CZ/SK verze

Slovakia's Scenic Railways: A Journey Beyond the Ordinary

Slovakia's Scenic Railways: A Journey Beyond the Ordinary
photo: RAILTARGET Archive/Slovakia's Scenic Railways: A Journey Beyond the Ordinary
13 / 09 / 2023

Every day, people are on the move, rushing to work, seeking new experiences, or connecting with family. Often, you may not even notice the beautiful places you pass by. Thankfully, during a train journey, there's always time to gaze out the window and appreciate the Slovak scenery. But do you know which routes are among the most scenic?

Consider, for instance, the route between Kralovany and Trstena, spanning 56 km. Conceived in 1880, this line was envisioned to link Dolný Kubín, Tvrdošín, and Trstena, continuing to Poland via Suchá Hora through the Orava river valley. The challenging terrain of the Orava valley necessitated the creation of numerous cuts and embankments, an 87 m long tunnel, and an 88 m bridge over the Orava River. In the summer of 2015, an asphalt cycling trail was inaugurated, becoming a part of the "Historical-Cultural-Natural Route Around the Tatras" project. During the summer, excursion trains run directly to Orava Podzámok.

Another gem is the single-track railway route, stretching 44 km, that runs beneath Čachtice towards Myjava. This captivating stretch in western Slovakia connects Nové Mesto nad Váhom, Myjava, and Vrbovce.

The cog railway on the Tisovec to Pohronská Polhora line declared a national cultural monument in 2008, stands as a unique European feature. Since 2005, there have been occasional motor carriage rides on this line. Nowadays, steam locomotive trains, which originally hailed from Romania, also ply this route.

The Zvolen - Vrútky line once formed part of the Budapest - Salgótarján - Lučenec - Zvolen - Vrútky railway. The aim was to join this section with the Košice-Bohumín railway. The 46 km stretch through Kremnica served as the primary connection between Zvolen and Vrútky. Eventually, the section passing through Kremnica and Hronská Dúbrava was rechristened as the Zvolen - Diviaky line. This route climbs from an altitude of 260.62 m above sea level in the Hron Valley, reaching the Kremnické Bane station situated 773 m above sea level. It is among the most challenging routes in Slovakia, characterized by numerous notches, embankments, and tunnels to negotiate the elevation differences. Between the Trnava Hora station and the Horná Štubňa station, ten tunnels were constructed. Notably, the passage through the Peklo tunnel stands out as a fascinating experience.