Going from Venice to Ljubljana with an overnight in Pula or Rovinji, CR. Need to get rental car closest town to Trieste, IT train station. Is that Koper, SL? Both Rovinji and Pula look fascinating, any suggestions for one over the other? Thanks much.
Koper probably is closest to Trieste - about a half hour away by bus.
But what's your overall itinerary? You can take a shuttle/transfer with a company like DRD or GoOpti directly from a Venice airport to Ljubljana and rent the car there.
Pula vs. Rovinj: personal opinion, I loved tiny Rovinj - charming and small but a bit touristy especially in season. Pula is bigger, more of a "working city" than a tourist trip, less charming. Pula has Roman ruins and a well-preserved Roman arena, all of which were less interesting to me than expected, perhaps because I'd seen better versions in Italy.
Do you even need a rental? If only going Venice - Rovinj/Pula - Ljubljana with no stops, detours and no need for a car in Slovenia after Ljubljana, you could go by public transport all the way. There are buses to both Rovinj and Pula from Trieste, as well as buses from both towns to Ljubljana. From Pula, there is a train service to Ljubljana, too.
Dejan and Andrew,
Thank you for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it. I think your idea of bus/van to Ljubljana sounds like a plan then we can get a car there when ready to explore outside the city itself. We are flying out of Zagreb: do you have any suggestions for what to see/do between L and Z?
How many days will you have in Slovenia / Croatia between arriving in Venice and departing out of Zagreb? If you don't have much time, simply exploring Ljubljana and Zagreb and nearby may be all you have time for.
Thank you Andrew and Dejan. We have Friday night booked in Ljubljana, Sat/Sun Lake Bled, Monday don't have yet, and Tuesday night we need to be in Zagreb to fly out next afternoon. Given we want to explore small towns, hike, sample wines, etc., does this itinerary look appropriate? I'd like to add in a cave visit and maybe a visit to Piran. Do-able? Drop the car in Ljubljana or Zagreb?
I would rent the car in Slovenia only; rent it and return it in Ljubljana, then take the train to Zagreb. Otherwise, you will pay a one-way drop fee in Zagreb for dropping the car in a different country. I guess it might be worth getting a quote on a rental car that you drop in Zagreb instead. Maybe it is worth the extra cost to you to return it in Zagreb. But you don't need a car in Zagreb at all - all you need to do is get to the airport at the end; take a bus or taxi. Zagreb is easy to explore on foot. The train from Ljubljana to Zagreb is 9 Euros per person, and if you take the train, you won't have to worry about delays at the border crossing between Slovenia and Croatia.
Starting in Koper as suggested above still might be a good idea: take a bus or GoOpti shuttle from Trieste railway station to Koper and rent your car; or, take the bus or shuttle from Trieste directly to Piran, spend a night, then get to Koper or Portoroz and rent the car, drive north and stop at a cave; visit Lake Bled and small towns, drop the car in Ljubljana, and take the train to Zagreb.
Small towns to explore between Bled and Ljubljana: Skofja Loka and Radovljica come to mind. The drive between Skofja Loka and Bled through the mountains via Kropa and Jamnik is very scenic. You could drive from Piran to Bled via the Julian Alps (Vrsic Pass).
Thank you for all your help, Andrew. We decided to keep it easy and do as you suggest; rent and return in Slovenia. FYI, all car companies I looked into had incredibly inexpensive daily rates and a $200 Zagreb drop charge.
Great. Just remember that insurance on the car (not the liability - that's included and separate) may not be included in those low rates. And you are probably going to want some sort of insurance. They will offer it to you when you show up to rent the car; it's OK to take it but it may make the daily rate a bit less attractive.
I rented with Avantcar in May in Ljubljana and they were good - I would rent from them again.