Local Customs and the Need for Slovak
You may be wondering if there is any need to learn any Slovak before visiting Bratislava and also what kind of cultural norms you can expect to find.
Most of the younger generation know English and will readily use it. Common courtesy is highly appreciated though and learning simple phrases such as hello (Dobry den - Good Day) and thank you (Dakujem) will get you a lot farther than stammering out a request straight away. Respect for any language throughout Europe is viewed as kind and thoughtful. Take a look at our Slovak phrase guide for some additional phrases. The older generation also receive their due respect and it is not uncommon to see people give up their seats and make way for senior citizens on public transportation or on the streets on a regular basis.
If you find yourself hanging out with a group of locals at a pub make sure to that everyone has their respective drink in front of them before you enjoy yours. We can almost guarantee that a cheers will be coming, so make sure that when saying cheers (Na zdravie), eye contact is made with all involved as no eye contact is offensive to Slovaks. Eye contact should be made to each person in turn. The people that are close enough for a clinking of the glasses should receive eye contact as the glasses are clinked and those further away should receive eye contact as you raise your glass towards them. It is a great opportunity to let eye contact last a bit longer with any particular point of interest. Remember, the small things count.