Car needed in Trieste, Italy?
June 10, 2007 9:56 AM   Subscribe

How to get from Venice, Italy to Trieste and back again, and do I need a car in Trieste?

I'm accompanying my husband to Italy, where he will be attending a conference in Trieste from September 23-28. We're flying in and out of Venice, staying in Trieste through the night of 9/28, and then plan on going back to Venice for sightseeing until we fly out again on October 6. While he's attending his conference, I plan on exploring all over the Trieste area (maybe even going to Ljubljana in Slovenia). I need to figure out if I should have a car for getting around in/near Trieste. If so, we'll rent one at the Venice airport and drive to Trieste. Of course, we'd drive it back and return it before we start our week in Venice. If I can use buses and trains to get around Trieste and the general area, we won't rent a car, but instead take the train from Venice to Trieste and back. Trenitalia doesn't show any fares this far in advance, but there are quite a few trains each day from Venice to Trieste. Bonus points for best way to get from Venice Marco Polo airport to Venice S. Lucia train station.
posted by Joleta to Travel & Transportation around Trieste, Italy (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am looking at Hertz site and apparently they have a station at Venezia Piazzale Roma. You could return the car there, avoid returning the car to airport and then take the boat-bus to whatever hotel in venice. I'd recommend you get a car with a GPS ; consider that if you plan to move at will around the place, nothing beats a car and now matter how good public transport is (and trust me in italy it's poor), you will lose valueable time in rigid timetables. I'd rent a very small car, usually the least expensive as well..I get a quote of 220€ from Hertz for one Panda for one week right now.

Also consider most of the cars here have manual gears, so it may be a little more difficult to find a little one with automatic. As for the connection from Venice to Venice Marco Polo airport, I am sure about boat taxi, but it is the most expensive. I guess asking the hotel or a travel agent would be best.
posted by elpapacito at 10:35 AM on June 10, 2007

Response by poster: Follow up: Neither my husband nor I have any problem driving manual transmission cars.
posted by Joleta at 10:46 AM on June 10, 2007

Well considering that, car is the best option IMHO. Sightseeing, shopping and leisure driving are time sinks and you don't want to be rushed back to get the train when you just found a lovely place to visit. Venice will probably take you 2-3 days ..Murano and Burano isles are rather nice, but worth visiting only after visiting all you wanted to visit in Venice. The city of verona is rather nice and worth a trip's nearby. Trieste is a rather little city and not extremely interesting imho, but quite mittle european. Padova and Ferrara are also OK , but I'd probably hop on car and go visit Bologna which is 300KM away from Trieste.

I'd make the most from the fact that after visiting venice you are not going to go back in that area in a lifetime (well that's just very unlikely) time it will be florence and Rome. As for Milan..there's nothing but Fashion shops in milan.
posted by elpapacito at 10:58 AM on June 10, 2007

If you want to go to Slovenia or Croatia (Istria perhaps?), you might want to ask your rental car company whether their contract permits this. I don't know about Italy, but if you rent a car in Germany, the contract usually prohibits you from taking the car into certain Eastern European countries.
posted by andre at 11:28 AM on June 10, 2007

Best answer: If you stick with public transportation, here's what you do:

Take a bus from Venezia Marco Polo to Venezia Mestre. Venezia Mestre is the train station on the land side of Venice, it's the last stop before you go over the bridge to Venice. The direct bus fare is around 3 euros and can be purchased inside the airport (as you exit baggage, it's on your left. It looks touristy and also sells tickets for the water taxis). You could save a euro by taking the city bus, but it takes a lot longer.

From Venezia Mestre, you can take a train to Trieste. It's about two hours give or take, and around 7 euros a person. There is plenty to see in Trieste on foot if you enjoy walking.

Getting to Ljubljana takes a while via train. It's about 25 euros
each way per person from Venice, and can take 5-8 hours, even though the drive from Venice is only about 2.5 hours. You have to buy international tickets at the counters; the machines won't sell them to you. The train station in Ljubljana is a 15 minute walk from downtown and again, welcome to Europe, there is plenty to see and do on foot. :)

More about the machines - I used the yellow ticket machines in Italy 99% of the in Italy. Often the train you might want to take is sold out. Simply set the date to a day or two in the future and it will sell you a ticket. The ticket will be valid (although the seat reservation won't be), and I've never once had a problem getting a seat or with the train conductor because of this.

