Is Hiring a Car in Trieste for a Skiing Trip Worth it?

With the rising cost of flight and train tickets, more people are considering hiring a car for their skiing trip. Doing so can be one of the best decisions that you ever make. Not only does it allow you to see more on your trip, but you will be more relaxed when you get there and have more ability to move around at will. The big surprise about hiring a car for a skiing trip is that it is not much more expensive than renting a car during any other season. There are some additional costs, but what you will gain in convenience, security and mobility makes them more than worth it.


Making sure everything is safe and secure:

If you are going to hire a car at Trieste Airport for your skiing trip you have to make sure that the car is safe and secure. Don’t rely on the car hire agency to do everything that needs to be done, you have to tell them where you will be driving so that they may suggest the appropriate winterization methods. They do come as an extra cost but are necessary. You need to make sure you have snow tyres and snow chains. Have them show you how to use the snow chains before you leave. Also, request that they change the wipers to storm wipers so you will be able to see clearly on the roads no matter what the weather.

Car on Rural Road in Winter

Picking the right kind of rental car:

One of the best things about hiring a car is you get a chance to drive the car of your dreams. Save that indulgence for the summer months and go for an estate car instead. Even some of the smaller passenger transport vehicles can be a better choice than a sports car or compact sedan. The reason is that these cars not only have excellent mobility, but you can also keep all of your equipment inside with you. This means not messing with frozen ski racks, dealing with the added cost of renting ski racks – or worrying about your equipment being stolen when you stop in over night for a rest.


Making sure that you are prepared:

The driver needs to make sure that they have all their papers in order before agreeing to pilot the trip. If you don’t have an International Driver’s License then you need to get one. You also need to be over 18. It is a good idea to designate someone to read maps while you are driving. GPS may be great, but not in the Alps. Chances are you will be out of network more than in. Having a backup driver is also a good idea, they should make sure that all of their licensing is in order as well. Back to the issue of maps, make sure that you have your route planned out in advance and mark it off as you go. This way you will always know where you are.

Top 5 Trieste Ski Resorts

If you are coming in to Trieste by rail, train, boat or landing at the Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport there are many ski resorts within easy reach that can provide you with the perfect holiday. This is a list of the top 5, chosen because they present the best trails and services for skiers of all levels so the whole family can enjoy the trip.

Ski Resort #1 – Berg im Drautal

By all accounts Berg im Drautal seems too small to make a list of the best ski resorts near Trieste, but what puts it at the number one spot is the experience of skiing that it offers. Unlike Forstau which made the list for its unique use of limited trail space, Berg im Drautal makes it for offering skiers a chance to experience their sport as it used to be. Take away the miles of trails, ski resort areas built on broad mountain tops and snowparks – and you have the serene danger of this resort. It does boast a good beginner and intermediate trail, but it also has an expert slope.


The scant 12kms of trail drop an astonishing 550 meters. There are 5 cable car rides to get you to the top, but getting down is the challenge. This can be the best place to go and focus on the art of skiing, while enjoying everything that a traditional ski village has to offer.

Berg im Drautal is located in Austria, in Carpinthia, but getting there from Trieste is the fastest and easiest access. Once you are there the small village offers solid accommodations and food, but is lighter on the clubbing, partying and shopping found at other resorts. This is a gentleman’s town and an adventurers slope. It is also ideal for families trying to teach their children the love of winter sports without the love of winter merchandise too.

Ski Resort #2 – Forstau

Forstau may be the smallest ski resort area on this list, but it made it because it is the largest when it comes to providing a perfect experience for families and those wishing to enjoy the slopes in a calmer and more relaxed environment. With only 12km of slope, Forstau has over 7 of them dedicated to the beginner.

There are some basic intermediate trails that more than satisfy but the real emphasis here is on building the love of skiing. The beginner slopes have several special amenities right on them that are rare to find anywhere else.
On the beginner slopes you will find ski huts for warming while out.

This can help to make the experience more enjoyable for children. The short reach of the pistas means you are never far away from your accommodations, which is another bonus. It is the special themed ski trails here that will capture the young imagination.

They have themed trails with animals set along the way, an Indian themed trail and even a Viking one too. If you are seeking a family experience with the emphasis on the family, this can be the ideal choice for your skiing vacation.

Ski Resort #3 – Kals am Großglockner

Kals is located in Tyol in Austria, but is also near enough to Carinthia to be most easily accessed from Trieste. Trieste is the closest major transportation hub as well. Climbing high up into the Alps one can begin to understand why the first thing that skiers mention loving about this ski area is that the chair lifts have heated seats.

The 1000m ride to the alpine pistas is beautiful. The sail down on your skis can take numerous forms with the Kals having pistas that are perfect for all abilities. They even have dedicated toboggan runs and a cross country run that descends 3,500 metres.


The emphasis at Kals is on keeping everyone as busy and happy as possible. There are many winter sporting activities here that range from the competitive to the sheer enjoyment of sledding. Many of the sports are also offered under the lights so activities can go one well into the night. While there is a strong summer crowd, this area has always been a favourite of skiers and winter holiday goers so the village is well prepared to provide anything that you need.

Ski Resort #4 – Nassfeld Hermagor

Located in Carinthia this ski resort crosses the borders of Austria and Italy, allowing you to take the benefit of both. The attraction isn’t so much the views but the micro-climate of the area. Carinthia enjoys some of the most secure days of snow of all the resorts and fresh pack holds well. You won’t have much to deal with on the trails as the Nassfeld Hermagor rates high with skiers for responsiveness and maintenance.

They have 110 km of pistes that can accommodate skiers of all styles and levels. There is a special 7.6 km straight run into the village, as well as a lit slope for night sking too. Snowboarders and free style skiers will love the challenge of the snowparks and obstacles that have been constructed here as well.

Nassfeld Hermagor has been consistently placed in the top 10 of the ski resorts in the Treiste area. Not only are the pistas fun and challenging, but the ski village has everything that you want. It hasn’t given itself over to absolute tourism so there is still old world charm to be had.

The accommodations are good, the nightly entertainment fun, and there is much to do in town when you are taking a recovery day from the slopes. While you can approach the village from either country, visitors say that the food is better on the Trieste side, and Trieste itself is accessible as a day journey too.

Ski Resort #5 – Dolomiti Superski

Dolomiti Superski lets you experience the best of the Domolmite Alps no matter what kind of vacation you are having. They have a whole plan for those sking with families and children that makes sure that everyone has a good time. From lessons to rentals to special children’s pricing on day passes and more – this ski resort ranks very high with their beginners slopes. If you want more of a challenge, there are over 1200 km of skiing trails and 460 lifts.

The trails range from beginner to expert and all are classed well in reviews. The past few decades have seen more snowparks and freestyle trails put in place at the Superski so no matter what your style you will have a trail just for you.


One of the main advantages of the Dolomiti Superski is the ability of the resort to provide for all types of skiing parties. You can make special arrangements for your parties or events, receive special price reductions and create custom package tours as well.

There are many different options for accommodations and the ski village offers great food, entertainment and shopping for your off slope hours. You can even enter in one of the many amateur competitions they hold in the numerous winter sports, or be a spectator and still enjoy the fun.

Rules of the Road in Italy

Italy is notorious for having some of the fastest and most aggressive driver’s on the road. The driving culture is very different than it is in the UK. The rules are taken very seriously because they allow for a safer, higher speed of travel. If you remember to drive as defensively as possible, you won’t have a problem on the roads.

Which side of the road?

Like America, you drive on the right side of the road. Do not travel in the passing lane (a common habit in other countries). Those lanes are meant for passing only and that is strictly enforced.

Passing on the left:

One thing you may encounter on the roads around and in Trieste is that a car will come up behind you and flash their lights. This usually occurs on a two lane or one lane road. This is the accepted signal for you to slow down, pull towards the curb and let that car pass. Remember, Italians are notoriously aggressive drivers – but they are safe. The driver may not force the issue, but they will certainly follow you to have it out when you stop.


Watch your speed:

Speed limits are now strictly enforced in Italy. The speed limits may not always be posted, but they are standard. Remember that the highway speed limit when passing through an urban area will follow the urban area limit. The speed limits are:

* 130 kph on highways
* 110 kph on non-major roads outside of urban areas
* 90 kph on local roads
* 50 kph in urban areas
An urban area is any town, village or city.

Obey signs and respond to tickets:

Trieste, as with the rest of Italy, values its safety. In recent years they have gotten far more serious about ticketing and fining people for parking and moving violations. And they have gotten more aggressive with pursuing tickets with tourists, so don’t think you can leave the ticket unpaid when you go home. Follow the rules, remember the speed limits and drive defensively to keep yourself safe.

Trieste Airport Guide

The Aeroporto di Trieste–Friuli Venezia Giulia, or Trieste Airport, is the major airport serving North West Italy, and it also serves many of the Croatia and Slovenia Southern regions. Built in the 30s, the area around the airport has grown up to have a population of over 5 million people. The area stretches across all three borders making it an interesting place to plan a layover during your trips if you aren’t choosing to stay on your holiday.

Getting there:

Trieste airport using the public transportation in the surrounding catchment community. If you are seeking to fly in from another destination, Trieste is served by many of the major airlines including Alitalia, Air France, Ryanair, Lufthansa, Vueling, Air France Etihad Regional and Meridana.

The main points of access for flights in are the major airports in Italy, Zurich, Munich, London, Bari, and Trapani. There is seasonal service in from Alghero and Valencia. In 2015, there will also be summer seasonal service from Barcelona and Paris.


Getting from the airport to where you are going:

As mentioned before, there are public transportation options for getting out from Trieste airport to the surrounding area. There are also taxi stands and car hire stations that may be more suited for your travel purpose. From Trieste you can access the major highways to go further into the area, or over the border into Croatia or Slovenia.

The facilities at Trieste Airport:

Trieste is one of the few major airports in the area that has focused on making itself accessible to reduced mobility passengers. There are many services and amenities from playgrounds for kids, restaurants, shops and duty free shops to keep you engaged while you are waiting for your connection. You can also join the FVG club, which is their VIP club card which gives you access to lounges serving food and drink, business services and a more upscale experience for the traveler.

Tips to make travel easier:

If you are planning on traveling to or from the Trieste airport you would do well to arrive early. The security measures are strict and you don’t want a delay at the gate to make you miss your flight. Come prepared to stay a while and make use of their facilities. They accept most currency and it is easy to do your currency exchange for your whole trip right in the airport as well.

Trips Outside Trieste in your Rental Car

Trieste is located in northern Italy and is bordered by Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea. It is becoming a very popular stop for travelers who are looking for a touch of the old with all the modern amenities. There are many things to do in Trieste, but if you are staying for a few days it can be very worth your while to take your rental car and explore some of the surrounding areas.

There are mountains to hike, small fishing villages to explore, and much more. Here are the top 4 recommended day trips you should take while on your holiday in Trieste.

Day Trip #4 – Istria

The peninsula region of Istria covers three countries. It is home to some of the finest wine-making areas in Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. Your best bet is to back a lunch and just go explore the rolling hills of the area. There are many small villages and towns that make for great spontaneous adventures during your outing too. If you go down towards the sea, you can watch the fishing boats come in, or indulge yourself in windsurfing along the coastline too.


Day Trip #3 – Pula

Pula is a more laid back city than most. It is thoroughly modern, but tempered by its long history of being one of the best areas of shipbuilding and wine-making around. The best way to see Pula is to drive in and spend a night, that way you can go out to the wine-making country and hike the countryside. It is rated very highly for its friendliness to tourists.

Day Trip #2 – Rovinj

Rovinj is notorious for being one of the easiest cities in Croatia to access by car. It is a simple matter of taking main roads right from Trieste, across the border and to the outer edge of the peninsula. There you will find Rovinj in all its glory. It combines one of the largest natural preserves with a city that is designed to cater to the traveler. There are shops, restaurants, galleries and festivals too. The port is an active fishing port which can make for a great experience for the family to see.

Day Trip #1 – Volosko Harbor

Volosko is located in Croatia in the city of Opatija. It is one of the older areas of the cities and the first major attraction in it is its very large, and free, car park. Volosko Harbor is considered to have some of the finest wind surfing in the region. It also has some of the best restaurants and small shops. It makes for a wonderful day trip in your rental car.


Don’t forget this one very important detail:

Before you make your plans for any day trips in your rental car, make sure you check with the rental agency that the car is cleared to cross the border. Some rental cars are only registered for in-country use. You should also ask what paperwork you may need to carry to cross back and forth too.

Quick guide to Trieste City

When you visit Trieste City you need to make sure that three different areas are on your must see list – the port, the Old Town, and the surrounding villages. Trieste City is one of the oldest cities in Italy and its port has been the focus of much of the cultural and historical change in the country.

It is still used today, but has lost none of its charm. To dine overlooking the harbor lights while gazing down at Medieval era buildings is one of the most beautiful experiences in the world. A walk through Old Town, or a hike to explore the villages as they climb up from the port from the city will show you much of the natural beauty in the area. It will also show you some of the oldest archeological sites in the area too.

What to see:

Within Trieste City you want to make sure that you see the Miramare Castle, which is hard to believe it is so old given how it looks straight out of a Disney film, the various cathedrals and chapels – but especially the San Giusto Cathedral, and then move on to explore the Orto Lapidario. The Orto Lapidario isn’t something you find mentioned often, but it is one of the hidden jewels of the city. It is located near the Museum of Art and Culture (another must see) and features an amazing array of garden lapidary. A walk through the garden is like stepping out of time.


Where to eat:

Da Pepe and Caffè Tommaseo should be on everyone’s list for a small meal, and they are ideal dining spots for those on a budget. If you can afford to be more indulgent you may want to explore the menu at Al Baggato, which has a house speciality of salted cod. You should also make sure that you sample the food at the port in all its forms. This can be the best way to discover how to take care of the duty-free tax status of the city to bring something from your trip home.

What not to miss:

The Grande Canal in Old Town is the area that you must not miss. Not only are there very many historical and cultural sites located here, but this is really where the thriving life of the city takes place.


There are several open air markets that occur during the week, as well as special festivals. Eating is easy from one of the vendors or at a cafe, and there are also several restaurants you can visit as well. The Grande Canal makes Venice look like it is an imitator. The area here has been carefully restored and remains in use for more than tourism.