Slovakia travel guide
Like the Czech Republic minus the crowds, Slovakia may sit in the shadows of its neighbour, but the country quietly impresses with its epic alpine scenery, clifftop castles and exquisite capital.
Following the 'Velvet Divorce' of 1993, which saw Czechoslovakia split into two constituent parts (the Czech Republic and Slovakia), the nation set about reasserting its independent spirit, and today there's a humble, creative nature to Slovakia that wins over visitors of all stripes. Enthusiastic about art and music, the country is even home to a burgeoning hip-hop scene.
A small country of just five million odd inhabitants, Slovakia appeals to a broad range of travellers: from backpackers and businesspeople, to skiers and history buffs. It has one or two surprises up its sleeve. It is, for example, quietly gaining prestige as an alternative skiing destination. With its modern skiing infrastructure and new budget flights, Slovakia’s High Tatras mountains are becoming a tantalising destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
As for the capital, it may be compared unfavourably with its neighbour, Prague, but Bratislava is nevertheless an alluring option for a city break. With an air of glamorous Vienna, it is home to gorgeous churches dating back to the 15th century, countless cafes squeezed onto cobblestone streets, and a slew of terrific, sometimes quirky museums.
Part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for centuries, Bratislava’s architecture is grand Central European in style. It was the Hungarian capital for nearly 300 years, with 11 monarchs crowned in the extraordinary 500-year-old St Martin’s Cathedral.
Beyond its stunning capital, Slovakia boasts some impressive natural landscapes, which remain relatively unspoiled and uncrowded. The country has 10 national parks to speak of, which offer sprawling forests, rolling hills and meandering rivers.
Though Bratislava and the High Tatras mountains remain the star attractions in Slovakia, beyond them lies a diverse and decidedly beautiful land, rich in rewards for those bold enough to explore it.
49,033 sq km (18,932 sq miles).
5,429,418 (UN estimate 2016).
111 per sq km.
President Zuzana Čaputová since 2019.
Prime Minister Eduard Heger since 2021.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Slovakia on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Slovakia.
Returning to the UK
When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.
You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities or see this list of laboratories offering tests. Some of these can provide test certificates in English on request.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Public spaces and services
The Slovak government has eased many of the restrictions on public life which were imposed to counter the spread of COVID-19.
The measures and restrictions in a given district, including requirements on facemasks and negative COVID-19 testing for certain activities, may change according to the local epidemiological situation, as set out in a colour-coded framework known as the ‘Covid Automat’. Availability of services and rules on events are also covered. Details can be found on the Slovak government website (in Slovak only). You can check the local restrictions in each district by typing its name into the Slovak government’s online search tool. You may wish to use an online translation tool, as the English language pages are not updated regularly. You can also find details of the latest restrictions on the website of the local English-language media, the Slovak Spectator.
For more information check the Slovak Public Health Authority (in Slovak only). The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also has information in English. You should also monitor developments on local English language media such as Radio Slovakia International and The Slovak Spectator.
Healthcare in Slovakia
If you are in Slovakia and you are concerned that you may have the symptoms of coronavirus, you should follow the advice of the Slovak authorities and contact your usual healthcare provider by telephone or email, not in person. If your symptoms are severe, you should call 155 or 112, where some operators may speak English.
The Slovak government website has information in English and advice on how to get tested for Covid-19 (currently in Slovak only). You can also consult your nearest regional office of the Slovak Public Health Authority on their website.
For contact details of local hospitals visit our list of healthcare providers. UK-issued prescriptions are not accepted at Slovak pharmacies, and you should bring sufficient supplies with you to cover your stay. If you need repeat medication you would need to consult a local doctor to get a Slovak prescription issued.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health
View Health for further details on healthcare in Slovakia.
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Slovakia
Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. You can sign up to get email notifications.
