Slovakia Travel Information
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Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from March to October).
Electrical current is 220/230 volts, 50Hz. Round pin plug and receptacle with male grounding pin are in use.
Slovak is the official language, which is closely related to Czech. English and German are the most commonly spoken foreign languages, although outside Bratislava, English is not widely understood.
There are no vaccinations required for travel to Slovakia. No special precautions are necessary, except for visitors intending to spend time in the forests, in which case a vaccination for tick-borne encephalitis is recommended. Bird flu was first detected in February 2006, and although there is little risk to travellers, close contact with live birds should be avoided and all poultry products well cooked as a precaution. No human deaths or infections have been reported. Slovakia has a reciprocal health agreement with most EU countries providing emergency health care on the same terms as Slovak nationals. EU travellers should carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with them. It is still recommended that visitors take out comprehensive medical insurance, including mountain evacuation. Hospitals are available in all major towns, and pharmacies and clinics exist in the tourist areas and smaller towns, but little English is spoken.
10% is expected in restaurants if the service has been good. Taxi fares are usually rounded up to the nearest 10, and other service staff commonly receive about 20 Sk.
Slovakia is generally a safe country to visit and most visitors will experience a trouble-free holiday. In the cities though, it is wise to be careful of personal possessions, particularly in popular tourist areas and on public transport, due to increasing incidents of pick-pocketing and bag snatching.
Visitors must carry passports with them at all times for identification purposes. Rowdy behaviour and loud noise are not allowed between 10pm and 6am. Bratislava has become a popular destination for stag parties and tourists have been fined or imprisoned for causing a public disturbance.
Slovakians tend to be fairly formal in their business dealings, particularly the older generation, and women may encounter some chauvinism. The normal greeting is a handshake. Meetings usually begin with socialising and an alcoholic drink, which should not be refused. Although business may be conducted in English or German, an interpreter should be arranged and all written documents should be translated into Slovakian. Punctuality and politeness are always appreciated. Most businesses open Monday to Friday from about 9am to 5pm.
The international dialling code for Slovakia is +421. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). Area codes are used, e.g. Bratislava is (0)2. Internet cafes are common in most large towns and there is free wireless connection in Primates and Hviezdoslavs squares in Bratislava. Cellular network coverage is good, extending even into parts of the Tatras. Most towns have public phones and cards can be purchased in post offices and newspaper agents.
Passengers arriving from EU countries do not need to pay duty on any items provided they are for personal use or intended as gifts. Travellers to Slovakia from non-EU countries do not have to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 2 litres of wine or 1 litre of distilled liquor and spirits; and 50g of perfume.
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