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3 weeks- Italy and Croatia Trip Itinerary Help

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3 weeks- Italy and Croatia Trip Itinerary Help

Old May 26th, 2015, 06:03 PM
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3 weeks- Italy and Croatia Trip Itinerary Help

In a few months I will be heading to Italy (flying into and out of Milan) for 3 weeks. I want to make a loop, go south from Milan through the northern half of Italy, catch a ferry from Bari or maybe a flight over to Dubrovnik, then work my way back up to Milan through Croatia. While I've never backpacked Europe, I have backpacked in the Middle East and Asia and generally like to be very active and do as much as I can. I was looking for advice on an itinerary- where should I try to hit, how long should I plan on staying in certain places etc. I have a rough idea of the path I want to take below, any advice on what I should cut or how long I should plan on staying in each place (or if I should swap places etc) would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Milan- Genoa-Florence-Rome-Naples-Dubrovnik-Split-Zagreb-Venice (I've heard Ljubljana is well worth visiting, but fear that might be to much?)-back to Milan.
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Old May 26th, 2015, 06:10 PM
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Forgot to add, I'll be traveling with my girlfriend not solo. We've travelled together before (most recently through Turkey) and are interested in seeing both the history of places but also in trying to get a feel for an area's culture.
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Old May 26th, 2015, 06:51 PM
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Does "in a few months" mean July/August or September (or later)? In Croatia, July/August is high season - crowded and expensive, and experts advise booking your lodgings now if you want to get a decent place.

September is a much better time to go - less crowded but still pretty nice weather, generally. Early October isn't terrible (I visited then) - weather maybe still good, but things gradually start closing down on the Dalmatian Coast in October.

Are you planning to take public transportation? In Croatia, that mostly means buses (and ferries/catamarans on the coast). In Italy, trains should get you around. You should figure out the travel time between points, then figure out what you want to do in each place and how much time you have to spend. I assume you might make stops between Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb? (Plitvice Lakes National Park, on the way to Zagreb from Split, should be high on your list - an amazingly beautiful park full of waterfalls, lakes, and great scenery).

Ljubljana is a wonderful little city, one of my favorite spots. If you are going from Zagreb back to Italy (probably by bus at least part way), you may go through Ljubljana anyway; it could be an overnight between Zagreb and Italy. It's not a big city so doesn't require a lot of time. The highlight is just seeing the town itself, really, especially at night.
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Old May 26th, 2015, 07:01 PM
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End of August into September.

I was planning on doing public transport, so trains in Italy. I looked into a ferry from Bari to Dubrovnik which would be overnight, then probably buses in Croatia. I've looked into Croatia Airlines for intra-country flights, especially if I decide to skip Split and fly from Dubrovnik to Zagreb.

May I ask how long you spent in Croatia and if you felt it was "enough" time? I've heard awesome things about Plitvice, would it be possible to scratch Split, fly to Zagreb, then see the parks from Zagreb?
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Old May 26th, 2015, 07:41 PM
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I've been to Croatia twice: one for about nine days in 2009 and once for about that same amount of time just a few weeks ago. It's not a matter of having "enough" time - it's more a matter of what you want to see, because there are a lot of things. On this recent trip, I returned to Dubrovnik and Plitvice but added Istria and a side trip to Montenegro (also spent almost a week in Bosnia), to see the things I felt I missed the first time but return to enjoy again those I'd liked. Trust me, you'll never have time to see everything the first time, with the amount of time you have, and I would stop trying. Assume you'll go back someday, for this trip see the few things you can fit in that are the most appealing.

Some people do like Split but personally I didn't, and I skipped it on this last trip (but did stop in nearby Trogir instead). I rented a car for two weeks this time and that worked well for me. But it seems like a reasonable choice to me to fly from Dubrovnik to Zagreb and just dip down to Plitvice (about two hours by car from Zagreb, perhaps a tad more via bus). Try www.buscroatia.com to dig up bus schedules. I would plan to overnight in the park, though, so you can set out first thing in the morning to try to see it before the mobs of tour groups invade. There are hotels right in the park - a little overpriced but very convenient especially if come by bus. You can get up in the morning and just walk right into the park.
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