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First time Croatia; young children; itinerary

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Hi everyone,

First time posting here after hours spent reviewing the very helpful advice previously given! I would love to hear what you think about our proposed itinerary. We'll be in Croatia this May for 12 nights with our children (5 1/2 and almost 4 at time of trip).

Proposed Itinerary, flying in and out of Split (tickets already purchased):

Day 1: arrive early afternoon. settle into Trogir apartment, explore neighborhood, dinner, bed.

Day 2: Trogir.

Day 3: day-trip to Split.

Day 4: Ferry to Korcula, arriving ~18:30.

Day 5: Korcula.

Day 6: Korcula

Day 7: early bus departure to Dubrovnik, arriving ~noon. settle into Dubrovnik apartment and explore neighborhood and/or city walls.

Day 8: Dubrovnik

Day 9: day-trip to Lokrum

Day 10: rent car, drive to Mostar

Day 11: Mostar

Day 12: drive to Trogir, return car

Day 13: early flight home to West Coast US

Totals:
3 nights Trogir
3 nights Korcula
3 nights Dubrovnik
2 nights Mostar
1 night Trogir (necessary because of early flight out next day)

Other thoughts: This will be our children's first time abroad. We are trying to strike a balance between visiting various places and not moving around too much. They are very good campers, road-trippers, and very interested in travel (love maps, globes, trying new foods, stories about "faraway places," are learning a 2nd language, etc.). They've done great on several cross-country flights. I'm excited to travel overseas as a family, but of course realize we will all need to exercise a good deal of patience and understanding with each other! I imagine they will enjoy the ferry rides, walled cities, pedestrian streets, outdoor restaurants, climbing cathedral towers, exploring fortresses/palaces/ruins (i.e. Klis), and spending some time on the beach and in the water. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for the latter! We're used to the Oregon coast so don't need it to be especially warm. :)

We like history, scenery, local culture, walking around and getting the feel of a place.

I know that Plitvice makes many people's must-do's but we haven't included it here for the following reasons: with limited time, it is a significant detour; our youngest daughter doesn't have great stamina yet and we worry the park would necessitate an unpleasant amount of walking (for her) or carrying (for us); although natural scenery is high on our list, we live in the Pacific Northwest and spend a great deal of time exploring the National Parks and backcountry wilderness of western US and Canada; basically, we feel we have beautiful natural scenery close to home, and should spend our time in Croatia seeing things less accessible to us. Feel free to speak up if you think that reasoning is flawed!

I toyed with the idea of putting all of our time in Trogir/Split at the end of the trip, as our early departure flight will necessitate us spending a night there either way. I'm inclined to leave the initial few days in Trogir, though, as I think we will all be very tired after the long flight and the idea of moving so quickly from SPU airport to an apartment is very appealing. Traveling directly from SPU to a site several hours away might do us all in!

Finally, I have been mindful of our days in Dubrovnik; as proposed, we'll be there on a Wednesday afternoon-Saturday morning. Wednesday and Thursday in May shouldn't be unbearably crowded (I hope) and we can spend Friday on Lokrum to avoid the cruisers.

For the drive from Dubrovnik via Mostar back to Trogir, any stops you would recommend? Ston and Mali Ston in Croatia, and Blagaj and Pocitelj (and to a lesser degree, Medjugorje; we are Catholic) in BiH. Thought it would make sense to see Klis Fortress near Split before dropping off the car in Trogir. How would you prioritize those places? Also, to what degree do we need to be worried about landmines on that route? No road-side bathroom breaks for the kids, obviously (wouldn't do that in a foreign country anyways...)!

Regarding accommodations: priorities are location and budget, with location winning out. Clean and simple with basic kitchen facilities (and a washing machine in Korcula or Dubrovnik (i.e. mid-trip)) would be lovely. Any recommendations?

Any thoughts or feedback very greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

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    PNWK: I know that Plitvice makes many people's must-do's but we haven't included it here for the following reasons: with limited time, it is a significant detour; our youngest daughter doesn't have great stamina yet and we worry the park would necessitate an unpleasant amount of walking (for her) or carrying (for us); although natural scenery is high on our list, we live in the Pacific Northwest and spend a great deal of time exploring the National Parks and backcountry wilderness of western US and Canada; basically, we feel we have beautiful natural scenery close to home, and should spend our time in Croatia seeing things less accessible to us. Feel free to speak up if you think that reasoning is flawed!

    Well, I live in Portland, so I have the same access to amazing local scenery as you do. There must be 20+ waterfalls near me in the Columbia River Gorge, Silver Falls National Park, etc. - all amazing. And yet, I found the scenery at Plitvice breathtaking and unique, very different from our PNW scenery. Not too many turquoise-colored lakes full of trout around here!

    So I don't agree at all that you should lower the priority of Plitvice just because you live in the PNW. Plitvice was the highlight of Croatia for me.

    But the other points - the fact that it is a detour and that you have small kids - are valid. If you had chosen to fly out of Zagreb instead of Split (yes, I know, you've already booked), the detour would have been somewhat less. And Plitvice is very easy walking in parts - you can pick and choose which parts of the park to see, and there are trams and boats that can transport you part of the distance within the park.

    I would find three nights in Trogir too many, though to be fair I only made it to Split, and I know that you have kids and I traveled solo, and you will arrive jet lagged. But what are you planning to do for three days there, besides day trip to Split? Trogir sounds nice and I'm sorry I missed it but it also sounds small.

    Three nights in Korcula sounds like too many also. Same question: what are you planning to do? It's valid to say "just relax and chill" - which is something I have trouble doing myself on trips like this. Then again, I'm not sure how warm it will be in May. I visited in October a bit past the end of the season and the town was getting pretty dead, plus it was cold and rainy. Maybe May will be better. I liked Korcula though - it is unique for sure - but after just two nights and some rain I got island fever quickly.

    I stayed at Apartments Lenni in Korcula, highly recommended - they rent a variety of rooms and apartments. I got an apartment with a washing machine (no dryer - and it was rainy part of the day, so getting everything dry was a challenge).

    I had three nights in Dubrovnik. I probably could have cut out one of them, but it just worked out better for me, and I spent so much time taking pictures that it was nice to have time to spread it out. What are you planning to do there? An excursion or two? Dubrovnik's old town is not that big. You can explore the town fairly quickly, walk the walls, etc. But that doesn't take much time.

    I drove down from Zagreb (stop in Plitvice) and had a night in Mostar before dropping my car in Dubrovnik, so I did it in the other direction. A night in Mostar was enough for me. It's a neat town but not big and I felt like I explored it quickly. The drive between Split, Mostar, and Dubrovnik is pretty easy.

    I did stop a night between Plitvice and Mostar, in the little town of Baska Voda in the Makarska region (a beach resort area). I'm not sure I can recommend a stop though it was a pleasant, pretty little town, just not that special to me. Personally, I wish I'd pushed out to see Rovinj instead, but that may be too much of a push for you, too.

    Understand that a lot of Dalmatian Coast is kind of a "sunny weather water fun" kind of destination. The summer is really the peak season. I honestly don't know what May is like, but I wouldn't go in October again. June-July-August-September would probably be great (but with heavy crowds in summer) for just chilling and relaxing in the beautiful weather. If May isn't great for that, then you may either wish to adjust your itinerary a bit or adjust your expectations.

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    Andrew, thanks so much for the thoughtful response.

    I understand and agree with what you said about Plitvice being "breathtaking and unique, very different from our PNW scenery." Of the three reasons I offered for not including it on this trip, "we have natural beauty at home" is absolutely the weakest and probably a little silly. It is true, though, that on a trip to Europe I prioritize National Parks (however gorgeous) lower than other must-sees. All of that said, obviously Plitvice has been much on my mind! I'll keep thinking about it, and thanks again for your feedback.

    Regarding how many nights we're staying in each place, oh that's been tough to determine! As I said, this is our first time overseas with kids and so the trip and trip planning look a lot different than what we've done in the past. All of this is of course tentative, but here's what I was thinking:

    Trogir: 3 nights, yes. We arrive in SPU on a Thursday afternoon. Assuming it's best to adopt a slower-than-necessary pace rather than a too-fast pace (for all of our sakes), I'm acting on the assumption that that day will be a wash. Get to apartment, settle in, take a walk, have dinner, buy stuff for next-day breakfast, go to bed. Friday we would spend in Trogir. If it was just my husband and me, that wouldn't be necessary, but with little kids, and it being their first full day in a foreign country, I think a full day exploring the Old Town, the fortress, the cathedral and its tower, enjoying leisurely meals, etc, will be great. Saturday we'll go to Split, via water (1 hr) and/or bus (30 mins), explore the Palace, the Riva, etc. Sunday morning and early afternoon are open (maybe this is a better time for Klis Fortress?) and then on to Korcula.

