Local Customs

Local Customs

Quick facts:

  • Location: Štrbské Pleso, the High Tatras, Slovak Republic
  • Climate: The Tatras lie in the temperate zone of Central Europe and are an important barrier against the movement of air masses. Their mountainous topography creates one of the most diverse climates in the region, and peaks are sometimes covered with snow or ice throughout the year. Avalanches are frequent.
  • Currency: Euro
  • Airport:
    Poprad-Tatry Airport: 28 km (by car – 30 minutes)
    Krakow Airport: 165 km (by car – 90 minutes)
    Košice Airport: 145 km (by car – 90 minutes)
  • Language: Slovak language

General etiquette:

  • Punctuality is much appreciated.
  • For a visit, dress well, i.e. as if you are going to work, as this shows respect for your hosts.
  • Table manners are rather formal in Slovakia.
  • To wish you bon appétit, the Slovaks will use the phrase dobrú chuť, which is also usually the sign to start eating.
  • The most common toast is na zdravie ("to your health"), and it is imperative that you look in the eye the person who is being toasted.
  • When at home, it is polite to eat all what you have on your plate, especially when the food is hand made.
  • If you are invited to a Slovakian home, you should take a gift of flowers or chocolates. Gifts are usually opened immediately after they have been received.

Business etiquette:

  • People in Slovakia are generally warm but reserved.
  • The usual greeting is a firm handshake, with direct eye contact, although close friends may kiss one another on each cheek.
  • Professional or personal titles (Pan for “Mr”, and Pani for “Mrs” or “Ms”) should be used, along with family names; you may be invited to use first names once the relationship is established.
  • Business appointments are mandatory and should be made in advance.
  • Punctuality for meetings is taken extremely seriously.
  • Business is hierarchical and decision-making power is held at the top of the company.
  • It is important to maintain direct eye contact while speaking.

Information about the local food:

Slovak food is hearty with strong rural roots and influenced historically by the Hungarian and Austrian cuisine. It is heavy on meat (especially pork), potatoes, dumplings, thick sauces and cheeses. We recommend that you try soups or a meat/cheese appetiser. Lunch is traditionally the largest meal of the day, with dinner on the lighter side. A must-try in Slovakia are traditional Bryndzové pirohy – pirogues with special cheese filling, only to be found in Slovakia. The recipes vary from region to region as the local culture is very rich.

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