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Like many European countries, Slovakia has issues with petty crimes such as pickpocketing and purse snatching. Take the usual common-sense precautions such as keeping your valuables locked at your accommodation, only carrying the money you need for the day, and keeping your bag or purse in sight at all times.
Here's how to avoid any trouble in Slovakia.
Pickpockets operate in crowded tourist areas, and focus on distracted tourists. Be especially wary in popular visitor sights, on public buses, trams, or trains.
Thieves often work in teams; one will distract the victim while the other snatches the goods and hands it off to a swift accomplice. Likewise, a group of children might divert your attention by begging or with cute antics, while another fishes your pockets. This happens in a matter of seconds.
Campsites can also be places of theft. The Zlaty Piesky area has been known to house a robber or two. Err on caution when leaving valuables in your tent.
As you would with any flight, always put your valuables in your carry-on luggage.
Going out for a night on the town carries its own safety issues. There have been a few reports of drink spikings, with the victims waking up several hours later with their pockets emptied. Don't be paranoid, but exercise sober judgment when accepting drinks from people you don't know. Better yet, go with your new friend to the bar and watch the drinks being made.
Slovakian bouncers are notorious for being big and rough. They don't waste time with courtesies and will settle boisterous behavior with a heavy hand. Some of them carry firearms. The bar is not a place to assert yourself. Bouncers don't care about your dignity. If you get into a bind with one, calm down, lower your head, and walk away. By no means argue or show any kind of defiance.
There are some dodgy taxi drivers that might try to rip you off by adding an imaginary surcharge to the metered value, which might be described as a dumb tourist tax. Others might not run the meter at all and dream up an exorbitant fare at the end of the journey. Don't fall for either. Insist on them using the meter and only pay the fare shown on it. Ask the driver what the expected fare would be – of course depending on traffic.
Car break-ins are not uncommon, and thieves might smash your windows whether or not valuables are in plain view. Better to take everything you don't want to lose with you, or hide any belongings so they aren't in plain sight.
If you're driving a car with a foreign license plate, you might be a target of theft. There have been a few cases where someone was fixing a flat tire and robbers helped themselves while the driver was busy. Lock the car before sorting out any such problem.
Unfortunately, there is an ongoing issue with discrimination against Roma people. Roma children are segregated in school and do not receive the same level of education as other Slovakian children. While this may not affect most travelers, it's important to be aware of social issues in the country.
Pickpockets operate around 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 nightclubs and, strip clubs around the old town pedestrian area in Bratislava.
There have been reports of overcharging for drinks or fraudulent transactions debited against bank cards. Always check prices against the menu, watch the transaction being completed, and avoid requests to reenter your PIN. If a transaction is declined, ask to see the receipt.
Report any crimes to local police and get a report to help you with any insurance claims.
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This article makes me laugh. I come from slovakia and live in London - and Slovakia is much safer! Only issues I ever had was with Hypsies and they live in a specific areas.
Had a terrible experience as an asian in Bratislava. Was violently pushed without provocation by a presumably white neonazi. Terrible experience and the first in over 25 years of global travel. WIll never visit this place again! Suggest that people of colour stay away.
Slovakia is not at all friendly to people with brown skin. I felt very unwelcome. It was nearly impossible to place food orders, passers by stared at me as if I was a Martian. It's a beautiful country I loved the sights and mideval ruins. I wish the people were nicer. I don't wish to return.
If people stare at you,it's not because they have some ill intent. Slovakia is very homogeneous country and seeing foreigners,especially of other races is uncommon. Not to mention not so many tourists come here and even if they do,they mostly just stay in Bratislava for a few hours. So yes,people do stare. Because they are interested. Don't forget that not that many years ago we were cut from the Western world and people could not travel,nor anyone could come here. No Western movies or music either...so this whole thing is pretty new concept to us. I remember when i was about 5 years old, i travelled with my grandma to Bratislava to visit our relatives (i am from Eastern Slovakia) and there was African guy on the same tram as us. I have never ever seen black person in my life before,so i sure did stare and even pointed out how his hair was like a sponge. Grandma shushed me immediately but i was innocent fascinated kid...these days i would just get slammed for racism. But it's not so different from when white folk goes to Africa...And what do you mean by "nearly impossible to place food orders"?customer service is not exactly great here...but that is for us Slovaks too.Did they not understand you?or idk...i find it hard to believe they would refuse your order because of your skin colour...as long as you pay,they do not care if you are Martian either. Ad neo-nazis. Yes,they are a problem and embarrassment but that is just a few brainless twats. This country has over 5 million inhabitants and i can assure you the majority is not neonazi nor hates people of colour. The neonazis are harassing even our people...they just hate everything that is different. I am a fan of metal music and while i was lucky,presumably because i'm a woman, but many of my metalhead friends were attacked by neonazis before. So please don't judge over 5 million people on one bad experience. When i was in Korea, i was told that foreigners ruin their country and that i should get out by an old guy...but I would never ever advice to anyone to not go to Korea because it's wonderful country and 99% of people i encountered were very lovely. So it kinda hurts when i see some foreigners saying stuff like that about my country.
