Slovakia or sometimes called the Slovak Republic, is a country located in Central Europe, squeezed in between Austria to the west, the Czech Republic to the northwest, Hungary to the south, Poland to the north and Ukraine to the east. More than two decades after splitting up of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia grew into an independent nation with a stable country and an abundance of things to see and do. Though its capital city, Bratislava, is the one getting all the attention because of it unique nightlife, there is much to enjoy in Slovakia’s gingerbread-style villages, which serve as a proof of Slovakia’s loyalty to its folk traditions.
Lovers of the outdoors are the ones most attracted to Slovakia. The High Tatras are made for hiking or winter sports, and castles look even more magical when covered in heavy snows. Then there are quaint churches in the east of the country, around a friendly city named Košice. Don’t forget cellar restaurants to sip on some wine and round up your perfect trip in this country at the very heart of Europe.
Warnings & Dangers in Slovakia
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Overall, Slovakia is very safe to travel to. Its crime rates are very low, and pickpockets are the biggest concern you'll have to deal with while on a holiday there. Have your wits with you and be vigilant at all times.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Road safety is a concern for some tourists traveling to Slovakia, since Slovakia has the eighth most dangerous roads in Europe, according to the European road safety chart. Be careful when driving, especially after dark. Be wary of taxi drivers trying to overcharge for their services with cheap tricks. Don't fall for them and insist on the meter.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpockets are common, but not as much as in other European countries. You should be careful when it comes to your valuables, keep them safe in your accommodation or at least don't carry them all in one place. Be especially cautious in Bratislava's Old Town, the Christmas markets in December, and on public buses, trams, or trains.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There are no severe threats of natural disasters in Slovakia, apart from occasional flooding.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
When it comes to mugging, it is not common, though you should avoid empty, deserted or poorly lit streets, and in such an occasion, hand over your possessions immediately and never resist
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Although there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Slovakia's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out, so be aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
As in any tourist destination, there is a heightened risk of getting scammed. Check every change twice, negotiate everything beforehand and never give your money before you receive the service you're paying for. In taxis, always insist on the meter and only pay what the meter shows.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Slovakia is, in general, very safe for women traveling solo. Apart from a few precaution rules you should apply in order to minimize your chances of something going wrong, if you avoid poorly lit and deserted streets and follow your common sense, your trip should go smoothly.
So... How Safe Is Slovakia Really?
Slovakia is a safe country to visit. Crime rates are low, even by European standards and violent crime is almost non-existent. Pickpockets are definitely a problem, though much less so than in other European countries and top destinations. Still, bear in mind that they tend to roam around the city and tourist-frequented areas. Be careful with your valuables and keep them in a safe place. The most usual places where they operate are crowded train stations, airports and shopping areas.
There will also be scammers waiting to trick you, so be wary of taxi drivers adding an imaginary surcharge to the metered value, or not running the meter at all and then delivering and astronomical fee at the end. Always insist on the meter before entering the vehicle.
Also common are car break-ins and you can expect thieves to smash your windows whether or not valuables are in plain sight. This is why it is always better to keep your valuables at your accommodation or safely by your side.
Always bear in mind that going out at night has its own dangers. There have been reports of people getting spiked drinks from locals and then waking up a few hours later with empty pockets. Don’t be paranoid, but try to avoid accepting drinks from strange people or simple insist on going with them to the bar and watching the drinks being made.
- Visas - For up to 90 days of stay, visas are not required for US citizens, Australians, Canadians or UK citizens. Make sure your passport is valid for at least three months longer than the expected validity of the visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Euro is the official currency in Slovakia and most of Europe. ATMs are available in most tourist destinations, and credit cards accepted in major hotels - for other establishments it is best to ask upfront.
- Weather - Slovakia has the typical European continental influenced climate characterized by warm, dry summers and somewhat cold winters. Daytime temperatures during summer are usually somewhere around 20-25°C, but sometimes they rise up to 30°C or more.
- Airports - M. R. Štefánik Airport, also referred to as Bratislava Airport is the busiest international airport of Slovakia. It is located about 9 km northeast of Bratislava city center.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Slovakia, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.