, you may alternatively travel to Kraków. Buses operate from Kraków to numerous Slovak settlements in the Tatra and Orava mountains.

Get In - By train

From the Czech Republic

Trains run frequently between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which are both former Czechoslovakia. Every two hours, EC trains run from Prague to Bratislava and ilina. From Prague, there is one train each day to Banská Bystrica, Zvolen, Poprad, and Koice. From Prague, all of these cities offer a direct overnight sleeper train link.

Ticket prices are low. SporoTiket Evropa may be purchased at least three days in advance via the Czech Railways e-shop. The pricing starts at €15 for a seat and €26 for a couchette. Please keep in mind that such an e-ticket is only valid on the stated train!

If you want more flexibility or are unable to purchase in advance through the Internet, you may receive a substantial discount at a train station by purchasing a return ticket called CityStar. This international return ticket is valid for one month and may be used on any train (and cannot be bought over the Internet at all).

From Germany

From Berlin to Bratislava, there are two-hourly daytime trains and one nighttime train. When purchased at least a day in advance, cheap tickets may be purchased on the national railway’s website (three days in advance for the overnight train). The pricing starts at €29. Unfortunately, Eurocities, particularly night lines, have been reduced by Deutsche Bahn in recent years, with little signs of reversal as of 2015.

From Austria

Regional express trains run every hour from Vienna to Bratislava. EURegio tickets are available for €16 and are good for four days.

From Poland

There is an overnight train from Warszawa to Bratislava that travels through Czech territory. The direct rail connection from Poland is extremely weak; a bus is usually a preferable option. There are just a few local trains that cross the border – one train from Zwardo (PL) to Skalité (SK). Since December 2010, there has been no international passenger traffic on the Nowy Scz–Preov line and the Lupków–Medzilaborce line (since Dec 2009).

If you truly want to go by rail from Poland, plan for a full-day journey with several train transfers. It is less expensive to purchase a Polish ticket just to the border point (Skalité Gr.) and then a Slovak internal ticket at the conductor (€1.30 surcharge).

From Hungary

Every two hours, EC trains operate from Budapest to Bratislava, while two IC trains run daily between Budapest and Miskolc to Koice. Unlike the journey from Poland, purchasing the Slovak portion at conductor would not be less expensive. Instead, there is a 60% bilateral return discount (i.e. a return ticket is cheaper that a one-way ticket).

From Ukraine and Russia

There is a direct sleeper train from Moscow, Kiev, and Lvov to Koice, Poprad, and Bratislava every day. Because of the condition of the rail network in western Ukraine, the lengthy customs procedure at the border, and the gauge difference between Ukraine (Russian wide gauge) and Slovakia, the trip is extremely long – two nights from Moscow and Kiev and one day and night from Lvov (standard gauge).

It is much less expensive to purchase a Ukrainian or Russian ticket just to the Ukrainian border station Chop, then a ticket from Chop to the first Slovak station ierna nad Tisou, and finally a Slovak internal ticket from the conductor (€1.30 surcharge). However, you do not have a berth reservation for the Slovak portion and must change to a seat car in Chop.

Another alternative is to purchase a CityStar ticket in Russia (or Slovakia, where the costs are lower), which is good for groups of up to 5 people. The CityStar ticket is sold as a one-month valid two-way ticket between the stations and includes a discount for each additional passenger on the ticket. Of course, you must also purchase a berth ticket.

Get In - By bus

There are frequent services from Vienna, Prague, and Budapest to Bratislava, as well as from Uzhhorod, Ukraine to the eastern Slovak town of Michalovce and from Kraków, Poland to Poprad through Zakopane, Poland.

Taking the bus from Prague to Bratislava is slower but less expensive than taking the train, especially if you purchase your ticket in advance, such as through Student Agency, Slovak Lines, or via the common bus reservation system AMSBus.

Buses from Poland and Ukraine are the most convenient alternative since they are quicker and more frequent than trains.

The journey from Budapest takes 4 hours, including a 5-minute break at Györ and a little restaurant along the way.

How To Travel Around Slovakia

Get Around - By train

If you don’t have a private car, the train is by far the finest way to travel throughout Slovakia. All major cities are served by frequent rapid trains, although there are fewer local trains, even on key lines. A bus is usually a superior option for local transportation. Trains are reasonably affordable, with costs comparable to buses and low by Western standards. They are dependable and hygienic.

If you prefer Western-style comfort, use an InterCity train; IC services connect Bratislava, ilina, the High Tatras, and Koice and need reservations. These may save you from crowds: regular trains can become packed, especially on Fridays and Sundays or during holidays. Avoid money frauds and keep an eye out for pickpockets at big train stations. In addition, robberies of sleeping passengers aboard nighttime longliners occur on a rare basis.

Domestic tickets with a 5% discount may be purchased online at SlovakRail. On the first day of validity, internet tickets in electronic or paper form for domestic trains are valid on the chosen train and date or on any subsequent train (even if you lost your seat reservation) on the same route (except all IC trains and Ex 1502 Chopok train). Tickets purchased at stations are good for any single trip on the stated route during a set time period (typically one or two days, depending on the distance), making them very flexible. International tickets may only be purchased at stations as of 2011.

Get Around - By bus

Bus connections are generally slower than trains, but they may bring you to places that trains cannot. Some private companies also provide discounts for travelers with a foreign ISIC card (state-run companies do not, unless you are a Slovak citizen). Tickets for long-distance routes of 100 kilometers or more (including to/from the Czech Republic or inside the Czech Republic) may be purchased through AMSBus following mandatory registration (English version is also available). Traveling by bus from Bratislava to Nitra is a rare example of a route where buses are considerably quicker and less expensive than railroads.

Buses are timely, therefore it is best to be at the bus station early; the time stated in the schedule is the time it departs from the station. Most tickets are purchased straight from the driver, so you will almost certainly need cash. Though the bus driver may give you change, particularly for shorter (less expensive) trips, it is best to have some lower amounts on hand. If you have a large bag, you can expect to pay a modest surcharge.

Turancar and Student Agency are two examples of private bus companies that are dependable, pleasant (due to the usage of modern buses with on-board entertainment LCD screens), on time, and provide student discounts to foreigners with ISIC.

