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Super Excited! 3 weeks need your help!

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We are retiring end of March and planning a 3 week trip, Yeah! Ideally we would like to see Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Budapest and into Croatia and Slovenia. I have frequent flyer miles to get there on American. Also have points with Marriott to help defray costs can use in Prague and Budapest.
Looking at all the maps of the area I can not determine what is the best way to go - Fly into Prague 3 N, train to Cesky Kumlov 1 N, shuttle to Linz, train to Budapest 3 N then train it from Budapest into Croatia /Slovenia? Eliminate Budapest all together? Start in Budapest to Prague? Areas in Croatia/ Slovenia we want to visit are:
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Julian Alps, Slovenia
Lake Bled
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Split
Korčula
Mostar
Dubrovnik
Open to one way flights, trains, bus, car rentals, ferries and private car shuttles. Just want the trip to be a mix of scenery and culture. Mostly concerned will be in a some type of vehicle the whole time to see all this.
What do you think? Too ambitious? Places I should add or subtract? Doing trip as a retirement surprise for husband :)
Thank you!!

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    I think it is a bit ambitious, but start by realistically noting how many days you would like to spend in each place, making sure to include transit time. I'd venture a guess at a week for the Slovenia portion, so that does not leave you enough time for the Croatia bit. You could squeeze what you have listed for Croatia (plus Mostar) into a week, but I would not recommend anything less than a week and a half. Start with the transport legwork and work backward. Congrats and enjoy!

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    What about
    Budapest - train - Prague - Budweis/Krumlow - bus - Linz - train - Salzburg - Bled - Ljubljana - Zagreb - bus Plitvice - Sibenik (Krka Falls Park) - Split - catamaran - Hvar - Korcula - Dubrovnik - bus - Mostar?

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    Hi All! Thank you for the feedback. I have been looking at the transportation end of all of this - planning for May the schedules for some of the trains/planes and ferrys are limited! Getting between places can be a little time consuming. I am still trying to decide if I should eliminate Budapest - but assuming I keep it on ( would love to see the area ) this is my beginning plan - please share your opinions on what I should change / add on / eliminate or improve upon.
    (The whole experience is like ordering out at a fine restaurant you know it will all be good but you are mourning what you are not ordering!)

    Fly into Budapest 6 PM arrival stay 3 N. Private shuttle to Cesky Krumlov ( 100E more than trains and such but a big time saver) Chesy Krumlov arrive mid day stay 1 N. Private shuttle to Prague arrive early evening stay 3 N. Fly on Czech Airlines ( is this a good airline?) to Dubrovnik. ** Still trying to decide if I should fly there or to Ljubljana**

    If I go Dubrovnik spend 3 N - ferry to Korcula 2 N stay. Ferry to Hvar 1 N.
    At this point do I have a day in Split spend the night in Trogir, grab a car and head to Plitive Lakes 1 N and on to Rovinj 2 N or do I continue from Split up coast to Zadar/Rovinj?
    Is adding on Lake Bled, Ljubljana, Julien Alps worth it or should I spend longer times in Croatia?

    What I have read on renting a car in the area is.. get tag if I go into Slovenia, drivers are crazy, drop off in same country I rent from to save costs, which means I could fly out of Zagreb.

    Thank you!

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    Neckervd, I am looking at your plan on paper. Are using the bus to get to Bled, Ljubljana, Plitive Lakes and such convenient? I feel even though budget is a big consideration, time is more so. Do you get dropped off near enough to the site you want to see?
    If the airlines are accurate I could fly from Prague into Ljubljana, rent a car and do Lake Bled and Julian Alps, return to Ljubljana and take a bus to Plitive Lake and one from there to Split. From there ferrys and such ending up and flying out of Dubrovnik.
    Thanks!!
    Liz

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    In 2008, we visited (among other places) Prague, Český Krumlov, Krakow, Croatia and Slovenia. Here's the report with photos. Obviously the restaurants and hotels I talk about are dated, but the big sights remain mostly the same.

    We took four weeks, but taking out Krakow, Vienna and Venice, we could have easily accomplished it in three weeks. And no, it did not feel rushed.

