The Road System in Slovakia
The fact that each country has its own road systems should be known to most. Although the systems and subdivisions are similar in many cases, there are still certain differences that should be considered by holidaymakers. Due to Slovakia's location, it is often a good idea for holidaymakers coming from mainland Europe to travel to the country by car.
On the way there, it is not uncommon to cross multiple other countries, such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, or Hungary. We have collected all of the important information on the road system in Slovakia to ensure that drivers are just as safe on Slovakian motorways and expressways as they are on their home country’s roads.
The road network in Slovakia
The roads in Slovakia are well maintained. Therefore, if you stay on the official roads on your way to Bratislava or any other city, you do not have to worry about their general condition. According to the data provided by the department, the entire road network consists of about 18,000 kilometres that run across the country.
Mountain passes in Slovakia
There are some routes in Slovakia that are particularly busy. These are mainly the Donovaley Pass to Banská Bystrica or the Čertovica Pass to Brezno.
If you’ve chosen these destinations and plan to travel on these routes, you should drive particularly carefully and allow more travel time. Even on the motorways, there can be delays from time to time.Buy the vignette for Slovakia
The subdivision of the Slovakia road network
Just like in other European countries, there is a certain hierarchy of roads in Slovakia. So, if you want to get an overview of the road system in Slovakia, make yourself familiar with the classification of all roads and road sections first.
In the following sections, we will present the respective roads of the transport network in Slovakia in more detail. What should not be forgotten is that drivers who are on the country’s motorways and expressways must pay a toll for Slovakia.
Motorways - Diaľnice
The motorways are the most important roads in Slovakia. After all, they not only lead from one city to another but also serve as a link between Slovakia and neighbouring countries.
It is these motorways that travellers most often first encounter when crossing the border from Poland, the Czech Republic, or other neighbouring countries.
You can recognise these roads by the fact that they are marked with red signs with a white letter "D". The letter, in this case, stands for the word "Diaľnice". Compared to other countries, there are only a few motorways in Slovakia—four of them, to be exact. If you travel on one of them, you should have the vignette for Slovakia.
Subdivision: D1 to D4
The most important road is the D1, which is more than 500 kilometres long, leading from Bratislava in the west towards Záhor in the east. The D3 branches off from the main motorway in the northwest of Slovakia and continues to the Polish border.
The D4 is in the southwest and leads as a city motorway around Bratislava (Bratislava Ring). It encircles the capital to the north, south, and east and begins and ends at the border crossings to Slovakia.
Then there is the D2. It, too, has a special role. It runs from the town of Brodské in the far west through Bratislava to Čunovo at the Austria-Slovakia-Hungary border triangle. The motorway represents a part of the connection leading from Prague via Bratislava to Budapest.
Expressways - Rýchlostné cesty
Just like motorways, most expressways in Slovakia are subject to the vignette system. Eight expressways are planned in the country. Six of them are currently in operation and two are still under construction. Due to their Slovakian designation, the letter "R" can be found on the red signs marking the expressways.
Subdivision: R1 to R8
Probably the best-known expressway is the R1, which is about 270 kilometres long and runs from the city of Trnava via Banská Bystrica to Ružomberok.
The R2 is 337 kilometres long and is the longest expressway in Slovakia. It runs from the city of Trenčín across the country and ends at the city of Košice in the east. At this point, it meets the previously mentioned Slovakian D1 highway. Parts of the R3, R4, R6, and R7 are also in operation. The R5 and R8 expressways are still being planned.
Meaning of first-, second- and third-class roads
First-, second-, and third-class roads basically include all roads except motorways and expressways. As can be seen from the numbering, the road system in Slovakia describes certain subdivisions here as well.
- First-class road: First-class roads: these are comparable to federal highways in most European countries and are located directly on the borders or on the motorway network, and their marking is an “I” and road number (example: I/74 from Strážske to the border of Ukraine).
- Second-class roads: Second-class roads: these are comparable to state or national roads in most European countries, and their marking is “II” and a three-digit road number.
- Third-class roads: these are also called local roads and are mainly relevant for residents because they connect municipalities. Their marking is “III” and a four-digit road number.
Based on the list of roads, you can determine the speed limits. 130 km/h is the maximum allowed speed for car drivers on Slovakian motorways. Buses must stick to a speed limit of 100 km/h and truck drivers to a limit of 90 km/h.
So, as far as the limits are concerned, one of the peculiarities in Slovakia is that there is a limit on the highways, which isn’t the case in some European countries. One also does not need a vignette to drive on each and every road. However, it is advisable to buy the vignette for Slovakia online before your trip, either with PayPal or another means of payment.
In most towns in Slovakia, a speed limit of 90 km/h applies, but outside of towns, the speed limit is 50 km/h. However, the limits do not apply to all vehicles: heavy motorhomes are only allowed to drive 80 km/h outside of towns. We, therefore, recommend that travellers always pay attention to speed indications on road signs.Buy the vignette for Slovakia