Get Around - By car

The road network is broad and in excellent condition generally. The majority of major highways (particularly in the western sections) are two lanes and in excellent condition; however, the majority of smaller roads are one lane, and the maintenance quality may range from good to very rough. Fuel stops and restaurants (odpovadlo or erpacia stanica) are quite common along major routes and highways, and in smaller towns, you’ll most likely find small kiosks (stánok) or fruit or cheese stands (ovocn stánok for fruit, stánok so syrom for cheese) next to the road, presenting local delicacies at low prices.

Slovakia’s driving style is more aggressive and of poorer quality, particularly when compared to nations in Western Europe. Other vehicles speeding, which is very common, and overtaking on your side of the road, particularly in the more hilly parts of the nation, should be avoided.


Vehicles drive on the right side of the road, with speed restrictions of 50 kmh (31 mph) in villages/towns, 90 kmh (56 mph) outside built-up areas, and 130 kmh (81 mph) on highways. Trucks and vehicles towing caravans/trailers are restricted to 80 km/h (50 mph) outside built-up areas or on highways, while motorcyclists are restricted to 90 km/h (56 mph) on highways.

Seatbelts are required in automobiles and vans, and minors under the age of 11 or shorter than 150 cm must sit in the back seat.

Headlights must be turned on at all times when driving, regardless of weather conditions or whether it is day or night, therefore turn them on.

Snow and ice are frequent on the roadways throughout the winter, and winter tires are required. Minor alpine routes may need snow chains in severe weather.

Slovakia has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drinking. DO NOT DRIVE AFTER DRINKING. If for no other reason, the consequences are harsh.

Helmets are required for both the driver and the passenger on all motorcycles, and goggles are required for drivers of motorbikes with engines greater than 50cc.

Police officers are often seen on the roadways, particularly on main thoroughfares, in both marked and unmarked cars.

If you want to travel on the highways, keep in mind that cars must display a required sticker (vignette) covering road tolls in the top right corner of the windscreen (mandatory location as this is mostly checked by fixed electronic camera system). The vignette is available at most gas stations and is good for ten days (€10), a month (€14), or longer. Please keep in mind that the vignette is required on all highways from the point of entrance, and failure to have one will result in a fine. If you are hiring a vehicle, it is most usually included in the rental fee, but always verify or ask before renting/booking.

If you speak Slovak, many private radio stations provide excellent traffic coverage as part of their news, informing you of any roadblocks, vehicle accidents, traffic jams, and even police presence, so it is well worth tuning in. Stellacentrum is another website where you may get basic information on traffic and police patrols (they even inform, where the police patrols actually are).


Most locations provide free parking; however, parking fees may apply in the core sections of larger cities. The most prevalent form of paid parking in cities other than Bratislava is a closed area where you enter and get a slip from a machine. On your way out, you must return the slip and pay to a person. The individual most likely does not speak English, but if you seem perplexed enough, he or she will give you a handwritten note with the amount scribbled on it. Pay with precise change and avoid big amounts, since these establishments seldom have a lot of cash on hand. There are locations in downtown Bratislava where you must get a parking slip from a vending machine and pre-pay for your parking. The slip must then be put beneath the car’s wind shield and must be visible from the outside.


Renting a vehicle is a handy, efficient, and reasonably inexpensive (prices start at about 65€/day at car rental companies with free mileage) option to explore Slovakia, particularly if you plan to visit more rural regions where rail and bus services may be more irregular. Don’t anticipate GPS or a road map, and remember to check whether the highway vignette (see above) is included; it’s most probable, but not always. Inquire when reserving, and if it isn’t, they’ll most likely be able to incorporate it without any further fees.

Get Around - Hitchhiking

In Slovakia, the best way to hitchhike is to ask around at petrol stations. It used to be that the majority of people exclusively spoke Slovak (and maybe understood other Slavic languages), making it difficult for outsiders who did not know Slavic languages to communicate. However, today, the majority of young people speak English, and almost as many speak German.

Keep in mind that trains and buses in Slovakia are inexpensive for Westerners, and it may take some time for someone to pick you up (unless in very remote regions where people are less suspicious of hitchhikers). On specialist web sites, you may discover various deals if you go from Slovakia and into Slovakia. is Slovakia’s most popular hitchhikers page. There are free offerings available in English, German, French, Polish, Czech, and Hungarian.

Get Around - On foot

Hiking and mountain walking have a long history in Slovakia, and it is a very popular activity. Most individuals you meet have gone on a walk at least once in their lives, and many do so on a regular basis, so they can advise you on the most fascinating local trails. The trail system is also in excellent condition. The quality and effectiveness of the sign-posting system are unparalleled in the European (and perhaps global) environment.

Every route is well defined and signposted, with various paths denoted by a different color. The colors utilized are red, blue, green, and yellow. The longest and most extensive routes are generally designated red, and it is feasible to walk from the north-eastern Dukla Pass all the way to the west (Bradlo, near Bratislava) via the Slovak National Uprising Heroes trail (750 km). The paths, on the other hand, are many, appropriate for all levels of fitness, and many go through magnificent landscape. In towns, you’ll typically notice a signpost with arrows pointing in various directions, indicating the color of the route and the average walking durations to the closest set of locations. All you have to do is follow the color; there will be a mark every hundred meters or so that consists of a 10-cm-by-10-cm square three-section mark with white borders and the color of the selected route in the center.

It is also feasible (and strongly advised) to buy ‘tourism maps’ of smaller slovak areas. These are based on sets of old military maps, have a high resolution (1:50000), and can be bought for a low price of €1.50-2.50 at most kiosks, information centers, and bookshops. These are issued by the Slovak Tourist Club (KST), which maintains all of the trails, and indicate all of the designated trails in the region, as well as typical walking durations, making route planning extremely simple and efficient.

Destinations in Slovakia

Regions in Slovakia

  • Western Slovakia
    The capital, Bratislava, and its near environs are the center of tourism in this region. The southern region is a vast plain along the Danube River, and it is the most productive part of the nation. The north is made up of wide valleys formed by the rivers Vah and Nitra, divided by forested mountains crowned with castles such as Nitra, Trennor Bojnice.
  • Central Slovakia
    A area located in the center of the Carpathians. There are many winter sports areas here, including the largest in Jasná. There are also many national parks, such as the Low Tatras, Great Fatra, and Little Fatra. The major cities are Banská Bystrica and Žilina, although there are also many mining towns, including as UNESCO-listed Banská Štiavnica.
  • Eastern Slovakia
    The area of the High Tatras mountains, the summit of the Carpathians, and Slovak Paradise, a ravine hiking paradise. It contains the UNESCO-listed towns of Levoča and Bardejov, as well as the bulk of the country’s wooden churches. The major city include Košice, which is followed by Prešov.

