Slovakia

Quick Facts

Region: Europe

Population:
5,455,000

Religion:

Out of about 5.5 million inhabitants of Slovakia, more than two thirds have declared their affiliation to the Roman-Catholic Church. Thirteen percent are churchless. Other religions in Slovakia include Protestants and Greek Catholics.

Language:

The official language is Slovak, with 84% or slightly fewer than 5 million people in Slovakia, and by about half a million people outside the country, primarily in the United States and Canada. Slovak belongs to the West Slavic branch of the Slavic Languages. It is divided into three dialect areas: west, central, and east. Slovak is written in the Latin alphabet with diacritics or diacritical marks, and it is most closely related to Czech. Other languages spoken are Hungarian, Roma and Ukrainian.

Area (sq. km):
48,845 square meters

Time:

Slovakia is 1 hour ahead of GMT.

When To Travel

Slovakia’s climate alternates between extremes, with chilly and dry winters and hot and humid summers. The average daily temperature range in Bratislava is -3° to 2° C in January and 16° to 26° C in July; temperatures tend to be cooler in the mountains. Bratislava receives an average of about 650 mm of rain annually. In areas of high altitude, snow is often present for as many as 130 days each year.

With summer being very hot and winter very cold, the best months to travel in Slovakia are May, June and September.

Useful Travel Facts

Telephone:

Slovakia’s country code is +421 and the international access code when calling from Slovakia is 00.

Electricity:

220 V/50 Hz, two-prong socket with safety pin.

Food:

Traditional Slovak eating and drinking habits date back to the old Slavic period influenced later by Hungarian, Austrian and German cooking. Slovak food is based on many different kinds of soups, gruels, boiled and stewed vegetables, roast and smoked meats and dairy products. Potatoes, wheat flour, cow and sheep cheese, cabbage, onions and garlic are the bases of the traditional food in Slovakia. The style of cooking varies from region to region. Slovak specialties include salted and sweetened dishes made with flour, including dumplings. Slovakia’s national dish would probably have to be bryndzove halusky, which is gnocchi with a thick sheep’s cheese sauce and scrambled bacon sprinkled on top. Popular drinks include Slovak beer, wine and mineral waters. Borovicka (strong gin) and slivovica (plum brandy) are particular specialties with wine from the Tokaj region and sparkling wine from the Bratislava region.

Shopping:

Look out for such items as pottery, porcelain, woodcarvings, hand-embroidered clothing and food items. Other special purchases include folk ceramics from all regions of the Slovak Republic and woodcarvings from the eastern and central parts of the Slovak Republic (Kyjatice, Michalovce and Spi¡sská Belá). There are a number of excellent shops specialising in glass and crystal, while various associations of regional artists and artisans run their own retail outlets (pay in local currency).

Visa: Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, the EU and the USA can enter Slovakia without a visa.

Useful Words & Phrases

Further Reading

A History of Slovakia : The Struggle for Survival - Stanislav Kirschbaum Slovakia: A Photographic Odyssey - Eugen Lazistan Slovakia: The Heart of Europe - Olga Drobna A Christmas in Slovakia - Wesley Ellis My Slovakia: An American's View - Lil Junas