SAFETY (AND SECURITY)
The situation in Slovakia is in this aspect similar to all the European neighbouring countries. Especially in places, where many tourists pass by (i.e. The Old Town / Staré mesto in Bratislava, bus and train stations, means of transport), you have to pay attention to your personal stuff and valuables. For motorists the usual measures are valid – it is recommended to park the cars on guarded parking places, not to leave valuables unnecessarily in the parked car. Its the best to keep your valuables in the hotel safe and not to carry too much cash with you.
TAX AND CUSTOM REGULATIONS
Within the EU import and export of goods is not limited in any way, which also applies to goods for private purposes. It is therefore possible to import an unlimited amount of goods for private purposes from other EU-member countries to Slovakia. There is no obligation to pay tax in Slovakia, as the VAT and consumer tax on goods (where applicable) purchased for private purposes has already been included in the purchasing price in the respective country. When certain goods that are subject to consumer tax are purchased (alcohol, alcoholic beverages and tax products), it is the purchaser who has the obligation to transport the products purchased in another EU-member country. It is not allowed to have the goods shipped, and no other person is allowed to transport the goods. It is also forbidden to provide the goods for further sale.
From Non-EU-countries, the following limits of goods can be imported duty-free:
Air traffic (not only the air traffic; this also refers to other transports – road and railway border crossings with customs between Slovakia and the Ukraine):
- 200 (40) cigarettes, or 100 (20) cigarillos, or 50 (10) cigars, or 250 (50) gram tobacco
- 1 litre of spirit with an alcohol content of more than 22 % vol., 2 litres of sparkling wine
- 4 litres of non-sparkling wine
- Other goods of max. 430 (300) €
The limits are cut down to 150 € for passengers under the age of 15.
For detailed information, see the customs administration on colnasprava.sk
WHAT LANGUAGES ARE SPOKEN
English and German are the most often used foreign languages. Less frequent is the knowledge of French, Spanish, Italian or Russian. In the South of Slovakia Hungarian is used many times. Basic phrases in Slovak language are to be found in short vocabulary. Coming to Slovakia and wish to integrate more? Learn Slovak language.
WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO GO
For an inspiration or elaboration of a complex program of your stay in Slovakia it is worth to contact some travel bureau or agency. They are located in every larger town and in the most visited tourist areas. They provide mediatory services in the field of accommodation, boarding, traffic, cultural or sport events and can advise and ensure also an interesting way of spending free time.
Tourist information offices also provide useful information and can arrange single services such as accommodation, some excursions or transport.
If you want to find out about the country as much as possible, and see, what you would hardly find by yourself, contact some professional guide. The safety while you ascend to the peaks of mountains as well as during hiking is ensured by mountain guides.
230 V/50 Hz, standard socket with safety pin.
In catering facilities, in trains and at workplaces smoking is allowed only in areas reserved for smokers. Smoking prohibition is valid in closed public areas (covered bus stops, closed sports fields), in publicly accessible spaces (stations, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, exhibition grounds and similar) and at schools.
WHERE TO GET FURTHER INFORMATION
In any tourist-information office or foreign representation office of The Slovak Tourist Board. They will gladly plan your journey in some travel office.
You get tourist information also under the phone number 16 186 (paid). For information about other town and its surrounding than where you are at the moment, enter the city code before this number (i.e. you are in Bratislava and need info about Trenčín – so dial 032/16 186).
In all larger towns there is internet access possible in internet cafés located mostly in malls, larger bus or train stations, but also in smaller streets close to the town centre. Even some libraries provide this service. The zone of free wireless connection is in Bratislava in the Primates and Hviezdoslavs Squares (Primaciálne a Hviezdoslavovo námestie), or in the big city centers.
You can read more about Slovakia in books and maps.
Tourist Information Centres
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The main tourist season lasts in Slovakia from May to September. We recommend visiting towns in spring or autumn months (May, June, September or October). In this period it is usually not too hot and besides, out of the main summer holiday are less local tourists moving around in the tourist areas.
The spas are traditionally most occupied at the beginning of the year (January, February, arch).
The skiing season starts in December and lasts approximately to March – April.
VACCINATION AND MEDICAL MEASURES
Before the arrival to Slovakia no special health precautions or medical measures are necessary. We recommend a tick vaccine, especially in case, that you plan to spend a lot of time in the woods. It is also suitable to carry with you some insect repellents, because in areas close to water can be an increased occurrence of gnats.
There is drinking water from the taps, besides some exceptional cases, when a notification warns about the possible defect.
Except for the usual travel insurance it is necessary to close a mountain search and rescue insurance when mountain hiking. In some areas this insurance is part of the tourist fee. Closer information about the insurance and also its purchase is mediated by tourist information offices.
Insurance in the mountains "SOS NA HORÁCH"
You can book/buy this insurance in the Information Centers.
