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Italy, Slovenia, Croatia: New train line offers ready-made rail adventure for as little as €8

The route is perfect for a long weekend spanning three European countries.
The route is perfect for a long weekend spanning three European countries. Copyright Hari Panicker
Copyright Hari Panicker
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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The route is perfect for a long weekend spanning three European countries.

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If you’re looking for a European rail adventure this summer, Slovenian Railways have launched one ready-made.

The train passes through three countries and eight towns and cities in just two hours.

A five-hour version of the route closed down over 30 years ago, but it has been revived for the summer months until 30 September 2024.

The best part? The journey will barely make a dent in your travel budget because tickets start at €8 one way.

New train line connects Italy, Slovenia and Croatia

The new route, run by Slovenian Railways, follows a railway line first built over 150 years ago under the Austro-Hungarian empire.

It makes for a pleasant long weekend, hopping on and off at the various stops.

The train departs from the northeastern Italian port city of Trieste, an elegant confection of waterside palaces and Art Nouveau cafes.

The route then takes passengers over the border into Slovenia where it calls at four stations - Sežana, Divača, Pivka and Ilirska Bistrica.

If you like cycling, make sure to stop off in Ilirska Bistrica. Visitors can hire e-bikes and peddle around the area’s forested tracks overlooked by snow-dusted peaks.

The train departs from the northeastern Italian port city of Trieste, an elegant confection of waterside palaces and Art Nouveau cafes.
The train departs from the northeastern Italian port city of Trieste, an elegant confection of waterside palaces and Art Nouveau cafes.Daniel Sessler

The train then passes into Croatia where it stops at Šapjane and Opatija Matulji before pulling into its final destination, Rijeka.

Alighting at Opatija-Matulji, passengers can spend a night at the neighbouring Opatija resort of rococo villas and grand hotels overlooking the shimmering Adriatic.

Rijeka is another port city of promenades lined with Habsburg-era palaces and a 19th-century theatre decorated by Gustav Klimt.

New European train route costs just €8

Trains run daily in both directions now until 30 September 2024.

The service leaves from Villa Opicina station in a suburb of Trieste at 7.50am. It stops in Ilirska Bistrica at 8.54am and pulls into Rijeka at 9.54am.

In the other direction, the train departs from Rijeka at 6.25pm and arrives at Villa Opicina at 8.40pm.

Single adult tickets for the whole journey start at €8 but you can also buy individual tickets for each leg of the journey if you plan on hopping on and off.

The service is currently running until 30 September but operators hope to make the route permanent in the future.

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