Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > 2 weeks in Croatia/Slovenia - Need advice for narrowing where to go/stay - please critique my itinerary!
Notices

2 weeks in Croatia/Slovenia - Need advice for narrowing where to go/stay - please critique my itinerary!

Reply

Mar 19th, 2007, 01:34 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 333
2 weeks in Croatia/Slovenia - Need advice for narrowing where to go/stay - please critique my itinerary!

Hi -

I've finally spent a good amount of time with Fodors forum and a map and have this potential Itinerary, but I kind of fall apart in the 2nd week. Please advise if this is too rushed, ambitious, what you'd skip, suggestions for better home bases. We will be travelling with a 1 year old baby, so would like to stay in places (ie, a farm in the mountains, an apartment by the sea) that will allow us to just chill out for periods of time - take leisurely walks through the woods/along the shore/through the village, etc. Because we'll have the baby, I'd like to have "home bases" where we can take day trips from or just relax where we are. Here it goes:

Day 1: fly into Ljubjana, get rental car and drive to Lake Bled area.
Day 2. Explore Julian Alps/Bled/Bohinjska/hang out where we'll be staying. Don't want to do too much the first few days, as the baby will likely be cranky with the time change/upheaval of his schedule. Sleep in Bled.
Day 3. Drive to Soca, Kobarid, Sleep in Bled.
Day 4. Day trip to Skofja Loka and Ljubjana, Sleep in Bled.
Day 5. Drive to Opatija. Sleep in Opatija (Apartment)
Day 6. Day trip to Trieste, Grado. Sleep in Opatija
Day 7 . Day trip to Istrian Penninsula: Rovinj, Pula. Return to Opatija.
Day 8. Chill out in Opatija (This is the point where I get a little iffier - should we head out of town now or relax or take another day trip, say to Rab and Krk?)
Day 9. Drive to Plitvicka, spend one night here.
Day 10 - 14ish - In the next few days, we'd like to make our way to Dubrovnik, perhaps seeing/staying in Trogir? What would be another good town to stay in for 3 nights at the end of our trip?

How many days/nights should we allow for Dubrovnik?
then we would depart for home from Dub. Ideas about difficulties with open jaws plane ticket (into Ljubjana and out of Dubrovnik?) How about renting the car in Slovenia and returning it in Croatia? Are we omitting someplace that we "shouldn't miss?" thank you for any ideas, Julie
jck4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2007, 03:59 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 128
When are you planning to go to Croatia/Slovenia? My husband and I went to Croatia last September/October so I can remark on that portion of your plans but we did not go to Slovenia. We are saving that for another trip!

I would personally suggest other towns to stay in other than Opitija - we went through it and it did not look particularly charming. We loved Rovinj. Our favourite area was interior Istria with a lovely stay out in the country, away from anything and anyone. Our apartment was fantastic. The owners do not even live there so we had the entire place to ourselves!

You will enjoy Plitvice. It is doable in a day and breathtakingly beautiful.

We stayed in Trogir for a few days and did daytrips from there. We only spent a few hours in Split - that was all we needed (but everyone is different). Trogir is charming, particularly in the mornings and evenings. You can swim there, too.

Dubrovnik was another highlight - I think 3-4 days based there would be lovely. We were there four nights and did a few trips in the area (i.e. an arboretum that was peaceful and gorgeous, islands).

You really are in for a treat!
batraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2007, 04:22 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 333
thank you Batraveler! We are planning on the 2nd -4th week in September. How did you find the weather then? A friend who spent his honeymoon in Cro/Slov recommended Opatja but we are certainly open to suggestions for alternate home bases! cheers, Julie
jck4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2007, 04:59 PM
  #4
pat
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,395
Opatia is charming down by the water. We walked and walked on the pathway. So, yes stay in Opatia, down by the water.
pat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2007, 05:56 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 333
batraveler!! i just looked at the place you stayed on the Istrian Penninsula and it looks MAGICAL!! Was it really that great? It looks so relaxing - might be a great place to take the baby. Was it a good home base for exploring? Please tell more!!
jck4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2007, 02:16 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,774
A car gives you freedom, but to me this sounds like too much, especially with a baby in tow. Have you sorted out the driving times and distances? I would slow down and concentrate on a more limited geographical area (such as inland Istria or the Kvarner region). Even in the first week it looks to me like you'll be driving the whole time.
The distance between Istria and Dubrovnik is immense.

yorkshire is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:47 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 128
The apartment was really fantastic. It was in the middle of nowhere (almost - there were two elderly ladies as neighbours several metres away). The scenery was astonishing. We were told we could pick fruit and veg whenever we wanted - and we wanted! There is an apartment upstairs which we had (30 euros for the two of us) or you could rent the entire large house. As we were the only ones there at the time we had the entire house except a few rooms that were locked. We only ended up using our apt, anyway. It was very clean. I probably mentioned the fact that each day we had grapes in a basket waiting for us. The owners lived in Rijecka, half an hour away. There is an outside dog - well behaved and friendly. It was almost reassuring to have him there the first night as we literally were miles from anyone else (except the ladies I mentioned).