Cities in Slovakia

  • Bratislava is Slovakia’s capital and biggest city, with a wonderfully preserved historical center filled with Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance churches, homes and palaces, cobblestone streets, fountains, nice cafés, and a vibrant and cosmopolitan environment.
  • Banská Bystrica — was one of the most significant mining towns in the Austro-Hungarian Empire; it has a magnificent renovated plaza, numerous churches, castles, and museums, as well as a monument to the Slovak National Uprising.
  • Košice — metropolis of the east, the country’s second largest city, with the world’s easternmost Gothic Cathedral, the oldest European coat of arms, a magnificent historical city center with the Cathedral Complex, many churches, palaces, and fascinating museums.
  • Nitra is the oldest town in Slovakia, with a magnificent castle and a variety of fairs.
  • Poprad is the gateway to the High Tatras.
  • Rajecké Teplice — a tranquil spa town bordered by the beautiful Mala Fatra National Park
  • Trenčín — one of the most attractive cities in Slovakia, with a castle perched above the city overlooking the historical center and the Váh river
  • Trnava — An ancient Slovak town with the most churches (12) and well-preserved baroque architecture.
  • Žilina — Fourth-largest city with a well-preserved medieval city center inspired by German architecture and a one-of-a-kind museum of tinker culture housed in the Budatn castle.

Other destinations in Slovakia

  • Slovak Paradise National Park — Slovenský Raj is characterized by deep ravines and gorges formed by water flowing in waterfalls through the limestone.
  • High Tatras — Vysoké Tatry is Slovakia’s largest national park and a popular destination for winter sports and trekking.
  • Vlkolínec — Hamlet on the UNESCO World Heritage List, maintaining the character of a typical Carpathian village
  • Slovak Karst National Park – Slovenský kras, famous for its cave systems, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Levoča — beautiful medieval jewel of the Spis area, encircled by town walls, with a one-of-a-kind Renaissance town hall, burger’s homes, many churches, and St. James Cathedral, which contains the world’s largest gothic wooden altar.
  • Bojnice — Slovakia’s most visited castle, virtually complete with wonderfully maintained interiors.
  • Piešťany — Slovakia’s most well-known spa town
  • Bardejov — is a spa town in north-eastern Slovakia with a fully preserved medieval town center that houses many cultural treasures and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Accommodation & Hotels in Slovakia

In Slovakia, there is a broad variety of lodging options. These vary from AquaCity, located in Poprad, to low-cost accommodations in rental chalets.

The most luxury hotels are mainly located in large cities like Bratislava and Koice, as well as popular tourist attractions like the High Tatras or spa towns (the situation here is unique as the price of the hotel usually includes some of the spa procedures). These hotels provide Western-style comfort at reasonable pricing.

Every large town or tourist location will have at least one hotel, although the quality will vary. Some mid-range hotels were constructed in the comparable architectural style during the Communist period, which may make them seem less attractive from the outside, even though the interiors are completely sufficient.

Budget hostels are mainly located in larger cities, and costs are comparable to the rest of (Central) Europe. If you want to get away of the city, there are many mountain cottages available for short-term rental in the mountains. There will be numerous private rooms available for rent, especially in tourist locations; seek for ‘Zimmer Frei’ signs. Breakfast is usually not included.

When hiking, government maintained mountain cottages provide inexpensive lodging for hikers on routes in all national parks and several national conservation areas. They have a limited number of beds (if any) and usually restricted capacity, therefore for the more popular spots during the peak season, prior booking may be required and is advised. If you are unable to reserve a bed, you may be permitted to remain overnight by sleeping on the floor in specified locations. In any case, you should bring your own sleeping bag. Because of the location, the amenities are restricted, however there will be a communal toilet and perhaps a shower. There is typically a kitchen that offers numerous substantial hot meals as well as a variety of beverages at affordable rates.

Outside of national parks and protected natural zones (where there should be signs but there may not be depending on how and where you enter these), it is only allowed to pitch a tent in Slovakia, although camping is quite common in the summer.

Things To See in Slovakia

Slovakia blends all of the hallmarks of a great European past with stunning natural beauty and a welcoming contemporary environment. Its relatively tiny capital, Bratislava, may not have the magnificent views seen in other Eastern European cities, but it has an active atmosphere, a beautiful Old Town, Bratislava Castle, and countless opportunities to have a good time. The city as a whole is a charming combination of rococo architecture from the 18th century and concrete Communist construction blocks. An afternoon coffee at one of the many street cafés along the renowned Danube river is a must and a great opportunity to people-watch and soak up the atmosphere. Take a river cruise down to Devin Castle for a touch of grandeur, an outstanding illustration of Slovakia’s record-high number of castles and chateaux.

Some are little more than a pile of stones buried deep in the wilderness, while others are magnificent baroque palaces or citadels in the heart of cities. Other notable examples are Spi Castle (one of Europe’s biggest castle sites) and the 19th century Bojnice Castle, a popular tourist attraction for Slovaks. Almost as popular is the stunning Orava Castle in Doln Kubn, which sits high on a cliff overlooking the Orava River. The ancient towns of Koice, Trnava, and Levoa are all excellent choices for big historic city centers. Banská tiavnica is a fantastically maintained medieval mining village that is also one of the country’s World Heritage Sites. Whereas Banská tiavnica worked for silver ore, the tiny but similarly well-preserved medieval town of Kremnica was constructed atop gold mines and is home to the world’s oldest still-operational mint.

Slovakia is a wonderful place to visit if you like nature. Large sections of the nation are densely forested, and wildlife abounds, including brown bears, wolves, and lynxes. The Tatra Mountains, particularly the High Tatras, are a popular tourist destination, offering breathtaking mountain views as well as excellent possibilities for skiing and other outdoor activities. There are an amazing amount of caverns in the country’s vast karst regions. Tourists may reach around a dozen of them. The Ochtinská Aragonite Cave in Roava stands out as one of the world’s only three aragyonite caves. It is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, together with other caverns in the Slovak Karst. If you love trekking, consider visiting the Slovak Paradise National Park, which is known for its magnificent canyons and ravines with waterfalls and granite formations. Visit one of Slovakia’s numerous mineral springs and spas for a more relaxed experience with the country’s natural surroundings. Pieany is one of the most well-known, although there are many more.

