Venice and Slovenia

Old Apr 16th, 2017, 07:15 PM
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Venice and Slovenia

As we enter our 70's (OK, I am not there yet, but DH has a few years head start), the days of our big European trips seem to be fading. We have seen almost everything once, and might return to some places we have seen, perhaps on a cruise or a tour.

We have not been to Venice. And DH is a second generation American of Slovenia descent. Is there a game plan to combine these destinations? I have looked at many tours, but they include much more than Slovenia, where we would like to spend most of our time. Travel between the two? Is it reasonable to rent a car in Slovenia? or is train/bus a better option?

I really don't have much specific to ask at this point, just looking for your general comments. I feel perfectly comfortable planning our stay in Venice, and I know what we want to see in Slovenia, it's just the details that I am questioning.

Thanks in advance
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Old Apr 16th, 2017, 07:42 PM
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Train to Trieste, bus to Ljubljana. I did it in the other direction a couple of years back, but you need to be careful about the connection. See for schedules. A car would be useful in Slovenia, if you feel like driving, but I don't think it is essential. You might check Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, which tend to be helpful with public transport.
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Old Apr 16th, 2017, 07:45 PM
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I took a train from Bled to Venice. I seem to recall it didn't take very long.
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Old Apr 16th, 2017, 07:52 PM
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I love little Slovenia. It's getting more touristy, I hear, but still nothing compared to Italy. Ljubljana is one of my favorite cities in Europe.

Oddly, there is no direct train service between Venice and Ljubljana, which is probably a big reason not so many tourists visit Ljubljana. But it's not too hard to get between Venice and Ljubljana or Venice and coastal Slovenia. There are transfer (shuttle) services that will take you directly in a few hours - check out GoOpti and DRD. I have not used GoOpti but others here have with positive reports. I have used DRD a few times; they seem like just another bus company but they really aren't. They do have scheduled times on their website, but expect a van (what I was picked up in last time) not a real bus, and you should have cell phone service in Italy to confirm with them the day of your transfer.

You can also take a train to Trieste and then a bus up to Ljubljana...or take the "scenic route" from Trieste via Villa Opicina and a train from there (or from Sezana, Slovenia just over the border) up to Ljubljana. The bus from Trieste is obvious much easier and more direct, but train nuts prefer the two trains. Plus, there is a historic tram up to Villa Opicina from the center of Trieste that is supposed to be really cool. I want to take it, but I understand it is not running at the moment. Anyway, the Trieste option makes sense if you want to stop in Trieste for an afternoon or a day or something.

There is also bus service from Trieste down the Slovenian coast to Koper (and on to Piran, maybe with a connection). I loved Piran, an adorable little town.

You can also see Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, and do a drive up through the "Julian Alps Loop" over the Vrsic Pass - a neat experience driving up a twisty road with many hairpins but great views and unique scenery.

You could just rent a car in Italy and drive over to Slovenia - or rent the car just in Slovenia. You can see the basic sites by bus (Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, Ljubljana, Piran, etc.) but there is more to see by car, more small towns, more scenic drives that are really lovely. And I found driving in Slovenia very easy, personally.

Feel free to read my past trip reports (with many pictures) by clicking on my name - I've been to Ljubljana a few times but my 2011 trip was focused largely on Slovenia. I may go back again this year, maybe next month!
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Old Apr 16th, 2017, 08:26 PM
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I did take the tram in Trieste. It was fun, but not a must.
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Old Apr 16th, 2017, 09:38 PM
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Absolutely reasonable to visit Slovenia and Venice in the same trip!

Once in Slovenia, Ljubljana is absolutely charming. Trains and buses work on a hub and spoke system from that city, so you don’t NEED to have a car, but a car can allow more efficient use of your time if that is a consideration.

I strongy encourage you to get a good guidebook for Slovenia. Of the several I consulted, the Rough Guide was, by far, the best.

Consider flying into Venice and out of Ljubljana (or vice versa), and try to put all of your time in your departure city at the end of your trip.

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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 02:29 AM
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I just happen to be in the planning stage of a trip in this corner next September.
Give yourself a full day in Trieste, two hours by train from Venice. It's a lovely city and a visible reminder of the days it was the seaport of the Austrian-Hungarian empire.
If you're not pressed for time, you can continue from Ljubljana (still »Laibach« in German) to provincial Celje and interesting Graz to Vienna, from where you can fly home. These cities are all well connected by train and the distances are amazingly short (around two hours per leg).
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 03:44 AM
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Venice and Slovenia are a wonderful combination, as Venice is just 80 miles from the Slovenian border.

If visiting family or the ancestral town/village/farm in Slovenia is something you planned on doing, I suspect it will involve places that are hard to reach by public transport, so a car will probably be more useful or even essential. Outside of Ljubljana, a car is not a hassle anyway and even in Ljubljana, you can find parking for a bargain at a stone's throw from the city center - for example in front of Hala Tivoli. An option is to take a train to Trieste and rent a car there. Reaching Slovenia first is not a necessity, in fact it may even lead to some backtracking as many sights are located between the Italian border and Ljubljana. The only issue to be aware of if renting in Italy is that the car probably won't have the Slovenian vignette (toll sticker) and you will have to purchase it on your own, but you can purchase one at many places between Trieste and the border, at €15 for 7 days or €30 for a month.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 05:01 AM
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I actually took a taxi from Piran Slovenia to Trieste Italy - it was €50 and less than an hour direct from hotel to hotel. And I am someone who NEVER takes taxis if I can help it. But in this case the bus times were inconvenient and my hotel said they arrange it all the time. In Slovenia I took buses to get from Ljubljana to Lake Bled to Piran.

I also suggest a one day/night stopover in Trieste. Not the 'highlight' of Italy, but certainly worthwhile. And if you have an extra day or two Udine and Civadale are close by and worth time (I did those on a day trip from Venice on a different trip, but geographically they are very close to Trieste).

Trip report is at:

Photos of Slovenia:
Photos of Trieste, Udine, Venice, etc. -
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 06:14 AM
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First of all, plan the places you want to see. There are many itineraries from Venice to Slovenia which can easily be done by public transport:

direct bus Venice - Ljubljana
direct boat Venice - Piran (seasonal, in late afternoon)
direct bus Venice - Pula (Croatia)
direct trains Venice - Gorizia Centrale (Italian railway station) and from Nova Gorica (Slovenian railway station) to Divazza - Koper, Divazza - Postojna - Ljubljana and Bled - Jesenice
direct trains Venice - Trieste and connecting buses to Koper.

As you "have seen almost everything once", you may not be interested in Udine, Treviso, Aquileia, Duino, Miramare, Skocjan Caves, Postojna Caves, Lipizza Stud, Piran, Porec church, Motovun, Brioni Island, Pula amphitheatre, Bled Jezero, Bohinj, Isonzo Valley, Triglav park, Fusine Laghi, Villach/Beljak, Klagenfurt/Celovec, Lake Woerthersee, Graz/Grac, Maribor/Marburg.

But if you want to see one of these places for a second time, it would perfectly fit into a Venice - Slovenja trip.
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Old May 6th, 2017, 05:45 AM
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MSC cruise operates a5 day cruise from Venice on May30 Venice to Koper, Slovenia then to Split and Zadar and back to Venice. It is interesting and I have booked already. You can have shore excursion to visit Lake Bled and Ljubljana organized by local tour Istranka, or book with the cruise on board.

It's a short cruise.
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