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renting car in Venice and driving to Ljubljana and back

I like to use a major highly rated airline and I want to go to Slovenia. It seems to me that the best way is to fly to Venice and then stay 2 days there (may as well-it will be a little late when I get in), then rent a car and drive to Ljubljana (in late October). I will stay in Slovenia about a week, then drive back to Venice, stay 1 night, then home? Sound good? How's the drive and is it easy to rent a car in Venice (airport or town center?). I could rent when I land in Venice airport immediately and drive to Trieste and stay one night, then finish my drive to Slovenia. Sound practical? I don't like the airlines that fly into Zagreb.

Posted by
5591 posts

Honestly, I don't understand your intentions here, and no, it does not sound either good or practical to me. Have you really thought this through?

If you want to go to Slovenia, why not fly to Ljubljana? There are perfectly good airlines that fly into Ljubljana. Lots of them. What's your objection to them? "Highly rated" - by whom?

And what does Zagreb have to do with it? Zagreb is in Croatia, not Slovenia.

If you do decide to go through with this plan, be sure to check with the rental car agency - make sure they know you plan to take the car into Slovenia (and, maybe to Croatia, too?).

Posted by
13106 posts

He wants to fly British Airways and they do not serve Ljubljana. We fly BA ourselves and solved that dilemma by flying into Munch and taking the train down. It was inexpensive and very scenic.

As stated above, it may be difficult to rent a car in Venice that you are authorized to drive into Slovenia or Croatia. Or it may cost significantly more.

Posted by
6872 posts

I don't understand your comments about not using certain airlines - you know they're pretty much interchangeable and ratings are subjective, right? Why does "highly rated" matter for a short trip assuming all airlines have a solid safety record? Your driving plan doesn't make sense to me either.

Posted by
6488 posts

The train from Munich to Ljubljana is pretty long. I like the idea of flying into Venice and staying a couple of days, but then I would just take the train/bus from Venice to Ljubljana and rent the car there. Of course, then you have to take that train/bus back to Venice to fly home, so maybe it does make sense to rent the car there, as long as the rental company allows you to take the car to Slovenia. If you limit yourself to only using one airline you will have fewer options so sometimes you have to bite the bullet and use another airline to get a more convenient flight.

Posted by
5591 posts

Nothing wrong with flying British Airways. Nothing particularly special or great about them either (in fact, I wouldn't call BA "highly rated" at all). This just seems irrational to me. There are a dozen or more airlines that fly to Ljubljana. They're all perfectly fine. I flew Adria, the national airline, and thought it was great.

If the goal is to go to Slovenia, why burn several extra days (and money) by flying in to Italy, dealing with logistics and the crowds of Venice, paying for extra hotel nights, the costs and hassles of driving there, etc.? It doesn't sound like the OP is actually interested in visiting Venice, so why go there?

Sure, there are lots of ways to get to Ljubljana - just like there are lots of ways one could get anywhere. But what the OP seems to be proposing does not make any sense to me. Looks like a waste of time, money and unnecessary hassles. Flying to Ljubljana is comfortable, safe, simple, efficient, not expensive.

Posted by
4933 posts

I don't understand why you can't fly into Venice and take a shuttle immediately (GoOpti or DRD) from the airport to Ljubljana? I've done this the last two times. Same thing flying out. If you want to spend time in Venice, great, but there is no need to do so at either end, if you wish to spend more time in Slovenia. Rent the car when you get there.

Posted by
16883 posts

If you want to pick up a rental car in Italy, we recommend reserving it in advance, with a weekly discount, and of course you must tell them in which countries you plan to drive. autoeurope.com is a convenient US consolidator that handles several major rental companies.

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you all for your spirited replies! I've been doing "Rick Steves" trips for almost 30 years, and have never taken advantage of these posting boards before: helpful.

Actually, BA and Lufthansa have the highest safety ratings and BA has a great non-stop flight from LAX to Heathrow--with great premium "economy" seats and times (for your info). So, there's method to some madness here.

Fact is, landing in Venice then taking GoOpti (I assume this is an outfit like Lift and Uber?) would put me in Lubjliana quite late. I don't like small airlines either, but Adria (thanks for the info--the Slovenian carrier) sounds not too bad--and maybe I'll give it a try getting from England to the Slovene capitol. Lufthansa also has their partner that flies in there too, so may that may work. The option to fly into Zagreb sounds pretty good too, since I wouldn't mind spending a couple of days there--then take a train/bus to Lubjliana. Anyone done that? Seems like the method flying straight into Slovenia is best though.

Posted by
4933 posts

Flying directly to Ljubljana may or may not be best. It never has been for me - maybe someday! What works better for you may not for me or anyone else here.

