16 Great Day Trips from Trieste, Italy – Insider’s Guide

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Trieste is a laid-back and beautiful hidden gem of a city on the Adriatic coast in northern Italy, worth a visit on its own. As a bonus you have options for day trips from Trieste in three countries: Slovenia, Croatia and Italy!

Within two hours of Trieste you will find castles, caves, wine tours, historic cities, and beautiful scenic drives and trails.

I visited Trieste twice in one month: I came back because I really enjoyed the city, culture and people and this gave me plenty of time to discover the surrounding area.

Church on island in the middle of Bled lake. Slovenia, a short trip from Trieste.
Church on island in the middle of Bled lake. Slovenia

These Trieste day trips give you a blend of history, nature, and culture just a short distance away from the city.

You can visit the pristine shores of Lake Bled, the rich history of Istrian villages, or the wonders of one of the world’s largest caves and more.

I was surprised to learn that the famous Lippizaner white horses are also from this region (Lipica) – I saw them perform in Wyoming when I was a child!

Trieste Day Trips – Highlights

Here is a sampler of the best day trips before we begin our full guide:

Panoramic view of Trieste and Adriatic Sea from a window
Panoramic view of Trieste from my apartment window in November.

16 of the Best Day Trips from Trieste, Italy

All of these day trips are within two hours of Trieste. Most are accesible by car and some by train or bus. Excellent tours are also listed.

1. History of Prosecco and Slovenia’s Karst Region Tour 

Whether you like Italy’s favorite sparkling wine or not, a visit to the village of Prosecco is a fascinating and unique cultural day trip.

This tour offers a journey through the rich history of one of the world’s most famous sparkling wines along with a look at the scenic and rugged Karst region of Slovenia.

You’ll also stop by a medieval village in Slovenia called Štanjel and wander the storybook-like Ferrari Garden Park.

  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Distance: Prosecco is only about a 15-minute drive from Trieste. It’s then about a half hour to Štanjel.

2. Collio Wine Region Tour

Wine lovers will definitely want to hop on a Collio wine region tour from Trieste. The part of Italy is famous for its exceptional wines and stunning vineyard views, while being more of a hidden gem compared to other Italian wine regions like Tuscany.

Plus, if you book this wine region tour you’ll get to soak up tons of natural scenery, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cividale del Friuli, and sample wines from various Collio vineyards.

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Distance: The heart of the region is about 45 minutes from Trieste.

3. Ljubljana

Ljubljana, Slovenia, Triple Bridge and Franciscan Church
Ljubljana – Triple Bridge and Franciscan Church

An awesome thing about Trieste is that it’s very close to Slovenia. You can book a day tour to visit the historic capital city Ljubljana and nearby Lake Bled in the Julian Alps, along with the famous castle that overlooks the water.

I spent several days in Ljubljana and highly recommend a visit if you want to see beautiful medieval architecture in a low-key environment (not overwhelmed with tourists).

If you’re not interested in taking a tour, you can arrange a day trip from Trieste to Ljubljana on your own, here are some of the best things to do in Ljubljana. 

  • Distance: 1 hour by car, or an average of 2 hours, 45 minutes by train from Trieste Centrale. You can also take a FlixBus or similar and that takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

4. Lake Bled

Lake Bled - Day trip from Trieste

Lake Bled is an alpine lake and tiny village nestled in the Julian Alps of Slovenia. It’s unique for having a tiny island with a church in the center of the lake.

There is also a medieval castle perched on top of a cliff, creating a picture-perfect landscape. 

While in Lake Bled you can take out a traditional wooden boat to explore the shores, walk numerous hiking trails, have a picnic by the water, or soak up the scenery.

  • Distance: It’s about 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive. A train ride takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes. A FlixBus will take just under 3 hours.

5. Vintgar Gorge

Near Lake Bled and Triglav National Park, Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6km full gorge of natural beauty. It offers waterfalls, picturesque wooden paths, and lush nature.

Vintgar Gorge - Nature Day trip from Trieste
Vintgar gorge with wooden footbridge over the Radova river in the forest.

There is something very enchanting about this place, on top of just being completely photogenic and easy to explore.

The best way to get there is to drive or take a bus to Lake Bled and then use one of the shuttle buses that goes directly to Vintgar Gorge. Keep in mind this shuttle only runs from late June to mid-September.

