The SNP Trail (E8 in Slovakia) is marked with white-red-white rectangles in both directions–from East to West, and from West to East.
I’d recommend walking from East to West though, simply becasue it is more difficult to get to Dukla than it is to Devín. In my experience it is nice to be done with logistics before you start walking the trail, and not have to bother with difficult bus/train connections once you finish your walk (and are definitely more tired than at the beginning :)).
Anyway, on this page I will explain how you can get to both Dukla and to Devín, and conveniently start your hike.
Arriving in Slovakia – the airports
If you want to walk the trail from West to East, it is better to fly to Bratislava. You can check the list of destinations on the following page. You can fly to Bratislava from 22 different countries, virtually from everywhere in Europe…
If you want to walk from East to West (recommend), it is better to fly to Košice. Košice is a smaller airport though, and you can fly in only from the following cities: London, Dusseldorf, Prague, Warsaw, Vienna, Istanbul, Cologne, Doncaster, and Tel Aviv. Don’t worry, you can always fly to Bratislava and take a train to Košice.
Airport in Vienna
If you can find a good flight neither to Bratislava nor to Košice, you can always fly to the big international airport in Vienna. From Vienna airport you can easily get to Bratislava, taking a direct bus (standing in front of the airport exit), which costs only five euro and the journey takes no more than one hour. You can fly to Vienna basically from any place.
Getting from Košice airport to Dukla.
Step 1: Once you arrive in Košice airport, you’ll take the bus line no. 23, which departs every hour (or more often) from the airport. You can but the ticket in the ticket machine (90 cents), or you can buy one from a driver, which is more expensive though (1.50 euro for the same ticket).
The bus will take you all the way to “Staničné Námestie“, the last stop, which is right in front of the Košice bus station. The journey takes 17 minutes. You can check the bus schedule here: Line 23, Košice.
Step 2: From Košice bus station, you will take a bus to “Svidník”. This bus departs always from platform no. 19, and there are four direct lines each day: 11am; 2pm; 4:30pm and 6:25pm (the departure times can vary on weekends and holidays, check with the staff at bus station Košice).
The ride takes between 2 and 2.5 hours, depending on the traffic and other conditions. Svidník is the last station.
You can get to Svidník also at other times of the day, but you’ll have to change buses either in Prešov, or in Stropkov, and the journey will take longer time. Check for the connection on Google maps.
Step 3: From Svidník bus station you will take bus directly to Dukla pass–the starting point of the trail. The bus departs from platform no.5, and the direction is marked as “Vyšný Komárnik”.
There are seven lines operating each day, with departures at: 7:35am, 9:17am, 12:20pm, 1:35pm, 2:20pm, 4:20pm, 7:10pm (the departure times can vary on weekends and holidays, check with the staff at bus station). The journey takes about 40 minutes.
The lines in bold will take you all the way to Dukla pass, the starting point of the trail. The remaining lines will take you to the center of Vyšný Komárnik, from where you’ll have to walk one kilometer (continuing up the road) to reach the starting point of the trail.
Getting from Bratislava airport to Devín castle
Step 1: You take a bus no. 61, direction “Bratislava Hlavná Stanica”, and get off at Račianske Mýto. Check the departures here: Line 61, Bratislava. The journey takes 22 minutes, and you have to buy the ticket in the ticket machine at the bus stop. Ask locals for help with buying a ticket, if you are not sure how to operate the machine. Buy the ticket for 1.80 euro–it will cover your entire journey to Devín.
Step 2: From Račianske Mýto, you take the bus line no. 39, direction “Cintorín Slávičie Údolie“, and get off the bus at Chatam Sofer. The journey takes 9 minutes, and you can check the schedule here: Line 39, Bratislava.
Step 3: From Chatam Sofer you take bus line no. 29, direction “Opletalova, VW5“, and depart at the stop Štrbská – Hrad Devín. The ride takes about 17 minutes, and you can check the schedule here: Line 29, Bratislava.
From the bus stop it’s about 10 minutes walk to Castle Devín, the starting point of the trail. You will see the castle, but you can also ask locals for directions…
Traveling between Bratislava and Košice
You may arrive in Bratislava (flying directly to the city or arriving by a bus from Vienna airport), but start walking from Dukla (the recommended direction).
In such a case you can take a train from Bratislava to Košice. The ride takes about five and half hours, and the service runs regularly, 365 days a year, basically every two hours. The first train leaves at 6am, and the last at 6pm. To get to the train station from the airport in Bratislava is also fairly easy. You just take the bus line no. 61, and the last stop is the train station. The trains in Slovakia are reasonably priced, the fare from Bratislava to Košice is about 19 euro.
Once you arrive at Košice train station, all you have to do is walk five minutes to the bus station (ask locals for directions), and proceed with steps 2. and 3. from the description (bus to Svidník and later bus to Vyšný Komárnik 7 Dukla).
Retracing your steps and flying home
The way back is pretty obvious–you will follow the same directions, just in a reverse order. If you end your walk in Devín and still have some time left, you may take a bus to the city center and spend few nights in Bratislava…
If you, for any reason, abrupt your walk, and have to return back at some point, the best way is to find any place with a railway station. The rail network is well-developed in Slovakia, and you will get to Bratislava or to Košice from virtually every place with a railway station.
* If you don’t find the answers to your questions on this page, or need help with specific travel plans, do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you, and enjoy your walk!