If you have the opportunity, take a drive across Slovakia’s countryside. It’s studded with ancient villages, some of which seem to be undisturbed by time and are often an excellent way to get a taste of the country’s traditional customs. The hamlet of Vlkolnec is regarded as a model of traditional rural architecture, although imany and Brhlovce are also beautiful settlements. Historic churches are difficult to overlook, since they may be found in every hamlet, town, and city. The many wooden churches in the country’s northern and north-eastern regions are particularly well-known.

Things To Do in Slovakia

  • Visit the closest chateau/castle; several are hundreds of years old, some are still livable with period furniture, and numerous guided tours are available.
  • Hike! – The whole country of Slovakia (except for the flatlands) is covered with hundreds of miles of very well-marked hiking routes that, particularly in the national parks, lead through breathtaking scenery.
  • Visit one of the region’s distinctive historic wooden churches. However, without a vehicle, they may be difficult to reach.
  • Go spelunking – Caves are scattered across Slovakia, and since many are available to the general public, they are among the most accessible in the world. Many are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Dobsinska Ice Cave (in Slovak Paradise), Ochrinska Aragonite Cave, Domica, Jasovska Cave, and Gombasek Cave (all in Slovak Karst)
  • Visit a local festival – ‘Fasiangy’ (Mardi Gras) is celebrated in early spring, particularly in the countryside, while the conclusion of the harvest season is commemorated in wine-producing areas in early October. A section of the town center will be closed, and a traditional market will be accessible, mainly with local food and handicrafts for sale, as well as enough to eat and drink. Similar Christmas markets open in larger cities throughout December/around Christmas.
  • Ski and snowboard in the mountains, particularly in the High and Low Tatras. Smaller ranges are also excellent for cross-country skiing.
  • Raft along the Váh or Dunajec rivers via beautiful gorges. Raft along the Small Danube for a more leisurely journey.
  • If you’re interested in railway history or want to spend a romantic day, Slovakia boasts a variety of phased-out railway lines that were previously used to carry wood but now only transport tourists in comfortable steam trains through woods and valleys. The most well-preserved of them is H near the village of Brezno.

Cultural Events

  • International Film Festival Artfilm. Yearly in June/July in Trenčianske Teplice and Trenčín.
  • International Film Festival Cinematik. Every year in early September in Pieany. Film festival that is still in its infancy and is very modest in size. The cost of accreditation for the whole event is less than €7.
  • International Film Festival Bratislava. In December, always.
  • Comics-Salón – A celebration of Japanese Anime & Manga, Fantasy & SciFi, and their admirers, but not just them! There’s a great environment, nice people, and a lot of fun to be had there. The origins of this event can be traced back to 2004, when it was hosted for the first time in “Sza.” Now, every year in early September, Bratislava sees a flood of beautiful people from all over Europe to participate in this one-of-a-kind event. Due to capacity limitations, the site has been relocated to the “Istropolis” exhibition halls for the last two years.

Music Events

  • Pohoda Music Festival One of the most important Slovak music events, highly praised and well-known on a European scale. Every year in July in Trenn. Mostly plays alternative music.
  • Grape Music Festival Another fantastic small-scale alternative music event. Every year in August in Pieany.


Slovakia has a plethora of great spas and water parks. If you like stinky mud and are prepared to pay for it, Pieany has the finest, most renowned (and most costly) spa. There are other important spas at Trenianske Teplice, Rajecké Teplice, Bardejov, Dudince, and Podhájska.

Try water parks at Beeová, Liptovsk Mikulá, Poprad, Turianske Teplice, Oravice, and Senec if it’s too dull for you and you’d want some water slides and fun. Classic open-air pools are much less expensive; some of the finest are in Vek Meder and Trovo.

Food & Drinks in Slovakia

Food in Slovakia

Slovak cuisine is characterized by simple and substantial dishes. Historically, what is today called truly Slovak was the typical cuisine in northern communities where people survived off sheep grazing and little cultivation – many crops don’t grow in the hard circumstances, and herbs are more available than actual spices. As a result, the main meals are primarily (smoked) meat, cheese, potatoes, and wheat. This does not make the meal dull, and most of it is very substantial and flavorful, although a little hefty. Tasting local goods is a risk-free and enjoyable experience since no harsh spices or really unusual ingredients are utilized.

Some meals are genuinely Slovak, while many others are regional variants. A lot of cheese is usually eaten, and the most popular meats are pig and poultry items, with occasional beef and game meals, with the most common accompaniments being potatoes and different kinds of dumplings. Because Slovakia is a landlocked nation, the availability of fish and seafood is restricted (carp is served at Christmas, trout is the most common fish). Soups are popular as an appetiser and, since some are very substantial, as a main course.

If you are a vegetarian, the food options in the cities should be enough. However, if you go out into the countryside, the selection may be restricted since veggies are usually regarded a side dish and/or eaten fresh or in salads. Also, keep in mind that even though certain meals are listed in the vegetarian part of the menu, this just indicates that they aren’t mostly meat-based and may still be cooked with animal fats or even include tiny bits of meat, so make your preferences clear. Fried cheese with ham or Caesar salad (!) are two dishes that come to mind. Nonetheless, virtually every restaurant in the nation will offer fried cheese (the regular, non-ham kind) with fries, which is a universally popular option. Sweet foods such as pancakes, dumplings filled with fruits, jams, or chocolate, and sweet noodles with nuts/poppy seeds/sweet cottage cheese should be available. Finding the closest pizza is also a nice and convenient choice almost everywhere.

The major meal of the day is typically lunch, however owing to work schedules, this is changing, and supper is increasingly becoming the main meal in cities.

It should be mentioned that, with the exception of the most expensive restaurants, it is not usual for the staff to bring you to your table. So, when you go in, don’t linger around by the entrance; instead, choose a table of your choosing and relax. When you are comfortably situated, wait staff will come over to offer you the menu and allow you to order beverages.

Again, with the potential exception of the most expensive places, there is no dress code in restaurants, and casual attire is acceptable. Hauling oneself into a restaurant for a well-deserved dinner after a day of hiking/skiing may get a few frowns, but you will not be turned away. In general, whatever you’d wear for a walk around town is OK. There is no need for a jacket or closed shoes, and shorts are also appropriate in the heat.