All British residents of Slovakia and full-time students can register to receive a COVID-19 vaccination through the Slovak national vaccination programme, regardless of whether they are registered with the Slovak public health insurance schemes. This follows the Slovak Health Ministry’s expansion of eligibility criteria on 14 June. Further details are on the Slovak Health Ministry website (in Slovak only) and translated into English on the local English-language Slovak Spectator website. You can find more information on the Slovak vaccination programme on the Slovak Government website (in Slovak only). You can register for a vaccination by completing and submitting a form (currently in Slovak only). Information and registration is also available by calling 0800 174 174 within Slovakia or +421 222 200 910 from abroad.
If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in Slovakia, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.
British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance
Further advice and information is available on the Slovak foreign ministry website and the Slovak government’s Coronavirus website.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Take care of yourself and your belongings in the same way as you would do in the UK. Take precautions against pickpockets and bag snatchers and don’t leave things unattended. Don’t leave your passport as a deposit for services such as car rental, and don’t lose sight of your bank card when making payments.
There is a risk of petty crime, especially in Bratislava. Pickpockets operate around the main tourist areas, particularly the popular Christmas markets and in bars, and foreigners are easily identified and targeted.
There has been an increase in reports of thefts from visitors in night clubs and, strip clubs around the old town pedestrian area in Bratislava as a result of drink spiking.
- you should seek recommendations for bars and clubs from trustworthy sources.
- research bars and clubs in advance.
- if travelling in a group, stay together.
- keep a close eye on your drinks and only accept drinks that you have seen being prepared. Alcoholic drinks might be stronger than in the UK.
There have been some instances of extortionate charging for drinks or having fraudulent transactions debited against credit/debit cards.
- always ask to see a menu to check drink prices before ordering.
- when paying by credit or debit card, make sure the transaction is completed in your presence and be wary of attempts to make you re-enter your pin number.
- if you’re told that the card payment transaction didn’t go through, ask for a receipt before doing the transaction again.
If you have been the victim of a crime while in Slovakia and wish to report the crime, you should do so to local police prior to leaving the country. You should ask the police to provide you with a statement or confirmation of the incident.
Taxi drivers sometimes try to overcharge tourists by adding unauthorised supplements or by not setting the meter at the start of a journey. Insist that you’ll pay only the fare shown on the meter.
Be aware of ‘road pirates’ who target foreign-registered cars. Some will stab a tyre at a petrol station, then follow their target until the car stops; they then offer assistance and rob the target. They might also simulate a breakdown and ask for help. You should not leave belongings in view in your car. If you decide to stop to check the condition of your/their vehicle, only do so in a well-lit public area such as a service station. Make sure you lock your car and in general be extremely wary of anyone offering help.
Only use registered car rental companies. You can find a list of car rentals on this Slovak Business Directory website.
In 2019 there were 245 road deaths in Slovakia (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 4.4 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.
Licences and documents
You can drive in Slovakia on your UK driving licence.
It is a requirement under Slovak law to have at least valid third-party motor insurance cover for your car.
If you’re living in Slovakia, you may need to exchange your UK licence for a Slovak one. Check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
Children under 150cm tall or under the age of 12 must not sit in the front seat of moving vehicles and must use an appropriate child restraint.
By law, you must use winter tyres when there’s snow or ice on the road.
All vehicles must have headlights switched on all year round.
Speed limits in towns are 50km/h.
There’s zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or narcotics. If you are involved in an accident while driving the police will give you a breath test regardless of who is to blame. Drivers with any trace of alcohol in their body will be arrested.
If you’re stopped by the police and asked to pay a fine for speeding or other traffic offences, you should be given a receipt for any money paid. If the officers refuse to give you a receipt, call 158 (police) to make sure you’re dealing with a genuine police officer.
Although in reasonably good condition, many main roads have only a single carriageway in each direction making overtaking difficult. Beware of oncoming cars overtaking on your side of the road (particularly on bends and hills). Road markings are difficult to see in poor weather and can be faded. Traffic signs and junctions can be confusing to those not used to the roads. In winter, equip your car for severe driving conditions.
