Traveling tips for Slovakia – what you should know before a trip to Slovakia

Are you curious about things to know before visiting Slovakia? Slovakia, which is in the center of Europe, has a distinctive cultural history, breathtaking scenery, and life-changing experiences. Slovakia’s varied topography and climate, which stretch from the Tatra Mountains to the Danube River, make it a top choice for both outdoor enthusiasts and culture vultures. But visiting Slovakia necessitates considerable planning and familiarity with the environment, traditions, and regulations of the area.

In this article, we will provide you with essential tips and insights to help you make the most of your trip to Slovakia. From understanding the country’s geography and climate to navigating cultural differences and sensitivities, we’ve got you covered. We’ll guide you through the necessary travel documents, health precautions, and vaccinations you need to consider, as well as transportation options, currency, and safety tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

The information we provide will make you an expert traveler in Slovakia, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned tourist or taking off on your first trip. Discover the must-see locations, manners, and customs of the area as well as the finest routes to take in the sights and sounds of the local way of life. You’ll be ready to make the most of your vacation to Slovakia and build priceless memories if you follow our exclusive tips and recommendations.

Understanding Slovakia’s Geography and Climate

Slovakia, located in the very heart of Europe, has a diverse geography and climate. Here’s a brief overview:

1. Geography:

  • Slovakia is a landlocked Central European country with an area of 18,859 square miles (48,845 square kilometers).
  • The terrain includes the high Carpathian Mountains (The Tatras) in the north, the low Carpathian mountains in the center, the foothills to the west, and the Danube River Basin in the south.
  • Approximately 80% of the territory is 750 meters or more above sea level.
  • The highest point is Gerlachovský Peak, 2,655 meters above sea level.
  • Slovakia is a land of beautiful, wide valleys, which were created by the Váh, Nitra, and Hron Rivers.
  • Most of the land is drained by the Danube, the largest river in Slovakia, which empties into the Black Sea.
  • The longest river in Slovakia is the Váh, which is 242 miles (390 kilometers) long.

2. Climate:

  • The climate in Slovakia is a mixture of continental and ocean climates and has four distinct seasons.
  • The warmest and driest regions are the southern Slovak plains and the Eastern Slovak lowlands where the average temperature is 10 degrees C.
  • In the High Tatras, the average temperature is 3 degrees C and annual precipitation is 2,000 mm.
  • The coldest month is January; the warmest is July.
  • Bratislava, the capital, is moderately dry with average temperatures ranging from –1 degree C to –4 degrees C in January and from 19.5 degrees C to 20.5 degrees C in July.

Visa and Entry Requirements

Here are the visa and entry requirements for Slovakia:

  1. Visa Requirements:
  • Slovakia is a part of the Schengen area, which allows people to travel freely without any border checks at the internal borders of Schengen Member States.
  • A visa is permission for entry, transit, or stay in the Schengen Area or in the territory of some of the Schengen member states for the period of validity of the respective visa.
  • Citizens from some non-EU countries are required to have a visa when traveling to the Schengen area.
  • The type of visa you need depends on the length and purpose of your visit. The visa can be issued for one, two, or multiple entries.

2. Entry Requirements:

  • There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travelers entering Slovakia.
  • To travel to Slovakia, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.
  • Your passport must have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive.
  • Your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave.
  • You could get a fine of 1600 euros if you stay longer than legally allowed.
  • Make sure you get your passport stamped when you enter or leave the Schengen area (which includes Slovakia).
  • You can travel without a visa to the Schengen area (including Slovakia) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

3. Documents Required for a Slovakian Visa:

  • Slovakia visa application form.
  • Passport.
  • Two passport-sized photos.
  • Cover letter.
  • Flight ticket information.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Proof of accommodation in Slovakia.
  • Means of subsistence.
  • Payment of Slovakia visa fee

Transportation Tips for Getting Around Slovakia

Here are some tips for getting around Slovakia:

1. By Train:

  • Train journeys are slow but scenic.
  • Slovak Railways (Železnice Slovenskej Republiky or ŽSR) runs fast rýchlik trains that stop at major towns; osobný (local) trains stop everywhere.
  • You can buy tickets (lístok) for domestic journeys at the station (stanica) before or on the day of departure.
  • Supplements are payable on all EuroCity (EC) trains, and occasionally for InterCity (IC) and Express (Ex) trains of Slovak Railway trains.
  • ŽSR runs reasonably priced sleepers and couchettes. Book in advance no later than six hours before departure.
  • Find train timetables online at

2. By Bus:

  • Buses (autobus) cover a more extensive network.
  • The state bus company is Slovenská Autobusová Doprava or SAD.
  • Buy your ticket from the driver or book in advance from the station if you’re traveling at the weekend or early in the morning on one of the main routes.
  • Bus timetables are available online at

3. By Car:

  • If you prefer not to have your car while visiting Slovakia, you can consider renting a car.
  • Renting a luxury vehicle will cost about €90–€150 per day, while more basic models may only be around €30 per day.
  • Most taxi services in Slovakia do not accept cash, so you will need to have a credit card available.