You may find the drive a pain as it is several km from the main roads BUT we found it an excellent base for exploring the little hilltowns. Hum was pretty close - a definite MUST SEE with a quaint restaurant (truffles on the menu). If we were to choose our favourite place to stay on that trip that would be it. We could not recommend this place highly enough.

Sorry about discouraging you on Opatija - it does have some charm but we did not find it as gorgeous as other places we saw. But then again, everyone has different tastes!

We, too, were there the last two weeks of September and first several days of October and found the weather to be remarkable. We were able to purchase fresh olive oil, cheeses and other produce. We had sunshine the entire time except a bit in Dubrovnik. If I recall we only wore our light jackets once - it was very warm (hot according to our standards).
batraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2007, 05:51 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 333
yorkshire - i'm sure you're right; i think we may save Dubrovnik for a future trip and stay more centrally.

BAtraveler - how many nights did you stay there? where did you go on each of your days? actually i think i saw one of your trip reports so i'll go look myself. i do still think we'd like opatija - i've read descriptions likeniing it to a smaller version of Nice, which we liked. I would like staying on the water, and it would be more different from where we'd be in
the Bled area.
jck4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:03 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 333
batraveler - i am 2 minutes into your trip report and am SALIVATING. At the description of all the fruit trees and grapes as well as the lovely isolation of where you stayed. It sounds absolutely perfect you have me convinced - how about::
4 nights in lake Bled area,
3 nights in Opatija, and
4 in Istria where you stayed, and
2 nights in Plitvice and fly home from Zagreb or Ljubjana. Yorkshire?

by the way, did you find that many people in the remote areas spoke English, especially in the restaurants? I would try to learn some basic phrases but it would be helpful if they did. How far was Hum from your house BA?
jck4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:17 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 528
Julie, do you have any idea where you'll be staying in or around Dubrovnik? I've heard Cavtat is a lovely little resort town nearby but know little else. And how will you be flying into Slovenia? We are considering a trip in July/August with our 18-month old (to Dubrovnik & Montenegro specifically) but the airfare is ridiculous if we want to make it in 3 flights!

Earlier this year we rented a house and took day trips which worked out really well. Our daughter's a good traveler but she doesn't handle multiple changes well so I know we need a home base each night.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:50 PM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 333
hl - i think now we'll skip Dubrovnik - just too much to fit in.

I've been looking at airfare and it is quite expensive - There's no way I'd want to do more than 2 flights, so I've been looking at DC to CDG or Frankfurt or Munich into Lubjana - on kayak.com they are quoting around 900-1200 as the cheapest for the 2nd week in sept - air france also flies into Ljub and i forget how much that was. by the way there is a very inspirational posting on fodors from someone who took their 18 month old to Rome and Paris a few years back - a real confidence builder which may help you get the nerve up for your trip too. i actually just wrote the person to thank them yesterday so if you click on my name jck4 you can find the thread i'm speaking of.
jck4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 06:25 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 528
Thanks Julie! The only 2-flight option from Chicago via London requires an airport change (with sleepy baby in tow - not happening). You've probably seen the posts from other parents who toted their toddlers to Croatia - that helped me realize we weren't resigned to western europe and there are some great tips about availablity of diapers, etc.

If you're considering Air France I've heard they require infants to sit on parents laps for takeoff and landing even if an additional seat is purchased. Not sure if this matters to you.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:04 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,774
I think you'll be glad you scaled back, Croatia is very relaxed so you'll want to go at that pace.
I haven't travelled in Istria (mostly in Dalmatia), but have heard wonderful things about the interior of Istria--the food there should be amazing, especially if you are close to truffle season. I have also heard Rovinj (on coast) is nice.
I cannot recommend Plitvice enough--one of the true natural wonders of the world! (2 hours from Zagreb)
Once you have fallen in love with Croatia (a guarantee), you can go back to see Dalmatia--I return for the 3rd time this year. I found decent flights through http://www.croatiatravel.com/Default.aspx.

