#40 (jul 1997 :-)

This page contains general information about the Slovak Republic and practical tidbits for travellers.

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Table of Contents:

About Slovakia

Name: Slovenska republika (Slovensko)
Area: 49,006 sq. km (18,927 sq miles)
Population: 5,377,000 (1996) - 51.3% female
Official Language: Slovak
Bordering Countries: Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria
Capital: Bratislava (Population 446,700)
President: Michal Kovac
Prime Minister: Vladimir Meciar

Currency: Slovak Crown (Sk)
Approximate Exchange Rate: U.S.$ = 33.50 Sk

Cash Machines:

"Several commission-free legal money exchange kiosks are located OUTSIDE of K-MART in downtown Bratislava, they all have big signs posted on them in English. It is interesting to note that just a few steps away inside of the K-MART there is a kios k that charges 8% (how do they manage to compete ???).
Travelers should be careful about the unauthorized money-changers that operate in same area!"


  • Postcard to U.S. 9 Sk
  • Letter to U.S. 14 Sk
  • Postcard to G.B. 6 Sk
  • Letter to G.B. 9 Sk

Stamps and public transportation tickets can be purchased at PNS or Tabak outlets.


  • Tipping: Round the restaurant bill up by about 10%
  • You have to pay to use public restrooms: Drop 2 Sk in the attendant's dish and take the strip of toilet paper. There's none inside.


  • Generally 8-6 (many with a 12:30 to 1:30 lunch break)
  • Banks may close at 3:30
  • Saturday, most stores close at 1 or 2
  • Sunday a lot of foodstores are open, but they close at noon.

Time zone: GMT+1 (seasonal changes)
Voltage: 220V/50Hz
Video System::PAL


In March 1997, the Country's Telephone Code changed to 421!

"City codes start with 0 (e.g. Bratislava is 07). However, the leading zero is not dialed when calling from overseas."
  • Local calls from public phones: 2 Sk (6 min)
  • Local Phone Inquiries: 120
    • Pre-paid phone cards can be purchased at local Tabak or PNS outlets
  • International Inquiries: 0149
    • International calls from the Slovak Republic: dial 00 first!

  • AT&T USADirect: 00-42-000101
  • MCI Call USA: 00-42-000112
  • CanadaDirect: 00-42-000151
  • Sprint Express: 00-42-087187
  • AustraliaDirect: 00-42-006101
  • B.T.Direct (U.K.):00-42-004401

"Starting in February 1997, there will be a cellular network available in larger cities and along the main highways, gradually covering up to 90% of the country. This system will use the European GSM standard. It will first be operated by Eurotel Bratislava."

EUnet Slovakia has been providing Internet services in Slovakia since 1989. Phone: (421-7) 725-306, Fax: (421-7) 728-462, E-mail: info@Slovakia.EU. net

The Union of Translators and Interpreters:
Laurinska 2, 815 08 Bratislava, Slovakia, telephone (421-7) 334-374, or 332 817, ext. 226.

Recommended Translator/Tourist Guide:
Vladimir Benko

English Language Newspaper:
The Slovak Spectator (bi-weekly)
Ph: (421-7) 396-517, 399-843

Speed Limits:

  • 4-lane controlled access highway: 130 km/h (80 mph)
  • open roads: 90 km/h (55 mph)
  • build-up areas: 60 km/h (40 mph)
  • Speeding fines: 1000 Sk (payable on the spot)
  • Seat belts: Compulsory

Pay attention to inconspicuous looking cars (mostly Skoda Favorits, but also VW Golf and Renault 21) parked at the side of the road. On the highways, for pacing they use stronger cars (Fords etc.) with cameras filming the speedometer and your car. On the outskirts of bigger towns, the main practice is the use of photo radar.

Alcohol limit is 0.0 in Slovakia, so don't risk it.

"Gas/petrol (benzin) comes as Natural 95 and 98 (unleaded) or UNI91 and UNI95, which can be used in place of either leaded or unleaded... The APPROXIMATE cost per U.S. gallon is $2.75. (About 20 Sk/litre). Diesel fuel is called "nafta".< BR> Remember: stations aren't as frequent as in Western Europe and only some are open past 6 P.M. Get a list of 24-hour ones from Satur."