    Sounds like a great trip. Plitvice National Park in Croatia has to be seen to be believed. Photos do not do it justice. I'll look forward to your Budapest thoughts..it's on our short list.

    http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/central-europe-venice-2008/

    ((H))

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    Bled: I don't know about buses. I suggested to take the Intercity train Salzburg - Ljubljana - Zagreb which stops at Bled 3 1/2 hrs after having left Salzburg. From Linz, its 5 hrs. There are shuttles from Krumlow to both, Linz (1 1/2 hrs)and Salzburg (3 hrs).
    Ljubljana is 40 min by plane from Bled. There are buses too. The train ride Ljubljana - Zagreb takes 2 1/4 hrs.

    A shuttle ride from Krumlow airport takes 3 hrs, plus 2 hrs check in time, 1 hr flight, 1 hr buggage claim and shutttle to Bled = 7 hrs.

    This comparison shows that the flight solution might even be a little longer than the (very scenic) train ride through the Austrian Alps.

    There are (not too many) buses from Zagreb via Plitvice to either Zadar or Split.

    I suppose you know that there are comfortble trains between Budapest and Prague.

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    You will see some wonderful things no matter what you choose, but IMO, yes – too ambitious. Just the Slovenia / Croatia portion of yoru trip could easily take 3 weeks and still feel a bit rushed!

    Here’s my recommendation: Get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their opening/closing times on the internet, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation (you can get some good preliminary, if not authoritative information, on rome2rio.com), add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

    FWIW, although buses in Croatia are generally both convenient and comfortable, I would not recommend using the bus for the leg that includes the magnificent Plitvice Lakes National Park -- it seems easy enough to get there, but there are way too many stories about people who get stuck there because the busses passing through won't stop to pick anyone up. I don't know if that's true or not, but I would not take that chance. YMMV.

    May can be a lovely time to visit Croatia! Your husband should be very happy with his surprise. :-)

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    We just spent 6 days in Budapest and found it very, very ho-hum, very much to our surprise. We kept hoping the next day's adventures would be a pleasant surprise, but they weren't. We were intrigued by the complicated history and tried to learn as much as we could, and we found the Dohany synagogue and surrounding Jewish Quarter to be fascinating, and visiting the baths relaxing and unique, but the rest of the place, including the banks of the Danube, Margret's Island, and the major downtown areas were just....a bore, frankly, and we don't bore easily. Service was lackadaisical, food choices stunningly limited, too many souvenir/tourist stores everywhere you looked. Sorry, it just didn't work for us. Maybe it was our fault. Maybe it was the anti-immigrant low notes everwhere we turned.

    We are now in Bratislava and could not be more thrilled. I haven't been this smitten by a new place in decades. I really wish we had turned our trip around and spent 6 days here and 2 in Budapest, instead of the opposite. Off to go see more of it!

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    StCirq! Here's to hopping more amazing sights were found! I will read up on Bratislava. Neckervd I am playing with your layout. Kja I too read about the buses being too full and not stopping at Lake Plitvice. Maitaitom your nic makes me rethink whole vacation and head to "tikiland".

    Ok I have the transportation framework bought and paid for/ still messing with the innards what towns/sights to take in - Using FF miles found there were limited places I could fly into w/o getting hit with substantial fees (almost equal to 1 1/2 plane tickets!)
    So Paris here we come - 5 N then flying to Zagreb. There we will rent a car and drive immediately to Ljubljana 2 days 1 Night there with the next stop a tourist farm near Lake Bled. This is home for 2 N with a day trip drive round the Julian Alps, stop as we like, and a day at Lake Bled. From there it is off to Rovinj and explore the area there (Pula) 2 N - Continuing to Plitvice Lake 2N arriving in evening and getting early to the lake the next morning staying the night. Off to Krka National Park on our way to Split 2 N drop off car. Ferry to Hvar 2 N, ferry to Korcula 1 N, ferry to Dubrovnik 3 N. Fly to Vienna and take shuttle to Cesky Krumlov 2 N, then to Prague 3 N, and fly back to Paris 1 N and then fly out in the morning for home.
    SOOOO am I picking the right towns? Trying for a mixture of nature, city and coast. When in Dubrovnik might try for the day trip to either Mostar and/or Kotar. Trying to decide do I stay in town for those days (Dubrovnik, or do I stay at the Sheraton free stay - nice beds - great price or in town pricey - esp if I am thinking of one or two day trips).
    Again many thanks for all your responses!!
    Budapest will have to wait!

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    StCirq,
    Thanks so much for posting your opinion about Budapest and Bratislava. I find your opinions to be a pretty accurate gauge of what we will also enjoy. I know you may not have time or feel it worthwhile, but a short TR about it when you get home would be much appreciated.

