Slovakia Driving Guide 2022
Slovakia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit
Slovakia, also known as the Slovak Republic, used to be part of Czechoslovakia until the peaceful split on January 1, 1993, which gave birth to the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic. Major political changes have affected this country in recent years, which led to the election of the first female president of the country since independence.
This landlocked yet picturesque country has a relatively small population of 5.4 million people. The official languages used here are Slovak and Hungarian. Its economy is quite robust due to strict economic reforms initiated by the government from 1998 onwards. Despite its political troubles, Slovakia has been an active member of the European Union since 2004. Tourists will enjoy roaming around Slovakia due to its rich culture and memorable history.
How Can This Guide Help You?
If you intend to go driving in Europe, Slovakia makes for an ideal destination. Do read this driving guide in full detail before you go driving in Slovakia. Here, you will be briefed about the many tourist attractions of Slovakia due to its colorful history. You will learn about the border status of the country, the tourist attractions that would be great to visit, and how you could arrange to stay for a longer time. There will also be important things about driving rules, driving etiquette, and car rental procedures that tourists should know.
Many people remember Slovakia as being formerly one-half of the larger country known as Czechoslovakia. Nowadays, Slovakia has become more noticeable as one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe. If all goes well, Slovakia’s economy may grow even more on 2021. This may catch the attention of people so that they may want to go driving in Slovakia sometime soon.
Slovakia is located within Europe, surrounded by many other countries. Slovakia is made up of eight regions, and each region does have its own attractions. Some fast facts that may convince you to pay a visit to each region are:
- Kosice City is found within the Kosice Region. It is the second-biggest city in Slovakia.
- The Presov Region has the densest population in all of Slovakia.
- The environment of the Zilina Region has many hills, streams, rivers, and valleys that are worth hiking to.
- The Banska Bystrica Region is the biggest among the Slovakian regions, situated right in the middle of the country.
- Agriculture is a major industry in the Nitra Region since the region is warmer than several other regions.
- The spa town called Trencianske Teplice can be found in the Trencin Region.
- Archaeologists have recognized the cultural importance of the Trnava Region since many cultural groups lived here in ancient times.
- The Bratislava Region is politically important, despite being the smallest region in the country because it is home to the capital of Slovakia, which is Bratislava.
The official language of Slovakia is Slovak. But residents still speak Hungarian because the area now known as Slovakia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for many years. There is evidence that the written form of the Slovak language came into being through the efforts of certain Roman Catholics from the University of Trnava in the 17th and 18th centuries. Later on, some Protestants believed that some Protestants influenced the adoption of Slovak as a literary language.
Anyone who has a grasp of linguistics will realize that the Slovak language has much in common with the Czech language due to the common history shared by both Slovaks and Czechs. The three major dialects of Slovak are dubbed “Western,” “Central,” and “Eastern.” If you have an ear for foreign languages, that would be useful for driving in Slovakia now to ask around when you need something.
Each region has at least one of the biggest cities of Slovakia. Each region also has something to make it stand out in the country, especially for tourists who intend to go driving in Slovakia. Slovakia is divided into eight regions, namely the following:
- Kosice Region
- Presov Region
- Zilina Region
- Banska Bystrica Region
- Nitra Region
- Trencin Region
- Trnava Region
- Bratislava Region
Based on the earliest evidence of written history, Slovakia was populated first by the Celts, who drove out the local population. In turn, the Celts became subjugated by the Dacians. The Romans and some Germanic tribes formed the next wave of invasions into the territory. Slavs arrived after the Roman Empire’s borders were weakened and have remained in the country ever since.
Slovakia’s government is a parliamentary republic where the people directly elect a president. The parliament used to elect a president until 1999. They also have a unicameral legislature comprised of 150 members elected by a proportional system. The Government, headed by the prime minister, is responsible for major national public policy. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has judicial power and is elected by the National Council and the Constitutional Court.
All history buffs will probably want to pay a visit to Slovakia because of the cultural significance of its various attractions. Even casual tourists will want to spend some time in each region because Slovakia has much to offer by way of tourist attractions. For one thing, many cultural groups made Slovakia their home even back in ancient times. This explains the existence of castles and churches throughout the country, even though many have deteriorated over time.
The pleasant and relaxing environment of Slovakia is another reason tourists visit. You can even spend time in a spa if you like. The folk architecture of the country brings in tourists who appreciate the beautiful designs and impeccable quality of houses and other structures in Slovakia. And there are, of course, visitors who like to sample the local cuisine passed on from generation to generation.
If you don’t speak Slovakian and Hungarian, the two languages most commonly spoken, you may need a tourist guide to translate for you. Or you can ask locals if they speak English before you go any further. Because of the language barrier, it is always good to bring your IDP with you so that there is no miscommunication between you and local police or traffic enforcers. Just make sure you also have your valid passport and native driver’s license too.
