For months, I looked for easy ways to get from Trieste to Ljubljana. I searched message boards, read heaps of blog posts until I just got sick of it and decided I’d wait until I got on the ground there to figure out the easiest way to get from Italy to Slovenia. All of the information I was reading was sending me in dizzying circles and frustrations.
According to the great Google and search results, it is pretty much not easy to get to Slovenia from Italy. There are no direct trains, and while the Slovenian Tourist Board does state that one can get to Slovenia via plane, train, bus and automobile, there are no details or links directing ould-be bookers onward.
In fact, the closest thing to directions on getting to Slovenia from Italy was a post I found about overland travel from Trieste to Ljubljana. Except, said directions fell into my “super pain in the ass while carrying luggage” category.
So, after 30 minutes of reading posts from my bed in Trieste, I decided to just walk the 100 meters to the bus station, since, clearly, a train would require multiple stops and annoyances.
Based on the research I had done, I could take a bus from Trieste to the border town of Sezana, then hope another bus to Ljubljana.
Fine. Easy enough, right?
But, it gets even easier.
What you don’t see in any posts (at least that I came across) is that you can get directly from Trieste to Ljubljana in one bus ride for not too much money. When I went to purchase my ticket to the Sezana, I asked the woman behind the counter if I could then catch a bus easily to Slovenia’s capital. She looked at me strangely.
“Why not just go from here to Ljubljana?”
I felt like a travel dummy.
Right. A direct route. My google searches didn’t show me that.
So, if you want to go direct from Trieste to Ljubljana, you don’t need to take a tram to a cab to a bus to a train to another train. Or even take a bus to a bus. Simply get on at Trieste, get off at Ljubljana. Easy.
Another option to head from Italy to Slovenia is using Go Opti. This is a shuttle service that scoops people up at both the Milan and Venice airports and delivers them directly to the Ljubljana bus station. I used this service on my return from Ljubljana to Venice. For only 25 Euros, I was picked up at the station and dropped off directly in front of departures in Venice. The service sends an e-mail the day before with pick-up and drop-off times and promises to get people to their destination in a three-hour window. No messy transfers, no nothing.
Sure, I ended up getting to the airport more than an hour before I needed to be there, but it was a quick and easy option, and far less hassle than having to figure out different routes to get me in and out of Italy and Slovenia. Had I known about GoOpti when I landed in Milan, I would have gladly skipped the train to Trieste and overnight there (and the huge chunk of money it cost on the train) for a far quicker drive to Ljubljana.
If you really want to fly, you certainly can fly in to Ljubljana. However, according to everyone I spoke with in Ljubljana, the cost to get into Slovenia via flight is far more expensive than flying into one of the neighboring countries airports (think Venice).
Have you traveled from Italy to Slovenia? How did you get there?
This post is part of the D Travels Europe (and Israel) series. Stay up-to-date on all of my adventures by following along on Twitter (#dtravelseurope), Instagram,Trover, G+ and Facebook. And, for a look at the health and wellness side of European travel, be sure to follow along at The Comfort Zone Project and on TCZP’s Facebook.
24 thoughts on “Getting to Slovenia from Italy”
I needed to get from Como to Ljubljana a couple of years ago, and ended up finding one website that offered a shuttle service from Venice Mestre to the Slovenian capital. The site looked like it had been lasted updated some time in the 90’s, but it took my booking — and sure enough, after exiting the train and wandering outside the station for a while, a shuttle with the right logo turned up and took me to Ljubljana. There was actually at least one other company offering the same service from Mestre, so it’s apparently not an uncommon thing — one of the other guys in the shuttle said he was Slovenian, but worked in Venice and took the shuttle back to see his family every weekend.
That’s good to know! I think the shuttle service is a great option and much quicker than the train. It took me seven hours to get from Milan to Trieste, which included a stop in Venice. It took two hours to get from Ljubljana to Venice, which was the same amount of time it took me to get from Venice to Trieste via the train. I would have much preferred shuttles, etc. but had the hardest time finding accurate information!
Thanks for breaking this down Diana!
After a missed flight in the UK I had to divert to Trieste instead of Ljubljana as previously planned, and I didn’t have time to research how to get from there to my destination – which was actually Portoroz on the coast of Slovenia, not Ljubljana. After hanging around at the bus/train station in Trieste, we simply asked a local taxi driver what the best way to get there was. He promptly called up his friend who had a large van (there were 6 of us + luggage) and got him to come and pick us up and drive us the 45 mins to Portoroz. I think it cost us around €5 each. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone (well, it might!) but it certainly saved us the hassle of waiting for busses/trains/connections etc!
So easy! Sometimes, it is just best to ask around than rely on the internet. 🙂 I was surprised how close via roads everything is, because looking at train schedules, etc. it takes so much longer!
