Ljubljana's Dragon Bridge

The Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana.  Ljubljana is a wonderful city to visit, easy to reach from the UK by train without flying...

UK to Slovenia by train in 24 hours, from 98...

It's easy, comfortable, affordable and safe to travel from the UK to Ljubljana by train, leaving in the morning and arriving the following afternoon with an overnight stop in Munich.  This page will explain the routes, train times, fares and how to buy tickets.

Train times, fares & information...

  London to Lake Bled & Ljubljana

  London to Koper

  Useful country information - currency, time zone, dialling code

  Hotels in Ljubljana & Slovenia

On other pages...

  Trains from Slovenia to other European cities

  Trains to Slovenia from other European cities

  Venice & Trieste to/from Ljubljana by train

  Venice & Trieste to/from Lake Bled by train via Nova Gorica

  General information about European train travel

  Taking your bike    Taking a dog    Luggage

  Buying tickets from UK towns & cities to connect with Eurostar

  Holidays to Slovenia & Croatia by train not plane

Route map:  UK to Lake Bled & Ljubljana by train

Route map:  London to Ljubljana & Lake Bled by train

Sponsored links...

 


Useful country information

Train operators:

SZ (Slovenske Zeleznice) www.slo-zeleznice.siEurostar times & fares   All-Europe train times

   

Railpasses:

Beginner's guide to European railpasses    Buy a rail pass online

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

+386

Currency:

1 = approx 1.15 euros  Check current exchange rates

Tourist information:

www.tourist-board.si also see www.sloveniaforyou.com   Recommended guidebooks

Accommodation:

Find a hotel in Ljubljana or Slovenia

Visas:

UK citizens do not need a visa to visit Slovenia.

Page last updated:

7 November 2014.  Train times valid 14 Dec 2014 to 13 June 2015.


London to Lake Bled & Ljubljana

Option 1:  Via the Paris-Munich sleeper train  Runs until 13 Dec 2014...

This is the most time-effective way to travel from the UK to Slovenia by train, but it only runs until 13 December 2014, after which you'll need to use one of the other options.  Take an afternoon Eurostar to Paris, the excellent City Night Line sleeper train to Munich, then a scenic EuroCity train ride over the Austrian Alps and along the River Sava into Slovenia.  Wonderful!  If you prefer daytime trains, see option 2 below, which uses daytime trains all the way with an overnight stop in Munich.

London ► Lake Bled & Ljubljana

What's the journey like?  After leaving the Munich suburbs the train snakes through pretty Bavarian scenery to Salzburg, past churches and picturesque villages.  Just before arriving at Salzburg, look to your right as you cross the River Salzach for great views of Salzburg citadel.  Soon after Salzburg, the train enters the Austrian Alps proper, climbing through vast mountains.  Look out for the magnificent fortress at Werfen (although the train doesn't call here), perched on its hilltop on the right hand side, guarding the approaches to Salzburg along the Salzachtal valley.  After entering Slovenia, the scenery flattens out, and the train snakes along the pretty river Sava all the way into Ljubljana.

Ljubljana & Lake Bled  ► London

Introducing the City Night Line sleeper from Paris to Munich...

The Paris-Munich overnight train is one of the German Railway's excellent City Night Line sleeper trains.  Called the Cassiopeia, it has a modern Comfortline sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth deluxe compartments with private shower & toilet, 1, 2 & 3-berth economy compartments with washbasin).  There is a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in standard rooms, and all rooms have powerpoints for laptop computers.  There are also modern air-conditioned couchettes, choose between a berth in a 4 or 6-berth compartment, and ordinary seats (not recommended).  Inclusive fares are charged covering travel plus sleeping accommodation.  The sleeping-car fare includes a light breakfast. Click for more pictures & information about this train

Dinner before you board?  For a good meal in a classic Parisian brasserie before boarding the sleeper train in Paris, why not catch the earlier 14:01 Eurostar from London & dine at the Brasserie Terminus Nord directly across the road from the Gare du Nord.  For a cooked breakfast in Munich or evening meal before boarding the Paris-bound sleeper on your return, try the typically Bavarian Mongdratzerl restaurant, located in the hauptbahnhof itself.

Sleeping-car room - Paris-Munich night train   4-berth couchette compartment on Paris-Munich overnight train   6-berth couchette compartment on Paris-Munich overnight train  

The sleeping-car on the Paris-Munich overnight train boarding at the Gare de l'Est

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper: The most comfortable option, economy with washbasin or deluxe with shower & toilet.

 

4-berth couchettes:  Ideal for families, much more space per person than 6-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes:  A very economical option, far better than a seat for just a few euros more...

 

"Night train to Munich..."  The Comfortline sleeping-car of the Paris to Munich sleeper train boarding at Paris Gare de l'Est...

More pictures & information about this train...

