Bratislava has a temperate continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. The average daily temperature in summer (July, August) reaches 21°C (maximum 38°C), the average daily temperature in winter (December, January) -1°C (minimum -20°C). The months with the highest rainfall are July and September; on the other hand, May and October are relatively dry. The best times to visit Bratislava are from mid-April to mid-October and just before Christmas.
Slovaks are proud of their identity and language. Only a few foreigners are aware that the former Czechoslovakia was a federation of two republics - Czech and Slovak - and that, historically, two official languages always existed side by side: the Czech and the Slovak languages, also that Czechs and Slovaks are two separate nationalities, despite being close. To confuse Czechs and Slovaks would not be a polite gesture. The same is true for Slovenia. It has a similar name and national flag but it is a totally different country.
Slovakia is a country with one of the greatest number of national holidays in Europe - 15 in total. These are: 1st January, 6th January, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 1st May, 8th May, 5th July, 29th August, 1st September, 15th September, 1st November, 17th November, 24th December, 25th December and 26th December. On these days, usually only the shopping centres and hypermarkets are open.
Tips are usually rounded up; with higher expenses there is a rule of a 10% tip but the actual tip depends on your satisfaction. In ordinary restaurants the waiter will usually bring your bill, tell you the sum and wait until you pay. As a rule, the total sum including a tip is paid or you indicate by a gesture that they may keep the change.
Traveling without a ticket
In comparison with other cities, traveling without a ticket on the various forms of urban transport are treated quite severely in Bratislava. Checks are frequent and the inspectors are always in plain clothes. In order to avoid an unpleasant situation, remember that the tickets must be validated on board. Please note that tickets are not sold on board the urban transport and can only be purchased at a ticket machine or from a kiosk.
Just like Vienna, Bratislava is famous for its café culture. There are a number of different ways of making coffee so to simply ask for a coffee will bring a smile to the face of the person serving you. He or she will immediately offer you at least ten possible choices.
Mail and Telephones
Postage stamps are available at post offices and also from kiosks. The Main Post Office is conveniently situated in the Old Town on SNP Square 34-35 (2 CU 19). The office is open Mon-Fri 7 a.m. - 8 p.m., Sat 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Following the invasion of cellular phones, there are only a few telephone boxes operational in the city, mostly using a phone card. International cards are available from kiosks and at post offices.
The country code for Slovakia is 00421, Bratislava 02 (just 2 if calling from abroad); local telephone numbers have 8 digits.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Emergency calls: 112
Ambulance, First Aid: 155
City Police: 159
Fire Service: 150
Vehicle clamping and removal service: 18 124
Ambulance: 16 155
Information about phone numbers (Slovakia): 1181
Information about phone numbers (international call): 12 149
In the EU and EEA member states, it is possible to obtain an EHIC card which entitles you to medical care at a reduced price or even free of charge in a public health office of another member state under the same conditions as the local insures. This is recommended as supplementary to a private insurance.
Pharmacies are identified by a green cross. They are plentiful and usually open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday to 1 p.m. The only pharmacy providing a 24-hour emergency service is situated east of the Old Town: Lekáreň Pokrok, Račianske mýto 1/A.
Most of the embassies are located either in the Old Town and or in the villa quarters below and above the Castle. Some states have their embassies to Slovakia in Vienna, Prague or Budapest. A current list of embassies and contact numbers can be found at: mzv.sk.
Slovakia now member of Schengen Area, issues Schengen visa.
As of December 20, 2007 Slovakia has begun issuing Schengen Visa allowing holders to enter the entire Schengen Area. Schengen refers to a group of European Union member states which have abolished passport controls on their internal borders and strengthened controls at their external boundaries.
The 24 member states of the Schengen Area as of 2008 are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
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.