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Is Mljet a reasonable substitute for Korcula?

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I was planning to spend two nights on Korcula (in late September), but am now thinking of not going there for several reasons: (1) We are already staying at a lot of different places. (2) It seems like the things to do in Korcula are all outside; not sure what we'd do if it's raining. (3) It takes a fair amount of time to get to the island and get off.

Our trip is beginning in Dubrovnik. I'm wondering whether I should add more time there and go to Mljet for a day as a substitute for Korcula. That way, we could decide near the last moment to go to Mljet on a day when the weather would be nice. We would like to do some bicycling there. The main problem is that it appears that if we take the catamaran to Polace, we would only have 5 hours on the island.

The itinerary I was planning on is below. (I posted this earlier as part of another thread). I'd welcome comments.

11 nights/10 full days in Croatia:
Tues, Sept. 20, 5 pm: Arr. Dubrovnik,
Dubrovnik (3 nights – Tues.-Thurs. nts.; 2 full days, day trip to Kotor or Mostar one of those days)
Fri.: Drive from Dubrovnik to Korcula (2 hrs. 46 min.)
Korcula (2 nights - Fri. & Sat. nts.)
Sun.: Drive from Korcula to Split (3 hrs. 19 min.)
Split/Trogir (2 nights - Sun. & Mon. nts.)
Tues.: Drive from Split to Zadar (2 hrs.), seeing Krka NP on the way
(going to Skradin, the SW entrance to the park adds only about 20 min.)
Zadar (1 night – Tues. nt.)
Wed.: Morning in Zadar, then drive to Plitvice (2 hrs. 12 min.)
Plitvice (1 night - Wed. nt)
Thurs. - Plitvice, then drive to Porec (4 hrs., 23 min) in afternoon
Porec (2 nts. - Thurs. & Fri. nts.; see Porec and visit other places on Istria on Fri.)
Saturday morning: ferry to Venice, then train (or rental car) from Venice to Bologna

I had in mind that we would take a guided bus tour to Mostar or Kotor while based in Dubrovnik. I considered trying to go to Mostar on our way from Dubrovnik to Korcula, but think that would take too much time. If we drop Korcula, perhaps we could stop in Mostar on the drive from Dubrovnik to Split. I still haven't decided between taking buses or renting a car for various parts of the trip.

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    >>Saturday morning: ferry to Venice, then train (or rental car) from Venice to Bologna<<

    I do not think there is a ferry on Oct 1.You need to revise your itinerary in regard to getting to Italy.

    >>Porec (2 nts. - Thurs. & Fri. nts.; see Porec and visit other places on Istria on Fri.)<<

    Rovinj is a better place than Porec to stay in Istria.

    >> Our trip is beginning in Dubrovnik. I'm wondering whether I should add more time there and go to Mljet for a day as a substitute for Korcula.<<

    No. I would add a night/day(1) to Split and take a day trip to Hvar (from Split) as a substitute for Korcula(2).With the other extra day you could drive from Dubrovnik to Mostar, spend the night in Mostar(1). Mostar is best as an overnight stop.

    Then:
    Tues, Sept. 20, 5 pm: Arr. Dubrovnik,
    Dubrovnik (3 nights – Tues,Wed,Thurs; 2 full days, day trip to Kotor one of those days)

    Fri.: Drive from Dubrovnik to Mostar (3 hrs). 1 night in Mostar

    Sat.: Drive from Mostar to Split (2.5 hrs)
    Split (3 nights-Sat, Sun, Mon; 2 full days, day trip to Hvar one of those days)

    Tues......................................Continue your proposed itinerary OR drive from Split to Plitvice for 2 nights- Tue, Wed (3-1/4 hrs). Plan on arriving 5-6pm on Tue. This would give you time to see more of Split/Trogir in the am, or stop in Zadar. I would skip Krka NP on the way (You will see better in Plitvice). Also you will have 1 full day at Plitvice which is the best way to see Plitvice. Plitvice (2 nights-Tue, Wed )

    Drive Plitvice to Rovinj(4.5 hrs) for 2 nights
    Rovinj ( 2 nights-Thu, Fri)

    Sat- Make your way to Italy.

    Nights
    Dubrovnik (3)
    Mostar (1)
    Split (3)
    Plitvice (2)
    Rovinj (2)

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    Ditto for what dugi suggested.

    In Mostar I suggest you look at Hotel Emen. Very nice and delicious breakfast. We also had a great dinner there. Good location.

    Also strongly recommend Rovinj vs Porec.

    Buses vs car? I recommend a car for Croatia. Gives so much freedom and versatility. I drove in Croatia as a senior woman in 2009 (really senior) and even had to do the navigation myself as my husband's eye's were not good and did fine. Had a good atlas as a map. Leave the car in Split when you do the day trip to Havar.

    If you happen to be Catholic I would highly recommend that you stop for a few hours in Medugorje enroute to Mostar. It is a beautiful Marian shrine and apparition site of the Blessed Mother.

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    Thanks very much, dugi_otok and nannibray, for the suggestions. They're very helpful!!

    Given everywhere else we're planning to go, is it worth trying to spend a day to visit Kotor while we're in Dubrovnik?

    Hvar sounded a bit upscale for our tastes, but perhaps it's more convenient. A day trip is probably a good idea. If the weather's not good, we can skip it. I'd like to do some kayaking or bike riding there. Is it good for those? We are not interested in just sitting on a beach.

    I had read nice things about Krka, but perhaps it's too similar to Plitvice.

    Is Zadar worth a visit?

    If we stay two nights in Plitvice, is there enough to do for a second night? I got the impression that Plitvice could be done in about 3/4 of a day. With an early start, which everyone recommends, I thought we'd have time to drive to Istria after visiting the park. I'd appreciate suggestions of where to stay near Plitvice.

    The reason I was thinking of Porec was that the ferry for Venice leaves there later than it does from Rovinj, and the Atlas Kompas ferry from there left later, was a shorter duration, and cost less than the Venezia Lines ferry. Nonetheless, I have definitely gotten the impression that Rovinj is preferable, so it's probably worth giving up an extra hour of sleep. The ferry for two is fairly expensive (€ 146.00). Cost aside, I am thinking now that it might be better to drive from Rovinj to Bologna. Michelin says that it should take 4 hrs. 47 min. That's less time than ferry (6:15-11:00 am) + train. That way we don't have to worry about getting up super early and about getting luggage to ferry terminal in Rovinj, from ferry terminal in Venice to train station in Venice, and from train station in Bologna to our destination. What are the downsides of driving instead of taking ferry and train?

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    We only stayed 1 night in Plitvice...plenty. We arrived in the evening, slept.
    The next morn we arrived pretty much at OPENING time for the park. That way we were able to "get a jump" ahead of any tour buses. Walked all the park with not many people ahead of us, took the boat across the lake, finished up leisurely in early afternoon. Had plenty of time for the drive to Rovinj arriving WAY before dark. We were there in late May so had lots of daylight hours. Plenty of time to drive to Istria after Plitvice. At Plitvice we stayed in a B&B..so-so. Just booked it when we arrived.

    KOTOR...We were staying in Dubrovnik for 3 nights. On the last day we picked up our rental car, drove to Kotor for the day, parked and slept in
    Dubrovnik and then headed for Mostar the next morning. Worked well.
    Had no trouble with border crossings or driving.

    VENICE...Driving sounds great to me, but you must consider the cost of dropping the rental car off in another country! I bet the surcharge for doing that will be hefty.
    When our daughter did the trip. They took a BUS from Venice to Pula and then picked up their car in Pula.
    Perhaps you could drop your car in Pula and take bus to Venice. Don't know the cost of the bus.

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    Thanks very much, nannibray. Did you enjoy Kotor? How much time do you think it merits? Michelin says it's a drive of 2 hrs. 16 min. from Dubrovnik. Do you think it would be crazy to rent the car in Dubrovnik in the morning, drive to Kotor in the morning, spend time in Kotor, and then drive from Kotor to Mostar in the afternoon (Michelin says 4 hrs. for this)? (This would be only 1-3/4 hrs. more driving than going back to Dubrovnik, and we wouldn't have to do the 3 hr. drive to Mostar the next day.)

    I booked a place in Dubrovnik inside the city walls (Apartment Peppino). However, I am guessing that it doesn't have parking, and, even that aside, I am having second thoughts about it because you have to walk up 80 stairs to get to the building and there's noone to help with luggage. I'm going to keep looking. I've heard that it's a good idea to stay right outside the city walls. Do you recall where the car rental place was?

    I will look into drop-off charges for renting the car in Dubrovnik and dropping it in Bologna.

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    After picking up the car in Dub, doing Kotor , the drive to Moster would be doable. We did not leave for Dub unDub in time for dinner, or before. (You are correct about parking in Dub).
    To tell you the truth, I was a bit "underwhelmed" by Kotor but was bound and determined to do it.

    In Dub we stayed at the Villa Adriatica. LOVED the location!!! If you book it, try to get room #1. Pricy for what you get but the VIEW is next to none.! JUST outside the Ploce gate. (the most southernly gate) Maybe you can find it on Trip Advisor. I would definitely stay there again if I returned.

    We rented from Auto-europe. Picked up the car at the Hilton.(Just outside the most northerly gate) Rental was from Sixt.