If you use Slovak motorways (‘Dialnica’) you must display a motorway vignette (sticker) on the inside of the windscreen of your vehicle as you enter Slovakia. Failure to display one may incur a heavy fine. You can get a motorway vignette at all major border crossings into Slovakia and at larger petrol stations.
An electronic toll system applies on motorways to all vehicles weighing over 3.5 tons. All truck drivers are strongly advised to study the rules and pay the necessary fees. Failing to do so may result in fines from €1,655 to €2,655. More information on the toll system and a road network map is available from the toll system operator or from their call centre on +421 2 35 111 111 (available 24/7 and in English).
If you use public transport you should buy a ticket before boarding the vehicle. You can buy tickets from ticket machines at some public transport stops or newspaper stands. Immediately after entering the vehicle you must validate the ticket using a marking machine inside the vehicle. An unmarked ticket is invalid and may result in a fine from 50 to 70 Euros. You won’t be treated more leniently if you’re a tourist or claim to be unaware of the rules.
For more information on using public transport in Bratislava, visit the DPB website.
Foreign students may not qualify for discounted fares even with a student card. Check with your public transport provider for further information.
Swimming and water sports
You should observe local rules and regulations on publicly accessible lakes, rivers and other water sources. Jumping into unknown waters can result in serious injury, including paralysis or death. Check with local authorities or sporting organisations for further information and advice.
Skiing and hiking
If you ski or hike in the Slovak mountains and need help from the Slovak Mountain Rescue Service (HZS), you will have to meet their full costs. These could range from €116 to €9,960 depending on the size of the operation. Anyone ignoring or violating HZS commands or laws will be liable for a fine of up to €3,320. Make sure you have sufficient insurance to cover any rescue costs. Mountain rescue services instructions in English can be found on the Mountain Rescue Service website
Travellers with limited mobility
There are many interesting places in Slovakia that are accessible to all people, but wheelchair access may be limited in certain places due to uneven paving and a lack of ramps.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Slovakia, attacks can’t be ruled out.
You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public places, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
You must carry your passport (or Slovak identity card if you have one) with you at all times as identification. Keep it safe in a zipped up pocket or secure bag, and keep the details separately in case you lose it.
The Residence Permit card issued in Slovakia (Trvaly Pobyt) isn’t considered acceptable proof of identity and can’t be used to travel outside Slovakia. You’ll need to use your passport to leave the country.
Bratislava has become a popular destination for stag parties and tourists have been fined or imprisoned for causing a public nuisance. Unruly or rowdy behaviour between 22:00 and 06:00 is illegal and could attract the attention of the police. It is an offence in Bratislava Old Town to drink alcohol in the street. There may be exceptions for seasonal markets (such as the Christmas Market) and outside seating areas of restaurants and bars. But drinking alcohol (for example bought in a supermarket) in other public areas could result in a fine of €33.
Don’t get involved with drugs in any way. Penalties for smuggling, possession and use of drugs are severe.
Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as a military establishment or somehow security related, may result in problems with the authorities.
Same-sex relationships are legal in Slovakia, but same-sex marriages and civil partnerships aren’t recognised in Slovak law. Public displays of affection may be frowned upon or attract unwanted attention. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Taking food and drink into the EU
You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Slovakia set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact their embassy, high commission or consulate. You may also check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and travel documents meet their requirements.
If you are travelling to Slovakia for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus
Entry to Slovakia
There are travel restrictions for travellers from the UK and most other countries. The Slovak Government may change its entry requirements at short notice. Direct flights from the UK are permitted, and regular services are resuming.
New entry requirements in force from 19 July
From 19 July, new entry requirements apply.
If you are travelling directly from the UK or any other non-Schengen country to Slovakia, UK nationals may only enter if you are one of the following:
- a resident in Slovakia
- a close relative of residents (such as a spouse)
- a close relative of Slovak citizens (spouse or parent of a child)
- commercial transport personnel
- a student studying in Slovakia
- you fall under certain limited exemptions
The above restriction does not apply to UK nationals who enter Slovakia via the land borders with Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria or Poland, or by air from any country in the Schengen area.
