Air

Czech Airlines (www.csa.cz) offers the only domestic air service, between Bratislava and Košice (and you're probably better off catching the train).

Bicycle

Slovakia's mountain biking is superb; its road biking less so. Roads can be narrow and potholed, and in towns cobblestones and tram tracks can prove dangerous for riders. Bike rental isn't ubiquitous but it's common in mountain resorts and some national parks, and increasing in popularity in Bratislava and Košice. Charges apply for bringing bikes aboard trains and cable cars (reservations may be necessary on long-distance trains).

Boat

LOD operates ferry links between Bratislava and Devín Castle (return adult/child/bike €13/8/2); the boat stops for two hours before returning to Bratislava.

Bus

Slovakia's bus network spiders into even the smallest villages. Bus routes between sizeable towns tend to be frequent but tiny settlements may only be served by a couple of buses per day (timed for schoolkids or shoppers); some shut down entirely in winter.

Read timetables carefully; different schedules apply for weekends and holidays. Find up-to-date information at https://cp.hnonline.sk.

Car & Motorcycle

Highways are in great shape, distances are short and routes are scenic: Slovakia is a good country for a road trip.

Car Hire

Car hire is readily available in Bratislava, Košice and Poprad. EU driving licences with photo ID are generally accepted in Slovakia. Otherwise check in advance with your rental outfit if you need an International Driving Permit (may be required for US driving licences).

Road Conditions, Hazards & Rules

  • Speed limits are 50km/hour in towns, 90km/hour outside urban areas and 130km/hour on highways. Observe signs, as there may be seasonal changes (such as lower speed limits in winter).
  • Driving offences include failure to wear a seat belt (driver or passengers) or driving with a blood alcohol level above zero. If fined for a traffic offence, ask for a receipt to ensure the fine is legitimate.
  • Headlights stay on permanently and drivers must respect pedestrian priority at crossings.
  • A nálepka (toll sticker) is required on all green-signed motorways. Fines for not having them can be hefty. Buy at petrol stations or border crossings (per 10 days/month €10/14) or online (www.ndsas.sk). Rental cars usually have them included.
  • City streetside-parking restrictions are eagerly enforced. Always buy a ticket from a machine, attendant or newsagent in old-town centres. In some places you can pay by SMS (Slovak SIM cards only).
  • Winter tyres are compulsory in destinations where roads are likely to have snow cover; check with your rental car agency, or buy chains for driving in mountainous destinations in winter.

Insurance

Keep your driving licence and proof of third-party liability insurance close at hand. In the event of a collision with someone's property (such as a parked car or fence post) the onus is on you to seek out the owner.

Local Transport

Mid-sized towns usually have bus systems, and most villages are served by local buses (though services aren't frequent). Bratislava and Košice have trams and trolleybuses, and High Tatras towns are linked by electric railway.

  • Public transport generally operates from 5am to 10.30pm (to 11pm in Bratislava). Reduced night-bus services run in Bratislava and Košice.
  • City transport tickets are good for all local buses, trams and trolleybuses. Buy tickets at ticket machines and news stands near the transport stop. Always validate your ticket in the machine on board (which usually stamps the time and date), or risk a fine.

Train

For scenery and efficiency, rail is an excellent way to travel between Slovakia's major towns. The main Bratislava–Košice line slices west to east through the country, via Trenčín, Žilina and Poprad. Buy tickets and seat reservations online or at train-station ticket offices. The fastest domestic trains are Intercity (IC) or Eurocity (EC); SuperCity (SC) are also speedy and modern. Ryclík (R; 'fast' trains) take slightly longer, but run more frequently and cost less. Osobný (Ob) trains are slowest (and cheapest).

Search for up-to-date schedules and buy tickets through Slovak Railways (02-4485 8188; www.slovakrail.sk).