International Driver’s Permit in Slovakia
Slovakia administers an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in the country through the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Based on the Road Traffic Act No 8/2009, driving licenses and IDPs are acceptable to the Slovak Republic. The driving license should be acceptable to the Member States of the European Economic Area and follows the Geneva and Vienna Convention.
The individual who holds that international driving license or an IDP issued in their home country should also have a valid driving license issued by their home country. The IDP will be useful if you are confused about driving on the right side or left side in Slovakia since you can present it when asking police or traffic enforcers for assistance.
Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Slovakia?
The driver’s license issued by your home country is also known as your native driver’s license or local driver’s license. You may use this driver’s license together with your IDP and updated passport if this driver’s license was issued by the Member States of the European Economic Area or was issued by countries that follow the Geneva and Vienna Convention. If you do not have an IDP or local driver’s license, you must apply for a driving license in Slovakia.
Anyone seeking a driving license in Slovakia needs to study first in a certified driving school in Slovakia. This means securing the “Birth Number” under the Birth Number Act No 515/2003 from the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. The Birth Number is issued to foreigners who lack permanent residency within Slovakia by the Department of the Registry Administration. Take note that transactions for driving in Slovakia now are conducted in the Slovak language.
On the other hand, if your non-Slovak driver’s license was issued by a European Union country, you can still use it in Slovakia. You don’t have to exchange a driving license in Slovakia in this case. Take note that your driver’s license should apply to a particular class of vehicle too. If, for example, it only permits you to drive trucks, then that applies to truck driving jobs in Slovakia mainly. Double-check with the rental car company if in doubt.
Do You Need an International Driver’s License in Slovakia?
As long as the international driver’s license you are using was issued by a country that is one of the Member States of the European Economic Area or was issued by countries that follow the Geneva and Vienna Convention, then you may use that in Slovakia. If you intend to work in Slovakia as a driver, you may have to exchange your driving license in Slovakia.
To avoid miscommunication, you should use your international driver’s license in tandem with your IDP, local driver’s license, and valid passport. Your IDP can be translated into 12 languages so that local traffic enforcers can understand it.
You will find that it is challenging to drive from Slovakia to another country, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If so, you will need to use a detailed map for your driving in Slovakia KSA road trip. It would also help to have an IDP ready along with your other driving documents to avoid any delays.
Do You Need an International Driver’s Permit in Slovakia?
It should be clarified that the International Driver’s Permit (or IDP) is different from an international driver’s license. The IDP is a document from private organizations such as the International Drivers Association (or IDA). There may also be government agencies in your home country or country of origin that issue IDPs. The IDP from IDA is translated into 12 different languages whose content is based on the driver’s license issued to you by your home country.
An international driver’s license, on the other hand, is issued by a country’s government. In the EU, if you are an EU citizen, then your country’s driving license serves as an international driver’s license.
If you do not have an international driver’s license, but you have a driver’s license from your home country, you may apply with IDA for your IDP. You may then use the IDP in tandem with your valid passport and native driver’s license within Slovakia. The IDP is very useful in case you have to transact with government agencies in Slovakia, with residents, and with law enforcers such as traffic enforcers, especially if you don’t speak the Slovak language.
What Are the Requirements to Apply for an International Driver’s License in Slovakia?
Since Slovakia is a valid member country of the European Union, a tourist who has a driver’s license issued by another European Union country may use that driving license in Slovakia. That can be considered an international driver’s license since that driver’s license may be used in any country of the European Union. However, that driver’s license might not be accepted as an international driver’s license in countries that are not part of the European Union.
You should check the class of vehicles indicated in your international driver’s license since that shows your driving limitations. You may also opt to apply for a Slovakian driver’s license if you are certified by the Slovak government as a temporary or permanent resident of Slovakia. But you may only do this 185 days after the Slovak government formally notified you of your legal residency.
Another consideration is that you might be the holder of a driver’s license from a country that is a party to the Geneva or Vienna Convention on Road Traffic for 1968 and 1949. This condition will allow you to be a driver in Slovakia, but you will need a valid international driving license to use in tandem with your driver’s license. These two driver’s licenses need to have been released from the same state of the convention to be acceptable.
Renting a Car in Slovakia
If you will be traveling as a tourist in Slovakia, or even if you’re on a business trip there, it is a good idea to rent a vehicle for your personal use. Driving through Slovakia by yourself can be pleasant, especially if you spot some local attractions that other tourists usually miss. If you are bringing along a friend or family, having your own rental vehicle can also be more convenient. You must make sure you can pay tolls when driving in Slovakia as well.
