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. 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. And the same applies to Italy too, where Slovene trains cross the frontier but inconveniently terminate at Villa Opicina without any connection to the main Italian rail network.
Image credits: Lake Bled, Slovenia © Julia Burlachenko