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Slovakia: the land of possibilities

Slovakia is rich in natural gems and urban jewels which are equally intriguing and charming. Not only is it a land of castles and medieval monuments, but also a place where all of the fans of outdoor activities will find their small paradise.

The major cities of Slovakia offer a lively ambience, excellent nightlife venues, and stunning old towns. But if you want to go slightly more off the beaten track, you will find here plenty of quaint villages, sparkling waterfalls, natural reserves, and churches perched on tiny hills.

Slovakia offers a wide variety of opportunities also when it comes to travelling. However, the most convenient choice would be to explore the country in your own vehicle or in a rental car. All major cities offer a wide variety of car rental companies with plenty of rental vehicle options and insurance types. After you choose what best matches your expectations, just buckle up and let’s start the adventure!

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The diversity of Slovakia

With plenty of attractive sights and great cultural life, Bratislava is an ideal place to start your Slovakian adventure. Considered the greatest jewel of Western Slovakia, the capital offers local gastronomy, top-notch shopping venues, and fine monuments.

Central Slovakia is characterised by forests, mountains, and verdant meadows galore. All of that creates a perfect spot for those who fancy close encounters with nature. Banská Bystrica, Zvolen, Liptovski Mikulas, or Martin are all ideal gateways to the region; however, the city that enjoy the greatest popularity is Poprad. Located at the foot of the High Tatras, Poprad is great both in the summer and in the winter season. Local restaurants, top-rated accommodation options, and interesting historical sites lure thousands of tourists every year.

Holidaymakers who would like to take a short break from the major Slovakian cities should definitely head towards Demanovska Dolina, with plenty of outdoor activity options, Štrbské Pleso or Tatranská Lomnica, with top-notch winter sports infrastructure, or Spiš Castle, one of the largest European castles dating back to the 12th century. Numerous architectural gems and interesting monuments can also be found in Levoča often neglected by tourists who choose larger cities as their holiday destinations.

Slovakia/Bratislava/Photo by Anastasia Dulgier on Unsplash
Slovakia/Prešov/Poprad/Photo by martineci999 on Pixabay
Slovakia/Košice Self-governing Region/Košice/Photo by Walkerssk on Pixabay
Slovakia/Photo by LubosHouska on Pixabay

Roznava, located in the eastern part of the country, is a small town full of old traditions. Its location in a beautiful river valley adds to the overall ambience and creates a peaceful surrounding for relaxation. Bardejov is one of the oldest cities in the country. Among its most notable attractions, you’ll find Gothic architecture, stunning Old Town Hall, and fortified city walls.

Western Slovakia is full of picturesque views, deep caverns, and medieval monuments. The quintessence of historical atmosphere that can be felt in this part of the country is at its peak in Košice and Prešov. The former can boast such highlights as Mlynska Street, St Elisabeth Cathedral, or Mikluš Prison, whereas the latter should be visited for Saint Nicholas Cathedral and Neptune’s fountain.

Traffic rules and road state in Slovakia

Traffic rules that are followed in Slovakia shouldn’t come as a surprise to most of the drivers visiting the country. The country follows right-hand traffic system, just like most of the European countries. Slovakian drivers are considered rather disciplined so getting used to the new road environment shouldn’t cause you any major trouble.

In Slovakia you will find both impeccable motorways and unpaved roads. In order to use the former, the drivers are required to purchase a special vignette whose price is dependent on the period of your stay. The minimum validity period is 10 days, and the maximum validity period is a year. Vignettes are available at customs checkpoints, post offices, and petrol stations. You need to attach them to the inside of your windshield as their presence is strictly controlled by law officers. Lack of a vignette will cost you from 10 to 50 times as much as the vignette itself.

Slovakia/Bratislava/Photo by Ajale on Pixabay

The permitted blood alcohol level in Slovakia is 0.0 ppm. The minimum fine that can be applied starts from €230 so it’s best to just pass on all types of alcoholic beverages before getting into a vehicle. What’s more, your driver’s licence can be suspended for a period of between 1 to 5 years. Refusal to take a breathalyser test is also punishable.

Other punishable behaviour includes driving without wearing your seatbelts and using your mobile phone while driving. If you need to make an important phone call, you need to use a hands-free system.

Speed limits and car equipment in Slovakia

The speed limits that have to be observed are: 50 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h on rural roads, and 130 km/h on motorways. Speeding penalties in Slovakia are pretty high so it’s best to just stick to the road signs to avoid additional costs. Remember that driving too slow can also cost you some money. You cannot drive slower than 80 km/h on motorways and slower than 65 km/h on country roads.

Slovakia/Prešov/Vysoké Tatry/Photo by diego_torres on Pixabay

When it comes to car equipment, the obligatory equipment pieces include a first aid kit, a warning triangle, a set of spare bulbs, and a reflective vest. Leaving your car without a reflective vest in the middle of the road will be punished with a fine of €120.

Parking in Slovakia

There are plenty of parking spaces in all major Slovakian towns and cities. Sometimes, you’ll find parking lots that require you to purchase a special ticket that is available at newspaper shops. What’s more, finding a free parking space for your hired car will be most daunting in the city centres and near pedestrian zones.

Slovakia/Bratislava/Photo by Ajale on Pixabay

You should always pay attention to the way you park your car. If your vehicle is parked improperly, you’ll most likely end up with wheel blockers and a fine that amounts to approximately €65. The fine can be as high as €225 if your car is taken away by a tow truck.

Facts for safer driving in Slovakia

drink drive limit
max speed urban
31 mph
max speed rural
56 mph
max speed highway
81 mph
headlights at daytime
fire extinguisher
seat belts
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