  • Police (tel. 158)
  • Ambulance (tel. 155)
  • ZS Slovakia Alfa (tel. 154) - towing
  • Fire: (tel.150)

National Holidays: Jan. 1 and 6, Good Friday & Easter Mon., May 1, July 5, August 29, Sept. 1, Sept. 15, Nov. 1, December 24-26

Climate: (Bratislava)

Average Maximum Daily Temperatures:
Jan:  2C (36F)  May: 21 (70)   Sep: 22 (72)
Feb:  4  (39)   Jun: 24 (75)   Oct: 15 (59)
Mar:  9  (48)   Jul: 26 (79)   Nov:  8 (46)
Apr: 16  (61)   Aug: 26 (79)   Dec:  4 (39)

NOTE: Tatra Mountains are much cooler year-round!

5-Day Forecast for Bratislava

Travel Connections

  • Through Prague:
    • Czech Airlines
      • (U.S. & Canada): (800) 223-2365
      • (London): 44(071) 255-1898
    • Delta (800) 241-4141
  • Through Vienna: (Schwechat Airport lies only 50 km (30 miles) west of Bratislava)

    • Departure times of BUSES from Vienna airport (Schwechat) to Bratislava: (The trip takes approx. 1 - 1.5 hours, depending on traffic at the border)
      8:20, 10:20* 11:50, 13:20, 15:20, 17:20, 18:50*, 20:50, 22:50 (*not on Sunday)

    • Departure times for hydrofoil BOATS:
      • leave Vienna 9AM-- arrive in Bratislava 10AM
      • leave Vienna 6:45PM -- arrive in Bratislava 7:45 (after Sept. 15: the 2nd trip leaves at 4:45P.M.!)
      • After October 16: no ships until 16th of April.
      • Contact:
        Blue Danube Travel
        Ph. (421/7) 36-22-62 or (421/7) 36-22-58.
        Fax: (421/7) 33-39-05 or (421/7) 36-35-01.
        NOTE: Fares are lower for Slovaks than foreigners!
    • TRAINS from Vienna to Bratislava: Departures: Arrivals: 08:00 09:07 12:00 13.07 16.17 17:07 18:28 20:04 21:10 22:27

Addresses in Bratislava:

  • U.S. Embassy: Hviezdoslavovo 4 (07/33-59-32)
  • Canadian Consulate: Kolarska 4
  • British Embassy: Grosslingova 35 (07/36-44-20)
  • Main Post Office: Namestie SNP 36

Tourist Information

Some Slovak Embassies:

  • US:
    2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 380, Wash. DC (202) 965-5160< BR> Fax: (202) 965-5166; visa/passport phone number: (202) 965-5164
  • Canada:
    50 Rideau Terr., Ottawa, On. (613) 749-4442
    commercial section e-mail:
  • Australia:
    47 Culgoa Circuit, O'Malley Canberra A.C.T. 2606
    Tel. (61/6) 290-15-16; Fax (61/6) 290-17-55
  • Switzerland:
    3006 Bern
    Tel. +41 (031) 352 36 46; Fax +41 (031) 351 48 59

Visa requirements:

  • U.S. and G.B. citizens: Up to 30 days: not necessary (with valid passport)
  • Canadian citizens: VISA NO LONGER REQUIRED!


Slovak Parliament just adopted a measure requiring foreigners to have US$15 for every day they plan to spend in the country. If the visitor has no cash, (s)he can show a credit card or an invitation from a Slovak resident, a certificate that the person is attending a seminar, a cure- program at a spa, and so on.
"The bad news is that the formulation of the law is pretty vague and too much is left on the customs officers. It will only increase their arrogance."

Slovak Information Center in NY:

  • 406 E. 67th St, N.Y. 10021 (212) 737-3971

Slovakia Travel Service

  • 10 East 40th Street, Suite 3601, New York, NY 10016 (212) 213-3865, fax (212) 213-4461.
  • 17-18 Old Bond St, London 44(071/629-6058)

Czech Airlines: (the widest network of flights to Slovakia)

  • U.S. & Canada: (800)223-2365
  • London: 44(071/255-1898)

Selected Regions & Some Cities:

  • Bratislava
  • High Tatra Mountains (Vysoke Tatry)
    • Smokovec
    • Poprad
    • Zdiar
  • Cental Region
  • Eastern Region
  • "Off the beaten track":
    • Bardejov
    • Levoca "It's a totally intact medieval town surrounded by a circular wall, with a lovely town square with old buildings and a stunning Gothic cathedral with the world's largest Gothic carved wooden altar, all this being overlooked by a newer pilg rimage cathedral on a high hill. Also nearby is the Spissky Hrad castle somberly perched on a hill over a town between Levoca and Poprad."

BRATISLAVA (Country phone code: 421, city code: 07)

    (Country's Telephone Code is now 421. The City Codes start with 0. However, when calling from overseas, don't dial this zero.)

