For travelers to the Northern regions of Italy one might feel called to move out beyond Venice and explore the wide arc of shores and waves that curl up into this area of the Adriatic Sea. It is an adventure into a quiet corner of the Mediterranean with some of the deepest blues, freshest fish, quaintest towns that one might never have otherwise explored.
For many the idea of such an itinerary begins often with Venice and so it should. Often Cruises finish up here, it is a well connected airport that receives more tourists than any other city in Italy and the sea is so beautiful and the landscapes so pristine that they invite one to follow the curve of the sea and explore more distant shores.
So why add Slovenia and Croatia into the mix? Well for one these countries have seen an explosion of tourism infrastructure, popularity and innovation in recent years. Still that being said they aren’t completely overrun. Once you get tangled up in the beautiful yet crowded streets of Venice, you may feel that wide open spaces and natural beauty is just what the vacation needs.
A great idea is to begin by exploring Venice, take the water taxi or train into town. Enjoy a few days of sightseeing, gondoleering and shopping in this most precious of historic cities. The best scenario would be to rent a car from the Venice Airport. The fees are usually good and just confirm you have permission to take it out of the country, it should not be a problem. You will need to buy a sticker once in Slovenia, this can be done at the border crossing booth or any gas station in case the booth is closed for the night. In Croatia you won’t need any sticker, just have the rental paperwork. From Venice it is easy to set off for Slovenia. The ride is short, within an hour and a half on good highways you will find yourself crossing the border. Along the way you could stop in port cities like Trieste, or the sleepy beach town of Grado. Don’t forget the premium outlet mall along the main road, you can’t miss it and who doesn’t love an outlet with Italian designer brands?
Once in Slovenia you have a little bit of everything. You could head due Northeast to see the castle like capital of Ljubliana or the scenic shores of Lake Bled, that’s great if you have an extra day to spare in your trip, very worth doing. Otherwise continue South along the coast to the towns of Portorosse and Piran. These majestic cities carved of white rock stick out into the electric blue waters of some of the world’s most beautiful coastline. There are many great hotels, seafood restaurants and spa treatment facilities. Slovenia only has a small stretch of coast but they make every bit of it fascinating. Continuing further down the road one can be in Croatia in a little under an hour.
Croatia offers the same charms of Slovenia’s majestic nature only at an even more affordable price and with even less crowding along the coast. Here one can enjoy the Kempinski hotel or some beautiful cottage rentals in the lands of Istria or drive along the coast and explore all the beautiful fishing towns along the way.
The possibilities are endless and the terrain largely unexplored, so we invite you to see what wonders await on such an itinerary and it will surely be rewarding.