If you watched the backpacker horror flick Hostel, you may not have the rosiest view of safety in Slovakia. Forget all that. Slovakia is among the safest countries in Europe, with crime rates that have been falling steadily since 2005.
Slovakian roads are normally kept in good condition, thanks in part to a mandatory road tax common to Central Europe. To drive in the country you must buy a toll ticket - a vignette - at a border crossing, post office, or petrol station.
Outdoorsy people cannot go to Slovakia and not hike, just as a foodie can't go to Italy on a low-carb diet. The country has too many perfect hiking spots along the Tatra mountains, for every skill level.
Slovakians value their privacy and close ties, so they may seem distant and reserved at first. This gradually changes once they get to know you. You should always address people by their family names unless you're invited to use the first.