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Tips needed for trip of a lifetime; questions specific to Croatia

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Hi fellow travelers,

I am new to this site and thank you in advance for any help you may provide!

I am a female traveling solo to Europe for a few months between mid April to ~the third week in June. I’ve decided on the following locations. I would love any tips. Specifically recommended Hostels and input on Croatia. I’m planning to rent a vacation home in Croatia, specifically in the Dalmatia region for the last ~4 weeks. I’m thinking in Dubrovnik but please provide any feedback (Split and Zadar would be other options). See specific questions and my current ideas below:

Spain- Barcelona then down towards Gibraltor, Andulicia, Seville
Portugal- I don’t know anyone that has visited here and have heard mixed repsonses but it looks amazing..here was thinking of Lisbon, Guimaraes, Douro Valley, Porto, Figueira da Foz (beach area)

Q: What is the cheapest/best way to get from here to Sicily region of Italy? Train or flight? If train any recommended spots to stop along the way (I’ve already been to south of France)

Italy- Palermo/Sicily region (I've been to Italy before Rome/Venice/Florence and Almalfi Coast so thought this is an area I'd like to see)
Q: Was thinking of doing a couple days in Malta-suggestions?
Q:-TIPS ON TAKING A FERRY FROM ITALY TO CROATIA. This looks easiest and most cost efficient

Croatia- I was looking into getting a vacation rental on the Dalmatia region either in Zadar, Split or Dubrovnik..for a few weeks as my last point. This area I'm pretty set on including. I’m thinking Dubrovnik is my choice but again open to suggestions. Also, I’d like to take a few day trips while in this country, again suggestions?

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