The scenery that can be found in Slovakia is the poster child for every fairy tale and fantasy story ever told. The entire country feels like it rises from the south and continues up to the north in the Carpathian Mountains, with trails of lowlands and picturesque and deep basis giving rise to one of Europe’s most imposing mountain ranges. The entire country gives off a relaxing ambience, and its greenery is not easily forgotten.
Originally in the past, the Slovak cuisine mostly comprised of simple, meat and veg based food. That’s not to say that those meals were not delicious, but rather the people from the past concerned themselves with food that can withstand hot summers and cold winters. Since then, the relatively simple food of Slovakia has become significantly diverse and unique, and it’s very rare to find authentic Slovak food outside of the country. Due to influences from its neighbours, meat-based dishes have become part of the norm, but potatoes are a staple as well, as most of its sweets – like pancakes – are among the most delicious in Europe.
Slovaks as a people are incredibly sturdy and used to bearing the sometimes harsh conditions of the country. They’re originally Slavs that had come from the east of Slovakia, and some of the traditions and culture from old Slavic times can still be found easily in the country. Slovakia has incredibly rich folklore, and traditional art has a place in every corner of the country, and even though Slovakian culture from today is decidedly modern, there are still plenty of influences from the past.
Slovakia may not have existed as a country for a very long time, but it’s been inhabited for centuries, and by peoples with their own identities and character. This led to many amazing cities, each with their own unique development, culture, and art. This means that a lot of the population lives in smaller cities with their own personal charm and aesthetic, and each one is more unique than the last.
Know Before You Go
The mountain paradise at the heart of Europe sits on the borders of Austria and Hungary. It's a smart choice for a whirlwind European adventure with as much charm and fewer crowds than its hugely popular neighbours.
The capital of Slovakia is Bratislava. Here, Slovakian history reaches back thousands of years, as the prime location on the river Danube was popular with Roman, Celtic and Slavic settlers. Many artefacts of the past still exist in the historical centre of the capital city.
Slovakia is a small country and you can make it from the East to West border in half a day. So allow yourself to spread out and discover what this remarkable country has to offer. Slovakia has a fabulous train system that is cheap and reliable. The express train (IC or EC) is much quicker than the local and does not affect the price which is around 5€ per 100km. Travel north and you'll find the countries incredible natural landscape. A wilderness full of waterfalls, caves, and forests.
Best Time To Visit
In summer (May to late October). Slovakia is a paradise for walkers when the National Parks and hiking trails are prime. Wildflowers also start to bloom in June. Turning the High Tatras into a wonderland of breathtaking contrasts between the delicate florals and rugged mountains.
The wintertime (December to March) is fabulous for snow sports in the Low Tatras and is great for any level of skier or snowboarder. Experts will find the off-piste terrain a refreshing challenge. Slovakia also has wonderfully atmospheric Christmas markets in Bratislava and Kosice.
In conclusion, Slovakia actually has tempting reasons to visit in all seasons. Including the seasonal changes of autumn that blanket the country in golden hues, and unique cultural festivals in spring where young boys throw buckets of cold water at little girls. (Not as cruel as it sounds, it's actually a blessing of fertility).
What To Expect
Planning a trip to Slovakia? Here are a few tips to get your travel plans off to a great start.
Currency - The official currency of Slovakia is the Euro
Language - The official language is Slovak. English is not widely spoken, but more common amongst younger Slovaks. Learning a few words of Slovak is well appreciated. Like Hello – Ahoj (AH-hoy) and Thank you – Ďakujem (JAH-koo–yehm).
ATMs - ATM's are convenient in the cities, but found less frequently in more rural areas and carrying extra cash is advised.
Plugs & Sockets - Slovakia uses the Europlug, or Type C style plug with 2 round pins. As well as the Type E plug with 2 round pins and a hole for the earth pin. The standard voltage is 230v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - Slovakia is very safe. Petty crime rates are extremely low and violent crimes are rare.
Climate - Slovakia sees stark changes amongst its regions between winter and summer due to its continental climate. Temperatures in summer average between 20-25 degrees celsius. Winters are chilly and can be wet and snowy, with fog in the mountainous regions.