12 nights Croatia narrow down itinerary

Old Jan 2nd, 2018, 02:10 PM
  #1  
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12 nights Croatia narrow down itinerary

Hi,
I need help with our 12-night itinerary in Croatia. I've been trying to narrow it down so we only have one 1-night stay (Plitvice) but at this point everything except Dubrovnik is a 2-night stay. We'd prefer longer stays, but I'm not sure how to narrow it down further, given the logistics.
My husband and I like sightseeing, great scenery for photo ops, wandering cobblestone streets and open air markets, good food, wine, people-watching in cafes etc. We're not partiers and while we love the coast and beaches and do want a little r&r time, we're not into spending a lot of time laying on beaches. We do want to see the beautiful Dalmatian Coast and take in at least one island. Here is what we have so far.

Sun, Jun 10 Arrive Ljubljana midday via train from Vienna (2 nights)
Mon, Jun 11 - Ljublijana - city sightseeing
Tues Jun 12 - Ljubljana/Zagreb via morning train; get car drive to Lake Plitvice (1 night)
Wed Jun 13 - Lake Plitvice morning visit ( approx 4 hrs), afternoon drive to Sibenik (2 nights)
Thu Jun 14 - Sibenik
Fri, Jun 15 - Trogir or Split (2 nights)
Sat, Jun 16 - Trogir/Split, turn in car
Sun, Jun 17- ferry Split/Hvar (2 nights)
Mon Jun 18 - Hvar
Tue, Jun 19 -Hvar/Dubrovnik via catamaran (3 nights)
Wed, Jun 20 - Dubrovnik
Thu, Jun 21 - Dubrovnik
Fri, Jun 22 - Depart Dubrovnik

Questions:
- After morning visit at Plitvice Lakes, is it reasonable to drive from Plitvice to Split in the afternoon? Best I can tell it's about 3 hours? I'm thinking then we could use Split or Trogir as a base for day trips rather than staying in Sibenik. Then we'd have 4 nights Split/Trogir.... or too long? Better 3 nights and add a night in Hvar or even Ljubljana?
-- Is a day trip from Hvar to Korcula possible via catamaran?

Thanks
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Old Jan 2nd, 2018, 03:22 PM
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kja
 
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It really depends on what you want to see and experience! The good news is that you don’t have any bad choices here, just some very difficult ones.

FWIW, I’d encourage a walk of at least 6 hours in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Not only are the lakes connected by travertine waterfall formations, each lake has unique microbiota, and as a result, the lakes are different colors. IME, 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), and by all means, start at the lowest part of the park so you are facing the falls as you proceed. So I would definitely encourage you to stay near the lakes at least one night, whether before or after depends on your scheduling preferences.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sibenik, but it seems to have less appeal to most people than some of the other places you are planning to visit, and if your goal is to limit the number of places you stay, that might be one place to consider. Doing so wouldn't necessarily give you any more time, as doing so could mean shifting your time to Split as a base rather than splitting your bases -- no pun intended. ;-)

Split is my favorite city in Croatia, so I’d want more time than you are giving it; that said, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But yes, you can use it as a base for Trogir and Sibenik and even Hvar or other locations – depending on what you want to see and experience.

3 nights in Dubrovnik is actually a lot for the city itself. Depending on what you plan to see / do, you might be able to skip a night there.

Whether to add time in Hvar or Ljubljana or stop in Korcula (preferably overnight, IMO) all depend on your preferences.

Maybe I missed it, but when are you going? That makes a BIG difference for ferry schedules, sunrise/sunset times, crowds, etc.

I’m sure you’ve already considered it, but just in case … with 12 nights, another option might be to see only the north or south, rather than trying to span the distance from Slovenia to Dalmatia in that time frame.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2018, 03:24 PM
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The drive from Plitvice to Split is between 3 and 4 hours, usually closer to 3. I would choose fewer bases, personally. Also I would spend two nights at Plitvice so you have the whole day there without a long drive after, but that's just me. Lots of people do exactly what you are doing.

There is a lot to see on Hvar Island but you'd need to keep the car to get around. So probably two nights is enough if you aren't keeping the car.

A day trip to Korcula on the catamaran is possible, but it would be better, to go on the way from Hvar to Dubrovnik and stop off for one night. Otherwise you are backtracking and then backtracking again to go to Dubrovnik.

I think your plans look pretty good. In Dubrovnik try to stay outside the city walls, to escape the hordes.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 03:28 AM
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I don't think that there will be a train coming from Vienna and arriving at Ljubljana before 2pm.
There is more to see at Zagreb than at Ljubljana.
Sibenik is a charming town. Sleep there and visit the Krka Falls Park.
Trogir is a nicer place fo a overnight stay than Split.
I would leave Split on Saturday for either Hvar Island or Korcula Island.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 05:24 AM
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I wouldn't stay overnight in Trogir. A couple of hours plus a bite to eat is enough imo.

The ferry trip from Split to Hvar is great, very scenic, and only takes 2 hours. Hvar Town is party central, so if that's not your scene, then get the Split to Stari Grad ferry.

Ovis and/or Makarska are worth a day trip south from Split, the scenery.....mountains to the left and the Adriatic to the right is pretty good.

For Dubrovnik, check the Cruise Ship schedule, the place gets full very quickly.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 08:53 AM
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There is a lot more to Hvar Town than parties. It is a lovely town with a lot of good restaurants and shops. Stari Grad is very pretty too, but if you stay there I would get a car at least for a day to explore some other places. You can rent cars for just a few hours on the island. There are taxis too, you could maybe take one to Vrboska to do some wine tasting or something like that if you do not want to rent a car.

If you want to take the catamaran to Korcula or Dubrovnik they leave from Hvar Town so it might be easier to base there. There are also catamarans from Split to Hvar Town that take one hour. Jadrolinija, the state line does not have the June schedules up yet, but you can check Krilo Jet.
https://www.krilo.hr/en/sailing-schedule/
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 09:06 AM
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Jadrolinija summer timetables:
http://www.jadrolinija.hr/red-plovid...e-linije-2018-
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 09:11 AM
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Did you try to look at June neckervd? When I try it does not work, there is "no destination port found."
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 09:13 AM
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Never mind I see them now I was looking at the drop down menu. Should have scrolled down.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 04:22 PM
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Thanks for all the great tips and for taking the time to share them.
Yes, it would have been better to pick north or south Croatia for 12 nights, but we were committed to coming from Vienna and didn't want to miss the southern Dalmatian coast.

neckervd, you are right, train from Vienna to Ljubljana arrives around 2pm, not midday as I had it.

kja, my husband agrees Plitvice is worthy of spending a good 6 hrs. Thanks for encouraging us to allow more time. We'll stay in or near the park and get there for 8am opening. If we had more days in Croatia we'd spend a second night, but we want to spend more time on the coast. So if we get to Split around 6 or 7pm it will still be light out. While it will be a long day it should be ok I think.

Thanks to several suggestions, we'll stay in Split 3 nights and use it as a base for visiting Split, Trogir and Sibenik. We'll only have 2 full days in Split but if we have time, a visit to Omis or Makarska looks interesting. Though from what I read the road into Omis town get very crowded in summer.

We'll take a catamaran to Hvar and stay in Hvar Town, though I think we should rent a car for a day, as suggested, so we can see other parts of the island too. To see Korcula, it looks like we'd have to do an overnight before heading to Dubrovnik. Still a little on the fence on a 1-night stay there vs staying in Hvar 3 nights or adding a 4th night in Split to do day trips.

By some miracle, there are no cruise ships in Dubrovnik on June 20 according to http://www.cruisemapper.com/ports so that looks like a good day to be there. On June 21 there is only 1 small ship in Bay of Kotor so that looks like a good day for a daytrip, either bus or rent car for day.