Car Rental Companies
You can always go online to inquire at a car rental website about renting a car for Slovakia. Many car rental companies are operating in Slovakia, such as the following:
- AVIS car rental
- Europcar car rental
- EDENcars car rental
- BUCHBINDER car rental
- MEGADRIVE car rental
- Global Rent A Car car rental
- Sixt car rental
- Sunnycars car rental
- Budget car rental
- Firefly car rental
- MAGGIORE car rental
The cities where most people opt to rent a car are Poprad, Kosice, and Bratislava. The most popular rental location is Bratislava.
Visitors to Slovakia originating from a non-EU country will have to submit a valid driver’s license from their home country, as well as their updated passport, to the car rental company. If you have an IDP, that would be helpful because not everyone can speak or read Slovak. Drivers will have to secure insurance as well while they are using the rental car. You need all these documents and the car registration papers while the rental car is in your possession.
You will also have to have the correct payment ready - check with the car rental company as to what mode of payment they accept. If you are using a debit card or credit card, ask the car rental staff if your specific card is acceptable. You may also be asked to buy a “vignette,” a toll sticker used for tolls when driving on Slovakia highways. You can buy your vignette at gas stations and post offices within Slovakia.
Since many people are looking for good deals on car rentals, it is important to pay attention to the description on the car rental website. Some descriptions you may run across are:
Of course, the budget for car rental also differs from person to person. But you can expect to pay between $600/day to $700/day for your preferred rental car. The rental car you rent in Slovakia to go driving in Slovakia in winter may have to be fitted with snow chains and winter tires, so ask the rental car staff if you will have to pay more for that. You might also need specific safety accessories such as car seats for children, which may cost more too.
In Slovakia, a driver has to be at least 21 years old to be legally allowed to drive a rental car. This may change depending on the kind of car that you want to rent. Some rented vehicle can only be rented by someone up to a maximum age of 70 years - anyone older than that would be barred from renting that car. Some car rental companies impose a “young driver surcharge” if the driver is less than 25 years of age.
Car Rental Cost
The price of car rental in Slovakia differs per car rental company due to the type of vehicle being rented, the adult passenger capacity, the number of airbags the vehicle is fitted with, and the size of the actual vehicle. Not all vehicles come with air conditioning, which also affects the price. You may notice that some car rental companies price their rental cars lower due to ongoing promotions as well. Generally, the bigger the vehicle, the more costly is the rental.
You should also bear in mind the cancellation option since some car rental companies may charge you for the rental cancellation if it is too close to the pick-up time you specified. Another consideration that affects pricing is the promptness of your payment. The earlier you pay, the lower will be the total payment.
An example of the current rental rates of a car is an Economy Station Wagon that can fit two adults and has two airbags costs $641 per day. This can change quickly and is only cited to give you an idea of the cost.
Car Insurance Cost
If you already have travel, personal, and car insurance, you should check with your insurance provider if that would apply in Slovakia when you drive. Their driving requirements in Slovakia may be applied on a case-to-case basis since each car rental differs from other car rental transactions.
Some car rental companies make certain types of insurance mandatory for their car rentals, such as fire insurance and third-party liability insurance. The insurance could be inclusive of collision and theft coverage, provided the client is willing to pay for that. The theft coverage may be priced at $13 to $27 per day. The collision coverage may be described as a “Collision Damage Waiver” and could cost between $14 to $35 per day depending on the description of the damage.
If you want to, you could apply for Personal Accident Insurance as well. This may cost you around $6 daily. You should know, though, that all these types of insurance are for driving within Slovakia only. You should check with the car rental company and/or the insurance provider if you and the vehicle still qualify for coverage if you go past Slovakian borders. Bear in mind that you might be violating the terms of insurance if you are caught drunk-driving in Slovakia.
Car Insurance Policy
Car insurance helps ease your mind when driving in a foreign country, so it’s important to secure one. Collision Damage Waiver and theft insurance are usually the mandatory insurance that comes together with your rental car. Without these types of insurance, you can be penalized. Securing other types of insurance is entirely up to you.
Your car insurance becomes void if you let an underage or unlicensed driver take the wheel, even with your supervision. If you think you can’t drive and have no licensed companion, hire a driver from the car rental company.
Road Rules in Slovakia
When you’re visiting Slovakia and intend to rent a vehicle to drive there, it is a good idea to get familiar first with the most important rules for driving in Slovakia that apply to drivers. The most basic rule is that you need to have your driver’s license ready along with the registration of your rental vehicle. This way, if there are local police or traffic enforcers who flag you down, you can readily present your documents. You may also present your IDP and updated passport to these officials.
Knowing the important regulations of the country you’re visiting is crucial to avoid trouble and delays. It’s best to be equipped with basic knowledge about the driving rules of a foreign country. Here are the most important regulations you need to keep in mind.
Eligibility to Drive
If you lack a valid driver’s license from your home country, you are not allowed to drive within Slovakia. That is also the case with drivers who cannot present the rental vehicle registration. You may apply for a Slovak driver’s license if you want to be allowed to drive around the country. Your rental vehicle should also have a valid plate number at the front and another at the back so that you won’t be flagged down by police or traffic enforcers.
