ItalyReal NewsSloveniaTravel

Milan (Italy) To Ljubljana (Slovenia) In One day – Costing 35 Euros

Digital Nomad Adventure

Inter Railing in Europe

Inter Railing in Europe. Trains & Graffiti

TRANSPORT

Milan to Slovenia by train is a little more difficult than it sounds. It seems that despite the end of the Cold war and the various differences between the east and west being pretty much settled politically the Slovenian/Italian railway authorities still bear a grudge. Therefore no service, well definitely no regular service/s runs between the countries.

The way to do this trip is catching the train to and from the border towns, of Nova Gorizia (Italy) and Gorizia (Slovenia) and then either walk (45 minutes) or catch the bus in-between when actually crossing the border.

Modern Trains. Easy Travel

Forget Planes. Comfy Trains

Summary:

  1. Milan – Nova Gorizia by Train (Book at least a few days in advance, can only be booked at Milan Station, it costs 27 Euro)
  2. Nova Gorizia – Gorizia by Bus (Furthest stop from across the road of the train station, bus No.1. It costs 1 Euro and you buy the ticket from the driver, buses come every 10 minutes and the journey takes about 10 minutes. Ask the Bus driver to let you know when you arrive at Gorizia train station)
  3. Gorizia – Ljubana by Train (Buy train ticket on the train, costs about 7 Euro)

* check bahn.com to match your connecting trains up.

From Milan you need to get a train to Nova Gorizia, this can be done in any number of combination of ways via Verona, Venice, etc. as always the best thing to do is check the route at bahn.com you can then buy the tickets for the Italian leg of the journey at Milan train station (Other stations won’t let you chose Nova Goriza as your destination for some reason!). I was advised to book this ticket in advance, although I didn’t actually have a seat reserved, It was just find a seat and keep it or risk standing. A couple of legs on the train were very crowded. Ordering the tickets a couple of days before I paid 27 Euros to get me from Milan to Nova Gorizia, booking further in advance would probably give you more of a saving. I met a couple who seemed to have saved a lot on their fares doing this. For most train trips in Italy you can book in advance at Trenitalia but for some reason again, the station Nova Goriza wouldn’t show up. Looks like journeys to this station need to be done at Milan station. I started this journey at 7:30 am and arrived in Nova Goriza at 14:00, it could have been done quicker I’m sure but I had a fair few changes and waiting times at random stations. These stops were kind of appreciated though as it gave me a chance to stretch my legs and stock up on food, essential for keeping me occupied on long trips. Of the trains I traveled on in Europe none had a food cart.

Nova Gorica - Slovenia

Welcomes Slovenia – Nova Gorica

The train ride was interesting, I guess it showed more of the industrial and residential side of Italy I had been warned to expect outside Milan, nonetheless although not the prettiest it was a nice enough journey.

Arriving in Nova Gorizia at 14:17 I was a little apprehensive about the next leg of the journey, feeling pretty tired I was a little weary of the 45-minute walk between Nova Gorizia in Italy and Gorizia in Slovenia, not only because I had a good 14kgs on my back and also because I didn’t really have a clue where I was going. I was also unsure of the regularity of the buses and even how long they take. I needed to be at Gorizia station by 15:30 or I would be waiting hours for the next train and arriving in Ljubana in nightfall. Something which I was keen to avoid as I was unsure of what was awaiting me in Slovenia, pessimistic views of a Soviet state were on my mind. As I walked out of the station, the sun was shining and there were blue skies. Nova Gorizia seemed a pretty place and far away from the factories and state like the housing I had been seeing for the last few hours. Exiting the station I spotted two guys with large backpacks similar to mine, presuming they were heading into Slovenia too, I asked. They were but they heading immediately north after the border into the mountains near lake Bled. Their trip included a bus across the border and then another north (I’m unsure how they got on). They were from Leeds, England, and seemed nice, one of them was telling me about his upcoming trip to Burma which sounded interesting. Anyway, they told me that you need to catch the number 1 bus across, luckily though I double-checked this with a driver, there is more than one bus number 1 arriving and departing from two separately bus stops which are next to each other, the one you need is the second one furthest across from the station. As we were boarding the wrong one, the lady driver who I spoke to called over shaking her hand and warning us of our mistake, a few minutes later our bus arrived. Apparently they come every 10 minutes or so. It was a strange bus as it didn’t seem very used, as in almost brand new, it just had the 3 of us on it, as we were boarding another bus number 1 came around the corner and realizing there is no one to pick up took over us and continued its journey empty laden. We followed this empty bus around its route, on the way I saw it pick up one passenger.  I can only guess these buses are state-run as it must be impossible for a business to run in this way, the fare was only 1 Euro. Nova Gorizia seemed quiet, but a pretty town, but most things seemed closed, f you could stop at this time in the evening I guess when the restaurants and cafes do open up it would be worth a relaxing visit. It was the nicest town I’d seen since before we were in the city of Milan. The English guy I was with commented how its border town probably tarting itself up for the neighbors, he could have been right. Though on the other side Gorizia was equally beautiful, however unlike Italy this Beauty seemed to stretch the whole country.

