The Slovak Republic is known for its dramatic natural landscapes, historical castles and steadily growing economy. But like anywhere else, expats will find that there are pros and cons to life in Slovakia.
Accommodation in Slovakia
+ PRO: Real estate is affordable
How much expats pay for housing will depend on where they would like to live.
The most expensive accommodation in Slovakia is in Bratislava, the capital – especially in the city centre around Bratislava Castle or Devin Castle.
Most Slovaks prefer to buy property, but expats usually rent at first. Either way, prices are relatively low.
Lifestyle in Slovakia
+ PRO: There are good shopping options
There are two types of people – those who spend their weekends browsing in shopping centres and hanging out in cafés, and those who disappear into nature after work on Fridays. Thankfully, Slovakia is not only an adventurer's paradise, but great for shopping too.
Almost every residential part of Bratislava has its own shopping centre. Since so many people work late hours, supermarkets and malls are often open in the evenings and on Sundays.
Slovak shopping centres usually provide shopping, entertainment (like movies), good restaurants and cafés, as well as banks and post offices. In winter a few of them have ice skating too.
Expats who live in Kosice Banska Bystrica in central Slovakia or Kosice in the east will usually find shopping malls in the city centre – so it’s easy to get to them by bus.
+ PRO: There's a lot to do
There are countless activities to keep expats occupied and amused in Slovakia. There’s a lot to see in every region depending on a person’s preferences, from hiking or relaxing in a spa, to visiting local cultural attractions and savouring local Slovak food.
Slovakia boasts beautiful historical castles dating back to the Habsburg Empire, as well as various UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Slovak countryside features mountains for hiking, fresh air, mineral springs, caves, lakes and campgrounds for expats who love nature. And there are many spas for those who prefer more organised relaxation.
+ Pro: Warm people, once you get to know them
Expats are likely to feel welcome in Slovakia... if they decide to stick around for a while. Slovak people may seem stand-offish at first and can be stubborn, but once they open up they're lovely, engaging people as well as open, honest, hardworking and always willing to help. Locals tend to love nature and are proud of their attractions, which they're often willing to show off to newcomers. Those expats who like sport are often able to make friends with the locals through mutual love of hockey and football.
- CON: There is some crime in Slovakia
The country is generally quite safe, but expats will still need to take precautions like not leaving their bags unattended, or cars and homes unlocked, and being wary of strangers.
- CON: Hospitality in Slovakia
Unfortunately, Slovakia still has some way to go in terms of customer relations, and service in the hospitality industry could improve. Expats are also often charged for services that are usually free abroad and should be considered as an added value or bonus.
Working in Slovakia
+ PRO: Slovakia is open for business
Slovakia is open to new business and the government is trying to attract new investors and entrepreneurs. Locals are open to new ideas, and expats with a good business plan and the right strategy usually find their business grows fast. By living in Slovakia, expats will quickly find out what kind of products or services could be useful for the market. Most opportunities can be found in Bratislava and cities such as Košice and Žilina, depending on the type of activity.
+ PRO: The cost of living in Slovakia is good
The cost of living in Slovakia is favourable for expats. Prices in Bratislava are higher than in the rest of the country, but its residents have greater purchasing power.
►Read more about expat life in the country by checking out the Moving to Slovakia page
Are you an expat living in Slovakia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Slovakia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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