If necessary, you may consult the road traffic rules for driving in Slovakia set out in Act No 8/2009 for more details. To find out more rules concerning traffic signs and markings, look for the Road Signs and Signals regulations stipulated in Decree No 30/2020. Take note that all the road traffic rules are supposed to be based on international road traffic rules. This includes rules on road signs and markings.
You should refrain from taking any amount of liquor and illegal drugs if you intend to drive. The Slovak police and traffic enforcers are very strict about arresting anyone caught drink-driving in Slovakia. You might be arrested if you violate this regulation, especially when driving in Slovakia in winter because it is more dangerous in that season.
The police of Slovakia does not permit anyone who has been drinking to drive in the country. The level of alcohol you are allowed to have under a breathalyzer test is zero percent. This means even showing a 1% level of alcohol is enough reason to be arrested by the police. It is best to abstain completely to avoid jail time. This rule on zero tolerance for drink-driving applies to novice drivers and commercial motorists as well.
This law about drink-driving is more critical if you consider who might violate it. If, for example, you intend to apply for truck driving jobs in Slovakia, then you would be putting the lives of many other people on the line if you drink while driving. The grim statistics for driving in Slovakia are always an eye-opener.
Make sure you have valid documents with you, such as your valid driver’s license, IDP, updated passport, and the registration papers of your rental vehicle. You should also check if your rental vehicle has the right emergency equipment such as the legal portable warning triangle, EN ISO 20471 compliant reflective safety clothing, first-aid kit, a spare tire with a rim, and equipment to make it easier to change your tires, including a wrench and hand-operated jack.
Turning Signals at an Intersection
Vehicles are not allowed to make a right turn if the traffic light is red. You should also make way for buses, trolleys, and trams that are turning. If pedestrians are waiting at a crosswalk, make sure to let them pass first before turning. Any vehicles that have flashing blue lights might be official cars of ambulances, police, or firetrucks, so these have right-of-way too. The same rule applies if the vehicles have orange or yellow lights instead, so make way for these.
You are only allowed to park your vehicle on the right-hand side of Slovak roads unless the street is one-way, meaning you can park on the left side. Parking can be difficult to find if you’re traveling in big cities, though, so always look for signs indicating where you can legally park.
Both drivers and passengers are required to wear a seatbelt. This applies even to those in the backseat. Children have to be seated only in the backseat for safety though those age 12 and above may already sit in the front passenger seat. It is not compulsory to have child seats for children in the backseat, but it may be prudent to do so.
The exception to these seatbelt rules are the following:
- Patients who have medical issues
- Individuals who are less than 150 centimeters in height
- On-duty driving instructors
- On-duty priority vehicles
- On-duty taxi drivers
If your rental vehicle already uses two child seats in the backseat, a third child can be fitted with a backseat safety belt provided that the child is less than three years of age with a height less than 150 centimeters.
It is always important to seek tips for driving in Slovakia well before your trip. That way, you won’t be very disoriented when it is time to drive. You also have to know some driving standards when visiting a foreign country. In Slovakia, manual cars are common as it’s cheaper and fuel-efficient. However, you can still rent cars with the automatic transmission that are also fuel-efficient. The rental price for a manual transmission car may be cheaper, but most tourists opt to use automatic transmission cars for convenience. It entirely depends on your preference.
Another important thing you need to remember when driving in Slovakia is the speed limits. Every country imposes speed limits on its roads, depending on the quality of the road, climate, and traffic. The speed limits may vary from one country to another, so it’s vital to be aware of your speed.
In Slovakia, the speed limit is 90 kph (54 mph) on smaller roads, while the speed limit in towns is 50 kph (31 mph). Highways have a speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour (78 mph). Be cautious about slow-moving vehicles. Always follow the speed limit imposed by the authorities to avoid penalties.
Slovakia has a different rule in roundabouts. Unlike in most countries, you need to give way to cars coming in the roundabout unless there’s a give way sign instead of giving way to the cars already in the roundabout. This might be a shock to most tourist drivers, so keep this rule in mind.
Since Slovakia is a landlocked country, you can enter it by car via Poland, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine. However, there are presently travel restrictions in place that limit entry to and exit from Slovakia. These rules may change without prior notice, so you should keep up with online updates about travel restrictions.
Traffic Road Signs
It is important to get familiar with the many traffic road signs that govern transport within Slovakia. These will make travel easier and help you avoid car accidents that can be time-consuming and a hassle to deal with.
The traffic road signs fall into five categories, namely warning signs, priority signs, prohibitory signs, mandatory signs, and information signs. You may find traffic road signs posted either above the road or to the side of the road. To see pictures of these road signs, you may visit this website.