On board the EuroCity train from Munich to Ljubljana...

This is actually two trains, a smart modern Austrian EuroCity train with restaurant car from Munich to Villach on the Austrian/Slovenian border, then an equally smart air-conditioned Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian EuroCity train from Villach to Ljubljana and Zagreb.  The scenery along this route is superb, taking you from the Bavaria through the Austrian Alps, into Slovenia and along the Sava river to Croatia.  Sit back with a glass of red, catch up on your reading and enjoy the views...

The Austrian train from Munich to Villach   Austrian restaurant car between Munich and Villach

The EuroCity train from Munich to Villach, about to leave Munich.

 

An early lunch in the Austrian restaurant car...

Scenery in the Austrian Alps between Munich & Ljubljana   Lesce-Bled railway station

Through the Austrian Alps...  Clinging to the mountainside high in the Austrian Alps, the train snakes along between snow-capped mountains...

 

Lesce-Bled station in Slovenia, reached not long after crossing the Slovenian border.

The EuroCity train 'Sava' from Munich to Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade   2nd class seats on the Munich-Ljubljana-Belgrade EuroCity train

The EuroCity train Sava from Villach to Ljubljana & Zagreb.  This is a Slovenian air-conditioned coach...

 

Comfortable seats:  Some 2nd class seats are also arranged 2+1 abreast, the same as 1st class!

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris

 by Eurostar

 From 39 one-way, 69 return 2nd class.

 From 107 one-way, 189 return 1st class.  Child, youth, senior fares 

 

 2. Paris to Munich

 by sleeper train, per person

In a

seat

In a couchette

Economy sleeper

Deluxe sleeper

6-bunk 

4-bunk 

3-bed 

2-bed 

1-bed 

2-bed

1-bed

 Savings fare one-way from:

43 (36)

59 (49)

69 (58)

84 (70)

104 (87)

144 (120)

134 (112)

174 (145)

 Savings fare return from:

86 (72)

118 (98)

138 (116)

168 (140)

208 (174)

288 (240)

268 (224)

348 (290)

 Full price one-way:

154

169

179

194

214

254

300

340

 Railpass supplement*

12

27.50

37.50

55

75

115

75

115

 Children under 15**

4

20

30

71

65

105

65

105

 Child under 6 without berth:

Child under 6 sharing a berth travels free

Berths are sold individually, so one ticket means one bed.  The other beds in your compartment will be sold to other passengers.

For sole occupancy, simply book 1 ticket in a 1-berth sleeper or 2 tickets in a 2-berth sleeper or 4 tickets in a 4-berth couchette & so on.

* This is the supplement you pay if you have a railpass, a 1st class pass is required for deluxe sleepers.

** Children under 15 travel free if accompanied by a fare-paying adult, but must pay the berth supplement shown here.

Savings fare = advance-purchase fare, price varies, limited availability, no refunds, no changes to travel plans.

Full price = fully flexible, refundable, buy any time.

 3. Munich to Ljubljana

 From 39 (34) each way in 2nd class.

 From 69 (60) each way in 1st class.

 If you book at www.bahn.de, accompanied children under 15 go free.

 Book in advance for these cheap fares, the price varies, limited refunds or changes. 

 You may currently only see full-price fares for the 08:27 from Munich, but cheap fares for the later 12:27.

How to buy tickets online...

The cheapest way to book this journey is online, as there's no booking fees and all the cheap deals are there for you to see.  There are two ways to book it, and I'd suggest trying both as prices vary between the two:

How to buy tickets using www.eurostar.com + www.bahn.de...

Buy tickets using www.raileurope.co.uk + www.bahn.de...

This involves two websites, so do a dry run first on both sites to check prices and availability before booking for real.

How to buy tickets by email...

If you'd prefer to have someone book it all for you, just click here and a booking form will appear which lists all the trains you need to book.  Fill it in & email it to sales@europeanrail.com.  European Rail will make the reservations and call you back to confirm the cost.  If you're okay with the price you can give them your credit card details and they'll send you the tickets.  European Rail is an experienced agency equipped with the German Railways reservation & ticketing system, so they have access to all the cheap fares for travel via Germany.  They charge a 35 booking fee which includes postage to any UK address, or they can send to any address worldwide if you pay the courier fee.  Seat61 gets some commission if you buy tickets using this form.

How to buy tickets by phone...

If you prefer to book by phone, just call Deutsche Bahn's UK office on 08718 80 80 66 (lines open 09:00-20:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturday & Sunday, no booking fee, 2% credit card charge but no charge for debit cards), or a booking agency such as European Rail on 020 7619 1083 (lines open 08:30-18:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturday, 35 booking fee).

Tailor-made travel & hotel arrangements...

