GENERAL INFO
Slovakia Capitol: Bratislava

Min. travel cost 20Euro/day, E= 39.28sk, May 2005


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Formerly part of Czechoslovakia,. Slovakia became independent from Czech in 1993. Not as popular with travelers as its central European neighbors - Austria, Czech Republic, Poland & Hungary. Many visitors just pass through Slovakia using it as a transit stop on the way to other destinations in the region.
The lack of mass tourism is one of its main attractions. Others include historic cities, and impressive mountain scenery. Slovakia is also one of the best destinations in Eastern Europe for skiing, hiking and spelunking - exploring caves.
Main destinations: The capitol Bratislava, the historic towns of Kosice, Levoca, and The High Tatras mountain range - A popular hiking and skiing area.
Information:

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Language
National Slovak: romanic alphabet is used
Foreign German, Russian, English is increasing particularly amongst young people and workers in tourism

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Weather (General)
Temperate climate with cold winters and hot summers. The S and W are warmer, the mountain regions and some areas in the N have an alpine climate.
 Best season: May - September
 High season: During summer holidays
 Winter season: Skiing? (No info on skiing at this time)

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Tourist Info
Tourist Offices in the main tourist destinations have limited brochures in English. Maps are not usually free. Staff generally speak English and they usually have information on accommodation. Tourist offices' infos are not always correct

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Bank/Exchange
Currency: Slovenska korun, Slovak crown(Sk)
Bank notes: denominations: 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 5,000.
Exchange:
Banks are the best place
. Higher rates for T/C. Banks usually charge 2% Commission for T/C encasement.
American Express have branches at Tatratour Travel Agencies. Usually charge 1-2% for T/C encasement.
Exchange offices, 'zmenaren' means change, offer good rates, but commission could be high but you can find ones with reasonable commission so it is the best place to change money. Make sure asking issuing receipts because some of them might cheat you.
Don't change with individuals on the street.
Banks offer similar rates everywhere in Slovakia, except Tatra region: don't change if not necessary. In Kosice I found slightly better rates in banks then elsewhere.
Cash Advance: Available at some banks, no charge.
Credit Cards: Accepted in some hotels, high class restaurants, dept. stores.
ATM:
Available in most cities. Often at branches of Bank CS OB, Uni Banka, Banka Slovakia. Usually accept Cirrus, MC, Visa.

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Basic Travel Costs
Min. Traveling Cost / day 20Euro=800sk
Basic min. price
Dorm bed:300+sk Single room Pension 700sk
Food(local restaurant)150sk coffee(Tureka)20sk
Mineral Water 1.5lt 25sk Coke (1 liter)30sk
Beer (rest) 20sk
breakfast (Cont.) 40sk breakfast(Am)80sk
breakfast(local)50kc ice Cream- 15sk
mars bar 11sk toilet roll 6.80sk
newspaper(foreign)75sk English books classics 59sk
film 36 70kc movie ticket 110sk
telephone call local 24sk city bus ride 12sk

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Opening Hours
Government M-F9:00-17:00
Shop M-F9-18:00, Sa 9-12/13:00, Closed Sundays
Bank M-F 8/9:00-16:00
Museums Tu-Su 9/9:30-17/18:00

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Immigration/Visa
No visa required: EU countries, US citizens British can stay up to 180 days, US, Australian Japanese Citizens up to 30 days.
Visa required: New Zealand citizens - US$21 at Slovak embassy in Warsaw.Canadian citizens?

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Border Crossings/Points of Entry
AIR:
MR Stefanik International Airport
in Bratislava. but there are limited international flights into Slovakia. The more common flight entry/exit points are Vienna Scwechat airport(90min away by bus, 90sk? to Bratislava) and Budapest Airport.
Other Airport: Kosice Airport
Departure tax: Included in flight ticket price.
LAND:
Slovakia has borders with Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary. There are many border crossings however not all are open to foreigners.
Common Overland Routes:
From Czech: Praha-Bratislava (Bus 200kc?/Train 230kc?)
, From Austria: Vienna-Bratislava (Bus/train),
From Hungary Budapest-Bratislava
(Bus/train 3800ft discount for U26),
From Poland: Zakopane-Poprad/Tatras (Bus), Muszyna-Plavec(train Recommended to obtain a ticket between these border stations, about 100sk, to avoid penalty and to buy domestic ticket from Plavec to your destination.)
RIVER:
The River Donau (Danube) flows through Slovakia, Austria and Hungary From Apr-Oct there is a hydrofoil service between Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest Vienna to Bratislava OW OS210/630sk RT OS330/990sk Student discount: Check time table. Get there half an hour before departure time to go through customs.