Slovak food

Bryndzové halušky is a traditional Slovak meal consisting of potato dumplings with a kind of unpasteurized fermented sheep cheese known as ‘bryndza.’ This dish is unique to Slovakia and very appetizing (as well as unexpectedly satisfying), and you should not leave without tasting it. Please keep in mind that, although this meal is often featured on the vegetarian part of the menu, it is served with chunks of fried meaty bacon on top, so if you are a vegetarian, make sure to request haluky without the bacon. Haluky may be available at many places, although the quality varies since it is a difficult dish to make. If at all possible, seek out an ethnic Slovak restaurant (which may be more difficult than it seems), or at the very least ask locals for the finest spot in the area. In the northern areas, genuine restaurants named ‘Sala’ (this term means sheep farm in Slovak, and many take food straight from them) offer the most excellent and fresh variety. On sometimes, a variation with smoked cheese on top is offered. Strapaky, a different meal where sauerkraut is served instead of bryndza, may also be offered, although it is not as common (this will also come with bacon on top).

A sala would typically serve other traditional Slovak meals, and many will sell various types of sheep cheese. They are all locally made, delicious, and definitely worth purchasing if you like cheese. Bryndza (primarily used to make ‘Bryndzové haluky,’ but it is a soft spreadable cheese that is very healthy and often used as a spread), blocks of sheep cheese (soft and malleable, delicious on its own or with salt), parenica (cheese curled in layers into a small peelable roll, sold smoked or unsmoked), and korbáiky Some of these cheeses are also available in supermarkets, although they are mass-produced and not as excellent.

The majority of the other foods are regional, and their variations may be found across Central Europe. These include kapustnica, a sauerkraut soup that is traditionally consumed at Christmas but is available all year in restaurants. It’s flavorful and may be slightly spicy depending on the sausage used. Depending on the recipe, smoked meat and/or dried mushrooms may be used.

There are many types of big dumplings known as pirohy, which may be salty or sweet depending on the contents. Sauerkraut, different kinds of cheese or meat, or simply fruits or jam are examples of fillings. They are similar to Polish pierogi.

Goulash is a substantial and satisfying regional meal prepared with pieces of meat, onions, veggies, and crushed potatoes seasoned with spices. It may be eaten as a soup (with bread) or as a stew, depending on the thickness (served with dumplings). Goulash may occasionally be found outside at BBQs or at festival markets, when it is cooked in a large cauldron, often with game instead of beef – the most genuine version. There is also a kind of goulash known as Segedin goulash, which is cooked with sauerkraut. Goulash is a spicy dish.

Other soups are popular as an appetiser, apart from kapustnica and goulash, which are more of a main course. In many areas of the world, mushroom soup is a traditional Christmas meal, and there are many soups prepared with beans or bean sprouts. The most frequent soups in restaurants are regular chicken and (sometimes) beef broth, as well as tomato soup and garlic broth (served with croutons, extremely delicious, but don’t go kissing people after). Certain soups are served in a tiny loaf of bread (‘v bochniku’) in certain places, which may be a fascinating and delicious experience.

Other popular street foods include loke, which are potato pancakes (crepes) served with different fillings (popular variations include duck fat and/or duck liver pate, poppy seeds, or jam), and lango, which is a large deep fried flat bread with garlic, cheese, and ketchup/sour cream on top. Cigánska peienka (or simply cigánska) is a popular local variation of a burger. However, instead of beef, pork or chicken is utilized, and it is served on a bun with mustard/ketchup and (sometimes) onions, chilies, and/or chopped cabbage. If you’re searching for something sweet, spa towns like Pieany have booths offering spa wafers, which are typically two plate-sized thin wafers with a variety of fillings. Consider chocolate or hazelnut.

Loke may also be found in restaurants, particularly in the western regions, where they are offered as a side dish with roasted goose/duck (husacina), a local delicacy.

Other dishes to try include chicken in paprika sauce with dumplings (‘paprikas’) and Schnitzel (‘Reze’ in Slovak, a popular meal). ‘iernohorsky reze’ (a very excellent variation prepared with potato dumpling covering instead of batter) and Svieková (sirloin beef with special vegetable sauce, served with dumplings). Try the plum dumplings (occasionally other fruit is used, although plums are typical) from the dessert menu; this is a wonderful and substantial meal on its own as well.

In certain rural areas, there is a custom known as zabjaka, in which a pig is slaughtered and its different flesh and parts are eaten in a BBQ-style event. This is a far more historic festival than you’re likely to encounter in mainly contemporary Slovakia, but if you get the chance to go, it might be a fascinating experience, and the pork and sausages are home-made, excellent, and full of flavor. If you can get homemade hrka (pig meat and liver sausage with rice) or krvavnky (identical to hurka but with pork blood) somewhere, they are both excellent. Tlaenka (cold meat mashed together with certain veggies, served similar to ham) is also available in stores and is eaten cold with vinegar and onion on top. Other types of sausages and smoked meats are commercially available.

A popular Slovak meal is a big fried piece of cheese served with French fries and a salad. It is available in most restaurants and is well worth tasting, particularly the local version made with smoked cheese (‘den syr’/’otiepok’) or ‘hermeln’ (local cheese similar to Camembert). This is not considered a meat replacement.

There is a wide range of bakery goods available, including sweet pastries with local contents such as poppy seeds and/or (sweet) cottage cheese (tvaroh). Strudel (trdla) is another popular dessert; try the classic apple and raisin filling or the fancier sweet poppy seeds and sour cherries variant. Try pagá, which is a puff pastry filled with little pig cracklings, for something savory. Local bread is delicious, however please keep in mind that some of the types are strewn with caraway seeds. This may or may not appeal to you! Baguettes and baguette shops/stands are popular, and you may choose from a variety of fillings.

Visit the local cukráre for dessert. These businesses, which are gradually morphing into cafés, are only dedicated to satisfying your sweet appetite and offer a range of cakes, hot and cold beverages, and (sometimes) ice cream. The cakes are comparable to those seen in the Czech Republic or their Viennese counterparts. The variety is varied and on display, so simply choose one you like the appearance of, maybe a ‘kréme’ (a piece of dough at the bottom, thick filling of vanilla custard, covered with a layer of cream or plain chocolate) or’veternk’ (imagine big profiterole coated in caramel), torta choices, etc.

When you’re out shopping, don’t forget to pick up Tatranky and/or Horalky, two kinds of identical wafers with hazelnut filling and delicately covered in chocolate that the locals swear by.

International Cuisine

Italian restaurants and pizzerias are very popular and have spread across Slovakia. Even if you don’t go to an ethnic Italian restaurant, nearly every restaurant menu will include a pizza or pasta dish. Ice cream from Italy (and elsewhere in the Mediterranean) is also extremely popular.

