The train from Venice to Ljubljana
 

Venice to Ljubljana by train, not bus...  No reservation needed, it's turn up & go with unlimited availability.  Great scenery - bring a picnic & beer if you like!

Venice to Ljubljana for €21.50...

I'm delighted to report that train service between Trieste & Ljubljana was restored in September 2018 with two direct regional trains each way every day.  And from 11 June 2021 there's a third train every day, a classy Austrian EuroCity express between Vienna & Ljubljana that's been extended to/from Trieste.  These trains are now the best way to travel between Venice or Trieste and Ljubljana with connections to/from Zagreb.

It's cheap, comfortable, no prior reservation is necessary, it can't sell out, just turn up & go.  Much better than a cramped bus, the trains have air-con, wheelchair-accessible toilets, plenty of luggage space, bicycle spaces, and power sockets at seats, And there are sights to see along the way.

Option 2 is a variation on the direct route, using the historic tram between Trieste and the Slovenian border at Villa Opicina, with 5 or 6 departures per day - the tram is a great experience, but unfortunately it's been temporarily replaced by a bus since an incident in 2016 and has yet to resume.

small bullet point  Option 1, using the Trieste-Ljubljana trains

small bullet point  Option 2, using the historic Trieste tram

small bullet point  Venice & Trieste to or from Lake Bled

small bullet point  Trains from Venice to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Ljubljana to other cities

Option 1, using the Trieste - Ljubljana trains

A new twice-daily regional train started running between Trieste & Ljubljana in September 2018, restoring rail travel between Italy and Slovenia after a gap of several years.  They've now been joined by a third train, a Vienna-Ljubljana EuroCity express that's been extended to Trieste starting from 11 June 2021.  This is now the comfortable and civilised way between Venice, Trieste, Ljubljana and Zagreb.  You can check these times using www.bahn.de/en.

 Venice, Trieste ► Ljubljana, Zagreb  

 

 Zagreb, Ljubljana ► Trieste, Venice    

 Step 1, Venice to Trieste

Mon-Fri

daily

daily

 Step 1, Zagreb to Ljubljana

 daily *

daily

daily

Regional

Regional

Regional

Express

Express

Express

 Venice Santa Lucia depart

05:05

09:41

15:41

 Zagreb depart:

18:38

06:58

12:35

 Trieste Centrale arrive:

08:03

11:46

17:46

 Ljubljana arrive:

20:56

09:16

15:14

 Step 2,  Trieste to Ljubljana

daily

daily

daily

Step 2, Ljubljana to Trieste

 daily

daily

daily

Regional

EuroCity

Regional

Regional

EuroCity

Regional

 Trieste Centrale depart:

09:03

13:03

19:07

 Ljubljana depart:

06:00

14:17

18:55

 Ljubljana arrive:

11:37

15:42

21:40

 Trieste Centrale arrive:

08:33

16:52

21:32

 Step 3, Ljubljana to Zagreb

daily

daily

 daily *

 Step 3, Trieste to Venice

daily

daily

daily

Express

Express

Express

Regional

Regional

Regional

 Ljubljana depart:

14:45

18:36

08:25

 Trieste Centrale depart:

09:15

17:15

22:06

 Zagreb arrive:

17:10

20:53

10:43

 Venice Santa Lucia arrive:

11:20

18:20

   23:50**

Read downwards, each column of times is a service you can take. 

* = Overnight stop required in Ljubljana when going to or from Zagreb on this service.

** = Venice Mestre, on the mainland.  No onward train to Venice Santa Lucia in central Venice until morning.

Regional = Air-conditioned regional train, 2nd class only, no reservation necessary or possible, fixed price, cannot sell out, sit where you like, turn up & go...

EuroCity = Air-conditioned EuroCity express train, Vienna-Ljubljana-Trieste, 1st & 2nd class, seat reservation optional, cheaper advance-purchase fares available if you pre-book, uses smart ΦBB (Austrian Railways) EuroCity cars.  Always places available.

Express = Express train, Croatian & Slovenian cars, some cars air-conditioned, seat reservation optional.  Always places available.

Note:  There are only 3 trains per day between Trieste & Ljubljana, as shown here.  However, Venice-Trieste regional trains run every hour and there are additional Ljubljana-Zagreb trains, only the relevant connections are shown here.  Check these times & the current situation at potniski.sz.si/en/trieste-trieste-airport-ronchi-udine (if this link stops working, please let me know).

Why not stop off in Trieste?

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Route map...

Venice to Ljubljana train route map

Click for larger mapGreen = scenic routesReproduced from the European Rail Map with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people - I recommend buying a copy of the European Rail Map for your travels, www.europeanrailtimetable.eu with shipping worldwide.  More details.

What is the regional train like?  See the video...

2nd class seats on the train from Venice to Ljubljana   The train from Trieste to Ljubljana

Inside the ETR563.  Larger photo.