One of the more important traffic road signs is the one indicating that there is an upcoming traffic light on that road. This sign is made of a red triangle with one red circle, one yellow circle, and one green circle stacked in a vertical column within the triangle on a white background. This will show you that you should slow down and possibly come to a full stop at the stoplight
Right of Way
If you are driving and there is an upcoming crosswalk, you are required to slow down and let pedestrians walk first since they have the right of way. It is also advisable to let older cars and trucks pass rather than race past them. You should also be wary of cyclists that might be speeding up just as you’re about to make a turn into another road.
If there is a roundabout, and you are planning to enter it, you have the right of way unless there are traffic signs instructing drivers otherwise. However, you are not obligated to signal that you are entering the roundabout unless you feel it is necessary. You do have to signal that you are leaving the roundabout as you exit.
If you spot a vehicle that is already overtaking other cars, you cannot overtake that overtaking vehicle since that would mean speeding up. You must let it overtake the other cars first before you initiate overtaking.
Legal Driving Age
You are allowed to drive legally in Slovakia if you are at least 21 years of age. However, if you are going to rent a car, you must inquire if there are age restrictions for the type and weight of the vehicle you want to rent. Some car rental companies may ask you to pay a young driver surcharge if you are not yet 25 years of age. If you are already 70 years old and above, the car rental company may prevent you from renting certain vehicle classes.
Laws on Overtaking
One rule about overtaking in Slovakia is that you have to blow your car horn first so that other drivers know you intend to overtake them. If the road has only one carriageway, you should refrain from overtaking, especially if there are dangerous bends in the road. All drivers are obliged to overtake other vehicles only on the left side of the road.
If you are not used to overtaking on the left side, it is probably better not to overtake any vehicle. This is especially true in winter when drivers have to contend with snow and ice on the roads.
In Slovakia, drivers are expected to drive on the right side of the road, just like in many European Union countries. Overtaking is only done on the left side of the road. You can only park on the right-hand side of the roads too.
If you come from a country where drivers drive on the left side, you may need to get used to the Slovakian way of driving first. It would also be prudent not to drive too fast or even overtake other vehicles until you are used to the Slovakian system already. If other cars try to overtake your vehicle, let them. This will help you avoid accidents.
Driving Etiquette in Slovakia
If you are going to be driving your rental vehicle in Slovakia, it pays to be prepared for some common situations that drivers encounter in the country. You need to know what to do and whom to inform if you encounter these situations. It may also be necessary to know how much it would cost you if these situations happen.
Car breakdowns are common in many countries, not just in Slovakia, so you should always prepare the right equipment for this in advance. You will need a warning triangle, a first aid kit, reflective clothing such as a vest, and even spare bulbs. Try to guide your car to the side of the road to avoid oncoming traffic, then put on the reflective vest. The vest is mandatory if you should leave your car. Refusing to put on the vest can earn you a penalty of 120 euros.
Switch on your hazard lights as soon as you get your car to the side of the road. Put the warning triangle near your rear bumper so that oncoming cars can see the reflection. If you have passengers in the car, make them stay inside the vehicle, but roll down the windows a few inches for ventilation. But if you suspect the car might catch fire, it may be necessary to vacate the vehicle for safety.
You should use your mobile phone to call for help if there is a clear signal in the area. Call for police right away, especially if you’re on a country road without any nearby houses. If you can’t contact the police, try to call the car rental company’s customer service. Don’t leave your car unlocked if you decide to look for residents who might help you. Bring your identification documents with you so that you can use these when seeking help from people.
It is very important not to panic if Slovak police flag down your vehicle. They might just be conducting a common inspection of vehicles, or perhaps you reached the border of Slovakia already, which means you have to submit to border controls. You should always have your IDP, valid driver’s license, passport, car proof of registration papers, and car rental receipt ready for this kind of situation.
You might be asked to take a breathalyzer test, even if the police officer doesn’t smell alcohol on your breath. This is a standard procedure since there are zero allowable limits for consuming liquor while driving in Slovakia. If you haven’t taken any liquor at all before driving or even while driving, then you should be able to pass the breathalyzer test.
Some drivers park in the wrong part of the road, especially if they’re new to Slovakia. One area you should always avoid parking in is the historical sites of Slovak cities. Of special concern is the sidewalks. In this case, the police or traffic enforcer might issue you a ticket. The police might also ask to see if you have the right emergency equipment in your rental vehicle. This is also a normal procedure, so don’t panic about it.
Many drivers who are new to Slovakia bring a navigator with them in their rental car. However, if the navigator breaks at some point, you will have to ask for driving directions from residents or some drivers like government offices. If you have an IDP, valid driver’s license, and updated passport, these may serve as acceptable forms of identification so that they can help you. It would be great if you had a new map of Slovakia with you as well.