Chinese and Vietnamese food are also growing more popular, and kebab/gyros (a bun filled with chopped pieces of meat) stands are prevalent.

In larger cities, ethnic restaurants such as Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Italian, French, and many more are available. Furthermore, as previously stated, numerous Austrian, Czech, Hungarian, and Polish recipes with a Slovakian twist are popular.

Fast food restaurants may be found in Slovakia, just as they are everywhere else in the globe, including McDonald’s in many larger and smaller cities. However, since the other food is quite inexpensive in contrast to Western fast food pricing, this is not generally considered a genuinely affordable choice. A dinner at a less expensive restaurant will cost 1-1.5 times the price of a meal package (sometimes even less) and may be a better bargain. Nonetheless, these businesses are fairly popular, particularly among the younger population.

Drinks in Slovakia

Non-alcoholic drinks

Vinea, a soft drink produced from grapes that comes in both red and white varieties and is non-carbonated, is a good non-alcoholic option. Kofola, a Coke-like soft drink, is also popular among locals and is available on tap and in bottles. Slovakia is one of just three nations in the world where Coca-Cola is not the market leader.

Mineral waters are among the finest in the world; they come in a wide range of types, each with its own set of beneficial health benefits (e.g., relieving heartburn, aiding digestion, etc.) based on the minerals naturally present in the water. Budi, Mitická, Slatina, Rajec, Dobrá Voda, Zlatá Studa, Fatra, and more brands are available in stores and supermarkets. Others can only be obtained directly from the numerous natural mineral springs found across the nation. Because they are true’mineral’ waters, they will always include minerals, and the flavor will vary depending on the brand/spring. Try a new brand if you don’t like one! You may also get mineral waters flavored with anything from raspberry to’mojito.’

Unlike what you may be accustomed to, sparkling water is the default choice, so if you want anything else, you may have to search for it explicitly. The label indicates the degree of carbonation. A dark blue or red label generally denotes carbonated ones (“perlivá”), a green label suggests moderately carbonated ones (“mierne perlivá”), and a white, pink, or baby blue label indicates those that do not contain carbon dioxide (“neperlivá”). International brands are not as popular because to the great local selection and quality of the water.

In restaurants, offering a free glass of water is not customary, so if you request one, you will almost certainly be served (most likely sparkling) mineral water instead (and charged for it).

Coffee is available everywhere, usually in three kinds (city cafés will have more): espresso, ‘regular’ coffee (served medium-sized, tiny, and black), and Viennese coffee (‘normal’ coffee with a dollop of cream on top). Cappuccinos are also quite popular. Coffee is served with sugar and a side of cream or milk. Hot chocolate is also popular. In large cities, tea rooms are a popular location to unwind. These often feature a laid-back, vaguely oriental atmosphere and provide a wide selection of black, green, white, and fruit teas. Schisha may also be available. Part of this tradition has extended to other catering businesses, with the majority of them now offering at least a choice of fruit and black tea. In Slovakia, black tea is often served with sugar and lemon; milk or cream are not commonly offered. Some establishments may provide a beverage called ‘hot apple,’ which tastes like milder hot apple juice.

Alcoholic Beverages

Drinking is an important element of Slovak culture, and alcohol is provided at almost all social gatherings. However, the natives often keep their booze well, and being obviously inebriated is frowned upon, so know your limitations. It’s worth noting that certain locally produced spirits may be stronger than you’re accustomed to, and that the typical shot glass in Slovakia is 50ml, which may be more than you’re used to if you’re visiting from Western Europe. If you purchase double vodka, you will get 1dl! In general, alcohol is less expensive than in Western Europe or the United States. There are no specialized stores, and alcoholic drinks may be bought at almost any local grocery or food store. If you are 18 years or older, you may legally consume and buy alcohol, although this is not rigorously enforced. However, if you seem to be extremely young, you may still be IDed at certain city clubs.

There is a broad range of good local brews that are comparable in flavor and quality to Czech beers (which are also readily available), and beer is the most popular local drink. Zlat Baant, Smädn Mnch, Topvar, and ari are all worth a try. Ari is also available in a dark variant, which is thicker and heavier on the stomach. If the native flavors do not appeal, “Western” beers are available in larger restaurants and bars.

Slovakia also boasts several excellent local wines, many of which are comparable to Germanic Riesling types. There are many wine-growing areas in the south with centuries of history, including one just outside of Bratislava. If possible, attempt to visit one of the local wineries’ wine cellars, since many are historical and provide a cultural experience in and of itself. If you visit these regions, you may be given home-made wine, since many people brew their own wines. Obviously, the quality differs. Every year, between the end of May and the beginning of November, an event called Small Carpathian Wine Road is held in the Small Carpathian Wine Region (between Bratislava and Trnava), during which all local producers expose their cellars to the public. If you purchase a ticket at the closest cellar, you will get a wine glass as well as access to any cellar in the area, where you will be able to taste the finest product from the previous year.

Sweeter wines, known as Tokaj, are cultivated in the south-eastern border areas. Tokaj is a sweet dessert wine made from the region’s indigenous Tokaj grape variety (part of which is in Hungary and half in Slovakia). Tokaj is a premium brand with a global reputation, and it is often regarded as some of the finest that Central Europe has to offer. Other Slovak wines may not be well-known outside of the country, but they are well worth a try. In Slovakia, the finest recent wine years were 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006. Around harvest time in the fall, young wine called buriak is often marketed and popular among people in wine-producing areas. Buriak’s alcohol level may fluctuate greatly as it ferments (and becomes real wine).

Slovakia manufactures high-quality spirits. The plum brandy (Slivovica), pear brandy (Hrukovica), and herb liquor Demänovka are all excellent. Borovika, a kind of gin, is the most common alcohol. Czech Fernet, an aromatic bitter spirit, is also popular. In certain stores, you may sample a 25 or 50 ml shot for very little money to avoid purchasing a large bottle of an unknown flavor, then decide whether or not to purchase. International brands are also available, although at a higher cost (still cheaper than in most Western countries, however).

If you’re feeling brave, you may sample some home-made fruit brandies that the locals sometimes give to outsiders. Slivovica is the most popular, although pear brandy, apricot brandy, and raspberry brandy are all available. Drinking is a part of the custom, particularly in rural areas. If you are visiting locals, don’t be surprised if you are offered home-made spirit as a welcome drink nor that the host may be quite proud of this private stock. Homemade liquors are very potent (up to 60% alcohol), so proceed with caution. Slivovica may become a nice digestive drink after maturing for 12 years or more.