Here's updated schedule:

Sun, Jun 10 Arrive Ljubljana 2pm via train from Vienna (2 nights)
Mon, Jun 11 - Ljublijana - city sightseeing
Tues Jun 12 - Ljubljana/Zagreb via morning train 8:25am/10:34am; get car, drive to Lake Plitvice (1 night)
Wed Jun 13 - Lake Plitvice morning visit (approx 6 hrs), late afternoon drive to Split (3 nights)
Thu Jun 14 - Split- visit Trogir, Sibenik
Fri, Jun 15 - Split - maybe Omis and/or Makarska day trip
Sat, Jun 16 - Split/Hvar catamaran into Hvar Town (2 nights)
Sun, Jun 17- Hvar
Mon Jun 18 - Hvar/Korcula via catamaran (1 night)
Tue, Jun 19 -Korcula/catamaran to Dubrovnik (3 nights)
Wed, Jun 20 - Dubrovnik - no cruise ships scheduled, yay
Thu, Jun 21 - Dubrovnik - best day to visit Kotor - only 1 small cruise ship in port
Fri, Jun 22 - Depart Dubrovnik


Question - in Split, if we stay in Old Town do you have a suggestion about what to do with our car? I think we will have to park it elsewhere (paid parking?) and walk to sobe or hotel?

Any sobes you can recommend in Split, Hvar Town or Korcula?

Thanks so much!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 04:53 PM
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Looks good! And lucky on the cruise ships, it will still be crowded but not AS crowded.

I have recommended many times on these forums, Apartments Komazin in Hvar Town. They are 15 minutes walk outside the center in a residential area.
http://croatia-hvar-apartments.com/

Down the street from there you can get a car from Dino, he's super cool. http://www.dinorenthvar.com/

In Split you might try something closer to the sea and not inside the walls if you have a car. I stayed at a little hotel close to the cruise terminal in October, there was parking there but its not a sobe.

Do the stop in Korcula, why not, it will break up the long catamaran ride. Just make sure to pack light, pulling too much stuff on and off the catamaran can get old fast.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 05:21 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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I agree with rialtogrl -- looks good!

I don’t think you’ll regret the time in the Plitvice Lakes, and FWIW, I thought a single night sufficient.

Please don’t forget time for Split itself! I felt hardpressed to see just the highlights with about 1.5 very busy days there. Visiting Sibenik and the Krka National Park from Split can take a full day; Trogir can take about a half-day. Seems to me you’re running out of time, and that doesn't count any of the other places you're considering! Of course, you can always decide on day trips once there.

As mentioned above, Hvar Town in June can be party hearty central – I found it too much so in May! But it is beautiful, so I can understand the draw.

If you stay in Korcula (which I loved), you might look at the Royal Apartments.

BTW, sorry for missing the dates – that you are traveling in June was actually quite clear.

Enjoy!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 05:49 PM
  #13  
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Thank you for your advice! Yes Split we will play by ear and see how much we have time for because we do want to see Split itself and don't want to be go-go-go every minute. Since we're going to Plitvice we'll likely skip Krka, though I know it has it's own charms.

I'm a little concerned about Hvar Town because I've heard it's party-town and that's not our scene. But my cousin loved it and he's not a party guy either. Maybe with a rental car we could stay in a different town.

Thanks for the accommodation recommendations. I will check them out.

We're definitely traveling light, carry-on roller bag and daypack. Don't want to be schlepping around with massive luggage. I made it through 3 1/2 weeks in France with just a carryon and still didn't wear everything
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 06:02 PM
  #14  
kja
 
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Even if you aren't party-people, I would trust rialtogrl's recommendations for Hvar Town.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 06:04 PM
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I go to Hvar every year. Last year I was there three times. Yes there are parties and people drinking on yachts but that is not the entire scene. If you sleep away from the main harbor, it will be more "island life" and not a bunch of drunk people walking around in flip flops. They are there, but if you are not at the harbor at midnight, or going to the sunset party at Hula bar, you can avoid them. I would not be going there every year if it was just a party scene.

