We hope to visit Slovenia during Christmas. Our son will be living in Ljubljana, so that will be our home base. 1) Which airport should we fly into and 2) is it best to travel by train or car? I'm especially wondering about snow that time of year. Flights (ATL, BNA) are expensive during Christmas but that is the time we have to go. Advice much appreciated!
Ljubljana airport would be my choice. It's not a big airport and not served by many airlines, but local Star Alliance airline Adria flies to the biggest hubs in Europe. So I would check the large European Star Alliance airlines (Lufthansa, Austrian, SAS, Swiss) and see what they can offer.
I have not spent much time in Slovenia, but from my experience they have a pretty good public transport system.
Ljubljana is a small airport and flights can be expensive. When we went, we flew into Munich and took the train; tickets purchased 2 months in advance were 29,90. We did spent the night in Munich ( added cost, yes) but enjoyed that. And you might like to see the Christmas markets there before continuing on to Ljubljana.
We flew into Venice and took the GoOpti shared shuttle (2.5 hrs) to Ljubljana. I can't speak to the weather conditions since we traveled early September.
If you can't find flights to Ljubljana at a reasonable price I would look at Vienna or Venice as they are pretty easy to reach Ljubljana from. There are also direct night trains from Munich and Zürich if you can find flights there.
If you cannot find any reasonable connections into LJU, both Venice and Munich are good alternatives as others have mentioned.
The sun sets at 4.30pm in December, so plan any outdoor sightseeing accordingly. Most natural sights won’t be at their best, although you may be lucky and experience Lake Bled frozen and snowed over. A visit to the caves is a way to escape the cold and there’s also a living nativity scene during the Christmas season in the Postojna Cave. Spending a day relaxing in a spa town is also a favourite winter activity, as are winter sports.
Renting a car can be worth the effort depending on what you want to see. If you want to spend a few days in a chalet in the mountains for example, you have little choice but to rent a car. If you stick to the main sights you can usually manage just fine by public transport.
The driving conditions are definitely something to consider if renting. The temperatures are below freezing in December, snow is common, as is fog. Roads are cleared promptly, but you may encounter black ice, get caught in a snow storm, etc. I’d be wary if you aren’t used to driving in winter conditions.
Thanks, everyone! We booked round-trip into Munich and plan to take the train to Ljubljana. I'm sure I will be posting additional questions as we continue to make plans!