Trieste Cruise Port – the essential guide

The Italian port of Trieste has popped into focus within the last two years as more and more cruise ships are moved from docking in Venice. You may well find that your cruise to the Mediterranean or to the Greek Isles originally planned to sail from Venice is now in fact one of those starting at Trieste cruise port instead.

As most of us following the latest cruise news found out in 2021, Venice closed its doors to the berthing of many large cruise ships due to rising water levels in the city. The ancient streets are at risk of crumbling and congestion in port traffic has therefore resulted in the move away from Venice.

And that has given the charming city of Trieste the opportunity to welcome you with open arms.

Trieste Cruise port

So where exactly is Trieste cruise port and how easy is it to spend time in Venice before (or after) a cruise from Trieste?

First of all, it’s important to check with your cruise line which of the ports you need to head to when you book a cruise from Venice. If it’s from Trieste or Ravenna, you need to consider this before you book your flight and make transfer arrangements.

Trieste is located 160km northeast of Venice. It has the Adriatic sea to the west and borders Slovenia to the east. That is around a two-hour transfer either by road or by rail from Venice. Most cruise guests want to spend time in Venice before they cruise from Trieste.

And so you should. Plan to spend a few days in the city of Venice either before or after your cruise. But we also recommend you save a night or two for staying in Trieste. It’s a great city, with plenty to see and do.

The good news is that getting to Trieste from Venice is not difficult and you have choices. Allow for the travel time and budget for the cost. We discuss all your transport options further below in this article.

Trieste cruise port is located in the city, right next to the city’s largest square, Piazza Unità d’Italia. And it’s easy to find the historical cruise passenger terminal building at the Maritime Station (Stazione Marittima).

What are the closest airports to Trieste cruise port?

If you prefer to skip visiting Venice then look at flights to Trieste’s own airport:

For door-to-door service (which is also the most expensive way to travel), book a private transfer from the airport to your hotel in advance with a trusted provider such as Viator. Alternatively, you have the following public transport options:

Trieste airport (Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport – TRS) to central Trieste

Trieste airport (Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport) is around 40 km from central Trieste.

Bus: The local bus company operating bus number 51 from the airport is called APT Gorizia. You can buy a one-way ticket on board the bus for about 5 euros.

Taxi: There are plenty of taxis at the airport as you exit the arrivals area. The journey time is an estimated 20 minutes for around 50 euros. Expect to pay more if you are traveling in the evenings.

Train: Our favorite way to travel is by train. There is a direct train from Trieste airport to the center of the city that runs 2 or 3 times every hour. It’s a quick 29-minute journey costing under 5 euros per person. Tickets can be booked through Trenitalia’s website here.

Venice Marco Polo (VCE) airport to central Trieste

Venice airport is around 150 km from central Trieste.

Most cruise guests choose to visit Venice before they transfer to Trieste to start their cruise vacation. Venice’s Marco Polo international airport has excellent links to other major European cities and onwards to the USA. But if you can only find flights to suit you into Venice Marco Polo airport and want to transfer directly to Trieste, here are your best options:

Private Transfer – a private transfer is an easiest but most expensive option. Book through a trusted supplier such as Viator for a private call to be waiting for you as you exit the arrivals lounge. The journey time is around 2 hours and can cost around 200 euros. Certainly, something to consider if you are 4 or more guests and can share the cost, or if you just want a hassle-free way of getting there.

Train – there is no train station at Venice Marco Polo airport. Take a short taxi ride of about 10 km from the airport to Venice’s main train station, called Mestre Railway Station. From there take a train direct to Trieste center. The journey takes 2 hours.

How to travel between Venice island and Trieste

So you have chosen to explore Venice for a few days either before or after your cruise.

If you are staying on Venice island, the train is a great way to or from get Trieste. Purchase tickets to travel Venezia S.Lucia train station/Trieste Centrale (or vice versa).

Choose the quickest journey where you do not need to change trains.

Trenitalia is the main train operator in Italy. They have high-speed Frecce trains that connect you to major cities in addition to numerous regional trains.

You can book tickets directly on their website for about 3 months within your travel date. Just change the language on the upper right corner of the website from Italian to English if you need to.

Alternatively, you can purchase train tickets directly at the train station. The cost of a single journey between Venice island and Trieste for an adult is around 15 euros per person.

To get between the port/hotel and Trieste train station, there are taxis readily available.

Prices do vary especially in high season. Do check with the taxi driver before you climb in. The journey time is about 20 to 30 minutes. If it’s a national holiday or evening/night journey the price will increase.

Where to stay in Trieste

We actually recommend at least one hotel night in Trieste before your cruise starts – it’s a great city to explore.