For full details of the criteria to enter Slovakia and a definition of a close relative, see the Slovak Ministry of Interior website.
Entry to Slovakia by air
If you arrive in Slovakia by air, you need to complete the Slovak government’s Passenger Locator Form. You should carry a printed confirmation with you in case the airline or border officials ask to see it.
If you arrive by air from the UK or another country not listed in Annex 1 of the relevant Slovak government decree (in Slovak only), you must also be able to show a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours, regardless of your vaccination status. Children under 12 do not need to show a negative PCR test result.
Everyone aged 12 and above arriving from all countries by all means of transport must register in advance of travel on the Slovak government’s website. After registering, you will receive a confirmation which you should show at the border and carry with you during your stay, in case the authorities ask to see it.
If you leave Slovakia and then later return, you must register separately each time you enter. However, you are exempt from this requirement to register for each subsequent visit if you:
- are aged 12 to 18 (your first entry registration is valid until 9 August)
- are emergency services personnel or hold a special exemption from the Health Ministry to travel to receive treatment abroad (your first entry registration is valid for 1 week)
- work in Slovakia and are either resident in an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland or Ukraine (if you reside in Ukraine within 100km of the Slovak border) (your first entry registration is valid until 1 September)
- are a resident in Slovakia but working in either an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland or Ukraine (your first entry registration is valid until 1 September)
- are either a student resident in a neighbouring country but studying in Slovakia or resident in Slovakia but studying in a neighbouring country (your first entry registration is valid for 1 month), or
- are fully vaccinated, as defined by the Slovak government (your first entry registration is valid for 6 months)
The Slovak government defines a person as being fully vaccinated if:
- for two-dose vaccines: 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose (but no more than one year)
- for one-dose vaccines: 21 days have passed since receiving the vaccine (but no more than one year)
- 14 days have passed since receiving the first vaccine dose of any vaccine within 180 days of recovering from COVID-19 (but no more than one year)
Fully vaccinated people must be able to show a certificate proving their vaccination status in Slovak, Czech or English. They can also show the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status
The Slovak government will accept the UK’s solutions to demonstrate your COVID vaccination status. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
Everyone entering Slovakia must self-isolate for 14 days. Depending on your vaccination status, you may be able to end your self-isolation earlier.
You can end your self-isolation earlier if you receive a negative PCR test result taken in Slovakia. You can take the test free-of-charge on the fifth day of self-isolation at the earliest. You need to book the test on the Slovak government website. Children under 12 who do not display any COVID-19 symptoms can end their self-isolation at the same time as everyone else in their household. Those in the same household must also self-isolate until everyone’s self-isolation period is completed.
Exemptions from the requirement to self-isolate include:
- fully vaccinated people, as defined by the Slovak government
- if you were vaccinated before 9 July 2021, but do not meet the definition of a fully vaccinated person as defined by the Slovak government, for a transitional period until 6am on 2 August, you can end your self-isolation when you receive a negative RT-PCR test for COVID-19. You can take the free-of-charge test on the first day of quarantine. This transitional provision does not apply to those vaccinated after 9 July
- children aged 12-18 (this exemption will be valid only until 9 August)
- people who work in Slovakia and are either resident in an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland or Ukraine (if you reside in Ukraine within 100km of the Slovak border)
- people who are a resident in Slovakia but working in either an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland or Ukraine. (They must have spent the previous 14 days only in these countries. If they are older than 12 years, they must be able to show a negative PCR test no older than 7 days) (this exemption will be valid until 1 September)
- students resident in neighbouring countries studying in Slovakia or residents of Slovakia who are studying in a neighbouring country. (If they are older than 12 years, they must be able to show a negative PCR or antigen test no older than 7 days)
- those who are transiting Slovakia, taking someone to/from an airport in a neighbouring country, working on freight transport, funeral and/or medical personnel, military and/or diplomatic personnel, attending funerals, or caring for close relatives
Cross border workers
The definition of a cross-border commuter from a neighbouring country includes those living within 100km of the nearest border crossing with Slovakia. Full details are on the Slovak government website.
