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Facts about Slovakia

Facts about Slovakia

Official name: Slovak Republic (SR)
State formation date: 1 January 1993 
State system: republic
Political system: parliamentary democracy (150 members of Parliament elected for 4 years)
Membership in international organisations: EU (since 1 May 2004), NATO, UN, UNESCO, OECD, OBSE, CERN, WHO, INTERPOL, etc.
Area:  49 035 km2
Currency: Euro (from 1/1/2009)
Location: Central Europe (17° – 22° E, 47° – 49° N)
The mid and the North of the country is mountainous (Carpathian curve), lowlands (important agricultural areas) are typical of the South and the East. The most important Slovak river the Danube connects the capital city of the SR Bratislava with two capital cities of the neighbour countries – Vienna and Budapest.
Time: Central European time (+1 hour from GMT)
(Summer time/daylight – saving time from March to November: +2 hours from GMT)
Capital city: Bratislava (population 465 327 as at 1/6/2012)
Population: 5 412 008 (as at 30/6/2013)
Population density: 110/km2
Official language: Slovak (learn Slovak here)
Climate: Moderate climatic zone, with changing four seasons, average temperature in winter -2 °C
(the coldest month January, the coldest area High Tatras), in summer 21 °C (the warmest months July and August, the warmest area Danubian Lowland). In some mountain ranges the snow remains on average 130 days per year.
Border countries: Hungary (654.8 km), Poland (541.1 km), the Czech Republic (251.8 km), Austria (106.7 km), Ukraine (97.8 km)
Administrative divisions: 8 self-governing regions (Bratislava, Trnava, Trenčín, Nitra, Žilina, Banská Bystrica, Prešov, Košice region), 79 districts, 138 towns, 2891 municipalities (including towns)
Nationalities / Ethnic groups: Slovak (80.7 %), Hungarian (8.5 %), Roma (Gipsy) (2 %), Czech (0.6 %), Ruthenian (0.6 %), Ukrainian (0.1 %), German (0.1 %), Polish (0.1 %) and other (7.3 %)

 

Getting here

Getting to Slovakia has never been simpler. Airlines connect Bratislava (BTS) with larger European cities such as Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Rome, London, Prague, Vienna, Riga, Warsaw,Kiev and more. 

The centre of Eastern Slovakia, Košice (KSC), is directly connected with Bratislava, Prague, Kiev, Warsaw, Wien, London, Sheffield, Bristol, Cologne, Milan-Bergamo, Istanbul, Tel Aviv. 

Mostly by charter flight you can get to international airports in Poprad, Sliač, Piešťany and Žilina.

Vienna Schwechat Airport (VIE) is only 50 km from the centre of Bratislava, highway ride from there takes up to 45 minutes. 

Slovakia is easily accessible by car due to its location in the Central Europe and advanced road network. Entrance gate to Slovakia from the west is Bratislava, which is directly accessible by highways from the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. 

Approximate distance and travel time from selected European cities to Bratislava

Vienna: 70 km, 1 hour.
Budapest: 200 km, 2 hours 15 minutes.
Prague: 340 km, 3 hours 30 minutes.
Zagreb: 420 km, 4 hours 50 minutes.
Krakow: 420 km, 5 hours 30 minutes.
Munich: 490 km, 5 hours 30 minutes.
Belgrade: 570 km, 6 hours 10 minutes.
Berlin: 690 km, 7 hours 30 minutes.
Warsaw : 675 km, 7 hours 30 minutes.
Rome: 1150 km, 12 hours
Brussels: 1200 km, 12 hours.
Paris: 1330 km, 13 hours.
Kiev: 1330 km, 18 hours.
London: 1560 km, 16 hours.
You can get to Slovakia by an international train from all its neighbouring countries.
Search for train connection at Slovakrail.sk.
You can get international train tickets at RailEurope.

Bus services between Slovakia and many European cities are provided by Eurolines (Slovak Lines) and Student Agency. Between Vienna and Bratislava run the buses of Slovak Lines and Blaguss / Flixbus company. Strama offers a seasonal line (from 15th June to 15th October) from Poprad to Zakopane (Poland). With Tiger Express you can travel from Košice to Krakow.
A very attractive way to get to Slovakia is by a boat. Danube Bratislava Passenger Port is connected by regular services with Vienna, Hainburg, Budapest and other Danube river ports.

Accommodation

Since Slovakia is the all seasons destination, accommodation services reflect that. They are as diverse as the whole country. You can choose from a variety of hotels of all categories, including historical hotels, butik hotels, international chains hotels, alpine hotels or motels. Renowned hotel chains such as Marriott International, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, IHG, Accor, GHA, Hilton Worldwide, Austria Trend Hotels and Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences all have a presence in the country. Short term flat rental is also available through Airbnb.

Visa and customs

Slovakia is a part of the Schengen Area - territory of 23 countries of the European Union + 2 associated countries of the European Economic Area, which agreed on the abolition of border controls between themselves and on common visa regulations. In order to enter the area, citizens of third countries must hold a valid travel document and, if required, a visa. Travellers should also state the purpose of their journey. 
Which type of visa the foreigner needs depends on the length and purpose of the stay in Slovakia. There are 4 types:
•    Schengen visa type A = Airport transit visa
•    Schengen visa type B = Transit visa
•    Schengen visa type C = Entry visa
•    Long-term visa D
Here you can find the list Countries, whose nationals are not subject to visa requirement when entering the territory of Slovak Republic: http://www.minv.sk/?Visa-free-regime
Read more about conditions for granting of a visa on the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: http://www.mzv.sk/web/en/consular_info/visa
Slovakia belongs to the Taxation and Customs Union together with the other European Union Member States and goods brought into, and taken out of, the country from within the EU are not liable for duty. Slovakia is a signatory of the Convention on Temporary Admissions. ATA Carnets are thus honoured, making the transportation of film equipment over the border a simpler matter.

Usefull info

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.

SMOKING
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.

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.

DRINKING WATER
There is drinking water from the taps, besides some exceptional cases, when a notification warns about the possible defect.

HEALTH SERVICES
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.

ELECTRICITY
230 V/50 Hz, standard socket with safety pin.