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Zegrab to Venice May 2015 (w/ toddler)

Hi, we have 8 days to spend in Croatia. Need advice on best travel route with a 3 yr old. I'm thinking 4 days in Split, train to Zagreb for a few days then a train/bus to Venice to catch our cruise. I can't seem to get clear info on Zagreb to Venice. Some ppl say you have to take 2 trains & bus, others said their overnight went straight thru. Can anyone clarify this for me. The easiest route possible with a child please.

My other thought was do Zagreb first, travel to Split and catch a ferry to Venice? But I'm told ferries are spiratic this early (may 3-4) in the season. Thoughts???

Posted by
16866 posts

There used to be a direct night train from Zagreb to Venice, but it is not reflected on spring timetables. Instead of a daytime departure with 2 connections (10 - 11 hours), consider flying; see www.skyscanner.com for prices. How to Look Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it. Ferries are more likely to run from Split to Ancona than to Venice, so that would necessitate a train within Italy (4 hours).

Posted by
4700 posts

Not ideal, but you can catch a train from Zagreb to Ljubljana at 4:50am, arrive 7:21, then a bus (company called DRD) at 8:15 to Venice Mestre (arrive 11:30). There's also a direct bus leaving Zagreb at about the same time but getting you into Mestre a little earlier, but it's a longer bus ride with more stops. The DRD bus is direct from Ljubljana I think (I took it the other direction a few years ago), and you'd have at least a half hour in Ljubljana to stretch your legs, grab a snack, etc. before getting on the bus to Mestre. The bus and train stations in Ljubljana are adjacent and not very big.

Posted by
4700 posts

You might also consider a night in Ljubljana instead of doing all in one shot. Then you wouldn't have such an early morning leaving out of Zagreb. Ljubljana is a lovely town to explore.

Posted by
4375 posts

Is there any reason why Zagreb and Split? Not the places I would choose to spend my time in this area, especially with a toddler (I have done this area with my small kids).

I would suggest Split, then up to Istria for the rest of your time before heading to Venice. I'd even suggest Trogir or Sibenik over Split (but be sure to visit Split at least for a day). In Istria, Rovinj, Pula or Porec are lovely and there is a lot to explore in this part of Croatia. The ferries from Istria to Venice start in mid-April. I would rent a car and keep it in Croatia. You'll be glad you did.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for tips everyone.

I chose Split for obvious reasons, and Zagreb for logistics. Plus I hear it has a great city vibe & shopping, cafes etc. we are a young couple. I was considering Rovinj, because I hear it's lovely. But I fear the ferry won't run on the day we need to get to Venice. (Yes we are going to be one of those horrid cruisers haha) our cruise stops in Dubrovnik, which is why I'm skipping a longer stay for this trip. We only have 8 days so I only want to spent time in 2-3 towns tops. Anything more and I don't think you are seeing anything but highways!

So the debate is which route to Venice! Decisions decisions!!!

Split-ferry to Italy, then train north to Venice?
Rovinj-ferry to Venice
Zagreb bus to Slovenia, train to Venice

Posted by
4700 posts

I guess it depends who you ask regarding Zagreb. I thought it was an interesting city and worth checking out, but after half a day I was done there. It just didn't do much for me (while on the other hand, I adored Ljubljana). There are people who love Zagreb and enjoyed spending days there - I wasn't one of them. I am planning a trip now that has me flying out of Zagreb and I will probably have an afternoon there. In a way I am looking forward to that, but I am choosing not to spend more time in Zagreb than that.

From Rovinj, I'd probably take the bus to Venice (or bus to Trieste, train to Venice) if the ferry isn't running that day. I haven't yet been to Rovinj (but may get there soon).