Travelling around Slovakia
Travelling by car
Driver requirements: All foreign national driving licences are recognized. Visitors driving cars or trucks must be at least 18 years of age. International driving permits are recognized.
Traffic regulations: The current traffic regulations are the same as in other European countries.
Some important differences:
- The use of mobile phones is forbidden while driving
- Speed is limited at railway crossings to 30km/h, while in the city it is 50km/h, on the highway 90km/h, and on the freeway 130km/h
- Trams turning right have the right of way
- There is no right turn on a red light
- No amount of alcohol in the blood is tolerated
Motorway stickers: Vehicles using certain sections of freeway and selected highways must purchase a sticker and place it on the right-hand side of the windscreen. Any sticker not fixed is invalid. Stickers can be bought at most gas stations, and cost around 30 EURO for one year.
Breakdown service: The road assistance service can be reached at 18-124. The service operates 24 hours a day. Call 112
Taking the train
Trains in Slovakia are the safest, cheapest and most agreeable way to travel. The most frequented line in the country, the Bratislava-Košice route, costs about €15 and takes roughly 5.5 hours.
Be aware of crowded trains, especially on Friday and Sunday evenings when swarms of university students travel to and from school. On those lines it can be nearly impossible to find a seat in the regular cars. To assure a seat, buy a seat reservation (miestenka) or bypass the crowds altogether and ride first class, where plenty of personal space is a virtual guarantee.
Taxi service is still cheap by Western standards. Some drivers may try to rip off foreigners by not turning the meter on and then claiming an outrageous total, so make sure it’s running before he takes off.
In Bratislava, avoid taking cabs from the main railway station and the bus station. For a tip, just call 00421 16 100, much cheaper, but they probably don't speak any English.
There are several GSM mobile networks in Slovakia, all of which allow roaming. Most pay phones are card operated. Buy phone cards (telefónna karta) at news-stands, gas stations or at the post office. International calling cards also work. To place an international call, dial 00, the country code (44 for the UK), city code and number.