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10 days visit to Croatia in June suggestions

10 days visit to Croatia in June suggestions

Dec 30th, 2015, 07:15 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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10 days visit to Croatia in June suggestions

My husband and I are celebrating our 35th anniversary in June. We wanted to do something special, so we are thinking about going to Croatia. We heard that it is absolutely beautiful. We are very active and like to see a lot of history and scenery. I am looking for suggestions on travel companies or suggestions of itinerary. We want an independent (unstructured) vacation and have a medium budget to spend. We plan to fly out of SFO. Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks!
eoleson4 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2015, 07:41 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Happy anniversary! 35 years -- that's awesome!!!

Croatia is, indeed, lovely! With 10 days, you will need to be very selective, as it is a country with a LOT to offer -- WAY too much for that amount of time. You could have a lovely trip to the Dalmatian Coast (from Dubrovnik to Split) or a lovely trip to northern portions of Croatia (e.g., the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Istria, and ???). That's the really good news. The bad news is that none of us can tell you how to choose -- you are going to have to do your own research to decide what best suits what you and your husband would most like to do and see.

I recommend that you get some good guidebooks or spend some time with a few in your local library (my favorite for Croatia is the Rough Guide), identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Only then can you see how things fit together and make decisions about what to see and what to skip.

BTW, there is NO reason to use a tour company unless that is your preference -- Croatia is very easy to visit independently. And I think you will find that a number of Fodorites will be happy to jump in to help once you narrow your options down a bit.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 11:35 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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I second what Kja states above. Research the country and what you and your husband wish to see; and, from there report back and we can help fine-tune itinerary.

Your airfare will likely eat up a large chunk of your "medium" budget. Not sure what "medium" is, so please provide a figure. One thing to remember: the more you move, the more it costs you. It costs to use rental car and/or public transport from one spot/city to another. It also costs time in terms of travel, checking in/out of hotel/apartments, parking/walking, etc. So keep that in mind when formulating your plans.

There is no direct flight from SFO to Croatia and you may have one or more layovers (know this from experience as I fly from SFO). Depending on where you're flying into, Croatia has airports in destination points in the country including Pula, Dubrovnik, Zagreb and I *think* Split (not sure about that one, though) and there might even be more airports as well. Depending on your plans, Trieste (Italy) is also an option if you plan on visiting Istria as well. Consider flying open jaw (multi-destinations) which is flying into one city of the country and back home from another. Most major European cities should have smaller, regional airlines that can get you into Croatia as well.
Travel_Nerd is online now  
Dec 31st, 2015, 01:27 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you can fly into/out of Zagreb, the capitol of Croatia (which is more likely to have connections to other European cities), you can take a cheap one way flight from say Dubrovnik on Croatia Airlines if that helps you. (Obviously, if you can book it directly into/out of Dubrovnik then just do that.)

Renting a car may not be expensive - it wasn't for me last May, and driving is easy for Americans (though rental cars are mostly manual shift unless you pay extra for an automatic). Croatia's roads are modern, especially the A1 freeway that is nicer than most US interstate highways. One thing to watch out for is that if you drive on the Dalmatian Coast between Dubrovnik and Split, you cross through a tiny sliver of Bosnia and Herzegovina so you technically leave the European Union, and this could affect the cost of the rental car (believe it or not) so you have to check on that when renting it. Some companies make exceptions for driving through this "Neum corridor" because driving through it is common.

You don't say how much time you have, but besides Croatia you could see other nearby countries that were also part of the former Yugoslavia including parts of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia. For example, if you choose say southern Croatia near Dubrovnik, a side trip to Bay of Kotor in Montenegro or Mostar in BiH is common. If you will be in the north near Istria, a side visit to Slovenia is easy.

I recommend checking out the Rick Steves PBS travel shows on Croatia - free to watch on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVxZxOaEuF4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5Buk6NPVPg

A relatively simple itinerary would be to fly into Zagreb and drive to Dubrovnik, with stops at Plitvice Lakes National Park, Split, an island like Korcula or Hvar (by ferry), and Dubrovnik, maybe with side trips to Mostar and/or Kotor depending on your time. Adding Istria in the north is another option (detour between Plitvice and Split), again depending on your time.
Andrew is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 02:46 PM
  #5  
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Thank you for your response. We would like to spend around $5,000 dollars, which would include fly, car, and accommodations. I am not sure if our budget is possible. Looking at the information on Croatia, there are so many wonderful places to see. We do enjoy different scenery, history, and experiences. Also, since we have such limited time, I agree that a multi-destination flight would be our best choice.
The top places on our list are:
* Dubrovnik
-Side trip to Montenegro and/or Mostar
* Korcula
* Split
* Plitvice Lakes or Krka National Park (which is easily reached from Split.