This insurance covers the costs of the Montain Rescue Service connected with technical process and implementation of a rescue or search in the mountains. The Mountain Rescue Service ensures technical implementationon a high professional level. The insurance company will cover costs up to the amountof 12 500 €. NON STOP CALL: +421/18 300
Post offices are at your service in all villages and provide bank services (Poštová banka), too. It is possible to buy post stamps for post cards and letters directly in the post offices or in some newspaper stands. A 50 g letter sent within Slovakia by 2nd class costs 0.45 €, sent by 1st class and registered ones cost 1.30 €. The postage for sending a 50 g letter by 2nd class from Slovakia to the Czech Republic costs 0.80 €, while sending a letter of the same class to the rest of the EU-member countries costs 0.90 €. Sending a 50 g letter to the rest of the world costs 1.00 €. More information: www.posta.sk
ABOUT THE SLOVAK CUISINE
The Slovak national dish is "bryndzové halušky" – a sort of potato dumplings (halušky) with special sheep cheese (bryndza) and usually also topped with fried bacon. You can get this specialty in regular restaurants, too. But it tastes best in typical wooden sheds or chalets, where also other traditional Slovak meals are on the menu. The entire atmosphere completed with folk or Gypsy music is an unforgettable experience.
However, the hungry stomach can be satisfied also by other catering facilities.
In the restaurants and bars it is usual to leave some tip for the waiter by rounding up the resulting amount, in the majority it is about 5-10 % of the bill. It is not obligatory and the amount should within the possibilities reflect the guests satisfaction with the service.
HOW TO MAKE (PHONE) CALLS
International country code of SR: 00421 (+421)
Mobile operators on the area of SR: Orange, Slovak Telekom, Telefónica O2
Slovakia really well covered by mobile phone networks, which enable calls also from some peaks of Tatras. Only very distant areas are without signal.
In towns it is possible to use public phone cells/booths, which accept coins, or phone cards. The cards can be purchased in post offices, or some newspaper stands.
City codes in Slovakia:
- Banská Bystrica: 048
- Bardejov: 054
- Bratislava: 02
- Dunajská Streda: 031
- Humenné: 057
- Košice: 055
- Levice: 036
- Liptovský Mikuláš: 044
- Lučenec: 047
- Martin: 043
- Michalovce: 056
- Nitra: 037
- Nové Zámky: 035
- Poprad: 052
- Považská Bystrica: 042
- Prešov: 051
- Prievidza: 046
- Rožňava: 058
- Senica: 034
- Spišská Nová Ves: 053
- Topoľčany: 038
- Trenčín: 032
- Trnava: 033
- Zvolen: 045
- Žilina: 041
Non stop information about phone numbers (paid):
- Within the SR: 1181
- International: 12 149
VISAS AND NECESSARY DOCUMENTS
For the citizens of the European Union a valid personal ID is sufficient. The list of countries, the citizens of which need a valid visa to enter Slovakia, you find on the home page of the Ministry of foreign affairs of SR, or you can get informed directly at the competent Embassy.
There are hospitals in all larger towns. In smaller towns and tourist areas outpatient clinics and pharmacies are available. Pharmacies are open usually on workdays from 8:00 to 18:00 h, during weekends and holidays there is always one pharmacy in town non stop on duty.
It is recommended to close a health insurance contract before coming to Slovakia, which is usually a part of the travel insurance package.
When needing emergency health care call 112 or specialised rescue service/ambulance.
HABITS AND CUSTOMS
When entering a Slovak dwelling the residents change their shoes in the entrance hall and offer some house slippers to the guests as well. In many households it is considered as misbehaviour, if you move in the dwelling space in shoes, which is used outside.
To offer the guests a tot of slivovica (a strong, colorless alcoholic beverage primarily made of distilled fermented plum juice, often referred to as plum brandy) or similar distilled liquor (spirits) is considered here as a demonstration of hospitality and respect and if there is not a cogent reason, it is impolite to refuse such an offer. This is especially true in the country, when the residents offer distilled liquor of own production (home made liquor).
When meeting/welcoming the acquaintances are shaking hands. Close friends or family members usually kiss once on the cheek or both cheeks and hug slightly. When introducing strangers it is polite to shake hands, in a more informal atmosphere also to give peck (fleeting kiss).
In Slovakia it is a custom to eat 3-times daily, whereby the most is consumed usually in the lunch time between 11:30 – 13:30 h. The dinner consists of soup and main course, sometimes also a dessert. For supper warm meals are served often, as well, generally between 18:00 – 21:00 h.
It is a habit in Slovakia to use the formal second person plural “vykanie” in official relations and meetings, the informal “tykanie”, is usual in families and among friends, eventually close colleagues( and is similar to being on first name with someone).