Bikes in Ljubljana

The Overland Journey from Venice to Slovenia

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I’m a big fan of traveling overland whenever possible. That’s why when I heard it was possible to travel from Venice, Italy to Ljubljana, Slovenia without flying, I jumped at the opportunity.

(UPDATE: Since I first wrote this post, there are several more direct—but less scenic—ways to travel overland between Venice and Ljubljana. I won’t be writing about them here, but you can find more information here.)

The overland journey from the historical city of Venice, Italy to Slovenia’s charming capital city Ljubljana is not only beautiful, but also quick and easy: Two trains, an antique tram, a cross-border taxi ride, another train and you’re there!

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Venice to Trieste

The first step from traveling overland from Italy to Slovenia is getting from Venice to the city of Trieste, the closest major Italian city to the Slovenian border. Actually, it’s the second step. Allow me to explain.

The railway station that serves the “island” part of Venice, where you’re almost certainly staying, is Santa Lucia. Local “slow” trains operate direct to Trieste from Venice Santa Lucia, but with a travel time of nearly four hours, those didn’t interest me.

Instead, I took a local train the short 10 minutes from Santa Lucia to Mestre, the station serving “mainland” Venice, and hopped onboard a high-speed service to Trieste, which clocks in at just under two hours. The cost? Just €29 in first class, and €21 in coach.

Trieste to Villa Opacina

I made a beginner’s mistake upon arrival in Trieste: I asked an Italian person for directions to Piazza Oberdan, where the tram portion of our journey begins. I’m sure the pharmacist was well-meaning, but her directions got me lost and stressed out.

Getting to Piazza Oberdan, where you catch a tram to Villa Opicina near the Slovenian “border,” is in fact easy. Turn left out of the train station onto Via Miramare, turn slight left onto Via Carlo Ghega, then slight right onto Via Giosué Carducci.

The tram, which provides a sort-of panorama of Trieste as it rises hundreds of feet above the city toward the Slovenian frontier, takes 25 minutes to reach Villa Opicina. And the price? I have no idea; I intended to buy a ticket, but was never charged for one!

Crossing the Italy-Slovenia Border

The title of this section is a misnomer: Italy and Slovenia are both E.U. member nations, so the border station between the two countries in unmanned. You won’t need to show your passport when you travel from Villa Opacino to the Slovenian town of Sezana.

You will, however, need to taxi a taxi,  unless  you want to walk 4 km that is. I was lucky enough to find a taxi waiting near Villa Opacina station in Trieste, although railway travel guru “The Man in Seat 61” says this is usually not the case.

As a precaution, he suggests you should email a request to pre-book your taxi; I did this and never received a response. My advice? Walk around until you find a taxi. Regardless of how you get your taxi to Sezana, it should cost you around €13.

Sezana to Ljubljana

By the time you board your train at Sezana station, the “hard” part of your overland journey from Italy to Slovenia is over — wasn’t so hard, was it? Buy the €7,27 train ticket, board any Ljubljana-bound train, then sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing scenery.

The journey from Sezana to Ljubljana takes just short of two hours, or around the same distance you traveled from Venice to Trieste. What’s fascinating is just how much the landscape changes over this short distance which, to be fair, spans over half of Slovenia.

To sum it all up, you take a train from Venice Mestre to Trieste (€29), a tram from Trieste to Villa Opacina, a taxi from Villa Opacina to Sezana (€13) and then a train from Sezana to Ljubljana (€7). €50 and six hours later, you’re in Ljubljana, Slovenia!

About The Author

is the author of 845 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Chrystal McKay July 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

You also have the option of taking one of two van companies who do the route. It costs 25 Euros and is still scenic. Probably NOT as nice as the trains – but it is less of a hassle if you want a carefree solution to cross the border! The company I went with was > I was the only person of the van so the driver stopped when I wanted to take photos as we were ahead of schedule!! 🙂

Robert Schrader July 16, 2012 at 12:59 am

Thanks for the tips, Chrystal! I’m sure my readers will enjoy the flexibility this second option provides.

Mary July 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

So the van was half the cost? Interesting!

crazy sexy fun traveler July 17, 2012 at 8:24 am

Sounds pretty easy! I should finally visit Ljubljana as everyone keeps talking about it 🙂

Robert Schrader July 18, 2012 at 10:47 am

You definitely should! Thanks for checking out my blog, and I hope you keep reading!

Brian Robson February 22, 2013 at 6:06 am

Great work-around, but ridiculous when you consider that as recently as 2007, there was direct express service between Venice and Ljubljana. I have fond memories of riding it!

Robert Schrader February 23, 2013 at 11:56 pm

I wish that was still the case!

Aspin June 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I leave in Venice and I used to go Slovenia 2 time a year but I always take bus from Mestre Venice .so comfortable and you don’t need to think a lot and now there is direct train Venice to Ljubljana.try to go bye bus like that you can see lovely mountain but Slovenian train is more comfortable.

Robert Schrader June 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Aspin, thanks for information about the bus from Mestre, and also the new direct train. Do you know when the new train began?

Nora48 October 3, 2013 at 5:11 am

Miracle of all miracles, a way to travel easily from Venice to Ljublana! As we are waiting at the bus stop to take a 3.5 hr bus ride to Villach and transfer to a train for Ljublana, I spotted a van with HISAR Ljubljana on the panel. I asked the driver if he was for hire. He pointed to a limo office where I was able to purchase a ticket for 25Euros each! CASH only and virtually no receipt. We were a little skeptical but there were other passengers so we felt better. We were supposed to transfer to a coach in Koper, but wound up changing in Kozina. 3.5 hrs later we were dropped off at the train station! Amazing, as trying to find information re transportation here was virtually non existent!

Also, per the Trinitalia direct service no longer exists by train.

Robert Schrader October 4, 2013 at 1:17 am

Thanks for the info, Liz!

Svet November 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

sorry, but this is funny, a shuttle bus from Venice Airport (that you can reach from the city by the boat) can cost as little as 14€ and takes 2,5h to Ljubljana, they are running since at least the beginning of 2012.

tiim May 26, 2016 at 1:55 pm

You should also check out GoOpti. They provide low cost transfers to many airports and cities around Ljubljana.

Feel free to use the link bellow to get a discount:

Maris Budnick August 9, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Hi there, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is witty, keep it up!

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