4. By Bicycle:

  • Although much of Slovakia is mountainous and not ideal for cyclists, the countryside around Bratislava has well-maintained bike paths that stretch into Austria and Hungary.
  • More demanding rides can take you into the Little Carpathians.
  • Most trains allow bikes

Language Essentials for Traveling in Slovakia

The following are some key Slovak phrases that you may find useful when visiting Slovakia:

1. Greetings:

  • Hello – Dobrý deň (pronounced DOH-bree deñ)
  • Good morning – Dobré ráno (pronounced DOH-brehh RAA-noh)
  • Good night – Dobrú noc (pronounced DOH-broo nohts)
  • Goodbye – Do videnia (pronounced doh VEE-deh-nyah)

2. Common phrases and numbers:

  • Yes – Áno (pronounced AAH-noh)
  • No – Nie (pronounced NYEE_eh)
  • How are you? – Ako sa máš? (pronounced AH-koh sah MAA-sh?)
  • Thank you – Ďakujem (pronounced JAH-koo-yehm)
  • You are welcome – Prosím (pronounced PROH-seem)
  • I love Slovakia – Milujem Slovensko (pronounced mil-lu-yem SLO-vans-ko)
  • 1 – jeden (pronounced YEH-dehn)
  • 2 – dva (pronounced DUH-vah)
  • 3 – tri (pronounced trih)
  • 4 – štyri (pronounced SHTIH-rih)
  • 5 – päť (pronounced pehtch)

3. Small talks:

  • Do you speak English? – Hovoríte po anglicky? ( HOH-voh-ree-teh poh AHN-glits-kih?)
  • I don’t understand – Nerozumiem ( NEH-roh-zoo-myehm)
  • What’s your name? – Ako sa voláte? ( AH-koh sah VOH-laa-tyeh)
  • My name is … – Volám sa … ( VOH-laam sah …)
  • Excuse me – Prepáčte ( PREH-paach-tyeh)

4. Restaurant:

  • How much is this? Koľko to stojí? ( KOH-lee-koh toh STO-yeeh?)
  • A beer, please – Pivo, prosím. ( PIH-voh, PROH-seem)
  • Do you have an English menu? – Máte jedálny lístok v angličtine? ( MAA-teh YEH-dahhl-nih LEES-tohk v v AHN-glihch-tih-neh?)
  • Bon appetit! – dobrú chuť! ( DOH-broo khootch)
  • Where is the toilet? – Kde je toaleta? ( kdeh yeh TOH-ah-leh-ta)

Currency, Money Matters, and Tipping Etiquette

The following details pertain to money, money concerns, and tipping customs in Slovakia:

1. Currency:

The official currency of Slovakia is the Euro (EUR, €). You will need to exchange your currency for the Euro, which can be done upon arrival at the airport currency exchange desks of banks and specialized stores called Foreign Exchange Bureaus. ATMs can be easily found in big cities and larger towns.

2. Tipping Etiquette:

  • Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: Tipping is at your discretion. Locals commonly round up the bill to the nearest euro. However, in bigger cities such as Bratislava, leaving a tip of 5-10% for good service is becoming more common. A rule of thumb in Slovakia’s restaurant industry is to not say “Thank You” (Dakujem) when you hand the waitstaff your money for the bill. This indicates for them to keep the change as a tip.
  • Hotel Staff: It is a nice gesture to tip the hotel staff, 1-2 euros per bag for the porter/bellhop if they help you with your bags. It is not necessary to leave the housekeeper or concierge a tip, but if you wish to a few euros per day for housekeeping is sufficient, and if the concierge helped you book an event or arrange a tour a few euros will also be sufficient.
  • Taxi Drivers: Tipping taxi drivers in Slovakia isn’t a common practice, you don’t need to tip, but leaving a few euros or rounding up your fare is a nice gesture.

Health and Wellness Considerations

The following health and wellness advice is for visitors to Slovakia:

Vaccinations and medicines:

  • Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip.
  • All eligible travelers should be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended for unvaccinated travelers.
  • Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
  • Rabies vaccination before travel is only recommended for people working directly with wildlife.

Health Risks:

  • Be aware of current health issues in Slovakia and learn how to protect yourself.
  • If your travel plans in Slovakia include outdoor activities, stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.

Travel Insurance:

  • Make sure you have travel insurance before travel to cover healthcare abroad.


  • Find out if there are any restrictions you need to consider if you are traveling with medicines.

Healthcare Access:

  • Know how to access healthcare at your destination.

Wellness Centers:

  • Slovakia has wellness centers like the Danubius Health Spa Irma and the Private Relax Armonia Wellness Apartment.