  • U.S. Embassy: Hviezdoslavovo 4 (33-59-32)
  • Canadian Consulate: Kolarska 4
  • British Embassy: Grosslingova 35 (36-44-20)
  • Main Post Office: Namestie SNP 36
  • 24-hour pharmacy: Spitalska 3
  • American Chamber of Commerce: Mileticova 23, Suite 307, 821 08 Bratislava, Telephone/Fax: (421/7)214-730.
  • Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Gorkeho 9, 816 03 Bratislava, Ph: 333-846 or 362-681; Fax: 310-754

Tourist Help

  • BIS: Panska 13 (Ph: 33-34-66; fax: 33-31-09)
  • Satur Tours & Travel: Mileticova 1, 824 72 Bratislava. Phone: 634-67; Fax: 21-26-64
    Satur has 54 offices throughout Slovakia, emphasizing tours within the country, especially in the regions of Bratislava, the spa of Piestany, and the High and Low Tatras.
  • Satur Bratislava: Jesenskeho 5 (526-24)
  • American Express c/o Tatratour: Frantiskanske nam. 3, Ph: 33-58-52 or 201-5282, fax: 21-27-22 or 21-36-24
  • Tatra Air: (29-23-06)
  • CSA Airline: (33-12-30)
  • CSAD-Buses: (632-13)
  • Hydrofoil to Vienna & Budapest:
    • SPD (595-18)
    • Blue Danube Travel (36-22-62)
  • Car rentals:
    • Avis: (33-32-01)
    • Europcar/National: (22-02-85 or 34-08-41)
    • Hertz: (22-67-70 or 34-81-55)
    • Recar: (33-34-20)
    • 24-hour Emergency Tow: (36-37-11)
  • Streetcar & Bus Tickets: 7 Sk (must be purchased before boarding)
  • Taxis: (~10 Sk/km) (ph. 331-331)

NOTE: It is impossible to list every restaurant and every hotel in every town. Rather, I've selected recommended establishments at different price ranges:

Some Hotels:

  • Expensive: Danube, Rybne nam. 1 (34-00-00)
  • Moderate: Zochova Chata, 90001 Modra/Piesky (0704/922-991) Note: 20 miles outside the city
  • Inexpensive: Krym, Safarikovo nam 7 (325-471)

Some Dining:

  • Expensive: Klastorna vinaren, Frantiskanska ul. (33-04-30)
  • Moderate: Korzo, Hviezdoslavovo nam. 11 (33-49-74)
  • Inexpensive:
    • Stara Sladovna ("mamut"), Cintorinska 32 (511-01)
    • Bistro Mamutko: Main Railroad Station
    • Senator Bar-Restaurant, Zupne namestie 3 (330-268)
      "It's one of those subterranean clubs that have great french fries and the Garlic soup is to die for. And the prices are extremely reasonable."
  • Some lunch, snack and people-watching joints:
    • Judy's Gallery (Beblaveho 4)
    • Cafe Blankyt (Obchodna 48)
    • "the bridge Cafe" (Novy Most)
  • Recommended Clubs:
    • U-Club (Nabr. gen. L. Svobodu, underneath the castle)
    • KGB Bar (Krcma Gurmanov Bratislavy) on Obchodna ul.
    • Charlie's Pub (near hotel Kyjev)
    • Zbrojnos
    • Velki Frantiskani Bar (Frantiskanske nam .10; ph. 33-073)

    Some Sights:

    • The Castle
    • Kapitulska ulica
    • Old Town Hall
    • Cerveny Kamen


    The Tatra mountains (Vysoke Tatry) are the northernmost and the highest part of 1200 km (745.5 mile) long Carpathian bow. The main ridge follows the west-east direction for the length of 78 km. (48.5 miles). The whole area of Tatra mountains is 786 sq. km. (488.5 sq. miles). The mountains are divided into three parts: Western and Eastern Tatras and the Lower Tatras.
    The Eastern Tatras consist of two parts - Vysoke Tatry (High Tatras) and Belianske Tatry. The length of ridge of High Tatras is 26.5 k m. (16.5 miles) and the highest peak is the Gerlachovsky stit (2655 m - 8711 ft). Parallel to the Tatra ridge, but ca. 40 km (25 miles) to the south are Nizke Tatry (Low Tatras) with the highest peak Dumbier (2043 m - 6703 ft) and Chopok (2024 m - 6640.5 ft), the most attractive skiing resort in Slovakia.