Crossing the border was none monumental simple sign states the Village, that’s it no border crossing and no Soviet guards, just maybe the odd old man taking a lazy look. As I arrived at Gorizia station, the bus driver signaled to me that this was my stop, as I asked him to do so when boarding, the bus only took about 10 minutes. The other guys carried on down the road to there bus stop, they smiled and waved as a clambered of with my bag. It wasn’t the ex-soviet state I imagined, it was however pretty much deserted. As I wandered into the station it looked like I had walked back in time, an old oak counter looked from pre ww2 times and it was empty with its shutters down, was I in the right place! I wondered forward and stepped onto the platform, where I saw 3 or 4 groups of travelers. Searching around I couldn’t see anywhere to purchase my ticket. I looked up and was intrigued, from walking out of the backward train station I was bought to a sight of various trains decorated in graffiti, I not one for graffiti but it was a strangely appealing and interesting contrast to the oldness inside. I looked around and on a wooden bench, surrounded by backpacks I saw a girl doodling on her IPAD (IPAD seems to have infected the continent), I asked if this was the platform for Ljubana and she smiled and said it was I investigated where she bought her ticket, she politely told me that she was interrailing, I wandered down the platform to find a group of boys who were interrailing too. I had a good 30 minutes until my train arrived so I thought I would have a bit of a workout exploring in and around my station with my now feeling heavier backpack. I popped into a little corner shop bought some water and the lady asked about the tickets and found out I could just buy one on the train. On the dot of 15:30, my graffiti-covered train and I left the station, I bought my ticket from a friendly conductor, it cost about 8 Euro’s, a bargain, again the train was basically empty, it must be run by the state, it reminded me of when the English trains were too. In fact, most of the country reminded me of England really, well more Wales. On my way to Ljbanya, I made one stop at Sezanza where I changed trains. The people working on the trains were inspiring they seemed so happy and content with their roles on the rail network, they seemed like they almost had a joint role of making travelers feel at ease, it almost felt like something out of Children’s book Thomas the Tank engine, not that I was ever a fan I think this is the best comparison. Traveling through Slovenia I surprised at how much of a stunning place it is, village after village, many mountains meadows and farms, a really nice place, the place as a whole seems endearing, affluent and had its own charm. At 17:30 I arrived in Ljubljana, the place had the usual graffiti I had now come to expect, some attractive buildings, although this was the capital it seemed far from being that, it had much more of a village feel than a capital city. Opposite the station was a bus station where I got some advice on the bus I needed to catch to my Hostel.

-Alternative Routes- When searching bahn.com or even asking for information at a train station you may be advised to travel into Austria (Villach HBF) then south into Slovenia/Ljubljana. I very almost did this route however I think the one I chose was better. It certainly worked out cheaper, less than 40 euros compares with at least 80 euros going through Austria, it covered fewer miles and although the trains may be slower and involve changes it does allow you to arrive in Ljubljana at a reasonable time and complete the trip all in the same day.

-Interailing- From anyone looking to do this route with an interrailing ticket you should look at the finer details of your pass, a group of boys in front of us were being charged 10 Euro to make a reservation on the train to Venice, but the lady at customer service pointed out that a ticket on a non-reserved train without using the pass cost 7.50 Euros only, they went for the 7.50 Euro option, I’m unsure how cost-effective the Interrailling ticket actually is, to me I think it seems like a bit of a Tourist trap. On my train travels from Barcelona to Budapest over 3 weeks I saved at least 30% on the Interrailing ticket buying my train tickets as I went along, either online or at train stations.

Small City Big Heart

Meet Slovenia’s Capital

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *