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Sailing Itinerary- Northern Croatia

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My husband and I and four friends (all in our late 20's) are traveling to Croatia in mid July and are narrowing down our itinerary, but would love some guidance from someone who has traveled to Northern Croatia!

What islands would you suggest going to leaving from Sukosan (near Zadar) for a 7 day sailing trip?

Would you take a full day to see the Piltvice Lakes, or go to Krka since it's by a marina?

Also to get to Sukosan from Dubrovnik, would you recommend flying or taking the train?

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    You can't take a train to Dubrovnik, but you can take a bus - but it's about 8.5 hours which may not be pleasant. (Buses in Croatia are decent though.) The only practical way to fly from Zadar to Dubrovnik is Croatia Airlines, the national airline of Croatia; check their website to see if there are any direct flights or whether you would have to connect in Zagreb. (There may be direct flights certain days of the week only.) If so, you might as well just take the bus; when you factor in getting to/from the airports the travel time will be almost the same most likely.

    You could rent a car in Zadar and just drive down and maybe detour over to Plitvice Lakes (which is amazing, but it's up to you whether you think you have time to do see it).

    You can also take a ferry from Zadar all the way down to Dubrovnik I think but it might take a long time that way too - not sure.

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    I'm so glad I didn't have to choose between the Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Parks! Both are wonderful, and there are similarities (though I was at least as aware of their differences).

    As Andrew suggests, it really depends on how much time you are willing to spend.

    If you go to Plitvice Lakes, expect a drive of about 2 hours each way to drive from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes; be sure to add in some time to park, get oriented, etc. Depending on how early you are willing to start and how late you are willing to return and how much time you want to spend at the Lakes, you might be able to visit as a day trip. FWIW, I spent a bit over 6 hours at the lakes; that worked well for me, though I would have welcomed another hour or so. The park service has recommended routes of 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours; they will help people tailor their visit to their time limits and interests.

    To visit the Krka National Park, you would (I assume) go to the marina in Skradin. From there, you can take a boat or walk to the park - I walked there and took the boat back, and wish I had done it in the reverse direction because the walk took just enough longer that I was too late to visit the upper lakes and monastery. I think I spent about 2 hours in the lower part of the park, not counting the time to get to and from the park from Skradin (maybe 30 or 45 minutes each way? Sorry but I don't remember how long it took.) If you want to visit the upper part of the park, try to get a schedule in advance - the boats only leave a few times a day.

    How to compare?!?

    Both are beautiful places with exquisite travertine waterfalls and stunningly clear waters that differ in color depending on depth and sunlight and who knows what else. The differences in the colors of water are particularly striking at the Plitvice Lakes, which are, in fact, a series of lakes that are connected by (and sometimes edged by) waterfalls. In contrast, the lower part of Krka NP is the area around the waterfalls formed by a river without intervening lakes, so you walk up one side and down the other.

    Another difference is in swimming access. At least as I recall about the conditions when I was there in 2009, no swimming was permitted in the Plitvice Lakes. Swimming was permitted in Krka NP in the area beneath its widest falls (Skradinski Buk, which is near the lower entrance to the park - the one nearest Skradin).

    I thought the waterfalls more impressive at Krka NP (if perhaps more like other waterfalls I've seen), and the experience of natural settings more diverse at Plitvice Lakes NP (but again, I saw only the lower part of Krka NP).

    I suspect that every time I re-read this post, I'll identify different ways in which I have failed to capture the experience of these two wonderful, and wonderfully unique places. Growl!

    As I said, both are wonderful, so the good news is that you'll see something lovely whatever you choose.

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