If you want a tailor-made trip with rail travel, hotels & transfers all arranged for you, contact Railbookers.  Just tell them what you want, and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels and sort it all out.  They get very positive reviews, and look after their customers very well.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.com

Call toll-free 1-800-408-3280 or www.us.railbookers.com.

Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 002 034 or see website.


Option 2:  By daytime trains with overnight stop in Munich...

Travel from London to Munich by train on day 1, stay overnight in a comfortable hotel, then take a lovely scenic ride from Munich across Austria into Slovenia next day.  It can cost as little as 98, although the hotel costs extra...

London ► Ljubljana

Ljubljana  ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Custom-made travel & hotel arrangements...

What are the trains & scenery like?

London to Paris by Eurostar:  See the Eurostar page

Paris to Munich by double-decker TGV Duplex...  Watch the TGV Duplex video guide

Sit back with a glass of red and enjoy the ride - book an upper deck seat for the best views.  The train is equipped with power sockets for laptops & mobiles at all seats in both classes, and a cafe-bar serves drinks, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.  First class passengers on this route are given a simple but tasty meal box with a small bottle of beer or wine served at their seat, included in the fare.  The train soon leaves the Paris suburbs behind and speeds across a vast wide open plateau of woods and farmland at up to 200mph, past picturesque French villages of the Champagne region.  An hour or two later, the train leaves the high-speed line and slowly meanders through pretty wooded hills, the countryside eventually flattening out towards Strasbourg.  On leaving Strasbourg, look out for Strasbourg cathedral on the left with its famously missing second tower.  Minutes afterwards you rumble across the river Rhine into Germany, before heading on to Stuttgart and Munich.

A TGV Duplex to Munich at Paris Gare de 'Est   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

TGV Duplex to Munich at Paris Est...  These impressive 200 mph double-deck trains link Paris & Munich, a relaxing journey catching up on your reading over a glass of wine.  And it isn't expensive if you follow the advice on this page!  Watch the TGV Duplex video

 

The upstairs landing on a TGV Duplex showing the stairs down to the entrance door...

Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.     The bar on the upper deck of a TGV Duplex

2nd class seats on TGV Duplex upper deck.  There's a mix of unidirectional seating and some tables for four like this...

 

The cafe-bar in a TGV Duplex upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks and microwave-style hot dishes....

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex to Munich at Paris Est.

1st class seats on the upper deck, with a 'club duo' on the left, a 'club quatre' on the right.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

On board the EuroCity train from Munich to Ljubljana...

This is actually two trains, a smart modern Austrian EuroCity train with restaurant car from Munich to Villach on the Austrian/Slovenian border, then an equally smart air-conditioned Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian EuroCity train from Villach to Ljubljana and Zagreb.  The scenery along this route is superb, taking you from the Bavaria through the Austrian Alps, into Slovenia and along the Sava river to Croatia.  Sit back with a glass of red, catch up on your reading and enjoy the views...

The Austrian train from Munich to Villach   Austrian restaurant car between Munich and Villach

The EuroCity train from Munich to Villach, about to leave Munich.  It connects at Villach for Ljubljana & Zagreb...

 

An early lunch in the Austrian restaurant car as the Alpine scenery flies by...

Scenery in the Austrian Alps between Munich & Ljubljana   Lesce-Bled railway station

Through the Austrian Alps...  Clinging to the mountainside high in the Austrian Alps, the train snakes along between snow-capped mountains, wonderful...

 

Lesce-Bled station in Slovenia, reached not long after crossing the Slovenian border.  The train follows the pretty river Sava...

The EuroCity train 'Sava' from Munich to Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade   2nd class seats on the Munich-Ljubljana-Belgrade EuroCity train

The EuroCity train Sava from Villach to Ljubljana & Zagreb.  This is a Slovenian air-conditioned coach...

 

Comfortable seats:  Some 2nd class seats are also arranged 2+1 abreast, the same as 1st class!


Option 3:  London to Ljubljana or Lake Bled via Venice...

The direct EuroCity train Casanova between Venice and Ljubljana was withdrawn some years ago, as the Italians insisted on all trains being fitted with a special Italian signalling system, and it wasn't economic for the Slovenians to fit this to their entire Pendolino fleet just for one pendolino train a day into Italy.  This left one remaining conventional train a day between Italy & Slovenia, a sleeper train to Budapest which passed through Ljubljana at 1am.  This was itself withdrawn in December 2011 due to high charges imposed by the Italians, meaning that there are now no trains whatsoever crossing the border between Italy & Slovenia.  So much for EU transport policy!  For railway purposes, this border is closed, and it seems that EU transport policy and incompetent Italian Railway authorities have done what 50 years of Communism failed to do, bring an Iron Curtain down across this border...