 

The train to Ljubljana about to leave Trieste.  Courtesy of Marc Williams.

What is the EuroCity train like?

The Vienna to Triese train, about to leave Vienna

The EuroCity train from Ljubljana to Trieste starts its journey in Vienna, where it is seen here.  Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

2nd class seats in an open-plan car   1st class seats in an open-plan car

2nd class seats on an Austrian EuroCity train.  One car is like this, the other car has 6-seat compartments.

 

1st class seats.  On this train, there's just one section of 1st class open-plan seats like this.

Back to top

What's the journey like?

  Prosecco railway station
 

Prosecco station, closed 2012... The sign is no longer readable, but this is it!  Courtesy of Darryl Woodman

Regional train from Venice to Trieste, arrived at Trieste Centrale   2nd class seats on the regional train from Venice to Trieste

The hourly regional train from Venice to Trieste, seen above left boarding at Venice Santa Lucia.  No reservation necessary, turn up & go!  You sit where you like.

Regional train from Venice to Trieste, arrived at Trieste Centrale   Regional train from Venice to Trieste, arrived at Trieste Centrale

Trieste town hall.  The city is well worth a stop...

Trieste Centrale station, on its leafy square...

Scenery between Trieste and Ljubljana

The 3-car EuroCity train to Ljubljana & Trieste about to leave Trieste Centrale.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

Scenery between Trieste and Ljubljana

The climb from Trieste towards Villa Opicina, seen from the rear of the Trieste-Vienna EuroCity train.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

Scenery between Trieste and Ljubljana

Scenery in Slovenia, seen from the Trieste - Ljubljana train...

Ljubljana station

You arrive at Ljubljana main station, walking distance from all the sights and hotels...

Back to top

Option 2 using the historic tram from Trieste to Villa Opicina...

This is essentially the same route as option 1, but instead of taking a train all the way from Trieste to Ljubljana, you use the historic Trieste tram (if operating) for the 6km (3.5 miles) between Trieste and the Italian/Slovenian border at Villa Opicina, picking up the train to Ljubljana there.  The tram line isn't marked on the route map above but you can easily imagine it as a fairly direct line from Trieste to Villa Opicina (so a much shorter distance than that taken by the train, which cannot scale the escarpment behind the city).  You don't get to pass through Prosecco station like you do on the train, but the tram is an experience in itself.  It's the only tram in the world that becomes a funicular half way through its journey to climb the steep escarpment out of Trieste to the plateau above the city, with great views over the city and the Adriatic, have your camera ready!  You get up to 6 departures a day this way rather than just two, as there are more trains between Villa Opicina & Ljubljana, in addition to the ones that extend to/from Trieste.

IMPORTANT: THE TRIESTE TRAM IS STILL OUT OF ACTION, REPLACED BY A BUS

The historic tram between Trieste & Villa Opicina had a prang on 16 August 2016 and has been out of action for repairs ever since.  It was due to resume in April 2017 then June then August, then in April 2018. But still no tram, in spite of more rumours that it would resume in Spring 2020.

You can still travel this route, as a replacement local bus service is operating every 20-30 minutes for the same price, although now the direct trains are operating there's little point if the historic tram is still out.  Do let me know if you find the tram back in service (as there's no easy way to check without going to Trieste.

Bus number 2 runs every 20-30 minutes between Trieste Piazza Oberdan tram terminus and Villa Opicina tram terminus (a short walk from Villa Opicina railway station).  Bus number 4 runs every 20-30 minutes between Trieste Piazza Oberdan tram terminus and Villa Opicina station, saving a walk.

Venice & Trieste Ljubljana & Zagreb

Zagreb & Ljubljana Trieste & Venice

What's the tram ride like?

Tram at Trieste Piazza Oberdam terminus   View over Trieste from the tram at the top of the escarpment

Trieste Piazza Oberdan tram terminal...

 

View over the city as the tram climbs the escarpment...

Trieste-Villa Opicina tram showing the tram buffered up to the drogue for climbing the escarpment   Trieste to Villa Opicina tram at the Villa Opicina tram terminus

Above left, for the ascent of the escarpment the tram couples up to a 'drogue', the only tram in the world to transform into a funicular railway for part of the ride.  Above right, the tram terminus and cafe at Villa Opicina, the Italian border town next to Slovenia.

Villa Opicina tram terminal

Villa Opicina tram terminal...

Train from Villa Opicina to Ljubljana   2nd class seats on the train from Villa Opicina & Sezana to Ljubljana

Slovenian local train from Villa Opicina to Ljubljana.  These trains are modern & air-conditioned with on-board information displays, toilets & ample room for luggage.  Take provisions with you, as there's no catering at Villa Opicina station or on the train.  These trains run up to 6 times a day from Villa Opicina on the Italian side of the border to Ljubljana.  You can check train times at the Slovenian Railways website potniski.sz.si.


Back to top

Back to home page