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    Well, that sure is a rushed plan, but it could work if you and your husband are committed to that pace and are prepared for it. But I'm sorry to say that I'm not convinced. For one thing, I'm not sure how you are counting your days, as 2N can mean 1 day or close to 3, depending on when, exactly, you move from place to place. Because of the time needed for transportation from place to place, I'm assuming that your count of days would be a several hours to 1/2 day less than your count of nights, but I could be wrong, and if so, my advice could be very much off the mark. For another, how much time it takes to make a change from place to place varies. It isn't just the time for the bus or train or drive -- its checking in and out, packing and unpacking, and getting to / from your transportation, not to mention the moments lost to trying to get oriented in a new city, dealing with different currencies, adjusting to different languages (even if you plan to speak only English) and different norms.... And for flights, remember that you need to be at the airport and checked in well in advance of the scheduled departure.

    I don't mean to be a debbie-downer; I just think you would do well to make sure you've thought all these things through before committing to a very ambitious plan.

    Some specifics:

    I'm counting only 1 day in Rovinj (sounds like you would leave Slovenia late one day, then 2 nights in Rovinj, part of the last day in Pula before heading to the Plitvice Lakes?) -- not much, particularly if you have any interest in visiting anything in Istria other than Rovinj. Again, doable, but not necessarily satisfying. Also, I'm not sure what Rovinj would be like in April.

    Korcula will likely be quite empty in April -- as far as I know (and i could be wrong) it doesn't "wake up" until sometime in May. You might want to investigate before you finalize your plans. And if you do include Korcula, explore your options for a bus rather than ferry.

    No time in Vienna? Your call, of course.

    Only 3 nights -- 2 days -- in Prague?

    IMO -- and it is a very personal choice -- your selection of places makes sense if you are willing to spend a disproportionately large share of your time in transit. Not what I would choose (too rushed -- and I travel HARD), but it's your call. You would have a mix of nature, city, and coast.

    With 3 nights in Dubrovnik, you certainly have time for a day trip if you want, particularly because I suspect that it, too, will not be up to full speed in April (again, I could be wrong). I thought Mostar absolutely magical in the evening, and was glad I spent a night there rather than seeing it on a day trip. In contrast, I thought Kotor made a nice day trip from Dubrovnik -- if you can join a tour that works for you or if you rent a car just for the day. And as a university town, Kotor, at least, should be "awake" at that time of year.

    Hope that helps!

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    Kja, thank you again for writing. This forum amazes me with the helpful people and comments. We are in France for the last 5 days of April, in Slovenia and Croatia for the first 14 days of May, then 5 days in the Czech Republic.
    We are packing light! So that will help.

    Wondering if I shave off a night at Split and add it to Lake Bled area and consolidate Hvar and Korcula into 3 Ns at one or the other island (half day trip to the other) vs 2N/1N - allowing us to settle in a little more.

    Plitivice could be consolidated to getting there the night before, getting up early and exploring the area and then afterwards driving to Split. That would eliminate Krka Park - which different might have a similar feel to the Plitivice area, and add back the night at Split or another night in Rovinj. Drive looks to again be in the 3 hours window.

    I do feel like the kid in the candy shop - the more books, pictures, blogs I look at, the more places I want to see. The time traveling in the car doesn't seem like a loss of time - the ability to see the countryside, plan the next day, chat about what we have seen, just be in that moment is okay too. Checking in n out of hotels a pill, but an opportunity also to ask a local about a place to dine or other questions.

    What made Mostar magical at night? Should I try to stay a night there?

    Been to Vienna so am okay missing it this trip.

    Prague we have 3N and 3 and 3/4 days. Drive from Cesky to Prague is under 3 hours. Door to door shuttle.

    Better? :)

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    IMO, the hardest part of planning ANY trip is deciding what to skip. And unfortunately (or fortunately!), you will find that people have different preferences, so you really have to make your own decisions and OMG, that’s so hard when you haven’t actually BEEN there!!! I know! I go through this exact dilemma each time I plan a trip, and so do many other Fodorites!

    Ex: Split is probably my favorite city in Croatia. I found it dynamic and energetic and filled with stunning architecture from Roman times through the present and wonderfully lively squares from the glorious waterfront through dark corners of the ancient corners of Diocletian’s Palace and some of the most colorful markets I saw in Croatia and with an amazing array of small musuems, each with a few outstanding elements, and large enough to have a well established tourism infrastructure – and beyond that, large enough to not depend on tourism and… well you get the point. Except that some people don’t like Split AT ALL. And that’s their right! Wouldn’t life be boring if we all liked the same things?