    Potentially, we could take a night away from Trogir and move on to Korcula straight from Split on Saturday, although I have been cautioned repeatedly not to drag the kids from site to site.

    Korcula: I think we want three nights here due to late arrival time on Sunday evening and early departure Wednesday morning. Really, we'll have two full days here and that's it. I'm hoping that one of those days will be nice so we can do one day in Korcula Town and another day on a beach. Would also consider spending a half-day in Orebic or another part of Korcula island. I'll look at Apartments Lenni, thanks for the recommendation!

    Dubrovnik: As planned, we'll arrive early Wed. afternoon. Hope to be able to settle in to apartment and walk the walls that afternoon/evening. For what it's worth, our youngest still naps most days, so that means a couple hours mid-day in the apartment, or an early evening, OR a very cranky evening. :) Thursday, we'd like to do the Cable Car, War Photo Limited, monasteries (both?), Rector's Palace, Cathedral, Stradun, etc. I feel like there's plenty to see for our slow pace! Friday, we'll probably take a day-trip to Lokrum. Saturday, on to Mostar.

    We'll be taking public transport up to this point, at which time we'll rent a car. I picture us arriving late in the day to Mostar. I realize it's an easy drive from Dubrovnik (2 hrs?) but would like to take advantage of the flexibility of having a car to make frequent stops: e.g. Ston and Mali Ston, Blagaj and Pocitelj, etc. We would get into Mostar around dinnertime and then have all day Sunday to explore the town. Monday we take our time driving back to Trogir to return the car, prior to flying out the next morning.

    Do you still recommend cutting nights from places and if so, from where, and where would you add them? To Plitvice? :) I've had so many people advise (upon hearing our children's ages) that we pick 2 spots and settle in for six days each, which is not our usual MO, although we do prefer to get to know a place rather than rush through it quickly. I do think that traveling with kids will mean we see less but spend more time talking to people, lingering over meals, skipping stones, and wandering around. Not a net negative, really.

    Regarding the Dalmatian coast being a "sunny weather water fun" kind of destination, a bit of that is fine, but we chose May because we'll gladly swap less beach time for fewer crowds. When we originally settled on Croatia, I was especially keen on spending time in Istria but eventually decided to save that for a future trip. As you know, Croatia's coast line is a long one and travel times aren't insignificant!

    One last thing: We've never reserved accommodations before, greatly preferring to leave room for spontaneity and last-minute decisions. It would likewise be nice on this trip to "play things by ear" in case we realize that no, we don't need three nights in Trogir/Korcula (or alternately, we definitely need those three nights!). However, I really, really do not want to drag my kids from apartment to apartment when they're tired and hungry (which, realistically, will happen if we show up without reservations) so I'm trying to book most places in advance, even if that's not technically necessary for the month of May. Of course, this means sacrificing the freedom to stay longer or move on sooner that we've enjoyed on other trips...

    again, thanks for your time.

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    I've never traveled with kids before, so I can't make any recommendations for you that I'd make for myself or someone traveling without kids. Maybe it is better to limit yourself to a few places?

    I can't recommend you remove nights from any place, either, only that you consider what you'll be doing each day. Some of these places simply don't require much time to explore, so you should expect to have a lot of down time for relaxing. A slower pace of traveling is fine - we all have different travel styles and preferences.

    If you check out the drive time to/from Plitvice (via Google Maps) and think it make sense, consider it I guess. I'd probably look for trip reports from other families who have visited with kids your age and see how it worked for them. But I'd probably be inclined not to include Plitvice now given that you are flying out of Split not Zagreb.