You may encounter checkpoints in Slovakia, where they need to check travelers’ identification crossing Slovakia’s borders. These are located along the border that Slovakia shares with Ukraine. These are:
- Uzhhorod - Vyshnie Niemetske
- Malyi Bereznyi - Ublia
- Mali Selmentsi - Velke Slementse
It is advisable to submit to officials at these checkpoints. Travelers should be ready with their passport, valid driver’s license, and IDP upon reaching these checkpoints. It may be necessary to provide other IDs as well if the officials ask for these.
The common situations mentioned above are not the only unfortunate ones you may encounter in a foreign country. It’s best to be equipped with basic knowledge of what to do during these situations. Below is another tip that would help you stay calm and be prepared.
What if I Get Involved in an Accident?
If you get into an accident while driving in Slovakia, it is important to dial 112. This is the “unified” emergency services number. You can use it to call different emergency services, including the police, emergency health care, and ambulance services, and the fire and rescue service. If it is a less critical accident, you may opt to dial the following numbers instead:
- 158 - Local police services
- 155 - Emergency health care and ambulance services
- 150 - Fire and rescue service
If you are injured in some way, check if you have a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC. You should always have your card with you, especially if you are traveling within Slovakia. This card allows you to get emergency treatment and certain standard procedures. Note that you cannot use your EHIC to get outpatient services and treatments.
If you are covered by personal accident insurance and have vehicle insurance, you just need to call your insurance provider using the number of their office closest to your location. This is why it is always advisable to have your insurance documents with you, along with your IDP, valid driver’s license, and updated passport. These will help you get the right treatment and make the right claims regarding your accident in Slovakia.
Driving Situations and Conditions
Anyone who wants to visit Slovakia will probably be wondering about the different situations and driving conditions present there. You will need to read up on these so you are prepared for any eventuality.
Slovakia has high rates of driving-related accidents. As of 2010, there were 21,595 road accidents reported. A total of 345 persons died in these accidents. This may explain why the Slovak police and traffic enforcers are very strict about apprehending drivers whose blood alcohol levels are not zero percent. Aside from drink-driving, vehicular accidents are also attributed to overspeeding.
The automotive industry in Slovakia is quite robust, especially in the luxury car segment. The well-known car brands Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Peugeot, Kia, and Jaguar Land Rover are mass-produced in Slovakia. By 2025, manufacturers are planning to produce electric cars as well. At present, up to 250,000 workers are employed directly and indirectly by the car manufacturing industry. This may decrease as more electric cars are produced.
For the most part, Slovakia has well-maintained roads. The four-lane roads are usually located in the more densely populated areas. You will notice that the road eventually narrows into two-lane roads when you head to less populated areas. This makes it difficult for drivers to overtake other vehicles.
Another problem is that some roads lack sufficient lighting. This may explain why the government insists that all vehicles have strong functional headlights, even in the daytime when drivers still have sunlight.
During winter, it may be difficult to drive due to prevalent ice and snow on roads. You will need snow tires and chains if these hazards will be encountered when you are driving with a rental vehicle.
The Slovak government has become very strict with testing drivers for possible alcohol consumption through the breathalyzer test. Only a score of zero percent on the test is a passing grade. Even 1% of alcohol consumed result is grounds for arrest and possible jail time. Police will also want to check for the use of illegal drugs by drivers for the same reason. Since most residents follow the laws, you can be thankful that the police are strict.
Aside from the accident statistics, road situations, and driving culture, it’s important to know other important information before driving in Slovakia. You need to keep in mind if they use Kph or Mph to display speed limits and if night driving is safe. If you’re from a European country, it would be easier for you to navigate the Slovakian roads.
Are They Using Kph or Mph in Slovakia?
The common unit of measure for speed in Slovakia is Kph (kilometers per hour). The majority of countries in the world use Kph so many tourists can adjust readily to driving in Slovakia based on that system. Only 17 countries, including the USA, UK, and Canada, rely on Mph nowadays.
Is It Safe to Drive at Night?
The government does not encourage nighttime driving on dimly-lit streets. Winter driving conditions can worsen nighttime driving risks since drivers cannot see if the roads have ice build-up. Winter is also a bad time to do nighttime driving should you be on rural roads in a mountainous area somewhere north.
It can be dangerous to drive at night on rural roads because snow can accumulate and bar you from further driving. You will probably have to use snow tires with chains if you try to drive around Slovakia during winter.
Things to Do in Slovakia
When you reach Slovakia, you might become so comfortable there that you’re considering finding work in the area as a driver. It is important to do your research well to determine what kind of jobs are available for people who want to stay and work in Slovakia. You should also consider the amount you will be paid as a driver in the context of your disposable income. You may also want to check how you can be permitted to reside in Slovakia by the government.
Drive as a Tourist
Tourists are very much welcome in Slovakia since the country thrives due to robust tourism activities. If you are planning to drive around the country, be sure you have your valid driver’s license from your home country ready. You should also bring along your IDP, updated passport, and car rental documents, including the registration of your rental car. Do make it a point to check if you can use the same rental car once you reach the borders of Slovakia.
