Trains to Slovenia
National rail operator
Facts about Slovenia
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Timezone: 1+ UTC
- Language: Slovenian (Hungarian and Italian in certain areas)
Tucked between the Alps and the Adriatic, tiny Slovenia punches way above its weight in the tourism stakes. Italianate flair and Slavic style meld in a territory which boasts fabulous mountain scenery, barren limestone landscapes and a rich cultural history. Slovenia has come a long way since it seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991 – the same day as Croatia, though Slovenia happily avoided the worst of the violence and conflict which embroiled the rest of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
The real draw in Slovenia are the country’s wonderful rural landscapes. But make time too for the cities. Three towns not to miss are the capital Ljubljana, the historic city of Ptuj in eastern Slovenia and picture-perfect Piran on the coast.
The national rail operator Slovenske zeleznice (or SZ for short) manages a compact network which dates back to the days when Slovenia was a province of Austria-Hungary. There is still a touch of Habsburg style about some of the grander stations. Ljubljana is the hub of the network. But not all lines lead invariably to and from the capital. There is, for example, a real gem of a rural route which runs north from Sežana, skirting (but not crossing) the Italian border to Lake Bled and beyond, along the way taking in fine limestone landscapes of the Soča Valley before winding through the Julian Alps.
The country is traversed by many long-distance services, including direct trains from Zagreb to Munich and Zurich. Local cross-border journeys sometimes need a bit of planning. There are, for example, only a handful of trains each day across the border into neighbouring Hungary. There's better news on the Italian border. Direct trains from Ljubljana to Trieste (and beyond) were happily reintroduced in late 2018.