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Seeking Croatia/Slovenia planning assistance

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My family is traveling to Croatia and Slovenia mid-April 2016 for 24 days and were hoping for some helpful advice from fellow Fodorites.

Here is a bit about our travel style in case it helps you help us.
Balance is important to us:
1. sleeping nights (some one nighters, two nighters, longer),
2. pace (we vary it along the trip)
3. sights (UNESCO, well known and lesser known sights),
4. towns (a mix of tiny, midsize, and larger),
5. accommodations (B&B’s, local accommodations, self-catering),
We prefer to drive than use public transport unless public transport saves time. We prefer studying history, architecture (the name doesn’t lie - 1,200 castles to date), culture, things that make a place unique, being on our own or on a private tour, art, and good home-style food and don’t care for beaches (except exceptional can’t-miss types – beaches are available where I live), shopping, groups, clubbing, nightlife, or gourmet food.

Value is important, but we will splurge to experience a phenomenal sight or experience or stay in a historic place. Our budget is dependent on the cost of a particular place (Florence vs. Lucca, for example) – we’ll spend more where it is required to have a clean, well-located (for walking the town after dinner) place, with comfortable beds, parking close-by or onsite and good wifi included (working during travel makes more of it possible for me.) We don’t seek luxury.

After ten years of crossing the pond to explore, we are still in the “excitedly seeing as much as possible during our limited first visit to a country overseas” phase. We think we’ll slow down eventually when revisiting places; but, for now, please keep in mind that our pace is faster than some here prefer, and we enjoy it. I also plan ahead. A great deal (part of the joy of anticipating the trip.) In the future I might experience spontaneity, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Here is our planned itinerary:
We arrive in Dubrovnik on 4/19
Dubrovnik – 4 nights – planning a daytrip to Perast and Bay of Kotor
Mostar – one night (spending 2/3 of two days there)
Korkula – 2 nights (having trouble figuring out logistics of bringing our car onto Korkula and off again headed to Split efficiently)
Split – 2 nights – must be in Split at this time to take daughter to airport in Split
Trogir – 1 night
Zadar – 1 night
Plitvice – 1 night
Rovinj – 4 nights
Lake Bled – 2 nights
Ljubljana – 2 nights
Ptuj – 1 night
Zagreb – 2 nights

Here is what I am seeking:
I am using DK, RS, Lonely Planet and NG Traveler guidebooks along with every Croatia/Slovenia trip report (Thank you!!!) on Fodor’s site, and have a long list of things I’d like to see, but, keeping in mind my interests and willingness to go out of my way to see a castle, if there is a less publicized and extraordinary place you have discovered and loved, would you please share it?

Would you also please share great places you have stayed (in keeping with our criteria), any adjustments you might make to my plans based on your similar trip (some route worked better than another, etc.), whether some border crossings in/out of Slovenia will be more crowded or difficult than others considering current events, and how the ferry works to/from Korkula. I had wanted to fit Hvar in, but can’t see how that is possible and still make it to Split in time for my daughter’s flight. If you have an idea, I’d really appreciate it.

Thank you for your willingness to read this long post and provide your ever helpful advice.

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