Slovakia - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Slovakia


Centrally situated in Europe, Slovakia, or the Slovak Republic, is an up-and-coming tourist destination that beckons travellers from around the world to its rugged mountainous scenery, rich architectural history and competitive prices.

The centre for arts and culture is the capital city, Bratislava, which boasts many museums, art galleries, palaces and ornamental churches in and around its historic Old Town district.

The Tatra Mountains are a popular destination all year round, offering skiing in winter and hiking and climbing in summer; while throughout the country numerous mineral springs and natural spas cater for health-conscious tourists looking to relax and be pampered. Scattered among the hills and valleys of the lowlands are numerous fortified castles, relics from the Middle Ages that were built near to almost every hamlet and major road for protection from invaders. Among the country's greatest architectural treasures, however, are the ancient wooden churches in northeast Slovakia, unique in their construction without nails, and still functioning as religious buildings today.

Slovakia became an independent nation in 1993 when Czechoslovakia split into the Czech and Slovak Republics. The Czech Republic went on to revel in the glory of its capital city Prague, which has become one of the must-see cities in Europe, while Slovakia's quiet charms have remained relatively unexplored. Nowadays the beautiful scenery, ski resorts, historic towns and easy access from the rest of Europe means that more and more travellers are starting to add Slovakia to their list of top European holiday destinations.

Information & Facts


Slovakians tend to be fairly formal in their business dealings, particularly the older generation, and women may encounter some chauvinism. The normal greeting is a handshake. Meetings usually begin with socialising and an alcoholic drink, which should not be refused. Although business may be conducted in English or German, an interpreter should be arranged and all written documents should be translated into Slovakian. Punctuality and politeness are always appreciated. Most businesses open Monday to Friday from about 9am to 5pm.


The Slovakian climate is generally temperate, with four distinct seasons. Summers are warm with temperatures in July averaging 70°F (21°C); while the coldest month, January, averages 28°F (-2°C). Winter brings snowfall, which usually lasts from November to May in the Tatras. The mountains are colder and wetter than the lowlands in general, with most rain falling in June and July. Autumn is the driest time of year to visit, and along with the month of spring, is a good time to visit Slovakia, as the weather is mild and the crowds are thin.


The international dialling code for Slovakia is +421. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). Area codes are used, e.g. Bratislava is (0)2. Internet cafes are common in most large towns and there is free wireless connection in Primates and Hviezdoslavs squares in Bratislava. Cellular network coverage is good, extending even into parts of the Tatras. Most towns have public phones and cards can be purchased in post offices and newspaper agents.


Visitors must carry passports with them at all times for identification purposes. Rowdy behaviour and loud noise are not allowed between 10pm and 6am. Bratislava has become a popular destination for stag parties and tourists have been fined or imprisoned for causing a public disturbance.

Duty Free

Passengers arriving from EU countries do not need to pay duty on any items provided they are for personal use or intended as gifts. Travellers to Slovakia from non-EU countries do not have to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 2 litres of wine or 1 litre of distilled liquor and spirits; and 50g of perfume.

Electrical current is 220/230 volts, 50Hz. Round pin plug and receptacle with male grounding pin are in use.

There are no vaccinations required for travel to Slovakia. No special precautions are necessary, except for visitors intending to spend time in the forests, in which case a vaccination for tick-borne encephalitis is recommended. Bird flu was first detected in February 2006, and although there is little risk to travellers, close contact with live birds should be avoided and all poultry products well cooked as a precaution. No human deaths or infections have been reported. Slovakia has a reciprocal health agreement with most EU countries providing emergency health care on the same terms as Slovak nationals. EU travellers should carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with them. It is still recommended that visitors take out comprehensive medical insurance, including mountain evacuation. Hospitals are available in all major towns, and pharmacies and clinics exist in the tourist areas and smaller towns, but little English is spoken.

Slovak is the official language, which is closely related to Czech. English and German are the most commonly spoken foreign languages, although outside Bratislava, English is not widely understood.

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. The Euro replaced the koruna (SKK) as the official currency on 1 January 2009. Travellers cheques are the safest way to carry money and are accepted at all major banks and exchange offices (dollars and pounds sterling give the best exchange rates). Shops are increasingly accepting credit cards, but it is best to check beforehand. ATMs are common.

Passport Visa

Passengers are required to hold health insurance covering the period of stay in Slovakia, as well as funds equal to at least $50 per day of stay, travellers cheques are accepted but credit cards are not. The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Slovakia is generally a safe country to visit and most visitors will experience a trouble-free holiday. In the cities though, it is wise to be careful of personal possessions, particularly in popular tourist areas and on public transport, due to increasing incidents of pick-pocketing and bag snatching.

Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from March to October).

10% is expected in restaurants if the service has been good. Taxi fares are usually rounded up to the nearest 10, and other service staff commonly receive about 20 Sk.

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