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16 days, June, moderate budget, Croatia/E. Europe

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I found this itinerary route online... any suggestions on where I should definitely go and how (car, bus, rail, boat, etc.)? What should be cut and is this the best way to travel through these cities? Any idea on costs?

Dubrovnik
Kotor
Mostar
Korcula
Hvar
Trogir/Split
Plitvice
Rovinj
Bled
Ljubljana
Zagreb

I'm looking for a mix of bed/breakfast, decent hostels, maybe privates (but not sure about how safe it will be). Small group at most.

Just starting the planning...

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    Budget? How would you fly in/out? From where? It can be challenging to fly into/out of the Balkans directly without a number of plane changes, etc. Some people might prefer to stage in London and fly easyJet to Ljubljana/from Dubrovnik. easyJet doesn't fly year round everywhere - check their seasonal schedule if that's an option. Croatia Airlines is often an option for cheap flights within the country, too.

    I've been to most of those places, but it took me two trips to get there!

    In 2009, I did:

    Ljubljana (2 nights)
    Train to Zagreb
    Zagreb (2 nights)
    Rent a car in Zagreb
    Plitvice (1 night)
    Drive to Mostar (stopped one night in Baska Voda - you could skip that)
    Mostar (1 night)
    Drive to Dubrovnik - Drop Car
    Dubrovnik (3 nights)
    Bus to Korcula
    Korcula (2 nights)
    Catamaran to Split
    Split (2 nights)
    Fly out of Split.

    You kind of need to loop between Split and Dubrovnik to get both an island and detour to Mostar if you're going to do part of it without a car like I did. You could keep the car longer and drive from Dubrovnik to Korcula via a car ferry. The main car ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula doesn't run every day; instead, you'd have the option of driving to Ploce, Croatia and ferrying between Ploce and Trpanj, and Orebic and Korcula Town.

    Anyway, that's 13 nights if you don't count Baska Voda. You could add a few nights and drive from Plitvice to Rovinj. (Day trip to Kotor from Dubrovnik.) Or add time to see Bled while in Ljubljana. Bled in my opinion could be done as a long day trip from Ljubljana, which is a nice city especially at night. Bled (which I visited in 2011) is really beautiful and scenic, but the town itself isn't anything special like Ljubljana is (in my opinion) at night.

    You could also chop off one of the nights in Zabreb if you want, see it in the morning, head to Plitvice late in the day, and see Plitvice the next morning, before it gets mobbed with bus tour groups (I saw over two days but you can probably get a great feel for it in about four hours).

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    A little ambitious but maybe not that bad. We did an eight day trip, no car, that included the southern half. We flew into Dubrovnik (from Rome, easyjet, very cheap) and spent four nights. Two days we did day trips, one to Mostar, one to Kotor - we did them both with an agency that does day trips. I normally hate those but it was worth it in this case not to have to rent the car, get the crossing border permits, etc. Mostar might have been nicer as an overnight but it's small and you really could see a lot in just the day trip. Then we took the ferry to Korcula (bus is also an option), spent two nights, then the ferry to Split where we also spent two nights with a day trip to Trogir. We flew back to Rome from Split (also easyjet). So we didn't do Hvar but other than that we did the first half the list in half the time you have and did not feel rushed. Most people seem to choose Korcula or Hvar but not both in the same trip. I think they are quite similar and I'm glad I choose Korcula.

    I am currently planning a trip to Ljubljana, Bled, and Piran this coming summer. I was going to do Rovinj but that's a little more problematic without a car (there is a bus, it's just Piran is easier, plus we are headed up to Trieste afterwards). I think I will save the lakes and Rovinj for sometime when I want to rent a car. But perhaps you could rent a car after Split and do that second part. I think another week most of it would be doable, depends on how fast you want to do things. It's certainly not a crazy itinerary. We really did not feel at all rushed in any way with the eight day trip we took.

    For both trips (the one I took and the one I am about to take) I found airfare and schedules much better to fly to a major western European city (Rome, London) from the US (if that is where you are starting from) and then do easyjet. On the first trip we were also doing a couple weeks in Italy. On this trip I am just using London as a place to switch planes so to speak but I am making it an overnight. Taking two separate flights with different carriers I want that extra time in case of delays,etc. But one night in London I do not see as an inconvenience in any way. But then I love London.

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