Driving into Slovakia: What's involved?

Mar 14th, 2004, 08:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 269
Driving into Slovakia: What's involved?

We'll be in Poland for about a week, mostly in the South and wondered 1) whether it would be worthwhile to drive into Slovakia for a day or so, and 2) what car insurance requirements, costs, etc. will we need to know about in advance, 3) how much of the "red tape" can be taken care of at the border, and 4) how much of a delay should be expect at border crossings. We would look to cross somewhere within 30 minutes of Zakopane. Thanks for your help.
nrwayne is offline  
Mar 14th, 2004, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93
Two things to keep in mind:
1. I think an international drivers license is required in Poland
2. Make sure the car rental contract specifies you are taking the car into eastern Europe.
Richard is offline  
Mar 14th, 2004, 11:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 120
Depending on which border you cross, there can be a delay. You may run into more than a mile of trucks waiting to go through, but DO NOT get in line with them. There is a seperate line for autos and usually not to bad. When I was driving from Poland to Romania 2 years ago I used a very back woods crosing and only had one car in front of me.
Art is offline  
Mar 14th, 2004, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
You should get a set of papers from your car rental agency and part of the paperwork will detail what you will need.

E.g, last year, in driving around several European countries, our packet of instructions said that an Emergency Road Signal was necessary for France. We bought one, never used it.

For Slovakia, Art is correct in saying that at the border you need to avoid the line where the trucks are parked. Get in the leftmost lane and you should whiz through.

Be sure to stop at the border and get a vignette. It's a small sticker that goes on your car windshield. Some countries have a set rate regardless of how many days you plan to spend in country; others have graduated rates, depending on how long you plan to be in country. I can't remember what Slovakia has... we crossed so many borders.

Richard is correct on both points. You should get an International Driver's Permit, whether it's mandatory or not.
The Permit is translated into several languages. This helps, especially in countries that are not English or French speaking.

As for insurance, get as much as possible. CDW (collision damage waiver) is really not a choice, but a necessity.

Depending on the car rental company, you could get into a big discussion if you dent the car, etc. Make sure that if anything happens, you take pictures. It's hard to fight something once you get home to the States.

Too few people go to Slovakia. It's a wonderful country to visit, especially Bratislava. Wish we had slotted more time for Slovakia.

Enjoy your trip!
easytraveler is offline  
Mar 14th, 2004, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 190
We drove from Poland into Slovakia last fall. We rented from Budget in Krakow,through Autoeurope, which included "green card" insurance in the rental. We crossed at the Lysa Polana/ Tatranska Javorina crossing with no delay. Note that there is another border crossing below Jurgow on Rte. 97 but it is apparently restricted to Polish and Slovakfor citizens only.
dcdee is offline  
Mar 14th, 2004, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,932
I can't echo the thoughts about insurance too heavily, having had an accident there (woman was second car to pass in a no passing zone on a curve, on a steep hill; pulled hard right to avoid a head-on, thus $3,000ing the side of our car). She wasn't the only one to drive like that.

Slovakia has basically two expressway, one north/south, one east/west. There are seemingly no trucks with more than 60 horsepower, since they don't seem to exceed 30mph on the two lane roads.

Other than that, if you can get to Spis Castle, it's quite a sight. Levoca is a charming town.
tomboy is offline  
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