    If you are traveling late enough in May for Korcula to be a reasonable destination, I wouldn’t cut it if you and your husband are game for the time you will lose to transit – I far preferred Korcula to Hvar Town, which I though beautiful, but found way too upscale and party-hearty for my tastes. But many people adore Hvar Town, and IMO, Korcula doesn’t offer enough to justify a stay of 3 days unless you are planning to spend most of your time there exploring other parts of the island or lying an a beach. Again, JMO. (If you are in Korcula in late May, see if you can time it to catch a performance of the moresca, usually only on Thursday nights.)

    Whether a single night would work for the Plitvice Lakes depends on your preferences and diurnal rhythms. The Plitvice Lakes National Park is, IMO, the single most un-missable of Croatia's many splendors. Not only are the lakes connected by travertine waterfall formations, each lake has unique microbiota, and as a result, the lakes are different colors. The best way to see that 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. (Of course, if you get there one day and find that the weather forecast for the next day is not auspicious, explore as you can that day, starting, if possible, with the lower lakes.) I believe the bulk of the many, many bus tours to the park start their walks between 8 or 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., so you might want to be sure you can start your visit either long enough before to avoid having all those trotting tourists pass by you or start after those hours. (I was glad to start at about 10 a.m. – after most tour groups, and increasingly behind them as the day progressed. But here again, others have had different experiences.) You will then need about 3 hours to drive to Split – can you do that on that day and still arrive in Split in a timely way? Will you be able to return your car upon reaching Split or do you need to find a place for it that night?

    In general, I agree that time in a car or otherwise in transit can be a very pleasant part of a trip – if that time is in balance with time on the ground. Of course, you’ll have plenty of time to compare notes along the way – meals, breaks for coffee or wine or whatever, the many years you will share afterwards…. Again, no right or wrong answers here, but perhaps its worth noting that every moment you spend in transit rather than adding to your memories carries a high opportunity cost.

    Mostar: When I was there – late May – much of it was unpleasantly hot and ridiculously packed with other tourists during the day. Manageable, worth seeing, and deeply moving in many parts, but not an ideal experience. Perhaps a half hour or so before sunset, and after day-trippers had left for the day, I found a table on a terrace above the river with a perfect view of Stari Most, a table from which I could see in both directions along the ravine, and down into it, too. And oh my, that next hour or so was magnificent! I’m not sure I can convey the experience: I watched the intense colors of the day take on a series of increasingly nuanced shades as the sun reflected off a seemingly infinite array of things I hadn’t particularly noticed until they were momentarily lit. There was a fascinating set of transitions as things that were in the background took on bits of reflected light or moved into deepening shadows. Muezzins began calling the faithful to prayer, the echos of their calls trailing after them. As the sun set, with a few glorious underlit clouds here and there, the electric lighting took over, with back lights bringing key structures into magnificent view and more localized lights tracing the regions of activity and, of course, reflections glinting and glistening from the river below…. Those moment were, to me, magical. YMMV. I am very glad I spent a night there. Whether it works for you, well that’s another question.

    Again, you should see and experience some wonderful things no matter what you choose. As you continue your plans, I would just encourage you to remember that sometimes less really is more.

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    Oh My! Great comments Kja. A tad stressed on this - but taking advice and balance and knowing I will never see everything I want to in 2 weeks and to be joyous in what I will get to see! We are not nightlife party types of people/Korcula sounds more our type. A pretty view, a good meal is a good night for us. As far as museums, we will have been in Paris for 6 N prior and will be seeing a lot of art. This portion of the trip would focus more on the incredible scenery and to a lesser degree museums. So how does this itinerary sound to you?

