Guest post: A guide to hitch-hiking in Slovakia
Hitch-hiking in Slovakia
4) Things you should be aware of
5) Hitch-hikers phrasebook
6) Map of motorways in Slovakia
7) Main border crossings
8) Most beautiful natural spot
9) Best city/town
|Basic informationCapital city: Bratislava
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Hitch-hiking: quite difficult (5/10)
Citizens of Schengen countries can move freely in the area.
For citizens of the following countries no visa is required for access to the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela.
Other nationalities should ask at the Slovak embassy in their countries.
Close to some touristy spots you may expect that hitch-hiking would be easier because visitors from other countries stop more often. Many tourists from Poland, where hitch-hiking is popular, visit Slovakia during the holidays and st weekends. Coming home they can give you a ride for a longer distance. You can also count on foreign trucks driving through Slovakia.
What is important – hitch-hiking in Slovakia is free.
Finding accommodation close to touristy sites is not difficult in Slovakia. There are many possibilities and types of lodging – hotels, guest-houses, farm stays, cheap private quarters and other. The problem may appear when you suddenly end up in a small, not popular among travellers, village. Better ask the driver if the place you want to go is good to sleep in.
Hitch-hiking in Slovakia is not so easy. The first thing is that Slovakian drivers rarely stop. Sometimes you can wait for a car for 2 hours in one place. Many cars pass you but nobody stops. You can stuck mainly on B roads, but the main ones are considered to be unfriendly for hitch-hikers too. The second thing is that Slovaks often drive only for short distances. It means that your journey will be divided into many pieces.
Hitch-hiking Slovakia is for people who have a lot of time and patience.
Things you should be aware of while hitch-hiking in Slovakia
Slovakia is a European country and there are not so many things that can surprise visitors. Worth mentioning is that Slovaks are Catholics – it means they observe the Sunday day of rest. Visitors coming to the country may be astonished that some shops are closed and roads empty. Also public transport (especially buses) is reduced on weekends and public holidays.
Before visiting northern Slovakia it is good to read more about the Roma minority in Slovakia. They are also known as Gypsies. Roma place great pride in their culture and traditions and they are famous for their music and colourful outfit. Unfortunately they live in very poor rural and urban conditions in isolated settlements. The cultural and social differences may be the reasons of misunderstandings. If you don’t have any special need, it is better not to enter their communities. Otherwise you can even unwittingly violate local rules and customs. The greatest concentrations of Roma are in the Prešov, Košice and Banská Bystrica regions.
Absolutely essential hitch-hikers phrasebook
- hello – ahoj! (a-hoy)
- Good morning – Dobré ráno! (do-bre ra-no)
- Good bye – Dovidenia! (do-vee-dye-nya)
- Good evening – Dobrý večer! (do-bree ve-cher)
- Good night! – Dobrú noc! (do-bru nots)
- thank you – d’akujem (dzya-ku-yem)
- here you are – nech sa páči (nyeh sa pa-tchee)
- no – ne (ne)
- yes – áno (a-no)
- please – prosím (pro-seem)
- excuse me – prepáčte (pre-pa-chtye)
- money – peniaze (pe-nya-ze)
- how much? – koľko? (kol-ko)
- bus station – autobusové nádražie (awto-bu-so-ve na-dra-jye)|
- bus stop – autobusová zastávka (awto-bu-so-va zas-ta-vka)
- train station – vlaková stanica (vla-ko-va sta-nee-tza)
- where is? – kde je? (gdye je)
- now – teraz (te-raz)
- today – dnes (dnyes)
- tomorrow – zajtra (zay-tra)
- accommodation – ubytovanie (u-by-to-va-nye)
- for one night – na jednu noc (na ye-dnu nots)
- friend – priateľ (pree-ya-tyel‘)
Map of motorways in Slovakia
Main border crossings
1. Slovakia – EU countries
Since Slovakia joined the EU the border crossings with other EU countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary) have ceased to function. You can cross the border without any problems and procedures.
2. Slovakia – Ukraine
There are three car border crossings between Slovakia and Ukraine.
- Ubľa (Slovak Republic) – Malyj Bereznyj (Ukraine): citizens from all countries of the world, passenger and commercial traffic up to 3,5 tons; opening hours – nonstop
- Vyšné Nemecké (Slovak Republic) – Užhorod (Ukraine): citizens from all countries of the world, passenger and commercial traffic without any restrictions; opening hours – nonstop
- Veľké Slemence (Slovak Republic) – Mali Selmenci (Ukraine)
There is also a railway border crossing: Čierna nad Tisou (Slovak Republic) – Čop (Ukraine).
Slovak Absolute Musts
1. Most Beautiful Nature Spot
Mountains! They occupy an area more than 60% of the country: Containing the Tatra Mountains, Low Tatras, Choč Mountains, Great and Lesser Fatra and Slovak Paradise they are perfect for one day trips as well as several days’ trekking with a tent.
I try to hike the Slovakian mountains at least a few times a year. You can find more about hiking in Great Fatra here.
The greater part of the beautiful Tatra Mountains lie in Slovakia. The main advantage is that they are less crowded than on the Polish side, which makes hiking more enjoyable. The Slovak Tatras are divided into 3 parts: Western Tatras, High Tatras and Belianske Tatras – each has its own specifications. In the High Tatras you will find the highest summit of the whole Carpathians range – Gerlach (climbing it is possible only with a mountain guide). The mountains are rocky and sharp here, what makes them interesting but difficult for inexperienced hikers. The Western Tatras are slightly less jagged with easier hikes to accomplish. While hiking you might have the chance to meet some wild animals like marmots or chamois.
2. Best Cities / Towns
Košice is a city which has the largest and best preserved historical centre in Slovakia. It is really impressive! The main street has been turned into a pedestrian zone what makes visiting all the more pleasant. You will find there the largest of Slovakia’s church – the beautiful Gothic St. Elisabeth Cathedral. Cozy streets, plenty of cafés and restaurants and fountains help create the unique atmosphere of the city.
Find out more about Košice here.
Spiš Castle (situated above the town of Spišské Podhradie) is a huge medieval complex situated on a hill. It is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Site. It was founded in 12th century and has been rebuilt several times. Nowadays tourists can visit the well preserved ruins of the castle. The castle is famed for being one of the biggest in Central Europe.
Close to Spiš Castle you will find the old medieval town of the Levoča and ecclesiastical town Spišská Kapitula with an old cathedral. You should have at least two days to visit all interesting sites nearby the castle. If you need a break go to the beautiful karst region – Slovak Paradise.
Read about the region here.
I wouldn’t claim that it is impossible to hitch-hike in Slovakia as I have never had to change my plans and use public transport. I hitch-hiked the country several times, with one friend and in a group, in winter and in other seasons. In my opinion it is a little bit more difficult than in my homeland Poland. If you have a lot of time and you aren’t in a hurry – of course you can try hitch-hiking in Slovakia too. Beside many unsuccessful attempts to hitch-hike Slovakia quickly I also had some positive memories, like being picked up by a garbage truck :)
written by: Monika
I have been hitch-hiking for about 10 years. I started in Poland, the country I live in. Most often I hitch-hike in Poland and Slovakia. I have also hitchhiked around Slovenia and Estonia and did some shorter trips in other European countries. Hitch-hiking is very addictive :)
visit her blog at: geographers-eye.blogspot.com