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Slovenia & Croatia itinerary help

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Hi all - my husband and I are planning a trip to Slovenia and Croatia in late August and early September.

We'll have 11 days on the ground and our priorities are Lake Bled and the Julian Alps, Plitvice, Rohinj/Istria and, if at all possible, a side trip to Mostar. The islands are not a priority for us at all.

We will have a car and are open to using trains if it helps avoid the cross-border car rental issues in some spots. We can book open-jaw to any reasonable city - Ljubljana seems like a given. Dubrovnik on one end seems like it would put Mostar within reach?

I think I might be dreaming, but is this do-able? How would you do this trip?

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    I'd probably fly into Zagreb and pick up the car immediately and drive to Slovenia, do your stuff in Bled and the Julian Alps (also recommend Ljubljana for sure even if you aren't flying in), then Istria and Plitvice. Then Mostar - and either Split or Dubrovnik to return the car, depending on which is easier/cheaper for you to fly out of. Dubrovnik would be nice to see but you won't have much time there with your limited schedule, and you didn't mention it as a priority...

    If flying into Ljubljana is really cheaper/more convenient than flying into Zagreb (doubt it), you could rent a car and then either train to Zagreb or Rijeka or bus to Rovinj and rent another car there (you could maybe drop the Slovenia car in Koper, bus to Rovinj, new car there too). But it gets more complicated, as you see, and simply having one car the whole time easier. (Make sure you buy a vignette sticker for driving in Slovenia, if you rent the car in Croatia first. Any car you rent in Slovenia should already have one.)

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    I suppose the downside of flying into Zagreb - with limited time and, I assume, not a high priority desire to spend time there - is that you'd either need to spend the first night in Zagreb...or you'd have to pick up a rental car right away and drive after you've flown hours to Europe (I assume). If you arrive in Zagreb early enough, you might be able to make a relaxing, no stress drive to Ljubljana pretty easily I guess. I wouldn't want to do it if you fly in in the evening.

    So if you flew into Ljubljana instead, you could do this:

    Sleep in Ljubljana (1 night)
    Pick up Slovenia car
    Sleep in Bled (2 nights)
    Drive Julian Alps
    Sleep in Koper (1 night)
    Drop car in Koper - bus to Rovinj (around 9am last I checked - confirm)
    Pick up Croatia car in Rovinj
    Sleep in Rovinj (3 nights)
    Drive to Plitvice
    SLeep in Plitvice (1 night)
    Drive to Mostar
    Sleep in Mostar (1 night)
    Drive to Dubrovnik, drop the car
    Sleep in Dubrovnik (2 nights)

    That's 11 nights - pretty tight scheduling but doable I guess. (You can Google Map those cities in the order I've listed to get estimated drive times between them - some long driving days.) That lets you rest the first night in Ljubljana at least - no driving the first day. And you could kind of rest in Istria for a few days. But if you could fly into Zagreb and rent-and-drive the first day, you'd avoid the musical chairs via train with two rental cars...

    You could return Slovenia car in Ljubljana instead, take a train to Zagreb, rent the car there and drive to Plitvice, Istria, Mostar, and Dubrvonik, or train to Rijeka, pick up car, see Istria, Plitvice, Mostar, Dubrovnik. It should work but could simply wind up being too complicated.

    Or just pay a steep one-way drop fee in Dubrovnik for a car rented in Slovenia, but I suspect that would be a few hundred Euros extra.

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    I think this trip is do-able, and I think it is do-able if you want to visit Ljubljana, too (and I thought that little city a charming gem). If you want to add Zagreb or Split or Dubrovnik, then you may be pushing it. But it really depends on what YOU want to see and experience and your preferred pace of travel. The "wrench," of course, is Mostar -- well worth seeing, IMO, but a bit off the rest of your route.

    As a rule, I don't recommend renting a car immediately upon arrival anywhere unless you can be absolutely sure that you will not suffer jet lag. Part of the problem with jet lag is a marked increase in "microsleeps" which are so short that you might not even be aware of them, but which are associated with a significant increase in the risk of an accident. Even a day to recover from jet lag makes a substantial difference to the risks. Just something to keep in mind.

    It's a lovely part of the world -- enjoy!

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    Hi, have just returned from a 5 week trip to Prague, Slovenia (Lubjiana), Vienna, Croatia and finished in Venice before flying home to Australia...I guess it's always the case of what your preferences are and what you want to see..we are mid 50's, sisters, foodies and love a slower moving trip to take the time to enjoy the surrounds...we spent 3 nights in Lubljana and loved it, did a day trip to Lake Bled. Beautiful, but the day was enough unless you want to hike or river raft. Loved the laid back Lublijana. Spent one night in Plitvice. Wonderful. We didnt have a car (took the bus from Zagreb) and stayed in the Plitvice Hotel right at the entrance to the park, perfect. One night and day was enough but if your'e into more hiking or further exploration you could spend longer...unless you have a car, you need to stay at the hotel local to the entrances...we then took the bus to Split and loved it. There were mixed reviews about Split, it surprised me, I really loved it. We then stayed on Hvar and Korcula, loved it. Returned by ferry to Dubrovnik and negotiated a taxi to take us to Bay of Kotor in Montenagro. Gorgeous place and worth the effort. I would visit there rather than Mostar. We did a day trip from Dubrovnik, long delays at border control and a hot journey!! It is REALLY hot in Mostar, even in early June). Really not much to see, the city is poor, drab and sad. The old town street is interesting as in the bridge but in our opinion, not worth the arduous hot journey. (and August will be worse) IMO Montanegro a much better option. We didnt get to the Istria, complicated without a car and the hassle of renting and driving not worth it this trip. Dubrovnik is lovely worthy of more than 2 will want a day on the local beach to swim! Other travellers mentioned that Zadar was worth the stop, maybe convenient from the Istria to Dubrovnik...

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