Rail route of the month: Slovenia’s ‘garden of Eden’ from Sežana to Jesenice

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Our slow travel expert takes in the undiscovered charms of the Soča valley and Julian Alps … in a country where train tickets have just got cheaper

James Bond slept until Sežana. In From Russia with Love, Ian Fleming writes that in Sežana “the hard-faced Yugoslav plain-clothes men came on board”. The Simplon-Orient-Express used by James Bond hasn’t run since 1962, and the border antics on the frontier between erstwhile Yugoslavia and Italy disappeared with the accession of Slovenia to the Schengen zone in 2007. The railway station in the Slovenian town of Sežana is nowadays a sleepy outpost. The most exotic departure of the day is the early-afternoon Eurocity train that rumbles east along the main line to Ljubljana, eventually reaching Vienna in the evening. It’s a fine ride, but closer to hand is a remarkable rural railway which deserves to be far better known. And the good news is that train fares in Slovenia were reduced in August.

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