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    >> Given everywhere else we're planning to go, is it worth trying to spend a day to visit Kotor while we're in Dubrovnik? <<

    It would not to me. You only have 2 full days in Dubrovnik. There are plenty of activities in Dubrovnik.

    http://www.dubrovnik-travel.net/dubrovnik-sights/

    http://www.dubrovnik-travel.net/day-trips-from-dubrovnik/

    https://www.partner.viator.com/en/10248/tours/Dubrovnik/Montenegro-Day-Trip-from-Dubrovnik/d904-2562MN

    You might even do sea kayaking in Dubrovnik for a half or full day.

    http://www.dubrovnik-travel.net/day-trips-from-dubrovnik/

    >> Hvar sounded a bit upscale for our tastes, but perhaps it's more convenient. A day trip is probably a good idea. If the weather's not good, we can skip it. I'd like to do some kayaking or bike riding there. Is it good for those? We are not interested in just sitting on a beach. <<

    The ferry ride is part of the enjoyment of visiting croatian islands.I do not think that you will have that much time to do that much on a day trip.You will want to explore Hvar town,have a meal,and enjoy the crystal clear water. But I know you can rent bikes there if that's what you want.

    >> I had read nice things about Krka, but perhaps it's too similar to Plitvice.<<

    Yes.

    >> Is Zadar worth a visit? <<

    For your limited time, I would skip Zadar. Even as a stop on your drive Split to Plitvice, it is not worth it. It is a city, some distance from the freeway, and if you do not know where you are going, and what you are looking for, where to park, may be too frustrating for just a lunch stop.

    >> If we stay two nights in Plitvice, is there enough to do for a second night? I got the impression that Plitvice could be done in about 3/4 of a day. With an early start, which everyone recommends, I thought we'd have time to drive to Istria after visiting the park. I'd appreciate suggestions of where to stay near Plitvice.<<

    To me it is a toss up. I just do not like to hike 6-8 hours, and then drive 4-1/2 hours to a new destination. Also I do not like too many 1 night stops. Having said that, there is nothing magical about a second night in a Plitvice hotel. As far as hotels I like the convenience of staying in the park at the Hotel Jezero. Though on my next trip I am planning on staying at the Hotel Degenija which is 2-1/2 miles from the park. You can find these on booking.com along with 300+ B&B type locations.

    >> What are the downsides of driving instead of taking ferry and train(Rovinj to Bologna)? <<

    Renting a car in Croatia and dropping it off in Italy is not a practical option because of astronomic drop off charge ( Hertz is $2500- not a typo). You would need to return the car in Pula and take a bus/train to Venice or Trieste and rent a car for your drive to Italy.

    >> I booked a place in Dubrovnik inside the city walls (Apartment Peppino). However, I am guessing that it doesn't have parking, and, even that aside, I am having second thoughts about it because you have to walk up 80 stairs to get to the building and there's noone to help with luggage. I'm going to keep looking. I've heard that it's a good idea to stay right outside the city walls. Do you recall where the car rental place was? <<

    I like staying inside the walls of the old town. On my last trip we rented an apartment in Dubrovnik using this agency owned by a young American couple, Andrew & Michelle Kehoe, who live in Dubrovnik.
    They are very helpful and very easy to deal with. There is good info on their website.

    http://www.dubrovnikapartmentsource.com/page.asp?intNodeID=860&intPageID=859

    Our apartment was near a restaurant misnamed Taj Mahal (Bosnian food) which we enjoyed for 2 dinners.

    If you are lucky you may hear some Croatian folk music while you are on vacation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbYqb0I1Wnc

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    Thanks so much, dugi_otok and nannibray. I so appreciate your help (and your sticking with me even though I'm no longer planning to go to Korcula or Mljet).

    I think I'll skip Kotor. Neither of you seemed enthralled with it.

    For getting from Rovinj to Bologna, my latest thought is to take a bus from Rovinj to Trieste (7:40-10:00 am, 91 kn pp., on Bus Croatia; and then to rent a car in Trieste and drop it in Bologna the next day ($117). I need to investigate whether there is a car rental place near the bus station in Trieste.

    Here's my latest thinking about itinerary:

    Arr. DBV 3:29 pm Tues., Sept. 20
    Dubrovnik 3 nts. (9/20-22) - While there 1-1/2 days walking tours and museums, ½ day kayaking
    9/23 - Rent car, drive to Mostar (3 hrs.)
    Mostar 1 nt. (9/23)
    9/24 – Drive from Mostar to Split (2 hrs. 35 min.)
    Split or Trogir 4 nts. (9/24-27) - While there visit Split, Trogir, Hvar
    Early 9/28 – Drive from Split to Krka NP (1 hr. 15 min.), visit Krka, drive from Krka to Plitvice (2 hrs. 17min.)
    Plitvice 1 nt (9/28)
    9/29 - Visit N.P. then drive to Rovinj (4 hrs., 23 min) in afternoon
    Rovinj 2 nts. (9/29-30) - While there visit various places on Istria
    10/1 - Go from Rovinj to Bologna (either ferry to Venice, then train or rental car from Venice to Bologna; or bus to Trieste and rental car from there to Bologna)

    I still would like to visit Krka NP even if it's similar to Plitvice. There seems to be plenty of time to do this in this itinerary.

    This itinerary includes 4 nights in Trogir or Split. Which would be a better place to be based? We will have a car, so will be able to get around but will also need to stay somewhere where we can park. If 4 nights in Trogir or Spit seems like too much, could subtract a day from there and add one to Dubrovnik or Rovinj.

    BTW, I did find a car rental from Dubrovnik to Bologna for 9 days for $682 thru Sixt. This is considerably less than what dugi_otok found from Hertz, but quite a bit more than the $236 I'm quoted for 8 days of rental from Dubrovnik to Rovinj. Are there any issues to be considered in driving into Bosnia to go to Mostar?

    I look forward to your comments. Thanks in advance for those.

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    It looks like your trip is coming together.

    >> I still would like to visit Krka NP even if it's similar to Plitvice. There seems to be plenty of time to do this in this itinerary. <<

    Yes there is time to see Krka NP. http://www.np-krka.hr/en/
    You currently are planning to visit Krka NP on the morning of 9/28. This would give you time to visit Skadinski Buk waterfall.The most time efficient way to do this is to take the Lozovac entrance, park in the free parking lot, take the shuttle bus to the waterfall( 10 min ride-leaves every 15 min). If you have more time you can use the Skradin entrance,then at the visitor center take the boat to the waterfall ( 20 min ride- leaves every hour).

    >> This itinerary includes 4 nights in Trogir or Split. Which would be a better place to be based? We will have a car, so will be able to get around but will also need to stay somewhere where we can park. If 4 nights in Trogir or Spit seems like too much, could subtract a day from there and add one to Dubrovnik or Rovinj. <<

    Both places are ok for a 3 night stay in a 11 night itinerary which includes a day trip to Hvar and a visit to Krka NP.I favor Split-more accomodation and eating options, more happening, more to see, more convenient to the ferry to/from Hvar. I do not favor either for a 4 night stay. Split is a large port city, a little rough around the edges, while Trogir is a poor cousin to Hvar town.

    So I favor reducing your 4 night stay in Split/Trogir from 4 to 3 nights. Some options to do this:

    1. Add a night to Dubrovnik. This would be the choice if you reconsider the need to visit Montenegro as a day trip- Kotor and beyond.

    2. Add a night to Rovinj.This would be the choice if you wanted to spend a day visiting the hill towns of interior Istria. For me, it isn't Tuscany.

    3. Spend the night of Sep 27 in Zadar (or any location between Krka NP and Zadar). This would give you a lot of options that you could decide on Sep 27-28:

    Early 9/27 – Drive from Split to Krka NP (1 hr. 15 min.), visit Krka, stay as long as you like. Drive from Krka to Zadar (1-1/4 hrs)
    Zadar 1 nt (9/27)

    9/28 - Drive from Zadar to Plitvice (1 hr 20 min). You have the option leave Zadar early and visit Plitvice on this day.
    Plitvice 1 nt (9/28)

    9/29 - Early Drive to Rovinj (4 hrs., 23 min) Option to visit hill towns in the afternoon in route to Rovinj
    Rovinj 2 nts. (9/29-30)

    10/1 - Go from Rovinj to Bologna (either ferry to Venice, then train or rental car from Venice to Bologna; or bus to Trieste and rental car from there to Bologna)

    >> Are there any issues to be considered in driving into Bosnia to go to Mostar? <<

    Yes. You must disclose this to the rental car company. They will authorize this and give you required paperwork-insurance $$.

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    Well, again...I like the suggestions made by dugi.
    Might I add:
    Subtract 1 night from Split/Trogar.
    We stayed in Split...right in the old town only steps away from Diocletians Palace. We parked in the free lot by the train station and "rolled" our luggage
    the short distance (about 1/4 mi or less). This puts you in close proximity of the ferry port for the day trip to Hvar. Lovely to see the night lights of the Split Riva.

    I would add the extra night to Rovinj. (have not been to Zadar however) so perhaps adding that would suit you. ) Hill towns: We visited Motovun,Porec, and Groznjan on a Sunday. massive crowds in Porec Cathedral on a Sunday morning (it was during Mass and the church was packed so if visiting Porec, either avoid a Sunday or go in the later afternoon when the masses are over).
    From the Rovinj harbor front we took a ferry to Red Island for a few hours.
    Lovely to see Rovinj from the Sea coming and going amid the sailboats and yachts.

    In Havar we enjoyed a tour of the Franciscan monestery. We also climbed the hill to the Fortress which gave a beautiful view of Havar Town and the sea.

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    Thanks again to both of you. I will subtract a day from Split and decide where to spend it instead. Probably Rovinj. (Would rather not have a one-night stay in Zadar.) It looks like there are some good hiking and cycling possibilities in Istria.

    Do you have any reactions for my idea of getting from Rovinj to Bologna by taking a bus from Rovinj to Trieste (7:40-10:00 am, 91 kn pp., on Bus Croatia) and then renting a car in Trieste and dropping it in Bologna the next day ($117).