    Day 1 Fly into Zagreb - Drive to Ljubjlana arrive 7 PM ish (including drive, car pick up, border crossing, and customs).
    Day 2 Spend night in Ljubljana
    Day 3 Morning drive to Lake Bled, spend night there
    Day 4 Afternoon drive to Rovinj spend night
    Day 5 Spend night in Rovinj
    Day 6 Spend night in Rovinj
    Day 7 Drive to Lake Plitvice spend night near park
    Day 8 Full day at Lake Plitvice drive to Split overnight in Split
    Day 9 Spend night in Split
    Day 10 Ferry to Korcula
    Day 11 Korcula - see sword show
    Day 12 Bus ( ferry will not be operational on this day ) to Dubrovenik
    Day 13 Dubrovenik
    Day 14 Dubrovenik
    Day 15 Fly out of Dubrovenik late afternoon

    Any better :)

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    IMO, much better! :-)

    I'll suggest just one tweak at this point: Consider shifting one night from Dubrovnik to Ljubljana or Lake Bled. Ljubljana is, IMO, truly charming and unlike just about anywhere else in the world. Since you are skipping museums, one day there should be enough to roam its streets and markets. You could either spend two nights there or perhaps even move on in time to have dinner in Lake Bled and then 2 nights there. (And for that matter, Bled is less than an hour by car from Ljubljana, so no need to relocate unless you want to.) Dubrovnik is gorgeous, but 1.5 or 2 days there should work for most people.

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    :) Ok I was agonizing only one night in Lake Bled so added one and took one from Dubrovnik. Excited!

    For Ljubljana I just booked the Hotel Cubo since it is right smack in the middle of all.
    Lake Bled I just sent an email to stay at Penzion Berc.

    Do you have suggestions for Rovinj and Lake Plitvice?

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    In Rovinj, you might consider the Casa Garzotto:
    http://www.casa-garzotto.com

    In the Plitvice Lakes, the Villa Mukinja met my needs. The accommodation was basic; the food and service were delightful. Do some research to see if the balance seems to work for you
    http://www.plitvice-lakes.com/eng

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    Was able to get the rooms at your suggestion in Rovinj - such pretty rooms! I sent an email asking if the one with the balcony was available we would love it! Ended up at Plitvice Miric for the other.
    If you have recommendations for Split and Korcula I would love to look at them as well. We will no longer have the car at this point if that makes a difference in lodging.
    Again, thank you for the replies, the information, and just the kindness I really appreciate it!

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    When I was in Rovinj, the Casa Garzotto offered an astonishingly magnificent breakfast buffet. I hope they still do!

    Another Fodorite who knows the Plitvice Lakes area very well -- rialtogrl -- recommends the Miric -- sounds like a good choice!

    For Split, I wish I had splurged on one of the hotels in Diocletian's Palace per se -- a place like the Vestibule or Peristil. Alas, I couldn't afford to do so. Instead, I stayed at the decidedly budget B&B Kastel 1700, which is superbly located, but it definitely has some drawbacks. It isn't bad for the price, but you'll definitely have to decide whether its strengths outweigh its limits for your particular needs.

    In Korcula, I was pleased with my stay at the Korcula Royal Apartments, which still gets great reviews. Note, however, that it is an "apartment" (with kitchenette, etc.) and not a hotel or B&B -- there is no 24 hour desk or breakfast or anything like that. I thought the location excellent and for just one night, wasn't looking for anything that it didn't offer; your needs could well be different, so again, check it out before you act!

    And you are most welcome. I just hope you find my suggestions valuable once on the ground! ;-) Over the years, I have benefitted greatly from the generous kindness of many, many other Fodorites, so it's nice to give back a bit. :-)

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    I've stayed at the B & B Kastel 1700 too. It's a quirky place, but good for the price; the dilemma comes if you are in one of the higher floors as there is no lift. And it can be kind of noisy because its right on the riva.

    Here's another option: Hotel Luxe http://www.hotelluxesplit.com/

    Its a bit more glamorous, and has a lift but its not terribly expensive. Also it is very convenient to walk to the catamarans and ferries from there.

    Plitvice Miric Inn is wonderful, but when I was there they told me that next year they won't be doing their fabulous dinners anymore. I hope that changes, but in the meantime, if its important to you to have dinner on site you might want to go with kja's rec. I certainly am hoping they change their minds when they've had a few weeks break.

    Also - its only a four hour drive from Rovinj to Plitvice, you could either make stops or buy a two day pass so that you can see the park over two days. Its also good to have the flexibility in case the weather is not so great one day (which in May, can absolutely happen.) You can leave it open, and keep an eye on the weather report.

