What is the climate like in Slovakia?
The climate is predominantly continental - though the weather is slightly different in most parts of the country due to geography. For example summers in Bratislava can get quite warm anything from 20-35 °C! On the other hand, winters are reasonably mild with some light snowfall in early November or as late as early March. In other parts of the country, particularly in mountain regions, summers are less hot but winters can be much colder with quite heavy snowfall and low temperatures - it is common to experience frosts as severe as -25 ° C in some places.
How safe is Slovakia?
Slovakia is a very safe country by European standards, however as with anywhere, no place is ever 100% safe. Slovaks are generally law-abiding people but do watch out for pickpockets who prey on the unsuspecting travellers. Places where you should be more alert are trams, main pedestrian areas and late night travel in Bratislava.
What is the language like?
Slovak language is a Slavic language much like Czech, Croatian or Russian. Most people in hotels, shops or restaurants of Bratislava are able to speak English. Many of the younger population certainly now consider English, German and other key languages an important tool for communication and they are happy to converse in these languages. Generally speaking, the older generation can speak Slovak, Russian or some German. It is useful to know some basic phrases in Slovak as any attempt will be most appreciated.
What is the shopping like?
Nowadays it is not so different from Western Europe. Bratislava and other large cities have several large shopping centres dedicated to sports, clothing, food and cosmetics. Outside of Bratislava and the larger cities, a full range of shops are usually available, but in certain places your choices may be limited.
Is it wise to go "off the beaten track"?
As mentioned earlier, Slovakia is, as a rule, a safe country and the countryside does not hold any dangers to visitors. The only thing to bear in mind in very remote parts of the country is the presence of the brown bear and wild boar, as these animals can become aggressive or angry if approached.
Is tipping required in Slovakia?
In restaurants and hotels, this is common. It is normally around 10% of the value, but not necessary.
Is Slovakia a liberal society?
Bratislava is gradually opening up and because so much foreign investment has poured in over the last 10-15 years, the city is transforming itself to become stylish, cosmopolitan and confident. However, you should respect the country you are in like anywhere else. Slovak people are mild mannered and quite conservative and any unruly behaviour could be met with strange & disapproving looks. Most people in the countryside look disapprovingly upon homosexual issues and ethnic minorities could often be met with resistance as Slovak people hold a great fear of the unknown.