Slovakia is, in terms of Internet penetration, the most switched-on country in Eastern Europe. That means more people use the web in Slovakia than anywhere else in the region. But practically, this doesn’t always translate into obvious English-language web resources.
So for anyone wanting to visit Slovakia that doesn’t speak Slovak, I’ve put together this list of the very best websites with useful in-English info that can help enlighten your stay. Bear in mind this is of course not including business-specific websites and rather focuses on those with general overall info to be used in addition to the normal trip-planning resources.
Englishmaninslovakia has rated all of them too (from 1-5 with 5 being good): both in their usefulness (known afterwards as Info) and aesthetics/navigability (known afterwards as Sexiness)
1: General Travel
a) Slovakia.com – Info: 3.5 Sexiness: 4. First appearances seem great but when you click on to the individual travel listings there is a lot that’s out of date, with links not working or with absolutely no practical information. Still, you can piece together a lot about Slovakia here from its overview sections. There’s some good top tens of Slovakia and in breaks down the country by activity, by Unesco sites, by general country info and the like – making for intriguing reading.
b) Slovakia.travel – Info: 5 Sexiness: 4.5. This is the official portal of the Slovak Tourist Board and as tourist board websites go it’s very good and looks slick. The best feature is the detailed practical info on a large number of tourist destinations throughout Slovakia.
c) Spectator.sme.sk – Info: 5 Sexiness: 4. This is Slovakia’s only English language newspaper – coming out weekly, with most of the news available online. This should not be confused with Smer, the political party currently in charge of Slovakia (neither Sme nor Smer, methinks, would be happy with you doing that…).
2: Regional Travel
a) Slovenskyraj.sk – Info: 4 Sexiness: 2. This is about the best English-language resource on Slovensky Raj (aka the Slovak Paradise, one of Slovakia’s best hiking destinations. It’s also linked to the similar websites on the Vysoke Tatry (High Tatras) and Niske Tatry (Low Tatras) included directly below, and done in almost identical form. There’s something a bit disturbing about the site (all the accommodation options flashing at you) but there is considerable info here in Czech, Polish, German, Hungarian, French and dutch besides English and Slovak on all the region’s villages and towns. It’s info that’s high on practicalities and little beyond that, but it gives you a great idea of what’s where in the region.
b) Vysoketatry.com – Info: 4 Sexiness: 2. The equivalent site for the Vysoké Tatry (High Tatras, the most popular mountains to visit in Slovakia). Otherwise exactly what I said for Slovenskyraj.sk applies here too.
c) Nizketatry.sk – Info 4 Sexiness 2. The equivalent site for the Nizké Tatry (Low Tatras, the second-most visited mountains in Slovakia after the High Tatras). Otherwise exactly what I said for Slovenskyraj.sk and vysoketatry.com applies here too.
d) Visit Košice – Info: 5 Sexiness 4. I like the way this website has improved, especially over 2013 when Košice was European Capital of Culture. It breaks down info on the city colourfully and manageably.
e) Tatry.sk – Info: 3 Sexiness: 3. This is a pretty good source of information on what’s going on in the Tatras, including where to stay. Quite a lot of the information is in Slovak only but there’s good general info, some accommodation info and tour info in English.
a) Bratislavahotels.com – Info: 3 Sexiness 2.5. This is the website a lot of people find accommodation in Bratislava on. It has direct booking links and basic information on a large number of the city’s accommodation options. Objectivity? Hmm. Like a lot of these big booking sites, to be taken with a big pinch of salt, especially with regard to their ranking order and, indeed, the presence of some establishments on the list at all. For finding A hotel/pension it’s great, for finding a good one, it could disappoint.
4: Food & Drink
a) Bratilicious – Info: 4 Sexiness 4.5. There isn’t too much English-language info on this leading Bratislava restaurant blog yet, just a good intro to quality Bratislava eats with six or seven possibilities, but we are assured more is coming – and for eating out in the Capital, this should be one of your go-to resources (particularly because it’s regularly updated). Good pics of the food too – and if you do speak Slovak, many more restaurant recommendations besides the in-English info.
b) Wines of Slovakia – Info: 3.5 Sexiness 3. This website is something of a “leader in its field” based primarily on the fact that there are very few other English-language websites on the phenomenon that is Slovak wine. It comprehensively sets out the Slovak wine regions but doesn’t seem to have been updated in a couple of years.
5: Slovak Culture
a) Litcentrum.sk – Info: 5 Sexiness: 3. This is the best source of information on Slovak writers – with links to their portfolios of work and in many cases their life history.
6: General Info
a) Slovak Document Store – Info: 5 Sexiness 2.5. In terms of the depth of information, few websites can compete with this. Whether you want books on Slovakia, documentary films about Slovakia or practicalities on getting to some of the main castles, this is a good place to start. It sometimes bombards you with info, though, and it can be hard to find exactly what you want.
b) Slovakia.org – Info: 3.5 Sexiness: 2. The look of this website might not be first-class but its culture and society options make for really fascinating introductory reading on Slovakia.