We may want to flight into Zagreb (since we may have more flight options) and spend a day in Zagreb, then pick up our car and go to Split.
eoleson4 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 03:30 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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"The top places on our list are:
* Dubrovnik
-Side trip to Montenegro and/or Mostar
* Korcula
* Split
* Plitvice Lakes or Krka National Park (which is easily reached from Split. ...
We may want to flight into Zagreb ... and spend a day in Zagreb, then pick up our car and go to Split"

With 10 days, that is probably do-able, but IMO, it is a bit rushed. These are wonderful places, though -- I fully understand why you want to visit them. And whether it works for you depends on what you want to see and do in each location.

if you do proceed with this plan, definitely spend a day in Zagreb (which I enjoyed very much; others are less positive) before picking up a car, as driving with jet lag can be deadly to you and others.

Then visit the magnificent Plitvice Lakes National Park en route from Zagreb to Split. 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 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). For most people at most times of year, that means spending at least one night in the area.

And if you can, return the car in Split -- you can visit Dubrovnik, Mostar, and Korcula easily without a car, and having a car IN those cities can be an encumbrance. You can also visit Montenegro without a car, although that's a bit trickier, or you can rent a car again for just that day.
kja is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 03:33 PM
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If you are driving from Zagreb to Split, you are basically driving by both Plitvice and Krka (Plitvice is a slight detour off the A1; Krka less so). If you have to choose between the two parks, I'd choose Plitvice easily. However, I recommend staying over in/near the park and entering the park first thing (opens at 7AM) because it gets crowded by mid-morning - it is a popular park. There are hotels right in the park - overpriced but convenient - and they are ideal for waking up and walking right into the park.

Some recent visitors to Plitvice who got there around noon complained that park seemed crowded to them and disappointing.

I'm not sure what you mean by "limited time" (a week? two weeks? You didn't say.) So I don't know about your budget. I'd start with the airfare and see how much you have left. But Croatia as of now is not very expensive for Americans. I guess the exchange rate could worsen by June.
Andrew is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 03:40 PM
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(Oops - now I see the "10 days" in your title... I'd say $5,000 should be very doable then.)
Andrew is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 03:53 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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Andrew wrote: "I recommend staying over in/near the park and entering the park first thing (opens at 7AM) because it gets crowded by mid-morning...." I'm sure that's good advice for many. Since I am NOT a morning person, I choose to get there at about 10 a.m., at which time the last of the day's tour groups were just departing, so I was behind the crowds. That worked exceedingly well for me.

(The only person I remember speaking of disappointment about the Plitvice Lakes only went 1/2 hour into the park -- so about 1 hr, all told, in and out. NOT enough to gain a sense of the magnificence of the Plitvice Lakes, IMO!)

I, too, would make visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park a higher priority than the Krka National Park. Note, however, that you probably only need the car if you are going to the Plitvice Lakes.
kja is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 04:20 PM
  #10  
 
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Well, on both of my visits to Plitvice (one in May, one in October), the trails were pretty busy after 10AM, which is why I recommend people get there early (or perhaps much later in the day - but I still prefer morning). At least two people who have posted trip reports here (or perhaps in other forums) in the last few months complained about being disappointed with Plitvice but then admitted they arrived at mid-day and didn't like the crowds.
Andrew is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 05:08 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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10 a.m. is hardly "mid-day" to those of us who are not morning people. ;-)

I can only speak to MY experience, which was as follows: I visited the Plitvice Lakes on Wed., June 10, 2009. As already stated, I reached the lower entrance at about 10 a.m. I dallied around the glorious lower falls until the last of the tour groups headed out. I had increasing freedom from crowds as the day wore on. Of the nearly 500 photos I took while in the park (I love digital cameras!), most show few, if any, other people. I spent about 6.5 or 7 hours in the park. I loved it.
kja is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 05:49 PM
  #12  
 
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Yes, and I can only speak of my two experiences when it was crowded after about 10AM on the trails in Plitvice but not crowded at all early in the morning. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this and let the OP look into the timing of her visit more if she really cares that much about it.
Andrew is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 07:26 PM
  #13  
kja
 
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Yes, Andrew, let us PLEASE agree to disagree! I would definitely like that, and I think it would be a great benefit to future travelers to Croatia if we can do so. I’ve consistently acknowledged the potential benefit of starting early, as you recommend; but because I am NOT a morning person, telling me that I would have to start a visit to the Plitvice Lakes at or near 7 a.m. would be tantamount to telling me to not even try. As you know, from MANY posts, my experience was quite different than yours; I found that starting at about 10 a.m. was not only quite possible, but also quite enjoyable. I think that there is value in letting others know that starting at that time might also work. No guarantees either way! SO thank you for FINALLY agreeing that we might have had different experiences, and that there is no need to claim that either is wrong!
kja is offline  

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