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Getting There Getting Around
If you insist on arriving in Slovakia by air, Czech Airlines has frequent connections to Prague; Air Slovakia flies from Bratislava (BTS) to Tel Aviv and Kuwait; and Tatra Air flies daily to Zurich. There's a departure tax of around US$6. Realistically, though, Bratislava is only 64km (40mi) from Vienna and 215km (133mi) from Budapest: most travellers are going to stay grounded. Several daily buses and trains link Vienna and Bratislava and there are numerous trains to Budapest. There are no direct trains from West Slovakia (including Bratislava) to Poland; all connections are via the Czech Republic so if you need a Czech visa, don't get aboard one of these trains without one. From East Slovakia, however, train services to Poland and Hungary avoid the Czech Republic. There are two trains daily to/from Moscow, both of which pass through Bratislava and Kosice.
There are heaps of road borders to/from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. Walking in and out of Slovakia can circumvent the hassle of buying an expensive international ticket. For example, you can easily walk across the bridge over the Danube River between Komárno (Slovakia) and Komárom (Hungary). From mid-April to September, there's a hydrofoil between Bratislava and Vienna, which is a pretty cruisy way to get to Austria for an afternoon strudel.
Buses are more expensive than trains, although weekend bus fares are sharply reduced. Plan on doing most of your travel on the efficient and cheap trains with side trips by bus. Buses are known to leave a few minutes earlier than the given time on the timetable so it's advisable to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to departure. Slovakia's size and relatively quiet roads make it pretty easy to get around under your own steam, either by car, motorbike or bicycle. Roads often follow old routes through villages and small towns with sudden sharp bends and reduced speed limits, but they are fairly well-maintained and other road users are mostly considerate. Be aware that a Western car with foreign number plates is an automatic target - never leave anything valuable in your car.
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