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Vacation to Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia

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My wife and I are planning a trip to Croatia in mid-October and are looking for some advice on things to see or do along the way as we are completely unfamiliar with the area. We only have 8-9 days so the schedule is tight. :(

Our flights and hotels are mostly booked, but we could always adjust our schedule for the right opportunity.

We normally love outdoor activities like hiking, but we are unfamiliar with this area of the world and how safe or unsafe it would be. We like mountains, but are not big on beaches/islands/ocean. We generally skip museums/art related activities, but love history and architecture and old buildings. Food is typically a highlight of our trips and enjoying authentic cuisine is always top of our list.

We are flying into Zagreb and have about 1.5-2 days there. Hiking Medvednica and visiting Gornji grad upper town and Gradski trgovi city square sounded interesting to me. Are there any other must-see or must-do's in/around Zagreb?

Then driving to Plitvice Lakes National Park for a day and ending up in Split that night. Spending the next day in Split, not sure what to do other than see Diocletian's palace and enjoy walking around the city.

The next day we plan to drive to Dubrovnik with some stops on the way - maybe hiking Biokovo or visiting Ston? Are these places safe for tourists? Would it be dangerous to hike Biokovo without a group or guide? I also read there is a company that does Canyoning trips in Cetina river between Split and Dubrovnik. We love canyoning, but would this trip be safe? Going off into a secluded area of the mountains with strangers in a country we have never been to doesn't sound that appealing on the surface.

Then we have 1-2 days in Dubrovnik, main thing I found here is seeing Old Town and walking the walls. Not really sure what else to do here other than enjoy the sights.

We were planning on also doing a day trip to Montengro to see the beautiful scenery and stop at Perast, Kotor, and Tivat, then return to Dubrovnik that night.

Then leave Dubrovnik and head to Mostar for 1 day/night. What area(s) of Mostar are good for hotels? Which should we see other than the bridge? Although I can't actually find anything online saying it isn't safe to go to Bosnia, we are a bit hesitant just from the history. Should we be concerned about anything in Bosnia? Is this a place we should avoid?

Last day we would be driving from Mostar to Split to catch our flight home.

Are there any concerns with crossing the borders from Croatia to Montenegro or Bosnia? Should we expect delays or long lines? Are there extra charges? Are there certain crossings to avoid? Is it safe or unsafe at any certain times (maybe don't cross at night?)?

With Bosnia and Montenegro not in the EU, is it important to stop and trade in for their currency before going or do most restaurants and shops accept credit cards?

Thanks for any feedback and responses in advance, I like to have everything planned out before we go because I know we can't spend as much time there as we really want and won't be able to see everything.


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