I have just spent 4 days in Bratislava anc found it the most laid back and safe place I have ever travelled to. I found this blog because it seemed so safe I wanted to find the exact crime rates
Felt very safe in Trnava and travelling around Slovakia
I want to travel there this coming year. I hope that I am able to. With friends..
I am living here quite long, i would say the nicest place and safe, but not welcoming foreigners mostly brown color, you may face one question every day "why you came to slovakia " I've never faced this question in any another country people or not open and friendly, not good food everyone know that but it's quite and nice place
M -- I believe you are entirely correct. Except for a few neo-Nazis, whom the majority of people disapprove of and are embarrassed by, gypsies are the people who face the most racism -- curiosity is the response in general to people of African or Asian descent. All across Europe, food orders are taken in a cursory and what we Americans would consider a rude way. Shop assistants and waiters definitely do not go out of their way to be friendly, helpful, or even polite. But the Slovak people in general are a friendly group, perhaps a little shy, especially outside of cities, but generous and good-natured when you get to know them. They may -- again, especially outside the cities -- be a little afraid of the unknown -- but they are not a loud or violent people and there's not a lot of reason to be afraid. The source of my opinion: I lived there for ten years, and have missed that beautiful country and its lovely people every day of the five years I've been back in North America.
In early October we will be driving from Budapest to a very small town in Southeastern Slovakia, not far from the Hungarian border.
1. any problems crossing the border ?
2. how long should the trip take ?
3. are ATMS available near the border ?
4. are the small towns safe during daylight hours?
I have been living in Bratislava for over a year now and I find the article very accurate. My comments:
- Kinda racist people (not all but the biggest majority of them). If you are black / Asian or from Middle East expect to experience some sort of harassment. Of course, also the beautiful local girls do not prefer these types either :)
- Locals have very limited knowledge of English language, so communicating is for sure going to a struggle for you
- Bad customer service overall
- Try to avoid areas outside of the old town
- Nightlife can be pretty wild at certain venues so you will have to be very careful. Few totally drunk people walking around which can make things unpredictable
- As stared above, be careful of bouncers. Definitely do not try to argue with them for anything
- Never take a random taxi from the street. They will charge you a lot and never use a taxi meter. Always prefer apps such as Uber and HopeIn
I worked in Bratislava and Kosice in 2008 and 2009 for several weeks. (Full disclosure - I'm an old white guy). I took my wife and two daughters there in 2013 and my son in 2014. I went out nightly in both towns on my own most of the time. I always felt safe, although there was one nightclub in BTS (in an old bomb shelter under the castle) that required walking through a tough area (I rarely took taxis). Service in restaurants could be slow and occasionally they tried to avoid taking credit cards for bogus reasons, but I never had a problem.
My colleagues were wonderful people of course, but even strangers I met were interested in talking about the USA and politics. Since my colleagues were much younger than I, there were boisterous moments in some clubs but we never had to face bouncers. I have never been in a club in any country where the bouncers are wimps, and SK is no different. I will be returning this May for three weeks to attend the World IIHF games and look forward to seeing BTS, KSC, Presov, and visiting some hrads (especially BTS and Spis) on the off days. Oh, the pivo is excellent.
As far as avoiding petty theft - I always take a photostat of my passport, one credit card, and some local bills and stick them deep in a front pants pocket. No wallet, especially not in a back pocket. I have traveled to Ireland, Barcelona, several cities in Mexico, Costa Rica, Poland, Hungary, Czechia, and much of western Europe using this convention and (knock on wood) was never pickpocketed.
I'm Shibu from India, looking for a job safes and locker company in Slovakia.