Citizens of EU member states and holders of passports from some 50 nations do not need a visa for stays of 90 days or less. These include Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland and the USA.
The nearest airports are in Trieste, Venice and Treviso. While Venice gets considerably more traffic, especially in season, Trieste has good year-round links with European hubs.
Flixbus runs from Marseille to Trieste with stops in the major cities across southern France and northern Italy, and in the other direction to Fiume (Rijeka) in Croatia. Florentiabus runs twice daily from Florence, and to Sofia, Bulgaria, with connections for Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Zagreb, Croatia.
There are car ferries once a week, more often in summer, to Trieste from Durrës (Durazzo), Albania. In summer, frequent passenger-only hydrofoils connect Trieste to the Istrian ports of Piran (Slovenia) and Poreč, Rovinj and Pula (Croatia).
Friuli Venezia Giulia has excellent public transport, as well as an exceptional network of cycling paths.
By train and bus
Trenitalia operates much of the country’s rail network. Tickets can be purchased up to three months in advance – your best chance to bag a discount. Economy fares and family fares are available if you purchase the ticket at least two days in advance. If you change your mind, you have up until 23.59 on the day before travel to change it one time only. Tickets must be validated (convalidato) in the green or yellow machines located in the ticket hall or on the platform before boarding.
Italian bus services are excellent: modern, clean, frequent, punctual and inexpensive, generally cheaper to travel on than trains and indispensable if you’re travelling without a car. They reach even the smaller villages (although often only once or twice a day on weekdays).
Driving can be fun, fast and pricey on the autostrade (major thoroughfares are the A4 Venice–Trieste and the A23 Palmanova–Udine–Tarvisio) but slow and frustrating in cities, and white-knuckle scary on some of the smaller, narrow mountain roads (we’re looking at you, SR552, between Meduna and Ampezzo!). Although the signposting is decent, it’s very easy to get lost; if you hire a car, plump for GPS and you’ll avoid a lot of stress.