    Tourist Help:

    • Satur:
      • Stary Smokovec (0969/24-17)
      • Poprad (092/232-62)
    • American Express c/o Tatratour: Nam. Sv. Egidia 9, Poprad (092/637- 12)
    • Police: (158)
    • Medical emergency: (24-44)
    • Car repair: (2704)
    • Mountain Rescue Unit: "Horska sluzba" (0969/28-20)

    Some Hotels

    • Poprad: Europa Volkerova ul. (092/327-44)
    • Smokovec: Grand Stary Smokovec (0969/21-54)
    • Strbske Pleso: Patria (0969/925-91)

    Some Dining

    • Smokovec: Tatranska Kuria (0969/2806)
    • Lomnica: Zbojnicka Koliba (0969/967-630)


    "Banska Stiavnica and surroundings contain a unique system of man-made lakes connected through a network of ditches used to deliver water to mines some 500 years ago. Visit the technical museum and the museum of mining (B. Stiavnica together with Banska Bela and Kremnica were important mining towns - gold, silver, antimony). Banska Stiavnica at one time might have been the third largest city of the Hungarian empire, probably after Budapest and Bratislava (whatever their names were at that time). Y ou can still go into an actual mine. Also, you can visit a museum of battles against the Turks in a lovely little castle above the town. There is a larger castle in Antol, about 5 km south, that belonged to rich families somehow related to Maria Theresia (I am probably ignorant of historical facts, but the name Koburg pops up from somewhere). It is full of furniture, pictures, and literally thousands of trophies. You will see about 50 rooms used for different purposes. Part of the castle is also used as a museum of wood industry and hunting.
    For those who think there are no volcanoes in Slovakia, climb one of the hills in Kremnicke vrchy (between Kremnica and Banska Bystrica) and look east to see Polana. You will see the conically shaped caldera of th e long dead volcano."

    Tourist Help:

    • Satur:
      • Tr. SNP 4, Banska Bystrica (088/24-25-75)
      • Hodzova ul 9, Zilina (089/465-32)
    • American Express c/o Tatratour: Marianske nam. 21, Zilina (089/475- 29)

    Some Hotels & Restaurants:

    • Banska Bystrica (city phone code: 088)
      • Moderate:
        • Lux, Nove nam. 2 (241-41)
        • Narodny dom, Narodna ul. (243-31)
        • Urpin, Ul. Jana Cikkera 5 (245-56)
      • Inexpensive: Motel Ulanka, Ulanska cesta (536-57)
    • Zilina (phone code: 089) Slovakia, Nam. Ludovita Stura (465-72)


    "Roznava and surroundings: Roznava is 700 years old town with mining tradition (gold, silver, copper). Old Miners Square (it really is a geometrical square) with Watch Tower (used in the times of Turkish invasion) and the Museum of Minership. Betl iar: village 6 km from Roznava - old well-known Manor house (re-opened after a long-time reconstruction) and a nice park. Krasna Horka: village 7 km from Roznava - nice big castle on the hill, last owner was the Earl Andrassy's family. Gombasek: 10 km fro m Roznava - cave (calcium), camping available. Domica: 20 km from Roznava - cave with an underground river (Styx) - tour on small boats, the cave has two entrances (exits) - one on the Slovak and one on the Hungarian territory, camping available. Ochtina: village 25 km from Roznava - Aragonite cave, one of the only three known aragonite caves in the world. Dobsinska Ladova Jaskyna: 35 km from Roznava - Ice cave, camping available. Dobsinska priehrada (dam): village Dedinky with a campsite. Good windsurfin g, but water is too cold for swimming. Julius: 20 km from Roznava Dobsina: 25 km from Roznava Dedinky, Mlynky, Biele Vody: 35 km from Roznava - in winter good condition for skiing, in summer trekking. All these places are situated on the areas of either S lovensky raj (Slovak Paradise) or Slovensky Kras (both protected National Parks)."

    Tourist Help:

    • Satur:
      • Rooseveltova 1, Kosice (095/231-23)
      • Hlavna ul. 1, Presov (091/24042)
    • American Express c/o Tatratour, Alzbetina 6, Kosice (095/248-72)

    Some Hotels & Restaurants:

    • Kosice (city phone code: 095)
      • Expensive: Slovan, Hlavna ul.1 (273-78)
      • Moderate: Imperial, Ul. Hrnciarska 1 (221-46)
      • Inexpensive:
        • SD Medicka 2 - it is a student hostel
        • Restauracia Metropol: Sturova ul.
    • Presov (phone code: 091)
      • Moderate: Dukla, Nam. Legionarov 2 (227-41)
      • Inexpensive:Saris, Sabinovska 1 (463-51)

