Slovakia Travel Tips – See it at your own pace

Slovakia (also known as the Slovak Republic) is a landlocked country in the middle of Europe with Poland to the north and Hungary to the south. Up until 1993, Slovakia, along with the Czech Republic, had been part of the communist Czechoslovakia. Today both countries are part of the EU and Slovakia has enjoyed much economic growth, including through tourism, as the country is filled with medieval towns, castles, mountainous landscapes and the capital is a fantastic place to visit.

So starting with the capital, Bratislava, you will find a beautiful medieval old town surrounded by not so interesting block flat suburbs. The city is unusual in that it borders two other countries, Austria and Hungary, and as a matter of interest Vienna is a mere 60km away! The inner city is largely a pedestrianised area so you can leave your rental just outside and stroll in. You can easily walk across the city centre in a matter of minutes. But as you do so you’ll find many interesting buildings such as the Old Town Hall, built in the 14th century and now serves as the Bratislava City Museum. Other sites to see include Bratislava Castle, Grassalkovich Palace, the Slavín memorial and there are many more.

Slovakia Car Hire Tip – In Slovakia, as with most of Europe, you will be driving on the right.

Heading east and north along the D1 Motorway for about 45kms, you’ll come to Trnava which is an important historic town that also serves as the Roman Catholic Archbishopric in Slovakia. The city centre has much to see and visit so it’s well worth some of your time.

A little detour off the D1 and onto the R1 for about 40kms will get you to Nitra, which is one of the oldest cities in Slovakia and is also one of the biggest. In the city centre you’ll find the Hrad (castle) which is possibly over a thousand years old.

Slovakia Car Hire Tip – The speed limits are 130km/hr on motorways, 90km/hr on main roads, and 60km/h in built up areas.

Returning to Trnava and continuing on the D1 will bring you to Trenčín. This city is sometimes referred to as the Pearl of Považie because of its great beauty, both natural and architectural. The city has several interesting museums and it also has some fine shopping streets. The highlight of any trip here would be a visit to Trenčín Castle which traces its origins to Roman times and it overlooks the city.

Slovakia Car Hire Tip – The D1 motorway is the most important road in the country as it spans the entire length west to east. However the road is still under construction in some parts, so it may be a case of where you are driving along at 130km/h and then you are suddenly brought to a crawl as you travel through the construction sites.

Continuing north-east along the D1 you will eventually arrive at Žilina. This city has been destroyed a number of times in its history but it has always been rebuilt and today it’s an important industrial centre for Slovakia, which includes the car manufacturer Kia. The city is an important hub for travel, going east-west there is Ukraine – Prague and going north-south there is Warsaw – Vienna. While here there’s plenty to see such as Budatín Castle, the Church of St. Stephen the King and much more.

Slovakia Car Hire Tip – The motorway is tolled, and you can pay by purchasing a sticker in a post office or petrol station. The price is dependant on the size of your vehicle and the duration can be for 15 days or for a year. Remember that the sticker has to be displayed on your windscreen.

Turning south on the D1 you’ll find Martin which is located close to the Malá Fatra and Veľká Fatra mountain ranges – it has excellent skiing opportunities. Within the town itself you can find such attractions as the Slovak Matica and the Slovak National Museum.

Slovakia Car Hire Tip – The permitted alcohol level is 0. Any alcohol at all in your blood is an offence while driving. Also driving whilst using your mobile is illegal.

Another detour off the D1 and on road 65 will get you to Banská Bystrica. This city is worth the detour, as it lies between four important national parks of Slovakia. The national parks Velka Fatra, Nizke Tatry, Polana, and Stiavnicke Vrchy are all situated around the city. Before you head out to the parks, a wander around the city centre will be rewarded with many beautiful Romanesque and Gothic buildings. This medieval city also has excellent access to the mountains.

Slovakia Car Hire Tip – During the winter months, October to March, it’s required by law that all cars drive with their headlights on.

Returning to Martin and then continuing east you’ll come to Prešov. This city is one of the largest in the country and students make up more than 10% of the city’s population, so the city has a lively nightlife. The city is an important cultural centre with some of the finest opera, theatres and plays held at the JonᚠZáborský Theatre. The city centre is also a magnificent place to wander around and see all the different styles of architecture throughout the ages.

Slovakia Car Hire Tip – If there is a tram to your left, and it indicates right it has right of way even if it means cutting you off.

Turning south you’ll arrive in Košice. This city is second only to Bratislava in size and importance in Slovakia. The city centre is largely pedestrianised and here you will find the East Slovak Museum, East Slovak Gallery and the Slovak Technical Museum. The city is also host to the oldest annual marathon in Europe, the Košice Peace Marathon.

Slovakia Car Hire Tip – That’s the end of the journey across Slovakia and visiting most of the major sites. A non-stop trip back to Bratislava should take about 6 hours, so take your time and enjoy the scenery for the second time. Book Car Hire Slovakia.

Remember to give us a shout via the comment box below if you have any questions or if you’ve any tips on hiring a car in Slovakia…enjoy your trip.