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Vienna-Bled-Piran-Budapest transportation advice?

My husband and I are planning a trip in August and are trying to determine the best way to get around. Would love advice! We fly into Vienna and will be there a day or two, then are thinking of renting a car and heading to Lake Bled for a day or so, then to Piran for a couple of days, then heading to Budapest for about a week before we fly back out of Vienna. A car seems like it would offer more flexibility for all of this, but would love to know how complicated that is going through countries, or if train or bus routes would be better. Thanks for any advice or resources!

Posted by
5450 posts

Take the train from Vienna to Ljubljana. Rent a car in Ljubljana for Bled and Piran. Return the car in Ljubljana and take the train from Ljubljana to Budapest. That’s how I’d do it. A car in Vienna and Budapest is not necessary and not fun.

Posted by
13 posts

Sounds like a good trip, I will actually be in Bled tomorrow through the weekend for the 4th of July.

Renting a car in Vienna would not be too difficult. The problem come in taking that rental to Slovenia and Hungary. Most rental agencies don't allow vehicle to be taken into former eastern block countries without paying additional fees (if they allow it at all). Additionally, you may have mandatory insurance purchases which add to the cost significantly. Cheaper rentals are manual transmissions so if you need an automatic, make sure to include that in the reservation.

I would start by researching a few agencies, Avis, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz for prices then print and read the full "Terms and Conditions". I once reserved a mid-sized automatic in Germany for a trip to Florence. When I went to pick up the car, the only automatic they had was a Jaguar that wasn't allowed in Italy.

It is possible to do your route using public transportation. I did a quick Google Maps search by getting directions from one city to the next using the train option. Most legs are not too long, but the Piran to Budapest looks to be about 12 hours going through Zagreb. Maybe consider stopping in Zagreb for a day to two if you end up using the train/bus option???

A side note...I love Vienna. I would spend a couple more days in Vienna if you haven't been before (so much to do) and shorten Budapest by a couple day. Just me!

Posted by
27352 posts

I think it would be a shame to miss Ljubljana if you're going to Bled and Piran, and I agree that your time in Vienna sounds very short. But I assume your time is limited.

You would need a vignette to drive an Austrian car in Slovenia.

Posted by
18522 posts

Most rental agencies don't allow vehicle to be taken into former
eastern block countries without paying additional fees (if they allow
it at all).

Incorrect. Slovenia and Hungary are in the EU, you will have no problems. But it does sound like a lot of time consuming and expensive driving.

Posted by
13 posts

James E.
I live in Germany...
Per Hertz policy..."Hertz vehicles can only be driven into EU countries (except Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania) and Switzerland. For driving into Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, the following fees will apply:"

Per AVIS..."You are only allowed to use the vehicle in the following countries: Austria (A) Andorra (AND) Belgium (B) Switzerland (CH) Germany (D) Denmark (DK) Spain (E) France (F) Finland (FIN) Liechtenstein (FL) Great Britain (GB) Italy (I) Ireland (IRL) Luxembourg (L) Monaco (MC) Norway (N) Netherlands (NL) Portugal (P) San Marino (RSM) Sweden (S).
Entries to Italy (I), Southern France (F) and San Marino (RSM) are only allowed for vehicles up to executive class. Porsche vehicles may only be driven in Austria (A), Germany (D) and Switzerland (CH).
You are not allowed to use the vehicle in the Albania (AL), Azerbaijan (AZ), Bulgaria (BG), Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), Belarus (BY), Cyprus (CY), Czech Republic (CZ), Estonia (EST), Georgia (GE), Greece (GR), Hungary (H), Croatia (HR), Iceland (IS), Kazakhstan (KZ), Latvia (LV), Lithuania (LT), Malta (M), Macedonia (MK), Moldavia (MD), Montenegro (MNE), Poland (PL), Romania (RO), Russia (RUS), Slovenia (SLO), Slovakia (SK), Serbia (SRB), Turkey (TR), Ukraine (UA) and any country outside continental Europe.

Per Enterprise...Cross Border Travel: Customer must advise the car will be driven out of country of rental at the beginning of the rental.
The rental car may be taken into the following countries: Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Monaco, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Poland.
The rental vehicle is prohibited from being taken into Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey and Albania.
Cross Border Fees:
16.67 EUR plus VAT per day with a maximum of 2 days charged (33.34 EUR plus VAT) applies to all permitted countries.
Prior consent from Enterprise is essential before cross border travel can be agreed. If customer travels abroad without informing Enterprise accordingly, the full responsibility for any financial obligation - accident, breakdown etc. will lie with the renter. A deposit of up to 1000.00 EUR will apply for cross border travel.

Posted by
13 posts

I would agree with Emily's post...If you're going to rent a car do it from Ljubljana.

Posted by
144 posts

Another option would to take the train from Vienna to Lesce-Bled and rent the car there. Both Hertz and Europcar have offices in Bled.

Train ride from Vienna to Lesce-Bled (change in Villach) can be 1-2 hours shorter than going to Ljubljana.
Also, driving the car from Ljubljana to Bled will consume another hour and several liters of petrol.

Posted by
18522 posts


I dont doubt you are correct, as I dont live there. I sort of have an investment in tourism in that part of the world and I have had a number of clients who rented cars with no comment of having had problems. Most of the major brands will let you drive into Hungary and into Slovenia. For instance with Avis, you are only allowed to use the vehicle in the following countries: Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Finland, Liechtenstein, Great Britain, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, San Marino, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia.

I did go through the process of reserving and getting a quote and no border crossing charge came up. But the world can be full of surprises.

For others, that dont live in Austria, is an interesting article which will help you ask the right questions: