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Croatia / Slovenia questions

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A friend & I are planning a trip for next July and we have a few preliminary questions
Most of our current efforts are focuesed on trying to get there & back for less than $1800 Cdn, but we are also trying to rough out an itinerary. We are thinking about doing this trip in two sections, north & south. I am really intrigued by the Roman/Venetian history of the Slovenian coast & Istria; she has long wanted to see Dubrovnik. We both enjoy scenic views.
So we are thinking of flying into Zagreb and renting a car, and making a sort-of-circular route to Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Piran, Pula, Plitvice, & back to Zagreb. Say about 10 days. Zagreb would be the origin because the flights and car rentals seem to be much cheaper there (& we are on a budget, especially considering what airfare will cost)
Then we'd return the car, either get a flight or a bus from Zagreb to Split or Dubrovnik, and spend 5-6 days in Split and Dubrovnik, (2 days/4 or 3/3) and fly home from Dubrovnik.
So, here are my questions:
1. Will low-cost Croatian car rental agencies let us take a car into Slovenia without an enormous added cost? I can't find anything about this online, and am putting off calling until I have specific dates.
2. Piran and Rovinj "look" similar in what I've read and viewed. Any comments from those who've visited both?
3. I've seen comments about Plitvice either raves or ho-hums. I wonder--are the raves mostly urbanites who don't see lakes and waterfalls often? Because I don't get Roman ruins or trams ordinarily--but lakes and waterfalls I've got!
4. Would a day trip to one of the south Dalmatian islands be difficult without a car?
5. Any comments in general about our plans? We're quite open to suggestions at this stage--unless they're the "Don't go to Croatia in July, go to Norway in October" type of comments, ;)

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