Riding West

SLOVAKIA covers only 49,034 square kilometres, but travel from one side of the country to the other and you will see the landscape change before your eyes.
Vast emerald lowlands give way to soaring mountains, new-sprung cities replace medieval villages: In the six-hour train ride from Košice in the east to Bratislava in the west, the diversity of this small country's impressive landscape dances into the horizon.
Starting in Slovakia's bustling second city, Košice, famous for its fabulous cathedral, the train trundles through pristine wilderness to the picturesque town of Spišská Nová Ves, and from there to Poprad, a grimy city whose chilly architecture stands stark against the jagged backdrop of the High Tatras.


photo: Brian Jones

SLOVAKIA covers only 49,034 square kilometres, but travel from one side of the country to the other and you will see the landscape change before your eyes.

Vast emerald lowlands give way to soaring mountains, new-sprung cities replace medieval villages: In the six-hour train ride from Košice in the east to Bratislava in the west, the diversity of this small country's impressive landscape dances into the horizon.

Starting in Slovakia's bustling second city, Košice, famous for its fabulous cathedral, the train trundles through pristine wilderness to the picturesque town of Spišská Nová Ves, and from there to Poprad, a grimy city whose chilly architecture stands stark against the jagged backdrop of the High Tatras.

Then it's a straight shot across the country, through a corridor that runs between the Low and High Tatras, to the industrial stronghold Žilina, where trains from all directions meet and separate in the sprawling railroad junction of the main train station.



Now you will travel south to the capital, passing the pretty university city of Trenčín, dwarfed by its lofty castle, and the spa town of Piešťany, finally reaching the outskirts of Bratislava, where the natural beauty of the countryside disappears into a prosaic clutter of housing and commerce.

At no time of the year is this journey more beautiful than in the autumn, when brilliant greens startle among waves of russet and gold.

Photographs by Brian Jones












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