Hello, travel forum community! I'm dreaming of a 10-day trip to Slovenia in September and hoping to use miles on an Alaska Airlines partner to get there. Of course, this limits our options somewhat. And because I have limited vacation time right now, I'm looking for an efficient route. Would flying into Venice make sense? What other routes would you suggest? Thank you in advance for your advice!
On our trip back in 2005, that's exactly what we did. Flew in to Venice, rented a car, drove to Slovenia (and then Croatia!), eventually drove back to Venice, turned in car, and had a few days there before flying home.
The view of Venice and St. Mark's Square, Rialto Bridge, and everything, before landing was incredible! Glad I had a window seat flying over.
We flew from SeaTac to Venice for a week prior to going to Ljubljana. It work out very well for us. It was definitely efficient. We wanted to spend time in Venice before our tour. We took the convenient shared GoOpti Shuttle from Piazzale Roma to Ljubljana. The driver was personable, on time, affordable, reliable and comfortable. Are you headed to Ljubljana? It’s our favorite European city! https://www.GoOpti.com
Venice to Slovenia is certainly doable. To Ljubljana by car is less than three hours; by train figure 3 1/2 hours or more. You must of course meet entry requirements for Italy and Slovenia. Currently one country’s requirements seems a bit more relaxed than the other.
We also used Go Opti and had a great experience- the drivers were prompt, professional, and easy with whom to communicate. We used them to Ljubljana from Venice and return to the train station. Sometimes door-to-door service is worth the extra money.
Another possibility would be to fly to Zagreb. It's 2 to 2-1/2 hours from Ljubljana by train or bus. It's also an interesting city. I think the train or bus will be less expensive than a shuttle, and a Zagreb hotel room will almost certainly be cheaper than a room in Venice. Now, if you are thinking of spending a couple of days, or longer, sightseeing in Venice, that's a whole different situation.
I think it's rather doubtful you'll have better luck with a frequent-flier ticket into Zagreb than into Venice, but it's worth checking if you don't plan to visit Venice on this trip.
Is there a reason you can't fly into Ljublana? If you want to go to Slovenia, I suggest flying into either Ljubljana or Maribor.
None of the Alaska partners fly into Ljubljana, so if they want to use those miles, their best options, in my experience, are to fly into Venice or Munich. We chose to fly into Munich for our September Slovenia trip in 2017, but Venice works well too. From Munich, it is a train ride of around 6 hours to reach Ljubljana; I don’t know how long the bus from Venice takes.
Alaska miles work very well for trips to Europe, but most of the flights offered arenwith British Airways. You might see flights on Finnair as well, and Aer Lingus (which are outrageous in terms of the number of miles needed.
If you are content with Economy class, you will have not trouble booking flights on BA. You might also have lots of options in Premium Economy, if you choose a day of the week that the earlier flight (BA52) is flying. I think it goes 4X a week. The later flight, BA 48, goes every day, but in September they use a 787-10m that does not have Premium Economy.
If you are looking for business class, be careful of the dreaded “mixed cabin” flights. These are indicated by a little symbol that looks like a seat, and if you click on it, you will usually see that the flight is not in Business class from SEA to London, but rather in Premium Economy or even Economy.
I'm looking at doing it in reverse - Slovenia out to Venice. I wouldn't hire a car and do an international trip with it. There are lots of trains we will probably stop in Trieste on the way to Lubyanka. I love European trains and wouldnt want to sit is a shared van for hours if Covid is still a concern.
Yes, that would work easily. If you choose to rent a car, it’s an easy drive to Ljubljana. A few years ago we drove from Ljubljana to Kobarid, toured the outdoor museum, then drove to Venice. We easily could have spent a few days around Kobarid, but didn’t have the time. The drive along the Soca river is gorgeous. Highway driving in Slovenia is very easy and I recommend a car for exploring the beautiful countryside.
That said, I would not make the drive directly after arriving in Venice. Not safe. So in terms of efficiency, you might look at another option to get you to your first stop, and rent the car from there. Or spend a night in Venice to shake off the jet lag.
Great plan! Several years ago we drove into Slovenia from Austria and then visited Bled, Ljubljana and Piran, as well as Rovinj and neighboring hill towns in Croatia, before driving over to Venice. Everything is close and the driving is easy. In hindsight wish we would have at least spent a few hours in Trieste.
Ljubljana airport has had very limited service since Adria's bankrupcy, so Venice is a good option. Zagreb and Vienna are other airports worth considering.
Thank you for the extremely helpful and inspiring responses! I'm sure I'll be posting again as we plan our trip.
To Lissie’s point: I agree about not wanting to ride a shared van “if COVID is still an issue.” When we took GoOpti from Venice to Ljubljana it was pre COVID (2018). GoOpti also offers solo rides, but that also means possible exposure from the driver! Renting a car is a viable option in Slovenia! All the best.
I did not realize that Adria Airways went bankrupt. I flew that airlines many times and really liked it!
Ljubljana used to be served by air France, so flying into Ljubljana may still be viable using Alaska miles.
Otherwise, Venice is quite a sensible option. Munich is another hub not too far away. 5 hours by bus.
Zagreb is good but Croatia is not part of Schengen which means there will be a border to cross.
That is a great suggestion! The Alaska Airlines website offers that route with British Airways, SEA to LHR to Ljubljana. They did not offer that Ljubljana flight when we went in 2017, at least not on the day we needed to go. It now connects well with the earlier flight from Seattle ( BA52) which departs SEA at 1:35 pm. There is a 3-hour layover at Heathrow, which is plenty.
If you are hoping to book business class, just watch out for the dreaded “mixed cabin” flights which show up in the Business Class column and cost business class miles—but you are usually in coach for the long flight, and business class only for the short flight.
Thank you for the additional information! The tricky part appears to be getting a flight home from Ljubljana that does not have a long layover. I will keep looking. I really appreciate the tip!
That would be a great flight--with lunch in Helsinki! I see one Wednesday option. I'll keep searching. Thanks!
We booked American miles flying through Helsinki and will overnight there. Beyond excited to visit our first exchange student (10 years ago) as well as Helsinki.
Pat, the risk factors between flying and in a shuttle bus are different. The airline has installed HEPA filters and circulates new air frequently. Not fair to compare the two. Flying is probably less risky.
That said, I do have a reservation on Go-Opti for September and I don't feel particularly at risk. Travel anywhere in any form means accepting risk. Each person needs to determine their own comfort level and not be chastised if it is different than someone else's comfort level.
Thank you for starting this topic. With many responses I thought I would come back and add to Carol now retired comments: Agree, “Travel anywhere in any form means accepting risk.” “Each person needs to accept their own comfort level….” From a medical perspective upwards of more than 7 million Americans are immunocompromised. Some have chosen not to travel or look at alternative transportation, etc. Whatever reason it’s an individual choice.