Your Guide to Train Travel in Slovenia
Slovenia is best known for its splendid natural beauty. You’ll find mountains, lakes, ski resorts, characterful towns, manageable cities, and an efficient and comprehensive railway network. If you plan to experience train travel in Slovenia with a Eurail Pass, here’s your breakdown on how to get the most out of this magical destination.
What to expect on a Slovenian rail journey
Slovenia is a small country. In fact, it’s less than 8,000 square miles. This means you can drive from the north-eastern corner all the way to the small south-western coastline in under 4 hours. It also means that most train journeys are short and sweet. There’s a comprehensive network of main lines, and if you have no choice but to take a bus for the last few miles, these too are manageable. The Slovenian scenery is stunning, and many train rides serve up excellent views.
Most train routes in Slovenia run through Ljubljana. The capital serves as the focal point of most trips to the country, but the outlying towns and cities are also deserving of your time.
Train travel in Slovenia
Types of trains
Slovenske železnice (SZ) manages Slovenia’s railway line. Several types of trains run on SZ’s lines, including InterCity Slovenija (ICS), InterCity, EuroCity, regional, and MV International trains. Trains to and within Slovenia are clean, safe, and efficient.
How to get to Slovenia from international destinations
Slovenia is tucked between Italy, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and a tiny slither of the Adriatic. There are several international trains to Ljubljana, including those from Budapest (Hungary), Munich (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Vienna (Austria), Venice (Italy), Zagreb (Croatia), and Zurich (Switzerland). Some of these trains require reservations, which you can pay for at local train stations. If you take an overnight train, then it’s wise to reserve a seat or cabin as early as possible – especially during high season.
Domestic train travel in Slovenia
Regional trains will get you to most corners of the country, or within reach of a bus service that can help you finish the journey. The domestic train line network is surprisingly comprehensive. Although they have fewer features than the long-distance international trains, you’ll get around safely and comfortably.
Making reservations for trains in Slovenia
Most of the time you can hop aboard a train in Slovenia with just your Eurail Pass. Overnight trains, some international routes, and select trains between Maribor and Ljubljana require advance reservations for a nominal fee.
Suggested itinerary: Two weeks in Slovenia
Although many visitors to Slovenia cruise into the capital, take a day trip or two to the lakes, and then head off, they’re missing out on many of the country’s major drawcards. Slow things down a bit and you’ll find hidden gems and beautiful vistas. In winter, there are also several ski resorts that are great value for money compared to those further west.
Slovenia is quickly becoming one of Europe’s most popular places to visit. If you have two weeks to spare, here’s one way you could spend them:
Ljubljana (Days 1 – 5)
Most visitors enjoying train travel in Slovenia start out in Ljubljana. It’s the perfect introduction to the country. You’ll be spoilt for choice with plenty of attractions, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to keep you occupied. Thanks to its central location, you also have lots of day trip options. You can reach the historical towns of Škofja Loka, Kranj, Maribor, Ptuj, and Celje by train.
Maribor (Days 6 – 8)
Head to Slovenia’s wine region along the Drava River. The town of Maribor is just two hours from Ljubljana and is often overlooked by time-pressured travelers.
Lake Bled (Days 8 – 9)
Lake Bled is one of the country’s top attractions. You’ll know why as soon as you lay eyes on this magical destination. Many visitors only save a single day for Bled, but an overnight stop reveals hidden treasures, fewer crowds, and the best light for epic photographs.
Lake Bohinj (Days 9 – 11)
Continue traveling towards one of Slovenia’s most impressive natural features – Lake Bohinj. Like Lake Bled, the tranquil waters and stunning mountain ranges are instantly soothing. If you’re looking to factor in a long hike in the summer months, then consider spending two nights in this unspoilt gem.
Ljubljana / Postojna (Days 11 – 12)
If you have some time on your hands, return to Ljubljana for a night before continuing to the coast. An early start from Ljubljana will give you enough time to see the famous Postojna Cave system, which is just a short walk away from Postojna station. Alternatively, you could push through to the coast in a single day.
Piran (Days 12 – 14)
If you’re traveling all the way to the coastal town of Piran by train, you’ll need to take an affordable local bus from Koper for the final leg. Slovenia’s small slither of the Adriatic offers medieval charm. It’s the perfect location for you to kick back and reflect on your time in this natural wonderland.
Good to know: If you’re traveling in winter, you could easily substitute the coast for an extended stay in the mountains. Kranjska Gora ski resort, which is close to the Austrian border, is a popular option.
Practical tips for train travel in Slovenia
- Don’t be afraid to combine bus and rail transport. Slovenia’s main destinations are easy to reach by rail, but you may need to take a local bus if your schedule or final destination doesn’t quite match up.
- The rail network is focused around Ljubljana. This might mean you’ll have to retrace your steps at times and head back to the capital, particularly if you arrive there directly on an overnight train.
- If you want to avoid retracing your steps, consider starting in either the south western or north western corners. For example, you could travel from Austria to Bohinj, Bled, then Ljubljana, and continue on towards the coast.
- There are a lot of accommodation options throughout the country ,with dozens of hotels and hostels in Ljubljana. Most tourist regions offer a range of accommodation to suit all budgets.
- Slovenia operates on the euro, unlike its neighbours (except for Austria).
- Spring and fall are when Slovenia truly shines. Unless you’re set on a cost-effective winter ski trip or have a passion for snow-covered mountains, this is the best time to go.
There’s a good reason why you’re starting to hear more whispers about the beauty of Slovenia. Travelers who’ve made their way there may be desperate to share their stories about this unique destination, but a part of them probably also wants to keep it all to themselves. So plan a Eurail trip there now, and tap into the magic of train travel in Slovenia.