    As far as "beach time" - do you understand that the beaches on the Dalmatian Coast are mostly pretty rocky? I think without a car in Korcula Town you could take a bus to a beach nearby, but I did not do so. I don't recall any beaches within easy walking distance, but if you've confirmed that there are, fine. From Dubrovnik, you could take a bus to Lapad, which is kind of a resorty area that has some decent beaches.

    I imagine May wouldn't be a difficult time to be spontaneous with your lodgings in Croatia - but if you have a laptop or smart phone/tablet with you, you'd be able to book places a day or two ahead, anyway, right, instead of just showing up? You can use Skype to call people in Croatia from Croatia using your US Skype account - or you can bring an unlocked GSM phone that works with local GSM frequencies (a "world" phone) and buy a pre-paid SIM card for it so you can make cheap local calls. This would be especially nice to have for the days you have a car, just in case.

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    Thanks, we know about pebbly beaches (and the occasional concrete slab) and that's fine. By no means are we looking for a beach trip/vacation here, but we are happy to take advantage of any beach time that comes up (and by "beach time" I include not just swimming/sunbathing, but the sort us Oregonians enjoy: walking the shore, throwing stuff in the water, enjoying the view, etc.).

    Good point about a smart phone enabling us to hold off booking all reservations in advance while still being able to reserve places a night or two out! I'm old school but my husband just got a smart phone (hence not having thought of that possibility before).

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    As another person who has never traveled with children, take my comments with a grain of salt. You are proposing an itinerary that is, IMO, quite leisurely; you are also outlining your reasons for doing that, so it seems clear that you are making considered decisions.

    Re: Trogir/Split -- I stayed at the Palace Stafileo Apartments, which I enjoyed very much. Looks like it still gets some very good reviews on trip advisor.com. (My review is out-of-date, but you can find it, and reviews of the other places I mention in this post, under KJA3.) There really isn't much to do in Trogir - or at least I didn't think there was -- but it is beautiful and well worth seeing. Unlike Andrew, I thoroughly enjoyed Split and thought there was a great deal to do there (including my favorite fruit/produce market anywhere in Croatia :-) ).

    One thing you might want to consider, given that you don't want to visit the Plitvice Lakes on this trip, is to make a day trip to the Krka National Park. It's a bit far afield for a day trip -- I'm guessing a bus ride of 3 or more hours each way -- but it would give you a taste of a a set of gorgeous travertine waterfalls. I'm not necessarily recommending it -- I personally don't like day trips that involve that much travel; just throwing the idea out there for your consideration.

    Re: Korcula -- I stayed at the Royal Apartments, another place I enjoyed very much and that still gets good reviews. In general, I would say that a full day is enough to see Korcula Town. It sounds like you've identified some reasonable options if you want to explore a bit further afield. If I'm reading your plan correctly, you won't be there on a night when the moresca is performed -- I think its only on Thursdays -- but do check it out. It is a LOT of fun and very well worth seeing IMO.

    Re: Dubrovnik -- I stayed at the Villa Adriatica, which I loved and which still gets good reviews. A full day on Lokrum may be a bit much for your little one (and/or you, if you end up carrying her). Another option might be Mljet. (Although I didn't go to Mljet, my understanding is that it makes for a nice day outing.) You might even have time for Lokrum AND Mljet! Or, if you pick up your rental car a day before you leave Dubrovnik, you could use it for a day trip to Kotor.

    Each of the places I've recommended as places to stay are small and get great reviews, which mean that they can easily be booked fully well in advance. I visited each of these locations in May and was very glad I had booked ahead.

    Mostar is very special and even more so after daytrippers leave - I'm glad you'll be able to fit it in! BTW, I was very glad to take the bus between Mostar and Dubrovnik so I could give myself over entirely to the views. Your call!

    You and your family will see some wonderful things on this trip - enjoy!

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    kja, thanks so much for your thoughtful response! I appreciate your feedback. Traveling abroad with children in tow is a new experience for me, so I'm taking my own comments with a grain of salt, too! :)

    I'll check out your accommodation recommendations, and thanks for all of them. Good suggestion to consider Krka, too (as a potential substitute for Plitvice, which does feel too out-of-the-way for this trip). We could possibly visit Krka on our last full day, driving there from Mostar (2.5 hrs) and then back to Trogir to drop off car (under 1 hr). We'll already have the car that day and have no big plans for our time between Mostar and Trogir, so Krka at that point might make sense.

