What's the best way to get from Zagreb to Venice? Trains and planes are way out of direction, and a car rental is very expensive. Any ideas?
Not sure what options you would have if you don't want to take a train, plane, or drive... there are bus connections though.
There are some good trains, however. One leaves at 9AM and arrives at 6:24PM. There is also a night train leaving at 11:35 and arriving at 7:16. Both involve some bus as well.
for more options.
Had to travel between those cities before (and chose to fly, via Munich). I reckon the choice of transportation ultimately depends on one's preferred mode of travel, patience, amount of luggage, and budget! Whether it's train+bus or plane, a transfer is required in another country, but I don't think that's much of a hassle. The train/bus goes directly into the city of Venice. If you fly, you still have to travel (by bus or ferry) from Venice airport to the city - but that's not so painful either.
I think it should be fairly simple to catch a train from Zagreb to Ljubljana, then a train from Ljubljana to Venice.
If you're worried about time, take that night train.
Other wise, it's a pretty long trip. Car is the fastest, but one-way drop off fees in Italy can be killer.
Re train (reason it's so long): The tracks were never rebuilt during the Cold War between Ljubljana and Venice, so you either take the train all the way up and around through Austria, Switzerland and down, OR you can train to the Slovenian border, where you take a bus down to Trieste, and then board another train (included in the fair). Sadly, neither is super convenient.
If you're going to be out on the coast, there are also ferries. Schedule and cities depend on time of year. Google Venice Ferries.
We took the Venice to Zagreb train that left at 9:30 and arrived in Zagreb at 4:30. We didn't have to get off the train mid-route, and had no trouble. 2nd Class budget deal that included a couchette was $45. We will take the Zagreb to Venice train tomorrow evening at 11:30 and arrive back in Venice at 7:30 a.m. night trains are a great deal, when you consider it is down time and saves hotel cost. Nothing fancy, but it worked great!