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    >>Do you have any reactions for my idea of getting from Rovinj to Bologna by taking a bus from Rovinj to Trieste (7:40-10:00 am, 91 kn pp., on Bus Croatia) and then renting a car in Trieste and dropping it in Bologna the next day ($117).<<

    This looks like the best plan for getting to Bologna. I think Enterprise has locations in Dubrovnik and Rovinj. There are several car rental companies in Trieste, Hertz, Avis, etc. I do not know if they are close to the bus station.At most a short taxi ride.

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    One should not forget Sibenik. It's lovely. My most quintessential evening happened in Skradin. A small town with incredible charm and few tourists. I'd love to relive that evening atmosphere again there.

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    I am posting this here because I know this is where dugi_otok and nannibray know to look for me, even though we are no longer planning to go to Korcula or Mljet. I may post something similar with a different title also, adding Slovenia as another tag.

    I am considering a change in plans, skipping Mostar, and substituting Zagreb and Slovenia for Istria. I just read a lukewarm review of Mostar and definitely want to go to Zagreb and Slovenia some time, and am thinking I should do that now rather than saving it for a future trip.

    Here's the itinerary I'm now considering.

    Arr. DBV 3:29 pm Tues., Sept. 20
    Dubrovnik 3 nts. (9/20-22) - While there 1-1/2 days walking tours and museums, ½ day kayaking
    Fri. 9/23 - Rent car, drive from Dubrovnik to Split (3 hrs. 36 min.), visit Omis and Cetina Valley Nature Park along the way
    Split 3 nts. (9/23-25) - While there visit Split, Trogir, Hvar
    Mon. 9/26 – Start early, drive from Split to Krka NP (1 hr. 15 min.); visit Krka, Sibinek, and Skradin; drive from Krka to Plitvice (2 hrs. 17min.)
    Plitvice 1 nt (9/26)
    Tues. 9/27 - Visit N.P. then drive to Zagreb (2 hrs., 41 min) in afternoon
    Tues. 9/27- Sat. 10/1 (4 nts.) – Zagreb, Ljubliana, and Julian Alps
    Sat. 10/1 - Go from Ljubliana to Bologna (perhaps bus to Trieste [1-1/2 hrs.] and rental car from there to Bologna)

    If we can get to Split by early afternoon, we could perhaps cut Split to two nights, adding one more to Zagreb/Ljubliana.

    If we decide to make this change, I need to decide about transportation. As I think you know, our ultimate destination is Bologna, Italy. Because of the high cost of a Dubrovik-Bologna rental, I had been planning to drop the Dubrovnik-rented car in Rovinj, take a bus from there to Trieste, and then renting a car in Trieste to drive to Bologna. If we decide to go to Slovenia instead of Istria, our immediately previous stop would be Plitvice Lakes. What are the considerations in deciding between rental car vs. train/bus for this itinerary? I think we could keep the rental car between Dubrovnik and Zagreb without any problem. If the border crossings from Croatia to Slovenia or from Slovenia to Italy drive up the rental-car costs substantially, we could take trains or buses for those parts.

    Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.

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    I've done some more research about this. It appears that there is no extra cost to drop car in Ljubljana. Sixt is quoting $214 to pick up car in at Hotel Rixos in Dubrovnik the morning of 9/23 and drop it at Ljubljana train station the morning of 10/1. This seems very reasonable. Am I missing something?

    My current thinking is that after visiting Plitvice on 9/27 we would drive to Zagreb (2 hrs. 40 min.). Spend two nights in Zagreb, seeing the city on 9/28. Then on 9/29 drive from Zagreb to Ljubljana (2 hrs.) or perhaps all of the way to the Bled area (an additional hour or so). Spend the nights of 9/29 and 9/30 in Ljbuljana -- one day for town, one day for the mountains (weather may help us decide which day for which). We could even drop the car a day earlier if we do mountains first then city. Then on 10/1, take bus from Ljubljana to Trieste (about 1-1/2 hrs., e.g., on Eurolines 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, 28 Euros pp) and then rent car in Trieste and drive to Bologna.

    Sixt seems less expensive than other companies, and they have an office in Ljubljana but not Rovinj. Also they have pick up at hotel in Dubrovnik just outside the Pile gate, whereas for most other companies it appears that you have to go to the airport.

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    I know I’m jumping in late – sorry about that! I think you’ve gotten some excellent advice, but of course, we each have different preferences. (And isn’t that wonderful? Wouldn’t it be awful if we all liked the same things?) So just a few comments:

    While Rovinj is a more popular tourist destination than Porec, I’m not sure I would call it “better” – I think that would depend on your interests. I stayed in heavily touristed Rovinj, and enjoyed it, but when I stopped in Porec, I realized that it might have suited me just a bit better as it seemed a bit more “real life” and because the Basilica was, for me, a far higher priority than anything in Rovinj. Just an impression though – I might even feel differently tomorrow!

    I didn’t visit Mljet, but I, personally, FAR preferred Korcula to Hvar. In fact, I was glad that I spent only a few hours in Hvar Town, which I found WAY too upscale and trendy for my tastes. YMMV.

    Insofar as possible, I strongly recommend public transportation rather than a rental car – a driver will need to focus attention on the roads, while passengers can sit back and enjoy every bit of the outstanding vistas to be seen in this scenic country!

    Kotor could be worth your time IF (IMO) it compliments the other destinations you end up including. With a short trip that includes Dubrovnik, I think it really depends on what else you decide to include. Do NOT try to visit Kotor and Mostar on the same day. Kotor really merits a full day from Dubrovnik. Mostar really deserves an overnight – is is so much more enjoyable after daytrippers leave!

    Re: the Krka National Park: Despite the similarities, I was surprised by the differences from the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The Plitvice Lakes are, indeed, lakes, connected by gorgeous waterfalls, and part of the beauty of the park is that not only are there many, many waterfalls, but also, the lakes seem to be different colors because each has unique biota that produce these differences in color. In contrast, Krka's most famous falls are along a river and the main set of falls are broader and contain more cascades (of varying heights and widths) than those of the Plitvice Lakes. You might do a google image search to see the differing images. :-)

    <More to follow -- I ran into a posting problem...>

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    The best way to see the Plitvice Lakes is, IMO, 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. I spent closer to 8 hours…. Note that, IME, you don’t actually need to start at the crack of dawn – you can start as soon as the park opens or – as I did – wait until after 10 a.m., when the huge groups of tourists head out. I followed behind them and found that I was often on my own. Just my experience….

    I also stayed at, and enjoyed, the Villa Adriatica in Dubrovnik. It has its quirks, but the location and views are unbeatable!

    Of course Zadar is worth a visit – if it interests you. Only you can decide that. But I agree that your time in the area is so limited that it only makes sense if you have a particular strong interest.

    Consider taking the bus from Dubrovnik to Mostar – great views that you can actually see! And then from Mostar to Split….

    Re: Split vs. Trogir: Your call! I enjoyed Trogir, and thought it worth an overnight and every minute of the 4 hours or so it took me to explore each and every nook and cranny in this tiny, tiny place. And I loved Split – among my favorites in Croatia! So much to see and do, such vibrant and lively areas, a gorgeous lungamare and so many, many charming public squares! So I would choose Split – but that’s me. And although I generally agree with dugi_otok, I must disagree about these cities: I loved Split, and if it has rough edges, I didn’t see them. As already noted, I disliked Hvar Town. I found Trogir charming! Far smaller than Hvar Town, but with extraordinarily well preserved stone carvings, so much more interesting to me, and much less offensive, all at once! :-) So for me, the choice would be Split with absolutely no hesitation or question, and if not Split, Trogir would earn MY vote over Hvar Town any day. JMO.

    I envy 4 nights in Trogir / Split. In contrast, I was ready to leave Rovinj after just 2 nights – and that included visits to Porec, Montovun, and any number of other Istrian towns. YMMV.

    And just some notes about your lates (May 28) plan:
    • Consider using public transportation from Dubrovnik to Split!
    • I would not consider 3 nights sufficient for Split, Trogir, and Hvar.
    • Only 3 days for Zagreb, Ljubljana, and the Julian Alps? That doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

    “What are the considerations in deciding between rental car vs. train/bus for this itinerary?"

    I always prefer public transportation, if for no other reason than the opportunities you will have to see how local people interact with one another. For me, that’s a key component of my travels abroad. May be not for you….

    “Spend two nights in Zagreb, seeing the city on 9/28”

    Of course you can’t see Zagreb in one day, but you can see a few selected sites. Plan accordingly.

    Sorry for the late input (I’ve been traveling) and hope you find some value in my comments.

    Enjoy!

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    Just when I thought my recent threads had nearly gone dead, I get some wonderful replies. I was planning to post anyway to this one because I’ve had some new thoughts. Near the end I will respond to kja’s questions and then after that list my current thinking about itinerary.

    I am back to considering Mljet (as a day trip from Dobrovnik) or Korcula (as a day trip from Split) instead of Hvar (as a day trip from Split) for our island trip. I would really like to do an easy bike ride (relatively flat, smooth surface, with little or no car traffic), but a scenic one, when we visit one of these islands, and Hvar doesn’t sound as good as the other two for this. I wrote to one of the bike rental shops in Hvar to get advice about routes, and the person responded that the flatter rides all have traffic and the others are quite hilly. By contrast, Mljet sounds the best in this regard. One can rent a bike near the ferry stop in Polace and then ride (or hike if that looks like the better option the particular day we go) to the lakes on a road with no cars and ride around the lakes. The time of year we would be going (late Sept.) the ferry arrives in Polace at 10:55 am and leaves to go back to Dubrovnik at 4:00 pm. That would give us five hours on the island, which should be sufficient. We could have more time on Korcula (about 8-1/2 hours) and even longer on Hvar (about 10-1/2 hrs.) If we decide to go to Mljet instead of Hvar, I would add a day and night to Dubrovnik, subtract and day and night from Split, and pick up the car a day later. If we decide to go to Korcula (as a day trip from Split) instead of to Hvar, hotel and car plans could stay the same. I’d love to hear from someone who’s been to these islands, especially people who have bicycled on them.