Unvaccinated cross-border workers, until 1 September, must pre-register on the Slovak government’s website, They are exempted from self-isolation if they can show a negative PCR test not older than seven days and evidence from their employer that they are cross-border commuters.
For fully vaccinated cross-border workers, registration on the Slovak government’s website is valid for 6 months. They do not need to enter self-isolation and they do not need to show a negative PCR test result. For more information, see the Slovak Ministry of Interior website.
Re-entering Slovakia after taking someone to an international airport in a neighbouring country
People taking others to and from international airports in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Austria do not have to self-isolate on their return to Slovakia, but must register in advance on the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (in Slovak only) and show at the Slovak border confirmation of this registration and a copy of the passenger’s plane ticket. No stops are allowed, apart from those to refuel and the time the passenger needs to get in or out of the vehicle refuelling.
You can transit Slovakia as long as your transit journey is less than 8 hours and you do not stop other than to refuel, or if you do not leave the airport premises. From 9 July, you must use selected routes for transit as outlined on the Slovak government website (an English translation starts on page 11).
You should also check the entry requirements for the relevant neighbouring countries on your route on FCDO Travel Advice.
Slovakia’s international airports at Bratislava, Kosice and Poprad are operational with flights to certain permitted destinations.
Most major routes between Slovakia and Austria, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic are operational but border control checks are increasing.
Full border checks remain in place with Ukraine. Entry to Slovakia from Ukraine limited to the Vysne Nemecke – Uzhgorod border crossing between 7 am and 7 pm. For more information on crossing the border with Ukraine, see the Slovak Foreign Ministry website (in Slovak only).
Neighbouring countries can change their entry requirements at short notice. You should check the FCDO Travel Advice for all countries on your route.
Regular entry requirements
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
- if you are travelling to Slovakia and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90 day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.
- to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Slovak government’s entry requirements. Check with the Slovak Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit you may need
- if you stay in Slovakia with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit
Any time you spent in Slovakia or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
At Slovak border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Slovakia. If you are resident in Slovakia, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Slovakia guide.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Make sure your passport is in a presentable state before you travel. The Slovak authorities can refuse entry if your passport is worn or damaged, or looks as if it’s been tampered with.
Registering with the Slovak authorities
If you plan to stay in Slovakia for a longer period of time, you should register with the police within 3 days of arrival. You’ll need your passport, 2 photographs and proof of accommodation. You’ll have an option to apply for a Slovak ‘green card’, which can be used as proof of your ID, while your passport is kept in a safe place. Visit the website of Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic for further information.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Slovakia. They are also accepted for a return to Slovakia if you normally live there.
Travelling with pets
You cannot use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead, you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet. Allow at least 1 month to arrange this and relevant vaccinations.
Follow the guidance for taking your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad.
If your pet passport was issued in an EU Member State, it remains valid for travel to Slovakia.
See the Slovak Financial Administration guidance on travelling from the UK to Slovakia with pets (in Slovak only).
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Slovakia on the TravelHealthPro website
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Slovakia.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.
The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Slovakian nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
If you’re living in Slovakia, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Slovakia guide.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
The standard of medical facilities in Slovakia varies. Doctors are generally very good and medical equipment is constantly being improved. However, many hospitals are under-maintained and there are few English- speaking receptionists and nurses.
The currency of Slovakia is the euro.
Only exchange money in banks and certified exchange offices. You can find these in all major hotels and some department stores. Travellers’ cheques aren’t generally accepted in stores, small hotels or restaurants. You can’t exchange Scottish or Northern Irish bank notes.
ATM machines accept UK bank or credit cards (Cirrus, Maestro or Visa) are common. Shops - particularly in the main tourist areas - increasingly accept credit cards, but are sometimes reluctant to accept cards issued by foreign banks. Check first that the shop will accept your card and that it can be read (there are sometimes problems with “Maestro”). Check your statements carefully when you get home.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.