Accommodation Options and Booking Tips

For Slovakia, consider the following lodging choices and reservation advice:

Accommodation Options:

  • Rezort Masarykov Dvor: is located in Pstruša, 17 miles from Ruzin.
  • Hotel Stupka: Located in Tale, this hotel is perfect for golfers and skiers.
  • Penzion Anka: Located in Hriňová.
  • Penzión u Sysľa: Offers air-conditioned rooms in Muráň.

Booking Tips:

  • Booking Websites: Websites like offer a wide range of accommodations in Slovakia, from hotels to apartments.
  • Advance Booking: It’s always a good idea to book your accommodation in advance to secure the best rates and availability.
  • Location: Consider the location of your accommodation. If you plan to visit specific attractions, it might be convenient to stay nearby.
  • Reviews: Check the reviews of the accommodation before booking. They can give you a good idea of what to expect.
  • Budget: Keep your budget in mind when choosing your accommodation. Slovakia offers a range of options, from budget to luxury.

Insider Tips for Authentic Slovakian Experiences

For a genuine Slovakian experience, consider the following insider tip:

  1. Safety: Slovakia is one of the safest countries in Europe. In 2017, just 6.2 percent of Slovaks registered crime, harassment, or vandalism in their neighborhood.
  2. Alcohol: For lovers of shots, Slovakia is the best place. Slovaks consume 13 liters of pure alcohol each year, with spirits accounting for 46%, beer for 30%, and wine for 18%.
  3. Folk Traditions and Architecture: Slovakia has unique folk traditions and architecture. The villages of Čičmany and Vlkolínec have preserved original wooden houses and traditional clothes.
  4. Castles: Slovakia has one of Europe’s largest concentrations of castles and châteaux per capita. There are about 220 castles and 425 châteaux.
  5. Wine: Slovakia is rich with wineries and breweries. The wine region is mainly in the south of the country, where they have better conditions for vineyards.
  6. Make Local Friends: Slovakians are quite friendly and helpful. Having a few friends who know the place, the language, and how the system works can make life much easier.
  7. Learn the Language: It is essential to learn the language if you are interested in becoming a part of Slovakian society.
  8. Be Cautious: Be extra careful when dealing with money in open places.
  9. Carry Your Medication: Health care in Slovakia is not very well developed compared to other European countries.
  10. Consider the Standard and Cost of Living: The standard of living is on the rise, but it is still considerably lower than the US, UK, and other developed European nations

Weather Preparedness and Packing Essentials

The following information can help you prepare for Slovakian weather and pack essentials:

1. Weather in Slovakia

The weather in Slovakia can be quite unpredictable. For instance, the current weather in Bratislava, Slovakia is mostly cloudy with a temperature of 19 degrees Celsius. The forecast for the next day indicates light rain with a high temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and a low of 10 degrees Celsius. Therefore, it’s important to check the weather forecast before your trip to prepare accordingly.

2. Packing Essentials for Slovakia

  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: Bratislava is a city best explored on foot. From the cobblestone streets of the Old Town to the trails of the Little Carpathians, you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: pack layers and don’t forget a waterproof jacket, just in case.
  • A Good Quality Camera: There are countless photo opportunities in Bratislava.
  • A Reliable Map and Guidebook: They’ll help you navigate the city, discover hidden gems, and learn about Bratislava’s rich history.
  • A Universal Adapter: Slovakia uses Type E power sockets, so if you’re coming from the US, you’ll need a universal adapter.
  • A Phrasebook or Translation App: While many people in Bratislava speak English, it’s always helpful to know a few basic phrases in Slovak.
  • Snacks and Water Bottle: Exploring a new city can be tiring. So, pack some snacks and a refillable water bottle to keep your energy levels up.

Remember to also carry essential travel documents such as a valid passport, visa (if necessary), and travel insurance with minimum coverage of €30,000


Navigating Cultural Differences and Sensitivities

Navigating cultural differences and sensitivities in Slovakia involves understanding the country’s language, customs, etiquette, and societal norms. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Language: The national language of Slovakia is Slovak, which is an Indo-European language belonging to the West Slavic languages. While many people in Slovakia speak English, it’s always helpful to know a few basic phrases in Slovak.
  2. People and Society: The people of Slovakia descend from the Slavic peoples who settled around the Danube river basin in the 6th and 7th centuries. Slovak society includes both elements of folk traditions and modern society.
  3. Religion: The majority of Slovaks are Roman Catholic, followed by Protestants and Greek Catholics. Respect for religious customs and practices is important.
  4. Etiquette and Customs: Slovaks value modesty, respect for authority, and a certain degree of formality. When meeting someone for the first time, a firm handshake with eye contact is the usual greeting.
  5. Regional Differences: Slovaks share a common culture despite regional and even local differences in dialect, local customs, and religion. Hungarians (Magyars) in Slovakia are generally bilingual and have been acculturated but wish to maintain their national culture, especially their language

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