    kja – Thanks for your replies. Re: mode of transportation, I can tell from your posts that you are a big fan of public transportation. However, we’d like to have a car for much of the trip for the flexibility it provides to visit sights along the way (e.g., Omis, Krka N.P.) and so that we don’t have to worry about transferring luggage and where to keep when we make these stops. A number of posters feels that a car is a good way to get around Croatia and Slovenia.

    I have decided against going to Kotor, Mostar, and Istria and going to Zagreb, Ljubljana, and the Bled area instead. I know that the first three would be wonderful, but I have always wanted to go to Slovenia, and even though our time there will be short, this seems like a good time to do so. We plan to do (free) walking tours of Zagreb and Ljubljana to get overviews of the cities and points of view from locals. I hope we will have an opportunity to go to this part of the world again and see many of the things we will miss this time.

    Arr. DBV 3:29 pm Tues., Sept. 20
    Dubrovnik 3 nts. (9/20-22) - While there 1-1/2 days walking tours and museums, ½ day kayaking
    Fri. 9/23 - Rent car, drive from Dubrovnik to Split (3 hrs. 36 min.), visit Omis and Cetina Valley Nature Park along the way
    Split 3 nts. (9/23-25) - While there visit Split, Trogir, Hvar
    Mon. 9/26 – Start early, drive from Split to Krka NP (1 hr. 15 min.); visit Krka, Sibinek, and Skradin; drive from Krka to Plitvice (2 hrs. 17min.)
    Plitvice 1 nt. (9/26)
    Tues. 9/27 - Visit N.P. then drive to Zagreb (2 hrs. 41 min) in afternoon
    Zagreb 2 nts. (9/27-28) – See Zagreb on 9/28
    Thurs., 9/29 – Drive to Ljubliana or straight to Lake Bled and Julian Alps
    Ljubljana 2 nts. (9/29-30) – While there see the city and go to Lake Bled and Julian Alps
    Sat. 10/1 - Go from Ljubliana to Bologna (probably Go Opti to Trieste (1-1/4 hrs.) and rental car from there to Bologna (3 hrs. 15 min.). Park car after renting, have lunch in Trieste and see a few sights, and then drive to Bologna, stopping along the way to buy groceries or doing that the next morning.

    As noted above, I’m considering substituting Korcula for Hvar, or adding a day and night to Dubrovnik (and subtracting same from Split) and making a day trip from Dubrovnik to Mljet instead of to Korcula (from Split).

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    From your description, it does sound like Mljet would be your best choice for a bike ride.

    My impression is that your plan is do-able, although some of your days are quite packed, so you'll probably want to be prepared to adjust your plans on the fly. You should see some wonderful things, though -- enjoy!

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    Thank you, kja. I know that our itinerary is rather "packed." However, we will have time to rest once we get to Bologna. I meant to mention to you that I have seen your suggestion about how best to visit Plitvice N.P. and plan to do it that way. Also, I have made a point of booking lodgings for places we visit after Dubrovnik that have parking, so having a car will not be a problem in that regard. Lastly, I see that you recommend fairly long stays in Split. I would like to know what you recommend doing/seeing there. Thanks!

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    Wearing oneself out is one thing -- I'm happy to do that! Running out of time is quite another, and that's something I hate.

    As for Split, the Diocletian Palace, Cathedral, and Baptistry are all, IMO, quite extraordinary. In addition, Split's produce market was one of my favorite in that part of the world, and it's fish market was interesting, too (though I thought the one in Ljubljana better). The lungamare is stunning and the city has any number of wonderful public squares that are great for people watching or enjoying a beverage or just admiring the diversity of architecture and architectural ornamentation in this city with its rich and varied history. I thought the views from the nearby hill, Marjan, stunning -- easily worth the climb. And the city has an array of decent (if not outstanding) museums for those with interests in the arts, history, archeology, etc. I thought the Ivan Meštrović Gallery (and associated Kaštelet) the best of them, but that undoubtedly reflects my personal interests. Trogir itself easily merits 4 hours or so, plus the time to get there and back.

    For good coverage of all these options, and your options in the other cities you plan to visit, consult the Rough Guide, which was BY FAR the best of the half-dozen guidebooks I used when planning my time in the area.

    Hope that helps!

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    Thanks, kja I have the Rough Guide. I bought it on your recommendation.