    Re: the moresca in Korcula-- it was my understanding that the performances were Friday (not Thursday) but either way, that they don't start until June. It would be great if I'm wrong and we can see it!

    We originally planned on visiting Mljet but travel there during the month of May isn't super convenient as far as I can tell; either we do a private tour ($$$ and not really our taste) or have to travel to the National Park via Sobra, which might be too many connections for us. I'll look into that further, though.

    Glad to hear you confirm our decision to spend a night (two, actually) in Mostar. I understand what you mean about being able to enjoy the views on the way there (taking a bus rather than renting a car) but I think we want the flexibility of a car at that point so we can make stops in Ston, Blagaj, Pocitelj, etc.

    Really looking forward to this trip and again, thanks for the feedback!

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    "We could possibly visit Krka on our last full day, driving there from Mostar (2.5 hrs) and then back to Trogir to drop off car" - yes, that could work out quite nicely!

    Definitely check into the times for the moresca -- I was in Korcula in May, not June, and I was able to see it. And I just checked my notes to be sure -- I saw it on a Thursday. Of course, things can change....

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    There are local boat trips--excursions--from the main marina in Dubrovnik that I think you children would enjoy. My granddaughters like similar things here in the US.

    I would wait for another trip to do Plilivice, though we saw women in wedgies pushing kids in strollers. The trails are easy, but it is a gorge. You get out by backtracking or by going up steep switchbacks. It will still be there.

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    I have not travelled in that area with small children, but I think your plan to spend three nights in Trogir is a good idea. Considering your arrival in late afternoon, tired and wanting to get settled after a long flight, the first day is pretty well a write off. Reading your itinerary it appears you have only one full day in Trogir which is plenty. I spent a morning there recently but felt a full day would have been better.

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    Check here for cruise ship arrivals for your days in Dubrovnik:
    http://www.portdubrovnik.hr/girica1.php

    They are already showing up in May. I was last there out of season (October) and still had to queue up to get into the old town.

    For once I disagree with kja, I thought one night would have been plenty for Mostar. There really isn't anything to see aside from the bridge and the touristy shopping streets. And once you wander away from the tourist zone you will encounter quite a lot of war damage, not sure whether you want to expose your kids to that. On the other hand I loved Sarajevo, but that may be too far for you - and I haven't checked on the demonstrations lately.

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    That is a good idea checking the cruise schedule for ships arriving in Dubrovnik. When I was in the Old Town of Dubrovnik there were three cruise ships docked, each with at least 3000 passengers. Moving about the walled City, people were shoulder to shoulder.

    I agree with thursayed about Mostar. One night would be enough although you say you do not want to shuffle the children around too much.

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    PNWK - here's a little tip to escape the hoards of cruise ship travelers... just walk up two flights of steps in the old town. You'll be looking down on the mass of heads from an empty street. Take your kids to walk the city walls and do it later in the day rather than earlier (like 4 or 5, when people are going back to their ships.)

    I would not wait any longer to book accommodation in Dubrovnik. And if you are booking an apartment take note that they can sometimes be in the old town at the top, with pretty steep climbs. I have stayed in two places at the top, and suffice to say I was not running out to the store because I forgot the juice. It was fine for me and great for my behind, but with kids, it might get a little tiring going up and down.

    The Villa Adriatica that kja mentions is a great location and just outside the old town - easy peasy to walk in and out. But they might not have availability... if you are interested in staying there I would get in touch immediately. They have one studio apartment that could sleep your family.

    For the day trip from Trogir to Split, I bet your kids would get a kick out of the Bura Lines ferry. http://www.buraline.com/
    It leaves for Split at a reasonable hour in the morning and comes back in the afternoon. I'm like kja, I liked Split more than Trogir so I took it twice when I stayed in Trogir.

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    PNWK - looks like you spent a good amount of time researching the trip.
    I agree with your schedule...considering children will travel as well, you are limited in what you see and where you go.

    Couple of points - Medjugorje can be done very easily as it on the way to Mostar. Half a day there will suffice - just watch out for radar traps - ask me how I know!
    it is unfortunate that you don't have time nor the physical resources what with kids to visit Plitvice. I was born nearby (20 miles away - lived there for 15 years); it can be absolutely spectacular. I've traveled across USA up-and-down, back-and-forth, and I can tell you that almost nothing USA has can match Plitvice - maybe the Grand Canyon can the first time you see it, but that's it.

    be wary of prices and services in Dubrovnik. Locals can be surly and rude, plus the merchants will charge a kings ransom for whatever you order or buy. Cup of coffee at the Ritz in Paris will seem like a free giveaway to what you will be charged in Dubrovnik.

    Have a great time.

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    I would not change a thing. You have carefully thought it out and given yourself enough time to leisurely enjoy the trip with small children. Plus, in each place there are many excursions you can take--the tourist offices have always been super helpful in my experience. The Bosnia tourism website has me intrigued, so I hope you do that road trip and tell us about it. http://www.bhtourism.ba/eng/region2.wbsp
    To me, Croatia is more about leisure and enjoying the view than sightseeing. Kids would probably love the wall at Ston.

    Important: I would absolutely book every accommodation in advance, especially Dubrovnik and even Trogir because it is quite small. On my second visit to Trogir, I showed up without reservations and ended up staying across the bridge in Ciovo, which was fine, but Trogir sometimes has events and the town can be filled to capacity. I always thought it seemed like a very child friendly place. One of my favorite days in 3 visits to Croatia (4th coming up) was taking a boat from Trogir to Drvenik Veli and walking across the island. (You may want to check ferry schedules if that is of interest, as you can switch with the Split day trip if necessary)

    May is usually perfect weather (can never predict of course--one year of three {all in late May} we had rain). Warm days and cool nights. The sea is too cold for this southern gal, but you may enjoy a dip. Pebble beaches are still beaches--buy plastic water shoes anywhere (to predict tender toes and from sea urchins).

    As far as I know, land mines are still a risk in some remote places, but not of concern on the main roads you would be taking. I researched the issue, because someone was injured by one on the island of Vis just weeks after I visited Vis and rambled all over.

    A final note on accommodation. Nowadays, you can see photos of every room in a rental and map its location. To me, it is a huge time saver and stress reliever to be able to book accommodation in advance. Look for something with a terrace or balcony with a view if possible. The tourist agency websites have links to accommodation, and there are even some on sites like booking.com and trip advisor, etc.

    enjoy!

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    Although I didn't actually recommend two nights in Mostar, I do recommend at least one overnight and I found enough to occupy close to a full day, so I would think it would make sense to spend 2 nights there given that the OP is traveling with young children and doesn't want to rush. In addition to Stari Most, there are 2 or 3 mosques, 3 Ottoman houses with unique features, and a decent little museum. I also enjoyed walking through the town and around the ruins of the sadly destroyed orthodox churches. When I was there (2009), there were still many signs of the war, especially on the outskirts of town, but also much that had been or was being rebuilt.

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    -May is usually perfect weather (can never predict of course--one year of three {all in late May} we had rain).-

    Last year in May I experienced a lot of rain and storms - flooded streets in Rovinj, a cold, wet day in Plitvice, one storm on Hvar Island that stopped the catamarans from running, and a lot of rain in Dubrovnik. Hopefully the weather gods got it out of their system and this year will go back into "usually perfect" mode. :)

    (Though, I have to say it was pretty cool to be on Hvar Island when a storm blew in.)

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    This sounds like a nice trip.

    A few thoughts based on my experiences in Croatia and BiH:

    I think your kids would enjoy the wall in Ston which is very spectacular.

    <<As far as I know, land mines are still a risk in some remote places, but not of concern on the main roads you would be taking. >>
    One of the routes you could take between Dubrovnik and Mostar does have land mines. See my TR from 2010 for details.

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    Thank you, everyone, for all of the very helpful feedback!

    kja, we will check and double-check times for the moresca, would love to see it! Good to hear that you enjoyed Mostar so much, I am really excited about that part of the trip. Excited about all of it, obviously, but I think Mostar will provide a nice contrast to other places we’ll have seen. Thanks again for all of your time and help!

    Ackislander, the local boat excursions sound great. We were planning on visiting Lokrum Island from Dubrovnik (15 minutes). Is this the type of trip you meant?

    Scotia, thanks for the feedback re: Trogir. I do think having a full day there will be enjoyable for us.

    thursdaysd and Scotia, thanks for recommending I check the cruise ship's chedule. I had looked at it once before and just double-checked the dates we’ll be in Dubrovnik. Wed. and Thurs. (14th and 15th of May) are both “green.” We’ll do the walls and Old Town sites those days and save Lokrum Island for Friday (a “yellow” day). Do the cruise shippers tend to stay on the walls/ in Old Town? I was wondering if it matters what day/time of day we do the cable car. I toyed with the idea of Sarajevo but think we’ll have to save that for another trip. I think we’re set on doing two nights in Mostar. We’ll be arriving Sat. evening and departing Mon. morning and I think we’ll enjoy a full day there, between the Old Town, Stari Most, mosques, Ottoman houses, etc. If it feels like we have too much time on our hands, we can visit other towns in the area (Blagaj, Pocitelj, Medujugorje, anywhere we didn’t see on the preceding day’s drive). thursdaysd, you mentioned the demonstrations in Sarajevo and I’d heard there were also some in Mostar, so that’s something we’ll look into as we get ready to depart.

    rialtogrl, thanks for the tips re: the cruise shippers! I hope to do the Dubrovnik walls on Wed. late afternoon/early evening, our first day in Dubrovnik. It should be our best opportunity to see them (fewest people) and a nice way to start our time there. Thanks for your suggestions re: accommodation in Dubrovnik and the Bura Lines ferry from Trogir to Split. Sounds great! Also, I had heard that last year was rainier than normal. The Hvar Island storm sounds like a unique experience, but I’ll cross my fingers for better weather this year. :)

    apscoradiales, good to know about radar traps near Medjugorge! That made me smile. :) I still haven’t seen the Grand Canyon, either, having lived in the US for 35 years… but I’ll get there, and to Plitvice, one of these days. Thanks again for your feedback!

    Yorkshire, thanks for all of your input! I’m really excited about the few days we’ll have and get to explore our way from Dubrovnik to Mostar toTrogir. Will definitely report back later this spring! Thanks for advice re: booking accommodations in advance. We have the first three nights (Trogir) booked and will try line up the rest of our reservations soon. I hadn’t really considered Drvenik Veli but we may end up with extra time in Trogir (during our first few days there, or the trip’s final day) so will definitely look it a boat trip there! Hopefully we’ll get the “usually perfect weather”!! :)

    Vttraveler, thanks for the feedback. I think the kids will love the Ston wall, too (and so will we!). Good to know about the route with land mines. I looked through your TR… what a great trip and such a helpful and interesting report!

    Thanks again, everyone!!

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    I am glad you found the trip report interesting. It was a great trip, and we went back to BiH/Croatia in the fall of 2012 in order to see more of the area before our friend moved back to the U.S.

    In 2012 we were finally able to visit Mostar. We stayed at the Muslibegovic House which is a lovely historic place. I don't think they have rooms that would be good for a family but the museum section is worth visiting even if you cannot stay there. We found plenty to see in addition to the bridge and the shopping area. We were able to climb the minaret in one of the mosques and had a great view of the city. Your kids will probably be interested in the call to prayer.

    We stopped briefly in Blagaj on our way to Split and Pocitelj on our way back from the coast.

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    I too like your itinerary. It's very well thought out. With kids I'd definitely book all your nights ahead of time. And I wouldn't try to stuff too many stops/visits in. Travelling in Croatia is a little like going back in time. Taking it easy, being laid back, you feel the charm of the place. I loved Korcula and found it the most relaxing place I've been -- outside of Hawaii.

    Just south of Dubrovnik, through the Ploce gate, is the public beach, Banje. It's a mixture of sand and pebbles, good for kids.

    As for Plitvice, well, you always have to leave something out. Plan to come back -- for Plitvice and for Istria, more of the Dalmatian coast, the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, Slovenia,....

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    You are saying that you like National Park generally speaking. In this itinerary is hard include Plitvice lakes even they are "must see" in Croatia. So my advice is to visit national Park Mljet, my favorite island National park. You can rent a bike and spent all day long in this amazing NP.

    You can spent one day less in Korcula or Mostar!

    Have a nice vacation in Croatia!

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