You should also determine how much money you will need with you if you plan to drive around the country. If you picked up a rental car with a full tank of fuel, ask the car rental company if you are expected to return it with a refilled fuel tank. This depends, of course, on the terms of your car rental agreement. Some gas stations might prefer you to pay in cash rather than with a debit card or a credit card.
You should also check with your lodging place and the car rental company about where you are supposed to park your rental car. One common mistake of tourists is parking in the wrong place, such as on sidewalks. You may have to park your car in a for-pay car park to be safe. Since break-ins do happen in Slovakia, you should also avoid leaving important documents inside the car in plain sight unless you’re driving right away.
Work as a Driver
If you have sufficient driving skills and intensive experience in driving, you may apply as a driver of a motor vehicle in Slovakia. At a minimum, you need to have a high school diploma to be qualified. The average annual pay for a driver there is 10,292 euros. If you measure by the hour, you can earn 5 euros per hour as a driver. Take note that the salary range for drivers may fluctuate between 8026 euros to 12,097 euros.
You will need a valid Slovakian driver’s license to be hired as a driver there. Generally, you will qualify for that driver’s license if you are at least 18 years old at the time you apply. You also need proof of residency in Slovakia, whether temporary or permanent, when you apply for the license. There won’t be a need to prove you passed a driving exam in a driving school if you show that you have a driver’s license from your home country.
If an EU country issued your driver’s license, you could use that in Slovakia as an international driver’s license. There won’t be a need to apply for a Slovak driver’s license.
Work as a Travel Guide
If you think a driving job is not the right job for you in Slovakia, you can be a travel guide. However, you need to know Slovakia’s tourism, history, and culture to do the job well. It’s usually necessary to be bilingual if you’re planning to be a travel guide. If you can speak English and Slovak, it would be an advantage for you. You can also take tourist guide courses to help you land a job faster.
Apply for Residency
Yes, you may apply for residency by seeking a temporary residence status. Take note that you have to specify why you need temporary residence. This means if you applied because you intend to seek employment as a driver, then that is the coverage of your temporary residence status. You are not allowed to use the temporary residence status for other purposes, such as going into business in Slovakia.
You may also apply for the EU Blue Card instead since this also serves as a temporary residence document. Whether you apply for purely temporary residence or the EU Blue Card, you should check the length of time you are allowed to stay in Slovakia under each document.
Other Things to Do
Aside from driving jobs and applying for residency, Slovakia offers numerous opportunities for tourists and non-Slovak speakers. If you think living in Slovakia is the best option for you, read more about other work opportunities in Slovakia.
Can I Become a Taxi Driver in Slovakia?
You can become a taxi driver in Slovakia, but you have to apply for a taxi driver’s license first. There are several requirements for this kind of license, namely:
- Proof that you are at minimum a high school graduate
- Ability to speak and write in the Slovak language
- Knowing how to speak and write in other languages is an advantage
- A valid driver’s license for Slovakia
The hours for driving duty may vary since some employers will ask you to drive part-time only. You should inquire with the employer how long your lunch break will be daily. However, you are only obligated to work from Mondays to Fridays, meaning it is not compulsory to work on weekends. You should also ask your Slovak employer if you need to work during holidays and if that counts as overtime work. You should be paid in euros, too.
Are There Other Job Opportunities in Slovakia?
Slovakia offers work opportunities not only for the Slovakians but also for non-Slovak speakers as well. If you’re a native English speaker, you have a high chance of getting an ESL teaching job. You can find other work opportunities on job search engines. If you’re not a native English speaker, they may ask for certifications. The requirements to legally work in Slovakia are the same as a driver; only the qualifications are different.
The Top Road Trip Destinations in Slovakia
Slovakia is a beautiful country, and there is much to see there. You may have to go beyond the urban areas to see the sights worth visiting. Naturally, you can drive your rental vehicle through the countryside, though be prepared for rough terrain too. Some may want to go hiking, which is a great idea if you can find a safe place to leave your rental vehicle. Always bring your IDP, valid driver’s license, passport, and the registration papers of your vehicle with you.
The capital city of Slovakia, Bratislava, has an old, quiet charm that may not warm you up immediately but stays with you forever. The beautiful city features historical sites and castles that would transport you back in time. Bratislava is famous for the stunning castles, attracting thousands of tourists.
- From Bratislava Airport, Continue to Ivanská cesta.
- Continue on Ivanská cesta. Take Route 572, Trnavská cesta/Route 61 and Route 572 to Mýtna in Bratislava.
- Continue on Mýtna to Námestie 1. mája.
- Continue straight onto Námestie 1. mája.