I would definitely learn please (molim), thank you (hvala), greetings (dobre dan, etc.). Everywhere I have been, English has been prevalent, but the effort is alwasy appreciated. Here's 2 language guides (one with audio !)
http://www.hr/hrvatska/language/
http://www.visit-croatia.co.uk/croatianfortravellers/
yorkshire is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:43 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 5,989
I understand your thoughts on excluding Dubrovnik, but imo it was the most magical portion of our Croatia trip and I couldn't imagine not spending any time there. The other towns along the coast were beautiful, but Dubrovnik was by far our favorite. From Dubrovnik there are lots of cheap flights on Croatia Airlines to Zagreb; we got ours for the equavalent of about $40 for both tickets.

Just my .02. Either way you will love Croatia and Slovenia! We had such a great time on our trip. I wrote a trip report back in November. If you click on my name and go back a few pages you should be able to find it.

Good luck and happy planning!
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 09:23 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 128
jck, Hum was, I believe, about 7-8 km from where we stayed but took longer as it is a single-track and twisty road. To be honest those little country roads can be tricky to find but once you do and if you navigate well, you will have no problems.

We found several people spoke no English whatsoever (around the B&B area) but we managed fine with our phrasebook. We had also learned several phrases in advance. We drove through some villages where people literally dropped what they were doing to stare at us. It seemed as though they hadn't seen tourists for ages!

Someone else mentioned truffle season. I mentioned it, too, I believe. Truffle hunting was one of the highlights of our trip and something every foodie should experience once in their lives! Go to Livade - there is a truffle restaurant there.
batraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:19 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 333
truffle hunting sounds like fun, not sure the baby will go for it. I bet being in the middle of nowhere will be fun, esp with the baby as his screams/cries won't bother anyone. We also expect to meet people we wouldn't ordinarily meet - he'll be a conversation piece, no?

I think we should skip Dubrovnik for this trip - perhaps save it for a trip to Montenegro in the future??
jck4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:01 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 128
Sorry - I knew you were taking your baby but for some reason it didn't click when I mentioned truffle hunting!

Dubrovnik is so fantastic, too, so please make sure you get there on some trip!
batraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 07:03 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 23
jck4, I have spent some time along the coast and I agree on two points made by other travellers: Dubrovnik - it is called the "Jewel of the Adriatic" for so many reasons, the old town is incredibly beautiful, with heavy Venetian influences, but small enough to see everything during a short stay.

Driving - the roads have been upgraded, but they often reduce to one lane each way (through all the tunnels cut through the mountains), and can be PAINFULLY slow, so with a baby I wouldn;t personally want to plan on more than say 300kms (sorry, don't know miles) in any one day, and I certainly wouldn't want to do that every/most days.

Everyone likes different things, but concentrating on more time in less towns can let you see the real Croatia lot better.

Another Suggestion: for a town that is very relaxing, on the Makarska Riviera, you could think about Podgora - it is set up well for tourists (plenty of restaurants, English-speaking staff, service is quite good by Croatian standards) you can get a good authentic meal (if you want suggestions just ask). Most importantly it is a really easy beach for swimming with a 1-year-old, whereas in other places you will encounter a lot of beaches that are straight from rocks into 10-15 feet plus of water (hope you have packed a floaty chair-thing for Bubs!).

Hope I didn't repeat too much of what others said. Enjoy yourselves, eat well and make some wonderful memories.
Flying_Kiwi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:06 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
There are cheap European airlines now (like Southwest in the US). You can get to Pula, Ljubjana, Split, Zagreb and Dubrovnik for a lot less than you think from the London Airports, just not Heathrow. Ryan Air, Whiz Air and EasyJet will get you there. (I found a flight from Stansted to Pula for $30 last week)

I'm going to Split, Zadar, Pula, Lipica (in Slovenia to see the lipizzaner horses), Plitvice and Dubrovnik in April. Can't wait. All of these except Lipica are great for a day or a week. Go to the islands and hang out. Rovijn I understand is amazing. But I don't think I'd want to miss Dubrovnik. There seems to be something for everyone.
christabir is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:10 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 274
I would second Flying Kiwi's suggestion of Podgora, beautiful village, safe beach for a toddler, lots of cafes and nice walks along the waterfront, I have visited many, many times as I have friends who live there. If you are interested in an apartment, have a look at www.rivijera.com/index follow the link to Podgora. I can highly recommend Villa Spomenka, fabulous position right on the waterfront with a restaurant attached, the owner Slavko Vela will make you very welcome. Also Hotel Primordia would be a good choice, there are small studios or 1 bedroom apartments right on the waterfront www.hotel-primordia.com/ very friendly staff and they speak good English. Croatia is a wonderful holiday destination, just give yourself time to have a few quite days to enjoy the scenery and beaches.

Flying Kiwi, nice to a fellow Kiwi on this board.
Patricia is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:21 AM.