Trieste is a place like no other in Italy. This elegant port city at the head of the Adriatic has a remarkably un-Italian feel – and that’s no surprise. Trieste was long the principal port of the Habsburg Empire, so it was shaped by Viennese politics and culture, not by influences from Rome. Even today, the city’s coffee houses have a Mitteleuropa ambiance.
But Trieste is more than a Vienna-by-the- sea, it is where the Latin and Slavic worlds collide. The border with Slovenia snakes through the suburbs of Trieste. In the Cold War years, Trieste rivalled Berlin in the spy game. Yugoslavia was just over the horizon. Trieste was a key transit point between the two Europes, and the city played its cards deftly, maintaining good relations with both sides. It was not until the Treaty of Osimo in 1975 that the future of Trieste as part of Italy was definitively settled. It is this peculiar history, along with beautiful architecture and a lively cosmopolitan feel, that make Trieste one of those cities that everyone must at some time visit. Compulsory reading for any Trieste journey is Jan Morris’ book Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere.
Trieste is the end of the line for train travellers. Italian rail routes from Venice and Udine creep by Miramare Castle and run into the middle of Trieste, where they terminate at the stazione centrale. Oddly, there is no cross-border link from Trieste Centrale to Slovenia. But there are trains to destinations across Italy, including several Frecciabianca services each day to Milan (with two of those continuing to Turin). From Trieste to Rome, there is a choice of a high-speed Frecciargento service, slightly slower Intercity trains or an overnight service.
If you want to head east from Trieste, there is a direct cross-border service from Villa Opicina station, tucked away in the hills north-east of the city. Trieste and Villa Opicina are linked by a remarkable Habsburg-era tramway. We don’t sell tickets for journeys from Villa Opicina to Slovenia here on Loco2, but you can just buy the ticket on the train. There are also plenty of buses from the centre of Trieste to the Istrian coastal resorts of Slovenia and Croatia.
Travel to Trieste by train from anywhere in the UK or across Europe
Avg 0 changes 3hr 43m
Avg 0 changes 1hr 25m