Here are our top 4 hotel recommendations for your stay in Trieste:

Double Tree by Hilton Trieste

The Double Tree by Hilton hotel is centrally located about a 10-minute walk from the cruise port. The building is beautiful and is surrounded by a good selection of cafes and restaurants. If you are a Hilton Honors member (it’s free of charge to join their loyalty program) expect extra perks when you check-in. We appreciated the chilled bottled water and fresh cookies.

Savoia Excelsior Palace

This is an excellent hotel, architecturally stunning, right next to the cruise port near Piazza Unità d’Italia. Enjoy good service and friendly staff – everything you’d expect for a 4-star plus experience. Ask for a balcony room, directly overlooking the pier for a wonderful view. And to top it all their lounge has an excellent cocktail menu.

Grand Hotel Duchi d’Aosta

This is a small, intimate boutique hotel with flawless facilities and an excellent restaurant, Harry’s Piccolo. It’s located right on Piazza Unità d’Italia.

Hotel Continentale

The hotel Continentale is very centrally located just a 10-minute walk from the main train station in Trieste, and 15 minutes from the cruise port. Some rooms are a little dated but overall a good 4-star experience.

Splendid Trieste, Italy – a walking tour

Trieste, located in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy, is the historic capital of the region. The architecture, cuisine, and languages reflect its multicultural diversity, a mixture of both Mediterranean and central European heritage.

A great starting point for getting to know the city is Piazza Unità d’Italia (Unity of Italy Square). This is the main square in Trieste. Once home to the old marina, it faces the sea and is the commercial hub of the city with many beautiful government buildings lining 3 sides of the square.

There is a tourist information office right in the square. The friendly staff will provide information and paper maps of the city if you like, so pay them a visit before you start your day.

From Piazza Unità d’Italia, head towards Piazza della Borsa. This square is a good place to do some shopping or stop for a coffee. Enjoy walking and exploring the area until you reach Canale Grande. This 2 km long waterway is a lively area of shops and restaurants, it’s also a good place to return to for an evening restaurant as the whole area is very attractive lit up at night.

Just 20 minute walk southwards of the canal is the Roman Theatre of Trieste on Via del Teatro Romano. A beautifully preserved Roman amphitheater, it was built at the base of a sloping hill, called San Giusto. Many of the archeological finds discovered when the site was excavated in 1938 can be viewed in the museum at the Castle of San Giusto, located a short walk away.

When you reach Castello di San Giusto, you will have fantastic panoramic views over Trieste. It’s a bit of a climb but well worth it. End you city walk at the cathedral, Cattedrale di San Giusto Martire.

If you are hungry and looking to try some local seafood dishes, we recommend Antica Trattoria Le Barettine, located between the cathedral and Unity of Italy Square. If, however, they are closed for the season there are many restaurants to choose from in this area.

Favorite day trips from Trieste

There are a few outstanding spots a short distance outside of Trieste that are worth visiting during your stay. Here are our favorites:

Miramare Castle – Castello di Miramare

Crowned by the spectacular 19th-century Miramare Castle located on a rocky spur on the Gulf of Trieste, this grand house once owned by the Habsburg family is a must-see whilst visiting the city. The castle and surrounding park are open every day except Christmas and New Year. The park is free of charge to enjoy and the fee of 10 euros per person to enter the castle is well worth it.

Sistiana Bay

Just 20 km north of Trieste is the stunning bay of Sistiana. In fact, you could combine a visit here with Miramare Castle as the castle is on your way about halfway between Trieste and Sistiana. You drive along the beautiful coastal road known as Costiera Triestina. There are plenty of places to stop and take photos, the most picturesque being at Santa Croce Mare and Grignano.

Book an excursion with a trusted supplier such as Viator so that transportation and a guided tour of the bay are included. You will even have time to explore and swim at the beach there. Note that it’s a shingle beach, not sand, edging the inviting turquoise water of the Adriatic Sea.

How to get to Port of Trieste from the historical center?

The passenger cruise terminal, Stazione Marittima (Port Station), is located right next to the historical center and is within walking distance from Piazza Unità d’Italia (Unity of Italy Square).

If you are not within walking distance, then we recommend asking your hotel concierge to book a taxi for the short ride to the port. Even if your hotel is only a 20-minute walk, remember you will have all your cruise packing and luggage with you, so a taxi is the best choice to avoid the long walk with suitcases.

Need more cruise tips? We’re here to help!

Still in the planning process and need help deciding on the best cruise for you and your family? The linked articles below will help you along the way. They are packed full of good advice and travel tips to help you book the perfect cruise.

Port of Ravenna – the essential guide

Italy cruise package – combine Venice, Florence, and Rome

Cruise from Venice – the essential guide

Best cruise deals and how to get them

Top tips for booking a cruise and avoiding common mistakes

Essential tips for a first-time cruise

Meet the author: With more than 20 years experience from the travel industry, Mattias offers tips, expert advice and a unique perspective anchored in having worked with market leading cruise lines, tour operators, consolidators, airlines and hospitality suppliers. Read more..