Mulled wine is offered at all winter markets throughout the winter months, and mulled mead is also popular. A mixed hot drink called grog, which consists of black tea and a shot of local ‘rum’ is very popular, especially in the skiing resorts, and really warms you up.

Money & Shopping in Slovakia


The euro is used in Slovakia. It is one of many European nations that utilize the Euro. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender across the EU.

One euro is made up of 100 cents.

The euro’s official sign is €, and its ISO code is EUR. The cent does not have an official symbol.


Except in smaller settlements, automatic teller machines (ATMs, “bankomat” in Slovak, pl. “bankomaty”) are generally accessible in Slovakia, and getting money should not be a problem. Most tiny towns have local post offices where you may earn money (cashback). Credit and debit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Visa Electron, and Cirrus Maestro are commonly accepted in larger cities’ stores and restaurants.


Tipping is not required in Slovakia, although it is customary at places where you sit (cafés and restaurants), where you round up the amount or leave about 10% tip. In most places, the tip is paid directly to the waiter (i.e. tell him/her how much to pay you back), rather than being placed on the table. Tipping is not included in the cost; if a percentage is mentioned on your bill, it is typically the VAT. The tip is included to the bill and should be given to the waiter when you pay before leaving the table. Tipping is not required, therefore if you are dissatisfied with the service, please do not feel obligated to tip! You will not be bothered if you do not.

Tipping is not customary at fast food restaurants, pubs, or for other types of services.

Festivals & Holidays in Slovakia

Slovakia is a mainly Catholic country, thus major Christian holidays, as well as certain secular festivals, are celebrated. Unless otherwise noted, these are public holidays, and banks, as well as most facilities and businesses, will be closed:

  • Slovak Republic Day – 1 January – Because Czechoslovakia was divided on January 1st, New Year’s Day is a national holiday. It is often observed by sleeping till noon.
  • Ephiphany – 6 January – The arrival of the Three Magi in Bethlehem is commemorated. Banks and shops are closed.
  • Mardi Gras period (‘Fasiangy’) – This is a festival season, not a national holiday. Some towns may host a traditional market with food and beverages, and there may be a masquerade parade through the city, as well as many balls, dances, and carnivals. From January 6 until Ash Wednesday (February or March).
  • Easter – The dates for March/April are determined by the lunar calendar. Easter Monday and Good Friday are both national holidays. Easter is associated with a variety of customs. Traditional Easter fare includes eggs and special Easter ham, as well as bread and horseradish.
  • International Labour Day – 1 May – Not working is a way to celebrate this.
  • Day of Victory over Fascism – 8 May – In Europe, the conclusion of WWII is commemorated.
  • International Children’s Day – 1 June – Although it is not a national holiday, children may be excused from school and different activities will be planned for them, as well as goodies.
  • St. Cyril and Methodius Day – 5 July- The arrival of the great Christian missionaries in Slovakia is celebrated on this day. They translated the Gospels into the slavic language used at the time, created a new alphabet to express slavic unique sounds, and translated liturgical materials (such as the Missal and the Psalms), allowing the slavic tongue to become Rome’s fourth liturgical language (after hebrew, greek and latin). In addition, St. Cyril composed the first poem in the slavic language, Proglas, emphasizing the necessity of a written language for every country.
  • Slovak National Uprising Memorial Day – 29 August – Holiday commemorating the WWII uprising against the Nazis.
  • Constitution Day – 1 September – Children like this one since school begins one day later.
  • Day of Blessed Virgin Mary – 15 September – Slovakia’s patron saint.
  • Vinobranie This is not a national holiday, but rather a wine harvest celebration celebrated in wine-producing areas throughout October. Cities collaborate, so it is hosted on different weekends in various locations, and you may visit many. This comprises open-air marketplaces that offer street food, beverages (particularly young wine), and different handicrafts.
  • All Saints Day – 1 November – This is a day to commemorate those who have died. Halloween is not observed in Slovakia, despite the fact that it is a significant religious festival. All stores are closed, and many people will visit graves to burn candles in memory of their loved ones.
  • Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day – 17 November – Commemorates the student protest that led to the demise of Communism.
  • St Nicolaus’ Day – 6 December – This is not a national holiday, but it is considered the commencement of the Christmas season. St. Nicholaus traditionally places candy (if the kid was nice) or coal/onion (if the youngster misbehaved that year) in their shoe overnight (surprisingly enough, most children get sweets, not onion). Celebrations are conducted in towns, with someone costumed as St nicolaus (like Santa Claus) and his assistants angels/devils distributing sweets to throngs of excited children. Christmas markets open, and the lights are switched on.
  • Feast of St Lucy – 13 December – Although it is not a national holiday, numerous customs are associated with this day, which differ by area. For example, if you are a female, you may take 13 pieces of paper, leave one blank, and put the names of 12 guys on the others. One gets burnt every day until Christmas Eve, leaving just your future husband’s name (blank = single forever).
  • Christmas – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (December 24–26) are all national holidays. Christmas is primarily celebrated in Slovakia on Christmas Eve, when a traditional family meal is conducted, followed by the opening of gifts. Because Christmas Eve is a fast in the Christian calendar, no meat is eaten on that day. The traditional meal begins with a thin wafer accompanied by garlic (for health) and honey (for happiness and properity). This is followed by a soup (mushroom or cabbage soup) and a main course of fried carp with an unique potato salad. Many other types of Christmas cakes (such as gingerbread) are also consumed. Traditions, on the other hand, vary.
  • Silvester – 31 December – New Year’s Eve is not a national holiday, although it is extensively observed, mostly via partying. At midnight, individuals raise a drink of champagne to celebrate the New Year. Many cities will have a New Year’s Eve fireworks show. There are a lot of fireworks and intoxicated individuals.

Traditions & Customs in Slovakia

Slovaks are a kind and peaceful people that live in a free and democratic country. There isn’t a single topic that would elicit animosity or serious difficulty. Usually, the worst that could happen is that you’d be considered a little obnoxious and the history would be recounted to you over another drink. However, while addressing some subjects, it is important to be polite and attentive.

