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Evyhugoethan2016 Dec 27th, 2016 08:39 AM

3 weeks croatia italy with a toddler!
My husband and I will be travelling to croatia from US in May 2017 with our 1.5 yr old and will have about 3 weeks total including travel time to explore. We also want to escape to Italy for a few days. We are most excited about visiting the lakes and ocean and eating at affordable but good places. Anywhere that is pintoresque and safe to walk and relax. Any itenerary suggestions? We want to see as much as possiblw but not be overly rushed since we are with a baby.


Andrew Dec 27th, 2016 11:36 AM

Time to get a couple of good guidebooks. I recommend the Rick Steves books for Croatia/Slovenia and for Italy. You can also watch his PBS TV shows for free on YouTube. There are a couple of shows about Croatia and surely several about Italy.

There are also plenty of trip reports here for Croatia and Italy. You can read mine by clicking on my name and finding my trip reports in my profile.

See what appeals to you. Make a list of things you want to see. Then try to organize a way between them.

In Croatia, it's typical to see Dubrovnik, Split, maybe an island like Hvar and/or Korcula, and Plitvice Lakes National Park (which is a must-see in my view). Renting a car is affordable in Croatia, and driving there is easy, especially in May when there isn't a lot of vacation traffic on the roads yet. You can ferry to the islands. There's also a coastal ferry (car ferry) that connects the main cities perhaps a few days a week (this ferry did not run in 2016 but is going to start up again in 2017, year round as I understand it). There are also ferries between Croatia and Italy - into/out of Split and Dubrovnik. You can find info by googling. If you wind up in northern Croatia (Istria) you can also ferry between Venice and Istria.

Know that it can be challenging to fly directly to/from the US to/from Croatia without multiple flight connections in a day. Sometimes its easier to stage for a night or two in western Europe before flying into/out of Croatia. Flying into/out of Italy should be easier.

easyJet and other airlines offer sometimes cheap flights between western European cities and cities like Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik. But you can check yourself using Google Flights to see what kind of connections you can make between Croatia and whatever US city you are flying into/out of to Europe.

kja Dec 27th, 2016 06:52 PM

I agree with Andrew that consulting a few good guidebooks should prove invaluable. They can be a money-saver (because of money-saving tips they offer), but you should also be able to consult them in your local library. I must admit, though, that of the half-dozen guidebooks that I used when planning my time in the area, the LEAST valuable was the Rick Steves one – I would go so far as to say it was a waste of my money. JMO. I thought the <i>Rough Guide</i> the most useful, by far!

I think that 3 weeks in May should be delightful – the wildflowers should be in bloom in many (if not all) parts of Croatia, and it isn’t as full of tourists as it will be just a month or so later.

Note that you don’t actually need to go to Italy for a touch of it – the Istrian peninsula of Croatia was Italian until after WWII and still bears very clear marks of its Italian heritage. It might be easier, and less expensive, to plan on some time there rather than trying to fit both countries into the same trip. Just an idea!

And while Andrew is correct that many people with 3 weeks for their vacations visit Dubrovnik, Split, an island or two, and the Plitvice Lakes, with a toddler, you mght want to limit yourself a bit. Your call!

Hope that helps!

Andrew Dec 27th, 2016 07:10 PM

Yes, kja, we know you hate Rick Steves - you seem to make a point of responding to my posts just to remind us of that, instead of simply recommending your own favorite guide books. It's getting a bit old.

For my part, in all three of my trips to Croatia/Slovenia, I've found Rick Steves's books essential, as I have for my trips to other parts of Europe. I have found some guidebooks less useful to me than others, but I certainly don't go out of my way to warn people not to use a guidebook that didn't work with my personal travel style!

kja Dec 27th, 2016 07:28 PM

Andrew, I must admit that what I find “old” is your belief that what I say is about YOU. I can assure you, my post had nothing to do with you. By way of contrast, I don’t assume that YOUR recommendation of that particular guidebook – knowing my view – was about ME, nor do I accuse you of mentioning it as a way of making a “point” to me. Jeesh!!! It’s honestly just that (a) I don’t like wasting money, which is what I felt I did with that particular guidebook and (b) I think that if someone is willing to spring for a guidebook – which I think is a good thing! -- then they might want to realize that guidebooks are not fungible.

Please continue to offer whatever advice you choose to offer. Please allow me to offer whatever advice I choose to offer. Maybe OPs will be better off for hearing that there are diverse views. When I plan trips, I know I would rather hear diverging perspectives than think that people are withholding their views just to avoid challenging the views of another Fodorite. JMO.

@ Evyhugoethan2016 -- my sincere apologies for this digression!

kja Dec 28th, 2016 01:34 AM

(@ Evyhugoethan2016: Please forgive another digression, just for perspective.)

I’ve been privileged to take 18 international trips to date, all but 2 of which have been at least 3 weeks, and often 4 weeks, long. In general, I’ve used about 6 guidebooks (which I purchased) to plan each of those trips, not counting online and other resources. I haven’t repeated any locations yet, except for Paris and Lucerne (each of which I visited twice). So across these trips, I’ve bought and used more than 100 different guidebooks. There is <b>only one</b> guidebook that I bought that I didn’t think worth my time or money, and that was the Rick Steves guidebook for Croatia and nearby areas. (It is also the only RS guidebook I’ve purchased, although I’ve looked at others, and never found sufficient reason to use any of them.) I’m not just saying I thought it mediocre – I am saying that I, personally, found it so limited as to be a waste of my money, particularly in comparison to the others I worked with when planning my time in that part of the world. I cannot say that about any other guidebook I have ever used. JMO, and others are welcome to their own opinions. I just wanted to make it clear that I'm not talking about one guidebook in a handful -- I talking about one in more than 100.

AFoo Feb 28th, 2017 10:19 AM

Hi there. I was looking to do a similar itinerary with my husband and 2 year old son from the US east coast this june/july. How is your planning coming along? Looks like Easy Jet flies from Naples to Split (cheap and about an hour flight) if you wanted to check out the west coast of italy. I'd be interested in what you have decided to do as your planning continues and how it all turns out when you return! We will only have 2 weeks, so debating whether it's overzealous to pick 2 countries since there are no direct flights to Croatia from NYC :(

massimop Feb 28th, 2017 01:24 PM

I give this information to you because I gave it to another person who asked a question like you:

If you like you can also go to Venice and then go to Grado. It is not a very American thing to do, but it is very nice for children and it is a very interesting place to be. The food is very nice. If you have a car you can visit Aquileia and Palmanova and Duino. This is in english:

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