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International Transport
There are train & bus connections from most main cities in Poland to cities throughout Europe. Bus and Train stations are always very close to each other
TRAIN
Euro City Trains require a supplement. Student Discounts Reductions - usually between 10-20% on international tickets (except to Czech Republic) must show an ISIC card. Wasteels travel agencies sell discounted international train tickets to U'26's.
Rail Passes
Eurail
isn't valid. Interrail, Eastrail and the Explorer Pass are valid.
BUS
Eurolines
is the main private bus company operating international routes. It is much easier to book seats at their agencies or travel agencies rather than at the bus station were there are usually long queues and the staff don't always speak English.
Bus Passes: Euroline Pass 30 days
High/low season Youth-Senior:
E420/355, Adult: E490/435, 15 and 40 day passes also available. (These prices were not checked at time of research, please use for general guidance only)
HYDROFOIL:see International border crossing section

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National Transport
There is an extensive, efficient and very cheap bus and train network. Trains are generally the better option between the main cities with buses supplementing to smaller, nearby towns.
TRAIN:
The most common means of transport for long distances. IC (Inter City) trains require a supplement. IC & Espresny (Express) trains require a reservation. The sign 'R' inside a box' means that a seat reservation is compulsory on that train. Rychlik are fast direct trains, osobny - ordinary trains stops at every station. Buy tickets at ticket counters, it may be possible to buy on the train but the ticket will cost more
International tickets are sold at separate counters.
Foreigners don't qualify for student discounts on National services.
Train guide:
Cestovny poriadok.
Arrivals (Prichody) white backed timetables & Departures (Odchody), yellow backed time tables at train stations.
BUS:
National SAD Domestic services are more expensive but often faster than the train. Sometimes you must buy a ticket at the station sometimes you must buy from the bus driver - very confusing.

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Local Transport
Bus,Tram & Trolleybus:
Most cities have a cheap and efficient public transport system. Tickets cannot usually be bought on board (though this isn't always the case for local buses and in Banska Bystrica you buy from the driver). Buy them from kiosks, machines, newsstands. You must always validate tickets when you get on the bus/tram. Spot fines up to 700Sk.
!Warning Make sure you validate the ticket correctly, you may be fined if you stamp it 'upside down'
Taxis:
Metered.
Make sure it is on. Tourists are often overcharged. It's better to book a taxi at your hotel reception or by phone. If possible use other transport.

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Mail/Telephone
The Post & Telephone system is undergoing modernization, services are improving.
POST OFFICE: M-F 7:00-17:00, Sa7:00-12:00 - check local info.
Poste Restante: available at GPO's in main towns. Put '1' after city in address. Passport may be required when picking up mail.
! Warning: If sending parcels over 2kg must go to customs office.
Emergency numbers American Express: call collect to UK 44-273-571600

Mail

Japan USA Australia

Europe
Post Card+ up to20g/letters 10g

25sk
23sk
Parcel Airmail 1kg/2kg

440/820sk
240/400sk
Parcel Surface 1kg

390/755sk
210/340sk
Telephone:
Coin and card phones. Local call 4Sk. Use cardphones as coin phones are unreliable. Phone cards 150-500sk
Can make international calls from card-phones.
IDD code: 00+ country code + area code + number
Int'l (1 min) Britain 3.9sk, USA/Canada 3.9sk, Australia/Japan 9.9sk,
Home Country Direct Possible from any phone
USA: AT&T 0042 00 0101 UK: BT 0042 00 4401
Australia: 0042 00 6101 Japan: KDD 0042 008100

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Accommodation
2 price system-Foreigners pay more than Slovaks- in operation at many hotels. There are few, traveler style hostels or youth hostels in Slovakia. In the peak summer months of July & August University Dorms are turned into budget accommodation. 300-400sk p/person depending on standard, location. Usually 2-4 beds, book direct or through tourist office.
Private Rooms & Pensions are available in smaller towns and rural areas.
Chaty - Simple chalets or huts, common in mountain areas, from
100Sk/night?. All kinds of accommodation can often be booked through Tourist Offices, Satur Travel Agency and other private agencies. Sometimes a commission fee is charged.