All depends on schedule and cost for YOU. Last time I flew directly to Venice - the alternative was a connecting flight somewhere in Europe (with the flight at my own expense on to Ljubljana). Flying to Venice and taking a shuttle got me in earliest and was cheapest, so it was a no-brainer. But that may not work best for you. If you can fly to Ljubljana from Heathrow or whatever airport you fly into in London (without changing airports) without a huge layover, that's probably what I'd do, on Adria or whichever airline works best. If flying to Zagreb or Venice from London and then taking a bus/train/shuttle gets you in earlier to Ljubljana than flying directly to Ljubljana, do that instead.

Posted by
22 posts

Got it. thanks. RS seems to like Zagreb, so maybe flying into there from Heathrow is a good option, since spending a couple of days there may be a kick. As far as saving money, I don't care about cost (within limits), I care about convenience, comfort, and safety. Again, the flying into Venice option and taking GoOpti from the airport to Slovenia may work out, but it seems like it will be very late in the day for me. By the way, has anyone out there tried to the Croatia airline? (for flying into Zagreb).

Posted by
4695 posts

Flown Croatian Airlines numerous times. They are part of the Star Alliance network and an excellent choice. Slovenia and Croatia are not developing countries by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by
3193 posts

If you care about comfort, you should avoid coach on BA. Our last two flights they were 2 hours late in leaving the airport and don't even serve water in coach. And on our most recent flight, they ran out of water to sell and the AC didn't work well while sitting on the tarmac.

Posted by
4933 posts

Croatia Airlines is fine. Flying into Zagreb is fine too. I'd take whatever airline is the most convenient.

Posted by
5591 posts

With all due respect, OP, to me your approach to various airlines seems disconnected from reality.

You've said a bunch of different things about your motivations towards or against various airlines. I don't think you are being rational, and I don't think you have an accurate view of any of the airlines mentioned.

British Airways' best days (from a service and passenger comfort standpoint) are far, far behind us. They are hardly what most people would call "highly rated". 30 years ago, maybe, but not today. I consider them one of the once-great big legacy carriers that have lost their way. Not only would I not go out of my way to fly on BA, I'd actually prefer most other airlines over BA unless there was some valid reason to take BA instead.

OTOH, the airlines that you seem to dismiss for some reason (because you've never heard of them?) - Like Adria and Croatia Airlines - are modern, full-service airlines with good service, new jets (I've been on both, and I'd take them any day over BA), and - most importantly - they fly where you're trying to get to.

And that's the point: you seem to be working really, really hard to make this needlessly complicated, expensive and a hassle. You can rationalize and say you "don't like small airlines" or want "highly rated airlines" or you have vague, unspecified "safety concerns" but, no offense, all of that seems like complete nonsense to me. The airlines that call these countries home (they're the national carriers) are perfectly safe, perfectly comfortable, perfectly reasonable, are modern (a lot more modern than BA, that's for sure!) and as good as any other airline you can find. They are going to be just fine - especially for a short hop from someplace else in Europe.

You can make this hard if you want to, but there's no rational reason to do that. Pick any airline that gets you where you want when you want at a price that works for you. There's really nothing more to it than that!

Posted by
11289 posts

David's post is blunt, but I agree with everything he said. For this route, you're not looking at BasketCase Air - all of the options are on "safe" carriers that are using modern planes, in countries that have modern safety standards.

Posted by
5 posts

We did a trip to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia in 2015 and then again in 2017. First time around we flew into Rome, and ended up in Venice the last two days before going on to Slovenia. I reserved a car at Marco Polo Airport, for two weeks from Budget Car Rental. Their fine print allows to drive their car into Slovenia and Croatia. Direct drive from Marco Polo Airport to Ljubljana is 2.5 hrs. Since we picked up the car at 9:30am, we drove to Nova Gorica border crossing (picked up a Vinjeta pass at the gas station, that pays for all highway tolls in Slovenia). Made a pit stop at Postojnska Jama to see the beautiful caverns, and finished the drive into Ljubljana by 6pm.

We stayed in Ljubljana for two nights, City Hotel, just on the edge of pedestrian only section of city center. Parking lots were available but we found meter parking relatively easily.
If this is your first time driving in Italy, make sure you have Euros (coins) to pay toll at the Italian border. I believe it was around 14 Euros for us, if I recall correctly.
Slovenia is a lovely place to visit, enjoy.

Posted by
14 posts

I did just that in 2007 as part of a larger trip through Europe except I used Venice as a hub for Ryan Air flights after staying a couple of nights in Venice. I then rented a car at Marco Polo airport for the 1.5 hour drive to the border town of Gorizia (Best Western Palace Hotel) in Italy and Nova Gorica in Slovenia. You can drive down their short strip of Adriatic Coast and then head across to all their sites on the way to Ljubljana. Brnik is no fun to fly into Slovenia, and Zagreb is much cheaper and close to their border. I would go to Venice Marco Polo or Treviso.