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Trip Report Croatia Trip Report with a bit of Italy and Slovenia on the side

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My husband and I have just come back from a wonderful week in Croatia. We had a short time in Slovenia and Italy too. There is so much terrific information from other travellers on this forum, I wanted to add something that may help others. If you would like any more info, I would be very happy to help if I can.

This is our trip in a nutshell:

TRIESTE - Flew into Trieste, Italy, from London Stansted with Ryanair. Picked up a hire car from Hertz and drove to Piran, Slovenia. Took about 2 hours.
PIRAN - Stayed 2 nights. Drove to Rovinj in Croatia, via a few hilltop towns and Porec.
ROVINJ –Stayed 4 nights. Drove to Opatija, took about 3 hours at a leisurely pace.
OPATIJA –Stayed 3 nights. Drove back to Trieste for our flight home. Took about 2 hours.

Where we stayed:

PIRAN – Max http://www.maxpiran.com/
Nice, though fairly basic room. Good breakfast. 60 euro per night. Great view of the church from our window though the bells did ring all day and night. Don’t expect a lie in on Sunday morning! Parking was either in a public parking garage or a public lot. Reasonable rates.

ROVINJ – Porta Antica http://www.portaantica.com/ENG/index.asp
We had apartment 3 and thought it was fantastic. The views over the harbour really made the place. Be careful though of the hot water, it can get really scalding. Parking is outside Rovinj, in a public car park about 10 mins flat walk away. Parking was a bit pricey – approx 120 kuna per day.

OPATIJA – Savoy Hotel http://www.hotel-savoy.hr/index_eng.htm
Nice big hotel, a little anonymous after the character filled Porta Antica in Rovinj. Lots of dark brown tiles and wood so not my style. Very pleasant and helpful staff. Overall very comfortable with loads of facilities including a heated indoor pool and wellness therapy centre. Limited parking outside the hotel.

We left on 3 April and came back on 12 April so were away over Easter. There was practically no sign at all that it was Easter which is quite different from where we come from. Everything was open and there were no chocolate Easter eggs to be seen! Good thing we took our own….

It was fairly quiet but almost everything seemed open. There were lots of European tourists, mainly German and Italian I think. Almost no English speaking tourists at all.

We enjoyed Piran, fell in love with Rovinj and thought Opatija was lovely. Rovinj and Piran were similar, they both have very old buildings and were once part of the Venetian empire. They are both small and built out on peninsulas. The only cars allowed in are local cars which makes it very relaxing walking about as there is very little traffic.

I was disappointed in Opatija at first as it’s so different from Rovinj but over the time we were there, I grew to really like it. Rovinj feels very Italian but Opatija felt quite Austrian. Opatija is full of grand ornate hotels, mostly built in the 1800s. There didn’t seem to be any small pensiones or trattorias, most cafes, bars and restaurants were in the big hotels. There are no beaches but the locals and tourists sun themselves on man made concrete platforms. Coming from Australia, this looked very odd to us.

There is a 7km man-made path running along the sea, from Opatija to Lovran. It made a really lovely walk, we caught the bus one day to Lovran (21 kuna for both of us, one way) and walked all the way back. Took a couple of hours. There are cafes along the way and the views are lovely.

We found the whole trip to be quite cheap but this may be because we are used to London prices. To give you an idea, an average meal, including beer or wine, was about 240 kuna. Two coffees and two big pieces of yummy cake were about 22 kuna.

We hired the car through the Hertz link on the Ryanair website and saved money doing this. Also I found that all the other car hire companies at Trieste airport were closed on Easter Sunday, except for Hertz. I guess this was because there was a Ryanair flight leaving that day.

If you are flying with Ryanair, you can no longer check in with a person at Stansted. It’s all machines though we did have to wait in the bag drop queue following check in at the machine.

There were a couple of road tolls we had to pay and we had to buy a vignette for travel through Slovenia. The vignette allows you to travel on the highways in Slovenia and replaces tolls. It cost us 35 euro for 6 months, even though we only used it for a very short time. There was no cheaper option but I believe they are bringing in a 7 day pass this year.

Twice, in Italy, we had to stop at a toll booth, press a button to get a ticket, then further down the road, we handed in the ticket and paid the toll – only 80 euro cents. It does pay to have a little small change on hand for that. One toll was very close to Trieste airport.

We also had to pay a 5 kuna toll in Croatia, just before the Slovenian border.

Croatia is not a country you’d visit to go shopping. I would have loved to buy a few things but came home empty handed except for some nice local chocolate.

We thought Croatia was a great country for a relaxing holiday. There were not a lot of big things to see, you know to tick off your list, so we walked a lot, explored, ate and drank and generally relaxed.

Kay

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