- Slight right onto Hodžovo námestie
Things to Do
Bratislava’s charm seeps into you slowly until you can never get enough of it. Day by day, it offers a different charm to its tourist. Below are the things you can enjoy while in Bratislava.
- Take a tour at the Old Town
Take a historical guided tour in the Old Town to hear interesting stories of its past. Strolling the streets is already a fulfilling experience, but elevate your experience with a guided tour.
- Visit the Bratislava Castle
The Bratislava castle may not be as grand as the other castles in the world, but it’s a must-see attraction in Slovakia. As a historical site, the Bratislava Castle had been the location of the coronation of the Hungarian Kingdom. You can take a sightseeing bus to get there or hike your way to the top.
- Take a stroll at the Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace is Baroque-style structure built in 1760. Most tourists visit this place to unwind after a tour around the bustling city. You can’t go inside the palace, but a relaxing afternoon stroll in the gardens is enough to be worthy of a visit.
This small attraction became part of the UNESCO World Heritage List back in 1993. Here you can find many examples of Slovak folk architecture, which is great if you want to take pictures with these awe-inspiring houses to show the folks back home. Some of the 55 wood houses actually have occupants who live there all the time. If you want to drive there, note that Vlkolinec is part of the city of Ruzomberok.
- From Poprad-Tatry Airport, Get on D1/E50.
- Follow E50 to Bystrická cesta/Route 59 in Ružomberok.
- Continue on Route 59 to your destination in Vlkolínec.
Things to Do
Vlkolinec features tradition and adventure to all tourists, so it would be disappointing not to visit this charming village. Here’s a list of activities you can do while in Vlkolinec.
- Bike around the village or to nearby towns
Outdoorsy tourists usually opt to bike around the village while sightseeing as it is an effective way to exercise while in a foreign country. You can also visit nearby places if you seek more thrill. The route from Vlkolinec to Ruzomberok is around 12 km. You can also opt to follow the 32-km Ruzomberok – Podsucha – Smrekovica – Ruzomberok route. Biking is a great way to bond with your family or friends, so why not try renting a bike in this village?
- Hike from Vlkolinec to Malino Brdo
If you’re not into biking, you can also try hiking from Vlkolinec to Malin Brdo. Adventure awaits you here, so be prepared with proper gear and equipment. Malin Brdo is a great skiing destination in winter so expect it to be a slight difficult trail.
- Visit the old houses
Vlkolinec has a lot of traditional houses that pique the tourists’ interest. You can visit some traditional houses with pitvor, which is a corridor in the house, stalls, barns, and main rooms. Know more about the village’s history by visiting the traditional houses.
- See a decorative exhibition
If you’re into pottery and arts, plan a visit to this village in August, when they hold an exhibition that showcases the folk carvers craftsmanship. You can find decorative objects here, including historical items and sculptures.
Slovak Paradise National Park
This tourist attraction is a large and famous place within Slovakia where you can do many adventures over a large territory. One feature of the national park is the caves, which numbered over 350 from official tallies. This could be where you can discover the perfect hiking trail, though be prepared for lots of trudging since the trails last 300 kilometers in total. To spike your adrenaline more, test your stamina when you reach the hanging bridges and makeshift ladders.
- From Poprad-Tatry Airport, Head northeast on Na letisko.
- Turn right onto the ramp to Košice/Žilina.
- Turn right onto Route 534 (signs for Košice).
- Merge onto Route 18.
- Turn right onto Route 3068.
Things to Do
Slovak Paradise National Park offers fun and adventurous activities perfect for all tourists. Whether you’re an adventurous person or not, you’ll surely enjoy your visit to the park.
- Hike with friends at Sucha Bela
Enjoy a fun hike at the Sucha Bela, the largest and most popular gorge in Slovak Paradise. Hiking here is made easy with ladders, bridges, walkways, and chains to easily navigate through the waterfalls and streams. The best time to hike the gorge is around summer.
- Take photos at Tomášovský výhľad
Tomášovský výhľad is a part of a rock formation that is usually used as a backdrop in most photo opportunities. The stunning outcrop offers a beautiful view, so make sure to take photos here with your friends or family.
- Dine at Rumanka restaurant
If you just want to relax in the park, you can try delicious Slovak meals at Rumanka restaurant. The restaurant offers an elevated dining experience with an overlooking view of the High Tatra mountain range.
- Ski with your loved ones at Vernar Ski Resort
Tourists who are into winter sports will surely enjoy their visit to the park. Vernar Ski Resort is a famous skiing destination in the park with three ski lifts and 1,400-meter ski trails. Even skiing beginners will enjoy the activity as the steeps are not too challenging.
Slovakia has a lot to offer as you embark on your driving journey, with fascinating architecture and stunning caves waiting for you. Driving in Slovakia is one of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Before you start your journey, make sure you have your international driver’s permit with you. Get an IDP from the International Drivers Association now!
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