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Transport. How to travel around Slovakia by car, bus and train?

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Travelling by car

Your driving licence issued in Ukraine will be valid in Slovakia, as well as in all countries of the European Union.

Driving licence validity

You can use your driving licence until the end of your legal stay in Slovakia / EU. The validity will continue even if you have an earlier expiry date stated in your driving licence. The validity will continue as follows:

until your visa expires

or

until your temporary protection, asylum or temporary stay expires.

I case you lose your driving licence or you need to have a new driving licence issued, visit the driving licence department of the police station in your place of residence or contact the Embassy of Ukraine. You can find the address and contacts of the Embassy in Useful contacts.

Types of roads

Most of the roads in Slovakia are toll-free for cars weighing up to 3.5t.

  • Toll-free roads – 1st, 2nd and 3rd class roads. These are main and secondary roads that connect villages and cities. Max. speed up to 90 km/h.
  • Toll roads – Motorways and expressways. These roads bypass populated areas and usually have multiple lanes in one direction. Max. speed up to 130 km/h. See map of toll road sections (1.20 MB pdf).

Toll roads map
Photo: ndsas.sk

What are cars up to 3.5t?

These are passenger cars, SUVs and small commercial vehicles.

Cars weight

I have a car registered in Ukraine

If you come by a passenger car weighing up to 3.5 tons with a Ukrainian registration plate, then you can use all types of roads, including highways and expressways, free of charge. This is an exception granted by the Slovak government to owners of Ukrainian cars.

You don’t need to register anywhere. You can drive on all roads for free immediately upon arrival in Slovakia.

I have a car registered in another country

If you are arriving by car with a registration plate issued in another country and you are interested in using tolled highways, pay the highway fee at the border crossing or online at E-známka.

Green card, international car insurance

In order to be allowed to enter Slovakia, your car must have an international insurance.

The international car insurance card, also called a “green card”, is the only internationally recognized document that you have compulsory contractual insurance for a particular vehicle.

With a green card you can travel to all countries of the European Union.

You can obtain a green card valid for the territory of Slovakia / EU as follows:

  • By purchasing car insurance online at a Ukrainian or Slovak insurance company before crossing the border. The card will be sent to you electronically in PDF format.
  • By purchasing car insurance directly on the Slovak side of the state border.

Winter tires

In the period from November 15 to March 31, there is a possibility of snow or ice on the roads, your car must have winter tires. Winter tires ensure better vehicle stability on slippery and snowy roads.

Getting a driving licence

If you don’t have a driving licence yet, you can get one by taking a course at a driving school. One of the conditions is that you have a temporary or permanent residence in Slovakia for at least 185 days (6 months).

Slovak Help – Free public transport for citizens of Ukraine

In Slovakia, you can travel by suburban buses and trains for free with a “Slovak Help” ticket. You can get it on condition you have not crossed the border into Slovakia in the last 30 days.

At the border crossing, approach the Slovak border police with a request to issue a free Slovak Help ticket.

Slovak Help
Slovak Help ticket.

A Slovak Help ticket is valid on the whole territory of Slovakia and enables you to travel by suburban buses and trains on selected transport connections and with selected carriers on the day you cross the border and the following 4 days.

Travelling by train

The railway connects most Slovak cities.

The railway stations closest to the border with Ukraine are located in the towns of Michalovce, Snina and Čierna nad Tisou.

Three transport companies operate in Slovakia.

  • Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK)
  • Regio Jet (RJ)
  • Leo Express (LE)

You can find the timetables of all train carriers at Cestovné poriadky.

You can buy tickets for Regio Jet (RJ) and Leo Express (LE) trains only on their websites or in designated shops at major railway stations.

Trains of Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK)

You can buy train tickets of the ZSSK at railway stations or online at ZSSK.sk.

If you board the train at a stop where there is no ticket office, you can buy the ticket from the train conductor. You do not need to reserve a seat for passenger trains or express trains. For IC, EC and EN trains, you are required to reserve a seat for a small fee.

Regio Jet (RJ) and Leo Express (LE) trains

You can only buy tickets for Regio Jet (RJ) and Leo Express (LE) trains online on their websites. All trains have compulsory seat selection. A train ticket serves as a seat reservation.

I travel with Slovak Help ticket

If you have obtained a “Slovak Help” ticket, you can travel for free on the ZSSK trains in the following types of trains:

  • Passenger trains
  • Express trains, 2nd class

Show the “Slovak Help” ticket at the ticket office at the railway station and ask for a ticket to the place you are travelling to. They will issue you a travel ticket for a specific journey free of charge.

Additional services such as a seat and a bed are only available for a fee.

You cannot redeem free travel on any of the IC, EC and EN express trains. These are fully charged.

The carriers Regio Jet (RJ) and Leo Express (LE) are not included in the “Slovak Help” system, and you can get tickets for their trains at the normal price.

Travelling by bus

Bus lines connect all cities and towns.

Several transport companies operate in Slovakia. They provide two types of transport connections.

  • Suburban buses – lines connecting the suburban area with district towns.
  • Long-distance buses – lines connecting big cities.

Timetables, bus ticket prices and bus stop locations can be found on Cestovné poriadky.

You can buy tickets for suburban buses from the driver when you get on the bus. If possible, pay with small coins to make it easier for the driver to handle money.

The method of purchasing a long-distance ticket depends on the transport company. Check in advance whether you can buy a ticket online. For example, FlixBus, Regio Jet and Leo Express only sell tickets for their long-distance buses online.

I travel with a Slovak Help ticket

If you have obtained a “Slovak Help” ticket, you can travel for free on all suburban lines in Slovakia.

Long-distance lines are usually fully charged, unless the carrier states otherwise.

When boarding the bus, show the driver the “Slovak Help” ticket and ask for a ticket to the place you are travelling to. The driver will issue you a ticket for a specific journey free of charge.

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