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Flying in/out to spend time in Slovenia

Hi all - my partner are excited to be doing some cycling in Slovenia this summer (we'll be using a company to transport our gear for ~7 days, but haven't picked the specific area yet) and I'm wondering about where is best to fly in and out. We'll have roughly three weeks, with about a week of cycling in the countryside (that's enough time to transform us into mini-Rogličes, right? We can dream ...). The only other must do is a few days in Ljubljana. Otherwise we're open to exploring whatever cities we fly in and out of, or something on the way to and from Ljubljana.

We'll be coming from the Washington DC area and would prefer OneWorld airlines, but don't want to spend a fortune. My Rick Steve's book on Croatia & Slovenia says that Dubrovnik is a must, Zagreb is interesting, other info I've seen have suggested Belgrade or Sarajevo as places to fly in. One bike route would take us to Trieste, so Venice might be an option.

Any advice on major airports to search to simplify things? I'n a bit overwhelmed by options right now.



Posted by
4668 posts

It's usually (not always) better to fly into Venice because flights out often leave at the crack of dawn. I would just start plugging options into Google Flights. Into Venice and out of Dubrovnik for example. But, a lot depends on your ultimate itinerary and it would be tough in my opinion to make it from the north to Dubrovnik with a week (ETA For example, if the bike tour was in the middle and you had a week on either end). Zagreb is most likely your best bet.
You are unlikely to be flying direct, so just look for the best schedules with one brief layover.

Posted by
963 posts

You’re right in feeling overwhelmed. This can be a really complex area to visit, with high demand, limited transportation, and worst/best of all tons of stuff to see!

It’s probably too late to find the economical airfare option. Klagenfurt airport in Austria is often suggested over Ljubljana’s where the airport taxes apparently jack up the price. Zagreb is another option that usually a bit cheaper, and is an underrated city imo. Venice, with a bus transfer to Ljubljana is yet another option. If you really want some Croatian coast time, then maybe Split? The good news is, whatever you choose is going to require a change of planes, so at some level they’re roughly equivalent. How much this impacts your choice may inform your destinations in a helpful way.

I’d toss Dubrovnik right out. It’s frankly late in the game to sort out accommodations, and to plan your way up the coast. Dubrovnik is a terrific place, but can be extremely demanding (crowds, heat, cost.) Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian coast is best seen on your terms, and that window is probably closed. Split is as far south as I would go from Slovenia. For coast time I would look at Rovinj and Piran. Give yourself a solid four nights in Ljubljana, ideally for you to recover from the cycling. Summer there was amazing, and I already dream of going back. Just a great, relaxing little city.

Ground transportation will be a major factor. Are you planning on renting a car? It’s great for connecting sites, but taking it across borders or leaving it in another country can add on the expense. Public transport by bus is good, but it’s another element you’ll need to consider, especially time-wise. Good luck!