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    Rialtogrl good point on the keeping an eye on the weather and driving over earlier if it looks to be bad.
    Ended up getting a room at Murum Boutique inside Diocletian's Palace - looks to be close to the museum. So excited! $$ But took Kja comment to heart on wishing to have splurged there. The Hotel Luxe looks ultra mod - another good option for sure.
    What is this dinner you are talking about at Plitvice Miric! Rate includes breakfast and I see no mention of one, thought they say they have a restaurant that uses organic foods from local farmers.
    Got the room at the Korcula Royal Apts for our stay there, and Sunce Palace in Dubrovnik.
    Need to figure out the car for the first 8 days picking it up in Zagreb. Reading all the ins and outs of insurance and the proof the rental counters will ask for from my insurance company if I turn down their coverage. I know I could take public transportation, but with going to Lake Bled and Plitvice it will give us more flexibility as well as ease of travel. Any suggestions on that would be good. Reading reviews on all of them, they all have issues!

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    Sounds like you've made great progress! I'll be interested to see what you think of the Murum Boutique -- it looks great! And I hope you enjoy the Royal Apartments in Korcula.

    When traveling in Europe, I make my car reservations through gemut.com, which works with AutoEurope. I've found the service through gemut excellent, and even if you don't rent from them, you might want to read their web pages on renting cars in Europe. Definitely contact your credit card company first to find out what insurance it covers.

    And if picking up a car in Zagreb to drive into Slovenia, make sure the car has the "vignette" which is used in Slovenia as a road pass and that you display it on your windshield. If the car doesn't already have it, you need to buy a vignette immediately upon crossing the border into Slovenia, or even before, at a gas station or other store. Otherwise you risk a big fine.

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    Regarding the dinners at Plitvice Miric - if you weren't counting on them, great! And now they have told me they still might be doing dinners next year. But they are not sure yet. So if they have the dinner when you are there, take it! If not go somewhere else. :)

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    Well now I am back to counting on that great dinner : ) fingers crossed.

    I sent in a request to Gemut and got a pretty reasonable quote on a car rental. Only real pricey part was the drop off fee - but I figured that was coming. I am waiting to hear back on a couple of questions and then will pull the trigger on that.

    Working on our 5 days in France and 4 in Prague and then I will be done. Have hotels in both areas through points and just trying to decide what museums to visit! My friends who have been often are weighing in and sighing dramatically when I say I want to go to Musee des Arts Decoratifs and Musee des Arts Forains lol as to being to niche and with wait times and lines and distances I should only do the big ones. Oolala such dilemma to have!
    Thank you for such great tips, kindness, and thoughtful replies. I will post back when we return and give feedback!

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    Sounds like you are on your way to a fantastic trip!

    My advice, FWIW: See what YOU want to see! It's YOUR trip. :-) Some perspective: I love art. I can -- and frequently do -- visit museums all day long day after day after day, and it just whets my appetite for more! But I skipped the Louvre on my first visit to Paris. Too much else to see and treasure in the face of crowds and an outrageous line (no easy access at that time). Yes, I've seen it since and yes, I'm very glad I did, but I couldn't do everything on either trip I've been able to take to that magnificent city, and I am perfectly comfortable with my decisions. There is SO much worth seeing that, to me, it really makes no sense to plan you trip around what others think are "must sees," when you can -- and are willing to! -- plan your trip around your own interests. Go for it!

    (And that's true for Paris and anywhere else in the world, IMO.)