However, here is a cunning plan...  You can still travel by train from London to Venice, stop off for a day or two in Venice, then travel from Venice to Ljubljana. You simply use an Italian regional train to Trieste, then take the historic tram from Trieste up the escarpment to Villa Opicina (an experience in itself), take a short taxi ride across the border to Sezana and then a comfortable Slovenian domestic train to Ljubljana.  If this sounds complicated, it isn't.  It's actually cheap, very scenic, interesting, and runs every couple of hours through the day.  This Venice-Ljubljana journey is explained in detail here.

There's also a cunning way to get from Venice or Trieste to Lake Bled, via Gorizia and Nova Gorica, where Italian and Slovenian stations are just a few km apart.  The Venice-Lake Bled journey is explained here.


Visiting Ljubljana...

Ljubljana is a wonderful city to visit, you'll find tourist information at www.visitljubljana.si.  The station is just a few minutes walk from all the central hotels and you can easily walk between all the sights and places of interest.  See the Dragon Bridge, the Franciscan church, the triple bridge, and of course take the funicular railway up to the castle.  The Best Western Premier Hotel Slon and City Hotel are both good choices.  Try the traditional Slovenian dishes served in the Sokol restaurant just to the left of the town hall, one of Ljubljana's best-know eateries.  Map of Ljubljana.

Ljubljana railway station   Ljubljana's Dragon Bridge   Castle watchtower

You arrive at Ljubljana railway station, only a few minutes walk from the city centre and all its hotels.

 

The famous Dragon Bridge, guarded by four dragons...

 

Ljubljana Castle watchtower...

Ljubljana castle   Ljubljana main square & town hall

Take the funicular railway up to the castle and climb the watchtower for spectacular views over the city to the ring of mountains beyond.

 

The old town main square, town hall & cathedral.  The excellent Sokol restaurant is in the background.


London to Koper

London Koper

Koper ► London

Fares & how to buy tickets

Buy tickets and check fares from London to Ljubljana as shown above.  then simply buy a Ljubljana to Koper ticket at the station when you reach Ljubljana.

Regional train from Ljubljana to Koper   Inside these Slovenian regional trains

...The train to Koper, at Ljubljana.  Most trains to Koper are modern, air-conditioned regional trains like this.

 

Inside, these modern regional trains have comfortable seats, air-conditioning and information displays...


Ljubljana - Trieste & Venice

There's a clever way to travel between Venice, Trieste & Ljubljana that's frequent, cheap, historically interesting and very scenic, and with two Slovenian trains a day now extended one stop across the border into Italy, it's easier than ever.  For details, see the Venice to Ljubljana page.


Lake Bled - Trieste & Venice

There's also a cunning, cheap and scenic way to travel from Venice or Trieste to Lake Bled in northern Slovenia, via Gorizia and Nova Gorica, where Italian and Slovenian railway stations are just a few kilometres apart.  For details, see this page...


Recommended guidebooks

Rough Guide Slovenia - click to buy at AmazonLonely Planet Slovenia - click to buy at AmazonLonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at AmazonYou should take a good guidebook.  I think that the Lonely Planets and the Rough Guides are easily the best for the independent traveller.  Both guides have plenty of background historical and cultural information, plus lots of practical information.  You won't regret buying one of these guides..!

Click the images to buy at Amazon...

My own book, an essential handbook for train travel to Europe based on this website called "The Man in Seat 61", was published in June 2008, and is available from Amazon.co.uk with shipping worldwide.

 

 


The European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for 14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses 2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe/Maps--Atlases/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for 13 + 5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.


Find hotels in Ljubljana & Slovenia...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Holidays to Slovenia & Croatia by train

 

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-800-408-3280 (USA)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 002 034 (NZ)

Railbookers for tailor-made holidays & breaks to Slovenia by train...

Railbookers can tailor-make a flight-free holiday to Ljubljana & Zagreb, or indeed a train-based tour of Eastern Europe, with train travel, transfers & hotels all arranged for you, for however long you like, leaving on any date you like.  If you tell them what you want, they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels and sort it all out for you.  They get a lot of repeat business and a lot of recommendation by word of mouth!

In the UK, call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.com

In the USA & Canada call toll-free 1-800-408-3280 or www.us.railbookers.com.

In Australia, call toll-free 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au

In New Zealand call toll-free 0800 002 034 or see website.


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without insurance from a reliable travel insurer with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash (up to a limit) & belongings, and cancellation. An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, though, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on calls & mobile data...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, so consider getting a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone which can cut call & data costs by up to 90%.  At the time of writing, www.roamsure.com claims a definite 25% saving within the EU and up to 90% saving in the rest of the world.  Incoming calls are free in 73 countries, including all of the EU, the USA, Australia & South Africa.  There's no contract or commitment, and at time I write this Roamsure is offering a global SIM card for free when you buy 20 of call credit.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you buy airtime from Roamsure.

 


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