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Venice to Croatia (and then on to London): have logistic ?s

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My girlfriend and I are planning a trip for this May which will take us from London to Venice and then on to Croatia. We then return to London from Croatia to fly home to the US.

We initially had lofty goals of exploring Croatia's coastline, but realized quickly that it would be very difficult to coordinate logistics (neither of us is comfortable renting a car/driving there, which totally puts a wrench in exploration plans!) and so, shifted gears.

Our plan now is to depart Venice for Pula, either by train or by ferry. I've read conflicting information on the best way to travel this leg - it seems that ferries are somewhat/mostly reliable at that time of year but that train may end up serving us best. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Once in Pula, we're planning to stay heavily focused on gastronomic adventures in and around the istrian Peninsula. We're in the early stages of figuring out whether we'd do best with a tour outfit or if we can explore on our own without a car. Any recommendations/suggestions as to how it would be most manageable for a period of 3-5 days (tour vs self guided) would be much appreciated.

We'd planned to depart Pula for London and again, the logistics defy us.

If anyone has thoughts on how we can tailor our trip to minimize to/from travel time and focus on getting the best out of Istria, we'd be very grateful. Additionally - thoughts on airlines for the Croatia -> London leg would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

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