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    Recap of our vacation! For starters can not believe it is already over!
    We spent 26 days in four countries the end of April into May. I will go over each individually.
    Paris, France - Hotel Marriott Vendome on points. Perfect location, was able to be in the heart of much in moments. Next trip though will choose another area to get a different vibe of the city.
    Activities: Skip the line tour for Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle - great tour and well worth the time saving of getting to the front quickly. Started with a walking tour of the areas surrounding both and walking through the bird and flower markets. Great day, the view from the top of the towers overlooking Paris were amazing.
    We did a bike tour of Versailles - it was amazing. Purchasing supplies for picnic in the market was such a highlight. Biking the grounds of the palace beautiful. Waiting 1.5 hours in line to get inside less fun, and in March the gardens have as yet to be in bloom with any flowers.
    Private guide to Montmartre was wonderful - so much information in such a fun way. Started this day at Palais Garnier a 10 minute walk from our hotel - wonderful, we even got to see ballerinas practicing for the night's show. From there a 20 minute walk to Moulin Rouge where we met our guide. Great day with a great meal at the end at Apostles de Pigalle ( tapas and wine ).
    Visited museums and wandered around the rest of our time.
    The Louvre was overwhelming, so much in fact that we left after a couple of hours. Next time we attempt it will be with a guide, the place is too big, to crowded that we felt lost. We did buy the museum pass and it was worth every penny. You feel like you can pop into museums and see a couple of things and not be tied to getting your monies worth if you bought individual admittance. Plus it gets you to faster lines for entry. I do not think you can spend enough time in Paris without wanting more. Our new plan is every time we travel to start in Paris!
    We then flew to Zagreb, picked up a car and drove to Ljubljana. Extremely easy process used Bob Bestor at Gemut for the rental which was arranged with Active car rental. It was very easy driving around Croatia and Slovenia and we got to see amazing views along the way.
    Hotel Cubo in Ljubljana was amazing and in a great location to walk to everything. We hired a private guide who took us around his town and showed us the architecture and sights. The next day we hiked a local favorite hill to a restaurant on top and enjoyed the views.
    Lake Bled was fun, no more than 2 days if you are not there for a lake vacation are adequate and the hike to the castle and around the lake well worth it. Skocjan Cave was amazing, and Plitvice Lakes so fantastic. We stayed at Plitvice Miric Inn and it was fantastic. We arranged for the dinner and a whole fish was served with an assortment of sides. So fresh I think they must have caught the trout moments before we ate it. We loved Slovenia and driving through the countryside was spectacular. We stopped at bee keeping museums and private aviaries, took lunches in itty bitty towns and hiked to Church of St Primoz for incredible views.
    Croatia is stunning. We stayed in Split, Rovinj, Korcula, and Dubrovnik. We had a blast in each town though in hindsight I might have chosen Rovinj for a longer stay and skipped Split or visa versa. Both are old walled cities and while different are also similar. Split has a wonderful square where you can sit in the evening and listen to live music while waiters bring you drinks. We met lovely people doing this. We went to Kyka National Park and spent a beautiful time wandering around the waterfalls. We rented bikes in Rovinj and biked around the area. You can see what an amazing beach scene this would be in the summer. Gorgeous coastal niches that you would throw your towel down and jump into the Adriatic. One day we ferried to Brunji and had a blast in a rented golf cart tooling around the island. Waves were choppy while we on the coast so island hopping was not an option, though on a beautiful day that would have been fun. If you do, try to manage a boat with some shade covering. 6-8 hours in full sun would be daunting. Off season the choppy weather made us unable to get to Korcula on the day we planned. That never entered our thoughts when planning this vacation and it is good to have some back up plans if it were to happen to you. We opted to fly early to Dubrovnik and do a day trip from there to Korcula another day. Loved our day on the island and would highly recommend it to be added to your itinerary. The island of Vis seems to be a local favorite and one I would be very interested in visiting next go round. Dubrovnik was a lot of fun, we ate well and had fun walking the walls. A side trip to Montenegro was interesting and pretty, Not sure if given the chance to reshape this trip if I would add it in or not. Still undecided.
    Croatia could easily be your only destination for a 3 week vacation. There is plenty to do and the country is incredibly beautiful.
    We ended our trip in Czech Republic and started in Cesky Krumlov. Loved this town, wished we had budgeted an extra day or two here. We stayed at the Hotel Dvorak and it is both lovely and situated right smack in the middle of everything on the river. Mind you this is a small town, with limited car access so middle of everything is kinda easy to do! The theater tour is a must, as is the costumes used in the plays. There are only two theaters like this left in the world and we enjoyed seeing all the inner working of it. We did a private tour with Karolina or Krumlov tours and she was great. We spent part of a day with her learning all about the town, and she had our tickets for the castle and theater waiting for us at our hotel. They both sell out, so good to arrange your tour in advance.
    We hired a driver from there to Prague and stopped at Kunta Hora. Great town with lots to see. St Barbara's church was spectacular, the bone museum creepy (in a good? way), lunched in a garden, and shopped in some local stores.
    Lastly, we were in Prague. We stayed at the Prague Marriott on points and it is a great location to see everything. We hired a guide for one day of sightseeing, Marek, and he was tops. We hiked the the Bohemian Switzerland ( borders Germany, NW of Prague) and we loved every moment of it. Prague was a great city, easy to get around in and a beautiful sight everywhere you looked. Would love to go back and spend some more time and try and catch a show at the National Theater.
    We had a great trip and I want to thank all of you who helped with suggestions. Kja the hotels you suggested were perfect and the toning down of my original plans was advice well heeded. Less places is really more.

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