Slovakia is a very small country roughly the size of Switzerland and located in the heart of Europe and has got a lot to offer. From stunning castles, that have beginnings in the 11th century, such as the UNESCO heritage Spis castle or the famous Nosferatu castle Orava. But Slovakia is also famous for its open air musems of historic Slovak village, where you can see the architecture and take a look inside of a typical traditional log house and learn and imagine the everyday life of our ancestors or mountains such as High Tatras, Mala and Velka Fatra typical slovak villages such as Cicmany, Terchova or even the world heritage caves.
How to get to Slovakia
Slovakia is a member of the Schengen Agreement.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty - the European Union
Nationals of EU and EFTA countries only need a valid national identity card or passport for entry - in no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length.
Nationals of non-EU/EFTA countries will generally need a passport for entry to a Schengen country and most will need a visa.
Bratislava has its own airport. The budget airline Ryanair operate flights to Bratislava from various European cities, inluding London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Dublin, Rome (Ciampino), Paris (Beauvais) and Brussels (Charleroi), and a few others. These flights can be quite cheap, so if you are arriving from outside Europe, you might end up saving a lot of money by flying to a bigger airport and then connecting to Bratislava. However these flights do not operate daily, so you may be better flying into Vienna. [Norwegian Airlines] operate flights from Copenhagen and Oslo, and there are also flights to Moscow and Tel Aviv with UTAir and Sun d'or Airlines respectively.
The alternative is Vienna Airport, which is just 35 km (22 mi) from Bratislava. It provides a more convenient way of arriving to Slovakia by the major airlines, but can be more expensive. It also operates a much greater number of long-haul flights. Buses leave for Bratislava hourly, optionally you can take the airport shuttle, or a taxi which will cost around €70.
From The Czech Republic
As parts of former Czechoslovakia, the trains between the Czech Republic and Slovakia are frequent.
There are three daytime and one overnight train from Berlin to Bratislava.
Hourly regional expresses operate from Vienna to Bratislava. You can use EURegio ticket for €14 – a return ticket valid 4 days.
There is an overnight through car from Warszawa to Bratislava via Czech territory. Direct train connection from Poland is very poor, a bus is generally a better alternative. If you really want to travel from Poland by train, prepare for a full-day trip with a lot of train changes. It's cheaper to buy Polish ticket only to border point (Skalité Gr.) and then buy a Slovak domestic ticket at conductor (€1.30 surcharge).
There are EC trains from Budapest to Bratislava running every two hours and two IC trains a day from Budapest and Miskolc to Košice.
From Ukraine and Russia
There is a daily direct sleeper car from Moscow, Kiev and Lvov to Košice, Poprad and Bratislava. The journey is very long – 2 nights from Moscow and Kiev and 1 day and night from Lvov – because of poor rail state in western Ukraine,
Among many others, there are regular services from Vienna, Prague and Budapest to Bratislava; and from Uzhhorod, Ukraine to the eastern Slovak town of Michalovce and from Krakow, Poland through Zakopane, Poland to Poprad.
Taking a bus from Prague to Bratislava is slower but cheaper than train if you buy a ticket in advance, e.g. at Student Agency, Slovak Lines, or using the common bus reservation system AMSBus.
Buses from Poland and Ukraine are the best option, they are faster and more frequent than trains.
From Budapest the travel is 4 hours, the bus stop for 5 minutes at Györ and in a small restaurant in the road.
AccommodationThere is a wide variety of accommodation in Slovakia from 5* hotels, Boutique hotels to original slovak cottages. We always try to choose a variety of accommodation in our tours, so the customers get the feeling of the city stay, but also an original interaction with the local life and people in the traditional wooden cottages. For those who would like to book their accommodation on their own we recommend own we recommend sites such as trivago.com as where you can find all you need about accommodation in Slovakia. So hurry and book the holiday of your lifetime in 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)
President: Ivan Gašparovič (since 2009), elected for 5 years
Prime Minister: Robert Fico (since 2012)
State symbols: national coat of arms/ emblem, national flag, state seal
and national anthem „Nad Tatrou sa blýska“
Membership in international organisations: EU (since 1 May 2004), NATO, UN, UNESCO, OECD, OBSE, CERN, WHO, INTERPOL, etc.
International codes: SK, SVK, bar code 858
Area: 49 035 km2
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 is + 2 hours from GMT
Elevation: the highest point is Gerlach Peak (2655 m), the lowest point is the Bodrog river (95 m).
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 (679 km), Poland (597.5 km), the Czech Republic (265 km), Austria (127,2 km), Ukraine (98 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)
Capital city: Bratislava (population 426 091 as at 31/12/2006)
Population: 5 397 036 as at 21/5/2011
Population density: 110/km2
Official language: Slovak
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%)
- believers approximately 86.6% of which:
Roman Catholic (62%), Evangelic (5.9%), Greek-Catholic (3.8%), Reformed Christians (1,8%), Orthodox (0.9%)
- other 1.6%, unspecified 10.6%
- without confession about 13.4%
Currency: EURO (from 1/1/2009)
History of Slovakia
The territory of Slovakia has been settled from the oldest times. Several cultures inhabited its territory until they were dominated by the expanding Celts in the 4th century BC followed by the German-Roman rivalry at the turn of the Eras. In time of Migration of Nations the first Slavs arrived here. The Samo`s Domain existing in the mid-7th century with the territory of Slovakia as its central part was followed by establishment of the Nitra Principality at the beginning of the 9th century and finally the Great Moravian Empire was established in 833 AD - the first common state of the Slovak and Czechs ancestors. After the fall of Great Moravia the Old Hungarian tribes invaded the territory of Slovakia, and the territory of Slovakia with its inhabitants became part of the Kingdom of Hungary for the long thousand years.
The Hungarian state was consolidated after centuries of internal struggle between the nobility and the ruler and economic growth occurred also in the territory of today`s Slovakia, which was also the result of the thriving mining towns or the trade centres. In what is now the city of Bratislava, the first university of Slovakia, Academia Istropolitana was established in 1467. The royal house, which ruled the country after the invasion the Turks undertook in Europe, was that of Habsburgs which withheld the throne until 1918. From the perspective of the Slovak nation, the crucial period in their history was the 19th century when the Slovaks formulated their own political programme for the first time. The promising development of the national movement though, was mutilated by the Austrian-Hungarian Compromise signed in 1867 and the following period of Magyarisation which lasted full 50 years. Only the First World War activated the anti-Austrian-Hungarian resistance, which culminated in 1918 by the declaration on the joining of the Slovak nation with the Czech nation into a whole - the Czechoslovak Republic.
The independent Slovak State was established in Slovakia in 1939 as an outcome of international events, however, the end of the Second World War brought about restoration of Czechoslovakia. The communist party gradually seized power in the country and the communist dictatorship was overthrown only through the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The democratic process exposed several problems, which resulted in the break-up of the common state of the Czechs and Slovaks and the establishment of the independent Slovak Republic (1 January 1993).
Slovakia is a member of the European Union from May 2004. In December 2007, it became part of the Schengen Area and from 1/1/2009, upon the adoption of the single European currency EURO, Slovakia also became one of the countries of the European Monetary Union.