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Help - need to do Slovenia AND Croatia (Istria)?

My husband and I are planning to do Salzburg area (3 nights) followed by 4 nights between Slovenia and Croatia (and then to Budapest for 2 nights before flight home). After researching I realize that train travel in this area either doesn't exist or isn't efficient and we'll need our own car.

We are active people and want to see the Alps in Austria, but also love to have a glass of wine in the city at the end of the day. We don't necessarily want to spend the entire time driving but understand the importance to see the scenery and the lack of public transport in the area. And the more research I do on Slovenia lends me to believe that going to Istria would be a lot of work for much of the same feel. So, my question is - (coming from Salzburg and doing Slovenia in the middle) - is it worth it to go down to Croatia (and then to Budapest), or are we going to get the same activities, scenery, etc in Slovenia?

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks, JG - yes, we went to Italy for our honeymoon 5 years ago (Rome, Positano, Cinque Terre, Orvieto) and absolutely loved it. Just looking at doing something different this time. Perhaps we should cut Istria just based on the similarity to Italy. The thought was to add in some coast time and perhaps venture to Plitvice one day.

Posted by
503 posts

Hi Amy, Here is a thought. Having been to both Slovenia and Croatia (including Istria) and loving both, I would hate for you to be that close and not at least get a glimpse of each. Go to Ljubljana for two days, you should be able to get there from Salzburg via train, there is plenty to see and do. Ljubljana is a lovely city and walking at night along the river in the middle of the city is just beautiful. You will find plenty to do there and the food is great. Take the train to Zagreb. We did this two years ago and some of the scenery on that trip is gorgeous. Spend two days in Zagreb, one of which can be a day trip to Plitvice National Park. You can do this via bus from Zagreb and although it makes for a long day, it is so worth it. Neither city is so large that you feel overwhelmed, they are both very comfortable cities to navigate by foot. You won't need a car and you still get to see something of both countries. Then take a train to Budapest. Best of luck with your plans.

Posted by
31471 posts


As mentioned in the previous reply, there is some rail and bus service available in Slovenia and Croatia. I travelled from Munich to Ljubljana in September, and it's an easy trip, and from Salzburg it's even quicker. There's at least one direct train each day, and others with one change.

I haven't checked to see if they operate from Salzburg, but you could also check the GoOpti shuttle service.

Going into Croatia, rail travel is possible to Split but I doubt that extends to Istria (I didn't check). Without a car, you might be able to book a day tour from Split to points in Istria? The difficult part is probably going to be getting from Croatia or Slovenia to Budapest. It can be done, but it likely won't be cheap. For example, you could use Croatia Air from Split to Vienna, and then take a train from there to Budapest. There are many options!