You’ll need a ticket to enter/park at the gorge. For adults, it’s €10, and for children 6-15 years it’s €3. Parking is €5.

  • Distance: 1 hour and 40 minutes by car

6. Postojna Cave

Postojna cave, Slovenia
Amazing postojna cave, Slovenia

Nearby Slovenia is full of wonders. Discover the underworld of Postojna Cave and visit the majestic 800-year-old Predjama Castle, which is embedded in a 123-meter-high cliff.

Postojna Cave is a long, very deep cave full of stalagmites and stalactites. It’s also one of the most famous caves in the world with more than 41,000 Google reviews.

Tours or self-drive options are available.

I recommend this excellent day tour to both Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave.

  • Duration: Tour starts in the morning and ends in the late afternoon
  • Distance: Caves are located 45 minutes outside of Trieste.

7. Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle - Day trips from Trieste
Castle of Predjama (Predjamski grad or Grad Predjama), Slovenia

Near the caves is the old-world Predjama Castle, the largest cave castle in the world. It’s constructed in the middle of a 123-meter cliff and offers a glimpse into Europe during the peak of the medieval period.

You can book a tour to see Predjama Castle in Slovenia from Trieste. Many of them, like the tour above, will also take you to the caves.

If you want to visit the castle but prefer not to go underground through the caves, it’s best to drive to Predjama Castle from Trieste.

There is also a twice-daily Trenitalia train from Trieste to Predjama. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  • Distance: The castle is about a 50-minute drive outside of Trieste.

8. Istrian Villages of Croatia & Slovenia and Food Tour

Trieste is such a unique place to stay in Europe if you want quick access to numerous countries, cultures, and historical sites. 

From the city, you can explore Istria, the largest peninsula of the Adriatic Sea on this excellent Istrian Villages of Croatia & Slovenia and Food Tour

Try truffles in Croatia’s Motovun, see the massive cliffs of the Pazin Abyss, walk along ancient walls, and explore medieval villages.

You’ll also sample local products – like truffles, meats, and cheeses – and learn about the region’s history and legends from your driver and guide.

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Distance: It’s about an hour’s drive to reach the center of Istria.

9. Lipica – Stud Farm and Skocjan Caves

Visit the Lipica Stud Farm, home to famous Lipizzan white horses. It’s an enchanting place set among fairy meadows and chestnut trees, making these majestic horses appear all the more magical. 

I saw the Lipizzan stallions in a show in Casper, Wyoming when I was a child!

This Stud Farm and Cave Tour from Trieste will also take you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Škocjan Caves. See the world’s largest underground canyon and walk across an underground bridge. This tour is full of unique beauty!

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Distance: The stud farm is just over 20-minute drive away.

10. Piran and Slovene Coast

Piran, SLovenia
Old town of Piran in Slovenia on the coast of Adriatic sea

Another sweet day trip from Trieste is to Piran, a coastal town with a massive pier, medieval walls, and a colorful square.

It looks a lot like parts of Venice, and that’s because Piran was actually part of the Republic of Venice for 500 years.

This day trip will also take you through some of the best panoramic views of the coastline, and several other Slovenian coastal towns.

If you are renting a car, you can also drive yourself to Piran and other towns on the list like Portorož, Izola, and Koper. Otherwise, there is a ferry or bus line that goes to Piran.

  • Distance: Trieste to Piran by car is about 40 minutes.

11. Muggia

Muggia - Day trip from Trieste
Muggia harbor

For another Venetian-style Trieste day trip, Muggia is an Italian port town in Istria with a beautiful seaside and makeshift beaches popular with Trieste locals.

It’s small and easy to explore and there’s a great pizza spot Pane e Pizza – a perfect option to take with you to the beach. For dinner, Trattoria al Castello is a popular spot for local cuisine.

There is a ferry from Trieste to Muggia that offers a scenic, 30-minute ride across the gulf. Otherwise, you can take the bus n. 20 from the center of Trieste.

12. Rovinj

Rovinj, Croatia - Narrow street and cafe in historical center
Restaurant on a narrow stone street in Rovinj’s historic center

I loved Rovinj and spent a few days there at Christmas. It’s one of Croatia’s most beautiful seaside destinations and only an hour and a half away from Trieste.

