While there are various modes of transportation available, traveling by train is undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience the country’s beauty. From picturesque routes through the Carpathian Mountains to vibrant cities and quaint villages, the Slovakian rail network offers a convenient and scenic way to explore this captivating country. In this blog post, we will delve into the joys of getting around Slovakia by train and uncover some of the must-visit destinations along the way.
How to travel by Train
Here’s a comprehensive list of what you need to know to travel by train in Slovakia, starting from how to get a ticket, how much does it cost and how to find your routes.
Where can I buy a ticket?
- via the Internet: at Slovakrail, or cell phone at: m.slovakrail.sk
- or in person on almost every rail station,
- by the conductor on the train (generally with a lower surcharge).
How much does it cost?
- generally it is about 5€ for 100 km for a 2nd. class ticket,
- seat reservations 1€ (reservation is compulsory at the IC trains and the place reservation is within the price of the travel document),
- Zero–Fare public rail transport: children under 15 years of age, students, seniors – find out more.
Why traveling by train is a good idea
As I said in the preamble, traveling by train is a great idea not only because it is one, if not the most, eco-friendly ways to travel but also because of the following reasons:
Efficient and Comfortable Rail Network
Slovakia boasts an efficient and well-connected rail network that covers a significant portion of the country. The trains are known for their punctuality, comfort, and excellent service. The national railway company, ZSSK (Zeleznicná spoločnosť Slovensko), operates a comprehensive network of intercity and regional trains, making it easy to navigate between different cities and regions.
Breathtaking Scenic Routes
One of the highlights of traveling by train in Slovakia is the opportunity to witness the country’s stunning landscapes. The Tatra Electric Railway, running between Poprad and Štrbské Pleso, offers breathtaking views of the High Tatras Mountains. This narrow-gauge railway takes you through dense forests, past crystal-clear mountain lakes, and provides access to numerous hiking trails. Another scenic route is the journey from Bratislava to Kosice, which takes you through charming towns, rolling hills, and picturesque vineyards.
Exploring Historic Cities
Slovakia’s historic cities are well-connected by rail, allowing you to embark on an unforgettable journey through time. Start your adventure in the capital city of Bratislava, with its medieval old town, majestic castle, and vibrant atmosphere. From there, take a train to Košice, the second-largest city, known for its stunning Gothic cathedral and beautifully preserved historical center. Don’t miss the chance to visit other captivating cities like Banská Bystrica, Trnava, and Nitra, all easily accessible by train.
Charming Villages and Natural Wonders
While Slovakia’s cities offer an abundance of cultural and historical attractions, the country’s rural areas are equally enchanting. Traveling by train allows you to reach quaint villages tucked away in the picturesque countryside. Visit the UNESCO-listed village of Vlkolínec, known for its well-preserved traditional wooden houses. Or venture to the Slovak Paradise National Park, where you can explore scenic gorges, waterfalls, and hiking trails. The train offers a convenient means of reaching these hidden gems, immersing yourself in the country’s natural beauty.
Practical Tips for Train Travel
Lastly, to make the most of your train journey in Slovakia, here are some practical tips:
- Check the train schedules and plan your itinerary in advance. The ZSSK website provides up-to-date information on routes, timetables, and fares.
- Consider purchasing a Rail Pass if you plan to explore multiple destinations. The pass offers flexibility and cost savings.
- Try to travel during weekdays to avoid the crowds, especially during peak tourist seasons.
- Pack a picnic or snacks for longer journeys, as most trains have food and beverage services, but it’s always nice to have something of your own.
- Keep your camera ready at all times to capture the stunning landscapes and charming towns along the way.