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Is it really so difficult to get from Venice to Ljubljana?

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It appears that, once up on a time, it was quite easy to get from Venice to Ljubljana by train. There were several direct trains a day. That seems to have gradually gone away. According to the German train site, daytime train connections (at least going in that direction "clockwise" from Venice to Ljubljana) are awful: they involve either a bus connection, a bus or taxi across town(?) or numerous train changes. Trenitalia does have one direct train a day but it is extremely inconvenient: departs at 21:20, arrives at 01:41. So it's not really an "overnight train" that I can sleep on overnight in place of a hotel.

I thought about renting a car for just the day...but according to Kayak, the SINGLE DAY rate for a one way rental is (get this!) US $1192 per day!!! That's more than my airfare to Europe - no thanks...

So what are my options here? (Trip is still not final; I'd be going end of September, and I may still wipe this connection from my itinerary. I've been to Venice before and do not have to go again this trip absolutely.) I thought about overnighting in Villach, Austria, because that seems to be a half decent connection between them. I guess I could take that late Trenitalia train and try to find a hotel in Ljubljana that allows really late check-ins. Flying didn't seem to be a great option, but then again, it's going to be a lot cheaper than renting a car! I didn't find an obvious direct bus route either with a quick google.

Thoughts? Am I missing something?

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