Gracious, grand and green – surface travel to Split

At the close of the 4th ISC at Portland I indicated that I would provide information on ‘green’ options for travel to the next ISC. You probably won’t share my zeal for trans-oceanic surface travel so I will not expand on the options (e.g. by container ship) for those travelling to Split from overseas. What follows is for those resident in Europe, or arriving from outside at a location distant from the conference venue - why not do so deliberately for the opportunity of a civilised tour through some of the best that the continent offers? For these, rail is a perfectly practical, scenic, relaxing, sociable (and of course much greener!) way of getting to Split. As I was swiftly reminded at Portland, rail could be combined with sea-travel over the Adriatic and is certainly a good option for those coming from Italy. I will not elaborate on that possibility here (see the Transportation page) – suffice it to say that if you took the train to Ancona and then the overnight ferry you could have breakfast whilst cruising along the Dalmatian coast…

I would strongly recommend The Man in Seat Sixty-One and Deutsche Bahn (can be set to a range of European languages) for information on long-distance train travel in Europe, and indeed beyond – each website will provide connections from Vladivostok in a few clicks! As you will easily be able to confirm for yourself, Split can be reached from central Europe in less than 24 hours – e.g. departing Frankfurt at 08.19, changing in Vienna, and then taking the sleeper from Zagreb to arrive in Split at 06.45 the next day. If you left on Sunday 16th June 2019 you would be at Split in good time for the first session on Monday 17th. However, while time-efficient and involving only two changes, this itinerary would not show you the glories of Alpine scenery in Austria and Slovenia, and the fascinating karst landscapes of Croatia. For these, the best option would be the sleeper from Zürich, departing at 20.40, changing in Zagreb (only) the next day, and arriving in Split at 21.22. Morning departures from south-western, western and north-western Europe (including the UK!) will get you to Zürich within the day in time for the 20.40 departure. Those travelling from northern or central Europe could pick up this train at a later point (e.g. Innsbruck, 00.56). You would wake to the scenery of the High Tauern (not far from the Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain) and proceed through wonderful country in Slovenia and Croatia for the rest of the day, arriving (if you left on Saturday 16th) in time for the tail-end of the ice-breaker – or maybe when it really starts! An alternative option from Zürich would be the 08.40 departure, travelling through Alpine scenery all day (a different route, through Graz) and arriving in Split (via the sleeper from Zagreb) at 06.45 the next day. A second ‘Alpine’ option for travellers from northern or central Europe would be the 08.54 departure from Frankfurt, changing at Munich and then joining the Zürich-Graz train at Bischofshofen. Like the 08.40 option from Zürich, it provides a day of Alpine scenery (in this case including Salzburg and the Salzkammergut) but only offers a few hours of daylight travel through Croatia. Travellers from eastern and south-eastern Europe can readily reach Split by train through Zagreb, changing there for onward travel during the day (departure 15.21) or overnight (departure 23.00).

The above times are based on the 2018 timetable but are unlikely to change in 2019. If you book soon after times and prices are confirmed (probably early in the New Year) it will be possible to get very good deals. For instance, I expect to be able to make the return rail trip between Derby (central England) and Split for about £300. Do consider it – once you take the train you will realise how many others have abandoned the plane, and are happier for it! By all means contact me at if you would like further advice.

Andy Johnson (University of Derby, UK)