    Some Sights:

    • Bardejov
    • Levoca
    • Slovensky Raj

    Other Sources of Information

    • Much more detailed info on many related subjects can be accessed via any of the following methods:
    • USENET news: bit.listserv.slovak-l
    • Travel Guides:
      • Fodor's travel guides
        (traditional) Publisher: 201 E. 50th St. N.Y. 10022
      • Lonely Planet, Published by Lonely Planet, P.O. Box 617, Hawthorn, Vic 3122, Australia
      • Off the Beaten Track, Published by Moorland Pub. Co
      • The Rough Guide by Rob Humphreys
        (good details on many sights) Publisher: Rough Guides, Ltd., 1 Mercer St. London, WC2H 9OJ0
      • Czech & Slovak Republics Guide by Open Road Publishing
        "A simple but complete straight-ahead guide to both countries. Instead of glossy pictures you get opi nions ('The Best Places' or 'How to Get Along') and instead of fancy fold-outs, you get valuable descriptions of hundreds of hotels and restaurants even outside of Prague."
      • "Let's Go..." series
        (youth hostels & student accommodations) Publisher: 1 Story St., Cambridge, MA 02138

    • Textbooks:
      • "Beginning Slovak: A Course for the Individual or Classroom Learner." By Oscar E. Swan and Sylvia Galova-Lorinc.
        Audio-Forum, 96 Broad Street, Guilford, Connecticut 06437
        Phone: (203) 453-9794 Fax: (203) 453-9774.
        "A n excellent Slovak language course. It includes a 522-page instruction manual and 8 audio cassette tapes. The downside is its price: $185.00. For the brave souls who want to attempt to learn Slovak without thetapes, the book is available at a lower price directly from the publisher:
        Slavica Publishers, Inc. PO Box 14388 Columbus, Ohio 43214"
      • Colloquial Slovak, the complete course for beginners by James Naughton
        First published in 1997 by Routledge, 11 New Fetter Lane, London
        USA and Canada: Routledge, 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
        ISBN: 0-415-11540-X (book)
        0-415-11541-8 (cassettes)
        0-415-11542-6 (book and cassettes)
      • An individualized instruction course in Slovak by Louise B. Hammer is available from:
        The Ohio State University, Foreign Language Publications, 311N Legal Services Building, 33 West Eleventh Ave. Co lumbus, OH 43201-2013
        phone: (614) 292-3838
        Slovak Individualized Instruction assumes no previous knowledge of the language. It is individualized in the sense that you will be working individually and at your own pace (as opposed to a regular clas s). It is teacher- assisted if you sign up for credit through Ohio State (you need not do this however, it is possible to buy the materials and work on your own). If you sign up for credit, it is the instructor's responsibility to check your work and know ledge of the material and to give you any additional help you may need. It is mastery-based in the sense that you must pass all tests (if you sign up for credit) at a minimum 80% proficiency level. All four skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking) a re taught in this course.
      • Basic Slovak by Jozef Mistrik, (isbn: 80-08-01333-8)
        Slovenske Pedagogicke Nakladatelstvo, Sasinkova 5b 815 60 Bratislava, Slovakia.
        ('A bit dry, but one of the few things available, and for the princely sum of Sk 50. Other than the Sl ovak bits, it's in English.')
      • Jozef Mistrik / SLOVAK LANGUAGE
        Vydali (Published by) Ucebne pomocky, n.p., Banska Bystrica, 1985.
      • "Slovencina pre krajanov hovoriacich po anglicky" (A Slovak Textbook for English-Speaking Countrymen) published by Matica slovenska in Martin. Authors: Jan Oravec & Jozef Prokop.
        'We had borrowed this book from the Slovak emb assy in Ottawa. It contains 356 pages.'
      • 'I know of the existence of interactive dictionaries Slovak- English, Slovak-German, Slovak-Russian, Slovak-French, Slovak-Italian and Slovak- Spanish, distributed by: TEOS Trencin, Soltesovej 1/40, 911 01 Trencin, tel/ fax:(0831) 36104'
      • "Travlang" offers a free on-line Dictionary and a Pronunciation Guide.

    For a very thorough resource on geneological research in Slovakia, click here.

    You can also get information on the neighboring Czech Republic here.

    A useful phrase: "Dakujem, Ivan" - Thank you, Ivan ;-)

    Disclaimer: All descriptions and opinions belong to the various members of the Internet community. I'm not responsible for any errors or omissions. You can send suggestions, corrections or additions to:

    "Ja nic - ja muzikant"