ETIAS - Traveling to Slovakia
U.S. citizens can travel to Slovakia using an ETIAS visa waiver
Country of Slovakia
- Euro (€)
- UTC+1 (CET)
Emergency Slovakia Telephone Numbers
Slovakia: An Overview
Slovakia is tucked into the heart of continental Europe. It is a lesser-known gem known filled with medieval towns, magnificent castles, forests, caves, a captivating capital, and a nicely preserved folk culture. Until 1993, it was part of Czechoslovakia until the ‘velvet divorce’ created two separate countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Home to approximately 5.5 million people Slovakia welcomes more than five million tourists annually. Slovakia joined the European Union in 2004 and joined the Schengen Agreement in 2007. Whether it is an alpine hike in the High Tatra Mountains, exploring stalagmite-filled caves, visiting centuries-old castles, or tapping into the pulse of city life, a lot is going on in Slovakia as it dances to its newfound modern rhythm.
Bratislava, with its location on the shores of the River Danube, a Gothic and medieval old town, Baroque palaces, trendy cafés and beer halls, the capital city receives a lot of visitor attention. But sojourners also enjoy discovering other city destinations including Presov and Kosice. Away from the urban centers, there is a treasure trove of natural beauty with national parks, sprawling forests, caves and castles, plummeting gorges, and wild waterfalls.
With approval of ETIAS, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which has a generous 90-day limit per US trip, your daydreams of exploring this land of castles, mountains, and medieval buildings can become your next vacation reality.
Primary languages: Slovak. Secondary languages include Hungarian, Czech, Rusyn. English is spoken by the younger generation and by staff in hotels, restaurants, and shops in tourist areas.
Where to Go
Bratislava is the capital city, a modern metropolis and a bustling business center with an ancient heart. The old town sits on the shores of the Danube and is an intoxicating labyrinth of cobblestone streets that are pedestrianized for the most part. A leisurely stroll will soon bring you to centuries-old churches and palaces. Highlights include St. Martin's Cathedral, the 18th-century Neoclassical Primate's Palace and Bratislava Castle. This ninth-century stronghold is perched on top of a hill and enjoys commanding views of the capital.
Attractions are plentiful outside of the old town and include Bratislava Zoo and a lively shopping and dining district. Be sure to check out the New Bridge. This crossing, the largest hanging bridges anywhere, which spans the River Danube is also known as the UFO Bridge because the observation deck atop its pylon resembles a flying saucer.
Kosice is Slovakia's second city, an important industrial center that is also known for its vibrant atmosphere and well-preserved old quarter. It is the home of three universities and the longest promenade in Slovakia, along the River Hornád. Many attractions are found in the historic neighborhood which is peppered with beautiful old buildings in a variety of architectural styles like Gothic, Renaissance and Art Nouveau. One of its biggest calling cards is the Gothic St. Elizabeth's Cathedral, one of the largest churches in the country. Other landmark structures include the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God, the 14th-century St. Urban Tower, Executioner's Bastion and Levoča House, a 15th-century townhouse and inn. Kosice also turns on its cultural pursuits and was the European Capital of Culture 2013. Visitors can spend many happy hours in the museums, concert halls, theaters, and galleries. Among them are Kosice State Theater, STEEL Arena, the Eastern Slovak Gallery and the Eastern Slovak Museum, which contains a hoard of gold coins.
Presov sits in the shadow of the High Tatra Mountains in eastern Slovakia and is the country's third-largest city. Its long history goes back to the Roman era when farming settlements existed here, but it reached the peak of its powers during the Renaissance with its wealth coming from nearby opal and salt mines. The prosperity of that time can be seen in the townhouses and palaces of the old town. Other notable buildings in the historic quarter include the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky and the Orthodox Synagogue. Visitors can learn more about Presov in museums dedicated to salt mining and Judaism. Also, check out the Neptune Fountain and meander to the outdoor cafés for local fare. Outside of town the Slovak Opal Mines are fascinating.
National parks, majestic peaks, caves, and gorges make the Slovakian countryside a place of beauty and adventure waiting to be explored. There are nine national parks covering a wide array of terrains, such as the Alp-like peaks of the High Tatras, the waterfalls, cliffs and verdant forests of Slovak Paradise and the karstic landscape of Muran Plateau. All the parks offer a variety of outdoor pursuits, including mountain biking, downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, and mountain climbing. Slovakia also boasts equally spectacular sights in the subterranean worlds of its cave systems. There are lots for visitors to choose from. The Demänovská Cave of Liberty in the Liptov region is said to be one of the most beautiful caves in Europe and features numerous underground halls, domes, and tunnels. The Cave of the Dead Bats in the Banska Bystrica region is one of the largest caves in the country and so-called because of the many bat bones discovered there. They are said to be around 6,000 years old. Dobsinska Ice Cave in the Slovak Paradise National Park is the largest ice cave in Slovakia and is filled with ice waterfalls, ice stalagmites and other intriguing ice formations. Dining in Slovakia is as contrasting to American fare as you would hope. The national dish is Bryndzové halušky (dumplings with sheep cheese). Others to try include Vyprážaný rezeň (Pork Schnitzel), and Strapačky, rustic Slovak entree is of a combination of traditional halušky dumplings, bacon bits, and tangy sauerkraut. Funnel cakes in all varieties are a favorite sweet treat. In summer they are served filled with ice cream. And, be sure to try the traditional Slovak distilled spirit, Borovicka. Made from juniper, it is known as juniper brandy and has similar notes to fine gin. Na zdravie!
Slovakia is bordered by Austria, The Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary. Slovakia, along with other Schengen Members Austria, Czechia, Poland, and Hungary, will require an approved ETIAS visa waiver for visa-free entry beginning in 2021.