In Slovakia, Interrail is valid with the state operator (ZSSK), and two private companies – RegioJet and Leo Express, both of those run international trains to Czechia.
RegioJet & Leo Express
Both companies run trains from Prague to Košice, and Regiojet also runs Prague – Bratislava. Both companies require reservations for their trains, which you can get on their websites. For Leo Express it’s free, for Regiojet it costs about 1.5 – 3€, depending on class.
The Leo Express train that runs to Košice is a Stadler Flirt, which means it only has seats and it’s not very comfortable for a long overnight journey, although one departure also runs during the day. It also has a bus connection to Ukraine. Regiojet runs a train with couchettes, which makes it a pretty good overnight option. ZSSK also runs a Prague – Košice sleeper train, so you have at least 2 options for a sleeper connection on this route.
On ZSSK trains, some groups travel for free:
- Children under 16 years of age and seniors over 62 years of age without limitation
- Students under 26 years of age and pensioners under 62 years of age who are citizens or permanent residents of EU member states
You need to register and get a card from ZSSK, and pick up a free ticket before each journey. More information here: https://www.zssk.sk/en/zero-fare/
IC and SC
These are the fastest trains, and they require reservations. 4 daily IC trains run on the Bratislava – Košice route, one of them starts in Vienna. 1 daily SC train runs from Prague to Košice. You can buy the reservation online here: https://predaj.zssk.sk/search
Click on “I want to purchase only reservation or additional service” when you find your train and select Interrail as a discount. You can also buy it via the Interrail reservation service, but it charges an extra fee. Staffed ticket counters also work.
EN and NJ
Euronight and Nightjet trains run daily on these routes: Prague – Humenné via Žilina, Prague – Košice via Bratislava and Prague/Warsaw/Berlin – Budapest via Bratislava. In summer, a night train also runs from Bratislava to Split. This map is only missing the seasonal Bratislava – Split train. General advice from https://interrailwiki.eu/night-trains/ applies. You can buy the reservations for most of these from ZSSK as well, otherwise you can try ČD, ÖBB for the Nightjet trains or ticket offices.
Ex, R, RR, REX, Os
These trains don’t require reservations in 2nd class. In 1st class, reservations are always mandatory on ZSSK trains, except for international journeys if you have a NRT ticket (with Interrail, it is always mandatory).
Tatra Electric Railways
The Tatra Electric Railways can take you up to several good starting points for hikes or skiing in the High Tatras. They connect to the regular railway network in Štrba, Poprad-Tatry and Tatranská Lomnica. You can take all the lines marked on the map with no extra fees with Interrail, even the funicular from Štrba to Štrbské pleso.
Besides Bratislava, Slovakia offers a lot of amazing nature, and not only in the well known High Tatras. Those are the easiest to access by train, you can easily change to the Tatra Electric Railways at several stations, see above. The area is quite developed with some ropeways that will take you high into the mountains, which makes it easier for hikes, and there are skiing areas as well.
While the Slovak Paradise mountains aren’t as tall, and not as developed with lifts, it’s also a beautiful area with great hiking opportunities. You can take the (not very frequent) trains from Banská Bystrica or Margecany for example to Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa, which is close to a large ice cave of the same name.
On the same railway line, the area around Brezno is also worth stopping. You may have seen this video making the rounds on Reddit – that’s Čiernohronská železnica, close to Brezno. You can take a bus from Brezno to Čierný Balog, which is the station where rail tours start on this logging railway. You can find schedules here, it runs only in summer with steam and diesel trains on 3 routes.
If traveling from Slovakia to Poland over the eastern side of Slovakia there are some regional trains which run weekends only during the peak season. More information on these can be found at: interrailwiki.eu/poland/