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Slovakia Rail Passes and Train Tips

By Rick Steves

Are rail passes a good value for Slovakia?

Since point-to-point train tickets are cheap in Slovakia, as they are in most of its neighboring countries (but not Austria), a rail pass isn't likely to save you much money. The main reason to buy a rail pass in this region is to avoid the hassle of buying tickets as you go. If a rail pass happens to match the countries you plan to visit, it can be a smart choice. If you're just dipping your toes into Slovakia from Austria (rather than exploring more of the region), you'll probably save money just buying a point-to-point train ticket to Bratislava (about $10 in second class from Vienna).

How do I see whether a rail pass makes sense for my trip in particular?

Train Fares: Slovakia & Hungary

Map shows approximate costs, in $US, for one-way, second-class tickets. For first-class fares, add 50 percent.

Use this map to add up approximate pay-as-you-go fares for your itinerary, and compare that cost to the price of a rail pass for the number of days you expect to spend on the train. (Dotted lines show ferry routes and dashed lines show bus routes, neither of which are covered by rail passes.)

Also, follow the links below for:

More tips for figuring out whether a pass makes sense for your trip
The basics on choosing among rail passes
More tips on how to save money by fine-tuning your rail pass
Advice on deciding between first and second class
Fare-estimate maps outside Slovakia/Hungary
Answers to frequently asked rail-pass questions

What are my options for rail passes that cover Slovakia?

Slovakia Eurail Pass

Eurail Global Pass (33 countries) → read more about this pass

Buy  European East Pass (4 countries; currently unavailable) → key details

Rail Europe shopping cart: Have an order underway? Review and complete it here.

Do I need to make seat reservations on Slovakian trains?

For the most part, you can hop on nearly all Slovakian trains with just your rail pass in hand. Only overnight trains, and some international routes, require reservations (as indicated in online train schedules).

Any tips for buying point-to-point train tickets in Slovakia?

If a rail pass doesn't pencil out for your trip, see our general tips for buying point-to-point tickets.

What if I need help with my Rail Europe order?

All orders for passes and tickets are fulfilled by Rail Europe (not by Rick Steves' Europe). For customer-service questions, contact them online (or call 800 622 8600, but expect long waits and periods of unavailability at the call desk) — and keep in mind that refund options are fairly limited.

European East Pass: Key details

Covers nearly all trains in Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary (but isn't accepted on Austria's privately operated WestBahn trains, nor on a few other privately operated lines). This pass has no youth or senior discount; kids age 4–11 pay half price. Note: This is not a Eurail-brand pass, so overnight trains are counted according to the "7 p.m. rule," and special Eurail promotional deals don't apply to this pass.