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Croatia in September 2016

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Hi Folks,
My wife and I, from Southern California, are planning a trip to Croatia during the last two weeks of September. The following are my queries:
1. I am assuming traveling in Croatia is safe.
2. We have 9 nights and 8 days in Croatia. We like outdoor, nature, meeting locals, history, knowing the culture and trying local cuisines.
3.My hope is to cover Dubrovnik to Rovinj including Plitvice National Park, Islands of Hvar and Brac, and going to Mostar. I think this is an ambitious plan with the days we have. Hence I would like your recommendation of the must visit cities and must do things.
4.We are planning to rent a car so traveling should have the flexibility vs public transportation. I am assuming driving should not be an issue for the sites we want to visit.
5. What is the best city to fly in and out of from California. My thinking is to fly into Dubrovnik and fly out of Split. Ideally I would like to fly into Dubrovnik and fly out of Rovinj, but it appears that not many international flights out of Rovinj/Pula.
6. We normally book rooms thru Airbnb. Is this a good idea or book hotel rooms?
I would sure appreciate your comments and assistance in planning this trip.
Thanks,
Only Travel

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    1. Yep.
    2. Croatia is wonderful for nature lovers.
    3. That is ambitious for 8-9 days. As you have not booked flights yet, you can scale back easily. I would let the flights dictate my plan. I don't believe in must sees, but I break this rule for Plitvice. Most common is to do north or south. Krka is an alternative closer to Split.
    Rovinj is the outlier in your list. I'd probably pick one island, as you can visit the other as a day trip.
    4. If you go to Mostar, make sure the car is covered for Bosnia. Also make sure you are covered for ferries. (I assume for most agencies this is standard). Car not necessary but it's personal preference.
    5. Check on kayak. It's a matter of affordability and convenience--it's a long haul from CA--can you add just a few more days? Pula usually require multiple plane changes, but Zagreb would work well if you want to include Plitvice. I have seen decent flights out of Zadar as well.
    6. Apartment rental is the norm in Croatia, whether through Airbnb or any other agency. The tourist offices arrange it also.

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    Yorkshire,
    Thanks for your response.
    Are you suggesting not renting a car at all and just use public transportation for travel or suggesting not to take the car on one of the island?
    I like your suggestion of letting the flight dictate the plan since the flexibility from these smaller airports is an issue.
    I understand you are suggesting Plitvice as a must see destination, correct?
    Thanks,

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    I went to Croatia on my own 10 years ago and found it very safe then. I flew into Venice and took a high speed ferry over (about 2 hours I think) and flew back to the US out of Zagreb. If you have not been to Venice before, I recommend it if the ferry is still running. Rovinj was my favorite place in Croatia. Incredible dinner at Veli Joze followed by drinks at the fun outdoor "bars" sitting on the rocks on the water (one was called Valentino). Pula was fine for a couple hour stop to see Roman ruins on my way south. Walking along the city walls of Dubrovnik is a must, but it is very crowded with day tours there so stay in the old town at least one night to experience it in a more relaxed setting. In 8 days, I covered Rovinj south to Dubrovnik with a day trip to Bosnia and 2 days in Hvar and 1 day in Zagreb. Split was not worth it to me, but I think I had to go there to get the boat to Hvar, one of my favorite islands (take a quick boat out to the Pakleni islands once there). I quickly saw Diocletian's Palace in Split while waiting for the boat. Maybe there is more to do there now. I sadly did not have time to do Plitvice National Park, but I was using a combination of public buses and flights, so you may have more time to fit it in with a car. I wish I had done my day trip to Mostar instead of Međugorje. One of the worst experiences I have ever had finding a room directly from an owner was in Dubrovnik (see my other post on this forum from years ago). This was before airbnb, iPhones and easy to find wifi, however. My trip was in 2007, so please keep this in mind and double-check my suggestions, just to be safe. Have a great trip!

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    The car is really up to you. I see no reason with the current tentative (loose) itinerary that you could not have an efficient and comfortable trip without one, but it really depends on the ultimate plan. The only place where I have ever wanted a car is while ON an island, for exploring, but that was with several days--and you can always just do a day rental.

    Also, I guess kinda do see Plitvice as a must-see, but Krka is a suitable alternative if it does not make sense to get there. My main "must" is to take it easy--it is a very relaxed kind of place so I see no reason to go to every appealing place, just enjoy a few of them really well!

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    1. Yes.
    2. That is VERY little time for Croatia – you will need to be extremely selective.
    3. Sorry, but only you can decide what is a “must-see” for YOU, except that – like yorkshire – I think the Plitvice Lakes may be the exception. The Plitvice Lakes National Park is, IMO, the single most un-missable of Croatia's many splendors. Not only are the lakes connected by travertine waterfall formations, each lake has unique microbiota, and as a result, the lakes are different colors. The best way to see that is to make a single, long loop through the park -- something on the order of 6 hours or more (including time for the boat that connects the lower and upper lakes), and by all means, start at the lowest part of the park so you are facing the falls as you proceed. And FWIW, the Krka National Park is, IMO, well worth seeing, but sufficiently different that it is not, IMO, a true substitute. (I don't think yorkshire was saying it was – just providing my opinion!)
    4. Driving will not be an issue, but parking could be. And FWIW, public transportation in Croatia is, IME, easy, convenient, and comfortable. The one exception: the Plitvice Lakes. You might want a car for at least that one small part of your trip.
    5. Depends on your final itinerary.

    Get a few good guidebooks or consult some at your local library, read some of the MANY planning threads on this forum for trips to Croatia.

    FWIW, I’m not a person who seeks relaxation on vacations, so I would disagree with yorkshire on that issue. If you WANT to relax, Croatia is a great place to do it. But it is certainly NOT a “must” IMO. :-)

    Good luck!

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