Keep in mind that Slovakia is a distinct country that has been independent since 1993, when Czechoslovakia was divided into the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic. It is also a ‘new country,’ having been a part of previous multinational nations such as Austria-Hungary and Czechoslovakia for the majority of its history. As a result, certain individuals may be sensitive to nationality problems. There is no animosity or resentment toward the Velvet divorce that divided Czechoslovakia, and the two countries remain friendly. You should be OK if you don’t refer to Slovakia as a part of another country.

Slovakia’s stance during WWII was very complicated, and discussing it with nationalists is best avoided. Similarly, decades of Communism left their imprint on the nation, and this may be a touchy subject. While Slovakia was formerly a member of the Soviet bloc, it was never a part of the USSR or the Russian Empire. Please keep this in mind.

Among the more recent problems, relations with the Roma/Gypsy minority may be tense, and individuals might have strong opinions on the topic. Do not engage in a discussion unless you are thoroughly familiar with the issue and/or are willing to accept the local’s viewpoint. Many locals will believe that foreigners have insufficient knowledge of the reality of these relationships, and you may be reminded of this if you offer a counter-argument.

Slovaks are quite welcoming, and if they welcome you into their house, expect to be properly taken care of and served a variety of food and beverages. If you are invited for lunch, you can anticipate a 2-3 course meal, exactly like dinner, since lunch is usually the major meal of the day. Bringing a modest present for the host, such as a bottle of wine or excellent spirit, a box of chocolates, or a small arrangement of flowers, is considered courteous. Never use money since it will seem as though you are attempting to pay for the hospitality.

For sanitary reasons, most individuals do not wear their outside shoes inside, therefore remove your shoes in the hallway before entering someone’s house. Don’t worry, they’ll locate an extra pair of slippers to keep your feet toasty.

When eating out with the host’s family, it is usual for them to choose the bill. This may not occur, but don’t be shocked if it does.

When meeting or being introduced to someone, even of the opposing sex, and especially for the first time, it is not unusual to kiss each other on the cheek once or twice (depending on the area) rather than shaking hands. It is unusual between two males, but very typical between two females. Don’t be startled, and keep in mind that this isn’t a sexual gesture.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Slovakia

Stay Safe in Slovakia

Even by European standards, Slovakia is relatively secure, and as a tourist, you are unlikely to experience any difficulties. Violent crime is particularly rare, and Slovakia has lower violent crime rates per capita than many other European nations. The highways, on the other hand, are most likely a traveler’s worst dread.

Roads are usually dimly lit and very small. You must not be under the influence of alcohol if you want to drive. If you are caught in such an act, the penalties are severe.

In an emergency, dial 112 (the global emergency number). Call 158 for police, 155 for ambulances, and 150 for firemen.

It should go without saying that the 2006 film Hostel, whose narrative takes place in ‘Slovakia,’ is entirely fictitious, and the likelihood of visitors being abducted and tortured in Slovakia is the same as in any sophisticated city in the United States or Western Europe – astronomically low. Slovakia, like most of Europe, is regarded as a safe travel destination for all visitors. Similarly, the American film Eurotrip (2004) may be a touchy subject since it depicted Slovakia as a terrifyingly underdeveloped nation, which is likewise untrue.

When visiting cities, use common sense, be especially cautious after dark, remain aware of your surroundings, keep your things visible, and avoid drunks and groups of young guys as you would in any other European city. Pickpockets may sometimes be spotted in large crowds and at major train/bus terminals.

When visiting Slovakia’s hilly regions, particularly the High Tatras, let hotel staff or other trustworthy persons know where you’re going so that rescuers may be sent to locate you if you don’t return. The High Tatras’ modest size and elevation are deceiving; it is steep and rugged terrain with unpredictable weather. Never hike alone and always wear appropriate gear. Take the mountain rescue service’s warnings seriously; they are a valuable source of supplementary and up-to-date information. They may be reached in an emergency by dialing 18300 or the universal 112. Before you go, make sure your medical insurance covers mountain activities, since a rescue mission in difficult terrain may be costly.

It’s also worth noting that the weather in the High Tatras may be unpredictable, particularly in the spring and fall.

Slovakia is one of the few nations in Europe where bears and wolves may still be seen in the wild. While no one has died as a result of a bear assault in the past century, a few incidents do occur each year. As a tourist, your chances of meeting one are slim, but it is possible. A bear will avoid you if it knows you’re there, so make your presence known by talking loudly/singing/clapping, etc., particularly if you’re in an area where it can’t easily see you from a distance. If you encounter a bear, do not flee; instead, gently exit the area in the other direction. If you spot one from your hotel, do not approach or feed it. It may be eating from the garbage cans, which is more frequent but still rare.

Stay Healthy in Slovakia

No vaccinations are required to visit or remain in Slovakia, but tick immunization is advised if you intend to visit rural regions. Vaccination against Hepatitis “A” and “B” is also recommended, as it is in all European nations.

Ticks may be found in rural woods as well as bigger parks, and in certain places, they may transmit tick-borne encephalitis. Because they live among shrubs and higher grass (when they fall of the trees). As a result, while trekking, try to avoid dense vegetation and always examine your whole body when you return (ticks tend to seek warm spots). Remove the tick as quickly as possible by gently wriggling its head out of the bite (never break off or squeeze the body as the head will stay lodged in skin and might become infected). At any point, do not contact the tick with your bare hands; instead, use tweezers and latex gloves.

The majority of the food and drink is completely safe, and sanitary standards in Slovakia are comparable to those found elsewhere in Western/Central Europe.

According to one research, water used as tap water in the Bratislava-Vienna area is the cleanest in the world. If you like mineral waters, there are a plethora of brands to select from, since Slovakia boasts the greatest number of natural mineral water springs per capita.

The High Tatras may not be the largest or highest mountain range, but certain routes may have hard climbs, rough terrain, and unpredictable weather. Take appropriate equipment, don’t overestimate your skills, and use common sense.

If you opt to swim in the local rivers/natural pools/lakes, as many locals do, keep in mind that these activities are not monitored by a life guard, and you do so at your own risk.

The quality of health treatment is very good, however there may be a linguistic barrier since not all physicians understand English. However, in large cities with a Fakultná nemocnica, this should not be an issue.

In Slovakia, there are no over-the-counter medicines available in supermarkets or drug shops; even if you just need an aspirin, you must visit a pharmacist. Even in tiny towns, there should be one open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Look for the closest green cross sign – even if this pharmacy is closed, a sign in the door will direct you to the nearest open one. If you need a particular medication, be sure you have your prescription on hand since many medicines require it.



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