    Have you tried kayaking at Split or Trogir? I'm debating whether to go kayaking while in Dubrovnik, or while in Split or Trogir. If we do the former, we would spend 4 nights in Dubrovnik and 2 in Split. If the latter, 3 and 3.

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    Sorry, but no -- I didn't kayak while in the area. In late Sept., will weather matter? If not, I would think the views from the water more impressive around Dubrovnik, with its walls....

    If you plan to cycle Mljet (from Dubrovnik) and aren't arriving until the 20th, I would think you would want at least 4 nights in Dubrovnik, which would give you just over 3 days: I for Mljet, a day for the walls and Buza Bar and sites of the city itself (which, depending on your jet lag, might take 1.5 days), a half day day for Lokrum -- to which you could add your time kayaking. Of course, that would give you only 1 day for Split and Trogir. Or you would, I think, need to trim your aspirations for Dubrovnik, or for things to see en route to or from Split....

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    If we kayak near Dubrovnik, that would mean 4 nights/3 days for Dubrovnik. I have in mind that we will tour the city one day (walking tours of the old city and of the walls), go kayaking and to Mljet the other two days, weather permitting. Since Dubrovnik is our first destination (after flying from Los Angeles), we may, as you note, not be good for much the first day. That would mean 2 nights and 1 full day for Split/Trogir.

    I have heard many people talk about the Buza Bar. What exactly is so special about it? I've also heard that there are several places with the same name. Which one is the "real" one?

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    What makes the Buza Bars special is that they are OUTSIDE Dubrovnik's walls, and so afford unique and stunning views. (The walls themselves have no bars, cafes, or restaurants -- or at least they didn't when I was there.) There are two Buza Bars; the original -- and the one that I (and many others) found most worthy -- is reached by a small entry through the wall near the high, back part, a bit closer to the Lokrum side than not, as I recall. Look for a small sign that reads "cold drinks" and points to a small passageway through the outer wall. Do a google-images search, and a google search, too, for that matter. Make sure you have good footing when you go -- OSHA would not approve!

    Truth in advertising -- I didn't go to the 2nd Buza Bar. From it's location, I'm sure the view is nice. I can't imagine it matching the original. Just a guess.

    No need to join tours of Dubrovnik if you have a good guidebook with you. With as little time as you have, I would think that you would do better on your own, and at your own pace. JMO.

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    >>I have heard many people talk about the Buza Bar. What exactly is so special about it? I've also heard that there are several places with the same name. Which one is the "real" one? <<

    One of the best descriptions, with photos, of the Buza Bar can be found in the trip report of MaitaiTom

    "This might sound a little dramatic, but at a few minutes before four in the afternoon on a gorgeous afternoon, June 5, 2008, my life changed forever. Tracy, Kim, Mary and I stepped through a little hole in the Dubrovnik Wall, walked down some steps and were thrust into a place that I modestly refer to as the Eighth Wonder of The Modern World. We had entered the most mystical spot on earth. Others know it simply as the Buza Bar.

 Yes, I’d seen pictures. Yes, I’d read accounts by people who had visited, but nothing could have prepared me for this wine and beer bar set in the ultimate paradise."

    http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/chapter-eleven-dubrovnik-the-buza-bar/

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    >>I am back to considering Mljet (as a day trip from Dobrovnik) or Korcula (as a day trip from Split) instead of Hvar (as a day trip from Split) for our island trip. I would really like to do an easy bike ride (relatively flat, smooth surface, with little or no car traffic), but a scenic one, when we visit one of these islands, and Hvar doesn’t sound as good as the other two for this.<<

    Mljet is worth a day trip if easy cycling is a must. We are a cycling family (My grandson is currently road racing throughout Europe with the USA Jr cycling team). If you choose Korcula instead, I would spend the night. Since you dropped Mostar visiting Korcula after Dubrovnik makes sense. Following is the Krilo ferry schedule:

    Dubrovnik 16:00
    Miljet(Pomena) 17:15-17:20
    Korcula 17:50-18:00
    Hvar Town 19:05-19:15
    Brac(Milnaa) 19:45-19:50
    Split 20:20

    http://krilo.hr/en/sailing_schedule.html

    So you would take the ferry Dubrovnik to Korcula and then the next day take the ferry Korcula to Split. This gives you more time in Dubrovnik, 24 hr on Korcula and then 2 nights(1 whole day) in Split/Trogir. Pick up car in Split.

    Additional recommendation for Ljubljana. B&B Samic which has secure free parking.
    http://slamic.si/

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    I'm late to this thread, but just want to add that I found Korcula one of the most relaxing and memorable places I've ever been. (In relaxation, just trailing assorted spots in Hawaii.) It's a tiny and cute town.

    Now relaxation may not be what you seek. And a day trip visit wouldn't be so relaxing.

    But slowing down and taking life easy, enjoying the beautiful Adriatic coast, is what I liked best about Croatia.

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