It’s honestly one of the most romantic small villages in Europe I have seen.

You can easily see the historic center in one day or even half a day. It’s full of old-world charm, colorful buildings, and a vibrant harbor.

My bicycle next to the steps going down to the sea in Rovinj

I recommend you stroll along the harbor, check out the Old Town and its narrow alleys that lead straight to the water’s edge, and climb the bell tower at the Church of St. Euphemia for 360-degree views.

Rovinj, Croatia - harbor
Rovinj’s harbor

Distance: It is only 1 hour and 30 minutes away by car. The ferry ride lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes. There is also a Flixbus that takes 2 hours.

13. Venice

From Trieste, it’s simple to visit the romantic city of Venice on a day trip. 

There is a train from Trieste to Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station (Venice’s main station) every hour. So, it’s easy to go in the morning and spend the day, then return to Trieste after dinner.

Duration: The train from Trieste to Venice takes about 2 hours on average.

14. Hiking Val Rosandra

If you want to go hiking near Trieste, check out the Val Rosandra Nature Reserve right outside the city.

You’ll find hiking trails, waterfalls, natural pools, and stunning landscapes.

Distance: 15-minute drive from Trieste. It’s only 10 km from the city center. 

15. Grado

Grado - day trip Trieste
Grado – Aerial View

For a lovely beach town near Trieste, visit the island of Grado. It’s a great area for sunbathing and seaside activities.

You can bike or walk along the coast and canals or explore the town’s historic center. There are places to rent bikes in town.

One of the best places to visit in summer is Spiaggia Principale. This long sandy beach is a favorite among locals and visitors. You will have to pay for the entrance but it includes the use of lounge chairs and all the facilities.

16. Bohinj Lak

Another one of the best alpine lakes near Trieste is Bohinj Lake. Rent a car and drive to this area to soak up the natural beauty and plethora of activities (especially if you’re visiting in summer).

It is near Lake Bled, so if you drive to Lake Bled, you can continue on to Bohinj Lake easily.

Bohinj Lake, Croaia
Bohinj lake in Triglav National Park, Slovenia

The water is clear, making it inviting for paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming.

I also recommend the Vogel Cable Car for awesome views over Bohinj Lake and the Slovenian countryside.

  • Distance: 2 hours by car from Trieste to Bohinj Lake.

Where To Stay In Trieste

These are all in or near the historic center and chosen for quality and an authentic and charming experience.

📍Luxury Option: Savoia Excelsior Palace Trieste. Historically known as the “Most important and luxurious hotel in the Austro-Hungarian Empire”.  Elegant, sea views, gourmet cuisine. Located on the Grand Plaza (Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia).

📍Mid-Range Option: Addicted to Paradise B&B.  Large, airy rooms, beautiful decor, excellent breakfast. Near the train station and a few minutes walk to the centre.

📍Budget Option:  B&B I Filoksenia Old world charm, lovely, very friendly owners.  Excellent value with beautiful antiques. Near the train station and downtown.

Trieste Day Trips FAQ

Read on for more tips on visiting Trieste and the surrounding area.

How many days should I spend in Trieste?

1-3 days; one day for visiting Trieste itself and the other two days to explore the surrounding region and/or the beach areas near Trieste.

What is the beautiful city near Trieste?

Grado and Piran are beautiful cities near Trieste

Can you do a day trip from Trieste to Venice?

Yes, it is about a 2 hour train ride to Venice.

Where to go in Slovenia from Trieste?

Ljubljana and Lake Bled, Triglav National Park, Piran

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide has given you plenty of day trip ideas from Trieste for a wonderful visit to Trieste…whether you enjoy nature, culture, wine, castles or seaside villages.

👉 And one more local tidbit: The Bora blows through Trieste, the famous wind that electrifies the city and the soul. Perhaps you will experience her in the city or on one of these fantastic day trips from Trieste. Enjoy!

Related reading about travel to Trieste:

30 Things To Do In Trieste (By An Expert!)

Ordering Coffee In Italy: A Beginner’s Guide To Coffee Etiquette 2024

Is Trieste Worth Visiting? 13 Best Reasons to Visit Trieste

Trieste Beach Guide: 7 Best Beaches In & Near Trieste, Italy (with Map)