You can stay outside the center and go in for dinner early, and just absorb the early evening vibe, which is magical.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 10:53 PM
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I would tweak itinerary to reduce to one 1 night stop, no long drive after hiking Plitvice for 6+ hours, reduce train days from 2 to 1, could even turn in car on arrival in Split, increase Korcula stay to 2 nights. Seems less rushed and more relaxing to me. Save Ljubljana for when you can visit more of Slovenia and Istria.

Sun, Jun 10 Arrive Zagreb 5pm via train from Vienna. Zagreb (2 nights)

Mon, Jun 11 - Zagreb - city sightseeing

Tues Jun 12 - Get car in am, drive to Plitvice. Visit Plitvice, Plitvice (1 night)

Wed Jun 13 - Drive to Split in am (arrive Split at lunch time). Palace /Riva in afternoon. Could even stop in Trogir en route. Split (2 nights).

Thu Jun 14 – Split and surroundings- visit Trogir etc.

Fri, Jun 15 - Split/Hvar Town KL catamaran (leaves 7:40 am, arrives 8:40am). Hvar (2 nights)

Sat, Jun 16 - Hvar

Sun, Jun 17- Hvar/Korcula old town KL catamaran (leaves 8:50 am, arrives 10:00 am). (2 nights)

Mon Jun 18 - Korcula

Tue, Jun 19 -Korcula/KL catamaran to Dubrovnik (leaves 10:10 am, arrives 12 noon). Dubrovnik (3 nights)

Wed, Jun 20 - Dubrovnik - no cruise ships scheduled, yay

Thu, Jun 21 - Dubrovnik - best day to visit Kotor - only 1 small cruise ship in port

Fri, Jun 22 - Depart Dubrovnik
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 11:37 PM
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If you want to enjoy the crossing to Hvar, rather than just getting there fast, then opt for the ferry and not the catamaran. There'll be limited outside space on the catamaran, whereas on the ferry there's a full outside deck that can wander round to take in all the wonderful views, get a bit of sun, and a bit of breeze.
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Old Jan 4th, 2018, 09:01 AM
  #18  
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dugi_otok on Jan 3, 18 at 10:53pm

"I would tweak itinerary to reduce to one 1 night stop, no long drive after hiking Plitvice for 6+ hours, reduce train days from 2 to 1, could even turn in car on arrival in Split, increase Korcula stay to 2 nights. Seems less rushed and more relaxing to me. Save Ljubljana for when you can visit more of Slovenia and Istria."

I like that idea...in fact I was trying to do just that but Vienna/Zagreb schedules I saw either arrived late eve or had multiple connections or almost 9 hrs. Can you point me to the train schedule you refer to?

LancasterLad on Jan 3, 18 at 11:37pm

"you want to enjoy the crossing to Hvar, rather than just getting there fast, then opt for the ferry and not the catamaran."

Thanks. Good option and I think ferry is only an hour longer.

kja and rialtogrl - thanks I will trust your experience in Hvar Town.
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Old Jan 4th, 2018, 09:37 AM
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IMO you waste a full day at Ljubljana (1 1/2 days in all). If you want to visit another Austrian style city, stay a few hrs at Zagreb instead.
If I had a car, I would probably go by car ferry from Split to Korcula Island and then to Dubrovnik along the road.
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Old Jan 4th, 2018, 12:17 PM
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>>I like that idea...in fact I was trying to do just that but Vienna/Zagreb schedules I saw either arrived late eve or had multiple connections or almost 9 hrs. Can you point me to the train schedule you refer to?<<

I use DB Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) for inter country train planning. www.bahn.com

For June 10:
Leaves Vienna 8:25am, 1 change at Villach, arrives Zagreb 5:10pm
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