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Croatia in October?

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Several women friends and I are planning a two week trip to Sovenia and Croatia for early October 2016. We've been told this is not a good idea, as many things are closed and the weather will be bad. I've made many trips to Europe in October, and haven't had either problem. October has been perfect. Can anyone tell me if this is true? Another friend is concerned whether we should go at all with the recent refugee influx from Serbia. I can't see why that would be a problem next year.


We thought we would fly into Venice and travel to Slovenia by train, then rent a car for the rest of the trip. If anyone has suggestions, we would be appreciative!

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    The "refugee" flow is not from Serbia per se, Serbia is a way station for migrants from further east. No one can predict what the situation will be next year, I don't know why you think it will have been resolved. This year it is affecting some border crossings and some train stations, varying as border restrictions have varied.

    Early October is probably OK. I was in Croatia in the middle of October 2011 and things were very definitely shutting down. For my blog posts on Croatia start here (the links are at the top of the page):
    https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/busy-budva/

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    October is perfect for the visit of museums, castles, churches, caves, etc.
    Weather is unpredictable, everything is possible, except beach weather and winter sports weather.

    Trains from Venice (Mestre) go only up to the Croatian border (Gorizia). There are no border crossing trains.
    There are few daily buses from Venice to Ljubljana and Pula, however.

    There are actually no refugees at the places usually visited by tourists, neither in Slovenia nor in Croatia.

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    I visited Croatia in October back in 2009. I don't think I'd go to the Dalmatian Coast that late again, because while I was there, things were definitely slowing down - there were fewer excursion options, fewer ferries that were still running in September, shorter hours, etc. And the weather turned cold and rainy. After a warm, beautiful few days in Dubrovnik, the day I left for Korcula big rain storms came in, and I was later told (by someone who was still in Dubrovnik after I left) that the Buza Bar closed for the season as soon as I left. That could be early October or late October depending on the weather that year.

    Other than the coast, I don't think October would be such a bad time in Croatia and Slovenia. If you want to visit in October, I'd try to get to the Dalmatian coast at the beginning and wind up in places like Zagreb and Ljubljana at the end.

    FYI, to get from Venice to Ljubljana (which I have done a few times) it is probably much easier to take a shuttle service. I used one called DRD a few times, but they are not a conventional "bus" service despite the appearance on their website. I'd probably use a Slovenian service called GoOpti instead next time. There are no direct trains between Venice and Ljubljana, and the other options seem too time consuming for the average person.

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    Have any of you rented a car in Croatia? We wanted to be able to move about on our own time table. I'll definitely check into GoOpti, thank you Andrew.

    Thursadysd, I do not think the refugee issues will be resolved anytime soon, but neither do I think we are in danger going to Croatia because of the situation as my friend does. That was more my question, I should have worded it more directly. Neck, that is what I thought, we aren't going to places that refugees would be settling.

    Thank you for the responses.

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    Yes, I have rented a car in Slovenia and Croatia a few times, just recently in May when I drove across Croatia and Bosnia over two weeks. Driving there is easy especially off season (the only time I've been there). I hear traffic can be a pain in the summer in the peak tourist season but otherwise driving there has been a breeze.

    The one thing to keep in mind about renting a car in Slovenia and Croatia: you can do one-way rentals but it's usually much more expensive to drop the car in a different country than the one you rented it in. So renting in Venice or Ljubljana and returning in Croatia is generally not cheap and also limits your car choices. Many people will rent a car in Zagreb or Istria and return it in Dubrovnik or vice-versa. Some people will detour from Croatia into Slovenia for a few days and then later return to Croatia to return the car and fly out; this option makes more sense if you don't have Venice in your plans. But sometimes Venice is an easier/cheaper option for flights - that's what I did in April.

    Train connections between Ljubljana and Zagreb are good - a few direct trains a day. You might be able to do without a car in Slovenia or just rent one for a few days and return it before heading on to Croatia (or Croatia first - really what I recommend if you want to visit the Dalmatian Coast, as I suggested above). There's also a daily train 2X a day between Rijeka, Croatia near Istria and Ljubljana (I took this train the opposite day in April). In April/May I rented a car in Rijeka after arriving from Ljubljana by train and then explored Istria then drove down the coast in Croatia, back through Bosnia, and returned the car in Zagreb.

    If you stick to the "big" rental car agencies like Budget you may find your choices for car pick-up limited to Pula airport in Istria, but you can rent or drop off even in Rovinj (a lovely coastal town in Istria). I rented with a Croatian car company called Oryx and booked through EconomyCarRentals; even though I wound up renting in Rijeka I could have picked up my car in Rovinj too, but that meant a long bus ride to Rovinj instead of a shorter train ride to Rijeka (I prefer trains to buses whenever there is a choice). There are other car rental brokers like Kemwel and Auto Europe that will give you access to these same local car companies and give you more rental options.

    If you have any time at all in Slovenia, I would consider renting a car at least for a few days, though. Ljubljana is a lovely city where a car isn't needed at all, and you can easily take public transportation to say Lake Bled and other places, but I found having a car did give me a chance to see/do things I'd not have been able to do on a bus like scenic drives between Bled and Skofja Loka (a town about halfway between Bled and Ljubljana) and the "Julian Alps Loop" drive over the Vrsic Pass into the Soca Valley. I imagine this drive might be very pretty in the fall with leaves turning; I drove in September before the leaves were turning.

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    Although some of the places that depend primarily on tourism will be winding down (or already closed) in October, the cities that don't depend primarily on tourism, and that have universities, will be "open" -- Split, Zadar, Sibenik, Varazdin, of course Zagreb and Ljubljana....

    A rental car can be a great way to get around -- but of course, the driver can't enjoy the scenery in the way s/he might if using public transportation. For me, that would be a big concern if you go anywhere south of Split. Also remember that some of the Old Town centers don't permit cars, so parking is not always easy. If the main purpose of having a car is to be able to move at your own pace, do check bus schedules -- IME, busses were comfortable, convenient, and -- in many parts of the country -- frequent (but I wasn't there in October).

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