I found flying into Venice and then shuttle into Ljubljana was the fastest and cheapest option. Plus you get to see all the scenery coming into Slovenia. Much cheaper than flying right into Ljubljana. I’m wondering if Ljubljana has transportation from the airport yet? When we were there and speaking to the locals the only option was taxi and it is pretty expensive as the airport is not close to the airport at all…
Glad that you made it 🙂
I wish I would have researched that option before I arrived to Trieste! Or had known about GoOpti from Milan to Ljubljana. It would have saved me heaps of money, HEAPS, and time, too! I believe there is a bus now to the airport, but I can’t be entirely sure since I didn’t take it. Although I vaguely recall someone I was with telling me he was taking the bus to the airport …
Sounds like you needed to go old school and check a guidebook! 🙂
I was looking into a possible trip to Slovenia this fall and looked into flying into Italy. According to my Lonely Planet guide, there’s 2 daily buses between Trieste and Ljubljana and 3 daily buses between Venice Mestre and Ljubljana. It also mentioned a train between Ljubljana and Venice via Sezana, but suggested taking a less direct route instead.
But yes, flying to Slovenia from the US would definitely have been way more expensive than most other places I was considering.
Haha! Probably so! I tend to just go to the internet to get my information and everything I was reading online told me there was nothing easy! I just have this horrible habit of going to Google and then taking that as the end all, be all! Good to know there is a train, too! Although, I would definitely opt for the direct route versus a stop, especially with luggage!
Hard to believe after all these years, there are still gaping info holes on the internet about places like Europe. Guess that’s a sign to keep traveling so we can continue to get useful information out there!
I know! I am sure I could have found the information, but it would have taken some digging, and I don’t have patience for that. Far easier just to walk on down to the bus station and ask. 🙂
Yes, there is definitely a bus service from Ljubljana airport to Ljubljana city (it drops you off just next to the Ljubljana train/bus station) and vice versa. In my opinion the easiest way of getting there from the UK is flying to Ljubljana airport from London via Easyjet or Wizzair.
Other flight connections (there are some more exceptions) with Ljubljana are usually more expensive and I usually look to other nearby airports: Trieste, Venice (VCE and TSF), Zagreb, Pula, Klagenfurt and Graz.
Usually shuttle services are the best option to get from those to Ljubljana. There are quite a few options: GoOpti (http://www.goopti.com/), Vamo Tamo (http://www.vamotamo-prevozi.si/), Turanus (http://www.turanus.com/), etc.
If you ever need some local advice on Slovenia, you are welcome to drop me a line at my blog. 😉
Great information, thank you!!! And, when I head back to Slovenia, I will let you know. Cheers!
I’m so glad I found your post! I’m just starting my trip planning to Slovenia and was looking for the cheapest place to fly to from Cape Town, South Africa and then travel to Ljubljana. Thanks for the info! 🙂
Yay! Glad it could help! Enjoy your time in Slovenia!
I am so glad i found this website. I am travelling from Bolzano Italy to Ljubljana in July. So far I find travelling from Bolzano to Trieste central by train and then to catch a bus from Trieste to Ljubljana. Thing is I have never used Opti before and I find the method a bit confusing :/. Can anyone tell me how it works? Also how long does it usually take from by bus. I get really sick when I travel for longer hours. I went to Budapest by train which was 11 hours non stop and I just wanted to jump of the train :p. So i am hoping at least this route to Ljubljana won’t be as long as Budapest was. Looking forward to your advice! 🙂
The bus from Trieste to Ljubljana is about two hours and has a little bit of winding, but not too much. As or Opti, I believe you can book online.
I have been to Slovenia 3 times, beginning in 2005. I am 1st generation Slovene: all parents, grandparents immigrated to US in early 1920’s.de America and in Europe) We decided then that we would spend our 50th Anniversary there in 2016. Unfortunately he became very ill in 2012 and died , August 2014, breaking my heart.
Nevertheless, I am planning our “Anniversary” trip. At this point 6 friends & family are coming too. My guess is that there will be 10 of us eventually.
This web site knocked me out: Things have certainly changed since I planned the trip 5 years ago. I’m so thankful to you all for getting me up to date!
I’m so glad it could help. Enjoy your trip. ❤
Regarding the shuttle from Venice, these are the guys http://drd.si/en/ and they go from Venice Mestre station to the station in Ljubljana for 25 euros one way, or there is always blablacar. 🙂
Great! Thank you for this!
Hi, great info thanks! I am looking to travel from Trieste to Postojna – could you tell me if this bus stopped anywhere along the way – and how long it took you to get to Ljubljana – I am unsure if I can make it up to the capital or not in my three day trip (as I fly back from Trieste too!)
Hi! Check out Rome to Rio — it gives you times and more information to help plan your trip. To Ljubljana from Trieste is about two hours, I believe.
How do I get from Milan to Slovenia and how long does it take? Do I have to book in advance for travel and bed?
You can take the GoOpti or a bus. It depends on the season re: booking. I’d suggest it at least the first night.