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Food
A typical Slovakian meal is calorie heavy, meat based potato food, similar to Hungary food. International food options are increasing. Pizza is common. Also they produce good wines therefore you can find wine selling like coke bottles at supermarkets.
Restaurants
pivnica (Beer halls)
offer reasonably priced, typical Slovak food. Bufets Stand up food counters offering sausages & burgers, Cukraren - Cafes, very popular with locals, often have delicious cheap coffee & cakes and usually open on Sundays.
McDonalds and Pizza Hut have recently opened branches in Bratislava and will probably expand to other cities.
!Warning Overcharging of tourists is common in Bratislava. Check the menu for the prices. Many are posted outside. 23% tax may be added to the bill.

Vyprazany rezen: Schnitzel. Veprove: Roast pork, Vyprazany syr: deep fried cheese,the main vegetarian dish - often served with French fries and tartar sauce. Fazulova polievka: bean soup halusky: dumplings gulas: goulash Bryndzove halusky: potato dumplings with sheep's cheese sauce Zemiakove placky: stuffed potato pancakes pirohy: stuffed dumplings langose: deep-fried, garlic-flavored dough. Carp & Trout are popular fish options

Deserts
jablkovy zavin:
apple strudel, ovocne knedliky: fruit dumplings, palacinky: pancakes, zmrzlina: icecream.

Drinks
kava:
Coffee - turecka kava - turkish is the cheapest option. Caj: tea, Pivo: Beer, pivnica: (beerhouses) are common typical Slovak food is often served.
Wine Slovakia is a major wine producer. Wine is usually served at vinarens. Slivovice: plum brandy.

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Shopping & Other
Opening hours: M-F9-17:00, Sa9-13:00.
Shops in tourist areas often open later.
Souvenirs T-shirts 200-300sk, post cards 4-6sk,.
Voltage/Plug type: 220 V 50 cycles, Hz AC. 2-pinned plugs. Multi-adapters are hard to find, bring with you.
Photo: Developing Cost 36film = 220sk, processing from 1hr to 1 day.
English Papers: Slovak Spectator 40sk,. News, articles, tourist info, listings. Foreign newspapers cost from 90sk.

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Customs
Tipping Not customary. but it is common to round up the bill
Dress Casual dress is generally acceptable.
Bargaining Fixed prices are standard in most shops.

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Health & Safety
No one on our staff has any medical background, we have limited info in this section.
Free Health care for British Citizens, should carry health documentation.
Water Supposed to be safe to drink, but not recommended, heavily chlorinated. .
Health Risks There is a small risk of contracting encephalitis from Ticks found in hiking areas. If you find that a tick has entered into your skin, rub vaseline or alcohol over it or seek medical advice, Do NOT try to pull it out.

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Entertainment
Opera & classical music performances are very popular.
It's customary to dress up to go to the theater.
Many theaters have a summer break.
Tourist Office usually has information on what's happening

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Festivals/Public Holidays
Also see local info
Jan 1 PH New Year's Day, Establishment of Slovak Republic
Jan 6 PH The Three Wise Men
Mar PH Easter Monday,
May 1 PH Labor day
May 8 PH Victory over Fascism Day.
July 5 PH Cyril & Methodius (2 Slavonic apostles) Day
Aug 29 Slovak National Uprising
Sep 1 Constitution Day
Sep 15 Our Lady of Sorrows Day (also known as 7-pain Virgin Mary's Day)
Nov 1 All Saints Day
Dec 24-26 PH Christmas

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@ Internet @
Internet facilities were available in most cities. The fee is usually 30sk/hr

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