Oh - and the normal ticket machine won't sell you a ticket from V. Mestre to V. S. Lucia. There's a separate machine for this, or you can buy it at the counter.

Via car:

I lived in Ljubljana for 3 months last year. I was never once asked for my insurance papers when crossing the border of Slovenia, Italy, or Croatia. However, do make sure you get the 'Green card' from the rental agency - it's an insurance card that has little boxes for all of the European countries that the car has insurance for. They shouldn't charge you more if you want to go to Slovenia and Croatia, but might if you try to drive to Serbia.

Enjoy the trip!
posted by cactus at 5:02 PM on June 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

There's also a bus from the airport that will take you to directly to Venezia S. Lucia for half a euro more, but if you're just turning around to go to Trieste, I recommend the cheaper and shorterfaster bus to Venezia Mestre.
posted by cactus at 5:05 PM on June 10, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, Cactus. That's just the sort of information we need. I was thinking that Ljubljana would be a day trip for me from Trieste, but maybe I'm being overly ambitious. It looks to be about 60 miles (Google Maps won't calculate the distance!) and I was hoping there would be a bus or train, figuring an hour or two each way. I'm not planning on being away from Trieste overnight while my husband is at the conference, just getting around in the general area and to places like Piran. I found this article about getting from Trieste to Ljubljana by bus. Still, 2.5 hours each way would kill a good part of the day, unless the scenery is worth the trip.
posted by Joleta at 6:48 PM on June 10, 2007

Ljubljana's just over an hour drive from Trieste, so maybe you could rent a car if you want to make it a day trip. Slovenia's quite beautiful and the scenery is worth the visit. and don't work... but does, so give that a shot. Unfortunately, it seems to be lacking the "link to this page" that google offers.

Another suggestion: you could drive or take a bus to Izola, a small coastal town just south of Koper, very close to Trieste. It used to be an island, and it's interesting to explore for an afternoon.

In fact, I just remembered that you could skip the train ride back to Venice and take a hydrofoil from Izola instead. They might offer that from Trieste, but I definitely remember there being one in Izola.
posted by cactus at 7:44 PM on June 10, 2007

Best answer: Others have given a lot of info & advice, but here are my 0.02$: traffic in Trieste is insane. Lots of small streets, cars parked everywhere (including middle of the street), scooters buzzing around and squeezing themselves between cars while you're not looking, pedestrians jumping in front of you, nervous drivers honking if you're not moving the very second the light turns green... If you can, get away from city center as fast as possible. As soon as you move away a bit, things calm down.

You could visit Castle Miramare or Duino, they're both near Trieste.

A day trip to Ljubljana should be completely doable - there's a highway linking Trieste with Ljubljana, so it definitely shouldn't take more than 2 hours. There are trains, but it takes much more time that way. My email's in my profile if you need a guide in Ljubljana. :)
posted by gakiko at 10:53 AM on June 11, 2007

Response by poster: gakiko: It sounds like there's no reason for me to have a car in Trieste. I might rent a car just for the day trip to Ljubljana. Can I get to Castle Duino by bus from Trieste, or do I need a car to get there? How about getting to Piran by bus (or train)? And thanks, I'll contact you for more inside information on Ljubljana.
posted by Joleta at 1:53 PM on June 11, 2007

Yes, there's a local bus to Duino, this page specifically mentions bus lines 51, 21 and 52 (scroll down to "BUSLINIE 51"), although I'd check with the local tourist office first. And although it's quite messy, the page has some more info about Trieste and nearby attractions. (For example, I totally forgot about the tram linking Trieste and Opicina - it's a fun ride!) It also mentions a boat ride from Trieste to Castle Miramare (3 euro), or Duino (4 euro), or Portoroz and Croatian towns of Porec and Rovinj (6, 12 or 18 euro).

There are buses from Trieste to Piran, but I think you'll have to travel via Koper to get there. That region is not very well connected by train, so my choice would be buses. I've found some timetables from a regional bus operator here, but it's in Italian only (click on Orari -> Regionali and enter Trieste in the first field and Piran in the second, then click on Orari = timetables). Be careful if you're traveling on a Saturday or a Sunday, because I think there are no buses on Sundays.

You can also take a train to Ljubljana from Koper, Slovenian Railroads have the timetables.
posted by gakiko at 11:55 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

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