9 days in Croatia--help?

Old Jun 15th, 2008, 04:14 PM
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9 days in Croatia--help?

My husband and I are flying into Dubrovnik on the 21st of August and flying out on the 30th. Our flights (NY to Stockholm to Vienna to DBV to arrive; DBV to Zagreb to Frankfurt to NY to return) leave me a little hesitant to pack in too much travel once we arrive, and yet most of the itineraries I've been reading include a fair amount of day tripping and island hopping. I hate to miss out on anything, but is the trip to Hvar, for example, worth so many ferry hours?

For now, I've been thinking we would stay in Dubrovnik from the 21st until the 25th. The 23rd would be a devoted beach day, and on the 24th we'll rent a car and do a full day trip to the Bay of Kotor. (Question #1: With the crowds in August, is a day trip a good idea?)

When it comes to the 25th, things are completely up in the air with the exception that we'd like to be back in Dubrovnik the night of the 29th (we fly out in the morning on the 30th). #2: What should we do with those 4 days in between?

One option is to take a ferry to Korcula on the 25th, the 6am catamaran to Hvar on the 26th, return to Korcula on the 27th and return to Dubrovnik on the 28th. The travel time I've found for boat service make the two nights in Korcula necessary, but (#3) will it be impossible (or just inconvenient) to have single nights for which to find lodging?

Alternatively, I've started to get interested in driving up the coast to Trogir. (#4)Would it be better to spend a few days traveling up the coast (#5:which stops do you suggest? Ston? Korcula? etc?), then returning to Dubrovnik or Cavtat for beach/downtime? (#6)Would skipping the islands of Hvar, Vis, Brac all together--using Dubrovnik as the main base--be a mistake?

I would imagine that if we do a couple of days of driving, that we should still visit the elafati islands for a taste of the island hopping experience? (#7)Is this a suitable alternative to making the trip out to Hvar or Vis?

I'm really not sure how to approach this--usually we're very active and we have a tendency to stay in one place one or two nights and then move on, but I'm really trying to take it easier on this trip. We don't have an extravagant budget, but would be willing to spend extra to make the most of our time. We are both 29, but we're not a big nightlife couple--good restaurants, local charm, value are more important. We would love to find a good beach to really settle in on for a couple of days (rocks are no problem at all, but it would be nice to rent a chair/umbrella--I have this positano image in my head?) Any suggestions the fodorites have would be much appreciated.

Finally, we are interested in scuba diving one day if possible. I've heard Cavtat has a good outfit. (#8)Any other tips (keeping in mind our overall itinerary query--e.g. Vis may not be an option...).

Sorry this is so long-winded. (At least 8 questions that I counted...)Hopefully it inspires some suggestions!

Thanks in advance for any tips!
Ashley

Past trip reports of mine, by the way: www.hitherandthither.net
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Old Jun 15th, 2008, 06:11 PM
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I got lost a bit with all the different possibilities, but I'll add my two cents.

A few years ago we took the ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula, and the views of the islands and the Adriatic were gorgeous. We also did the drive down from Split to Dubrovnik. My suggestion would be take the ferry at least one way - that either means renting a car in Dubrovnik, or taking the ferry one way, and renting a car for the ride back. The ferry views are worth it! Not sure how the cost would work out either way.

We absolutely loved Dubrovnik, Split, Korcula, and Trogir... Rab and Pag, further to the north were well worth it as well. I don't think you need more than 3 nights in Dubrovnik - it's a delightful, old city, but it's very walkable.
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Old Jun 16th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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A good rule of thumb is to spend at least 3 nights in each place. Another good rule of thumb is not not travel more than 3 hours in one day. So, with those parameters, work out the things you want to see/do the most.
Dbv, plus day trip to Elafiti (1) and Kotor (1), still giving you plenty of time to relax in Dubrovnik:
21
22
23
24
I'd steer clear of Hvar in August for sure (in fact, you should be looking for accommodation now).
Kotor is worth the drive to be sure, but yes there may be traffic.

Single night accommodations are possible, but you'll have less options.
There are also daily buses between Korcula and Dubrovnik (departs Dbv in afternoon and Kor. in morning)
I would spend the next 4 days on Korcula or around the Peljesac peninsula if you rent a car.
25
26
27
28
29 Dubrovnik (maybe stay in Cavtat or even Herceg Novi in Montenegro).
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Old Jun 16th, 2008, 07:40 AM
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On our March trip (which was 10 nights), we spent the 1st 3 in Dubrovnik. We arrived in the late afternoon so the 1st full day we walked the walls which was beautiful and lazed around the Old Town.

The 2nd day we made the day trip to Kotor. The route to Kotor was a lot more congested that I expected, but you are driving through lots of small towns and only have 2 lane roads. It is a very scenic drive, though. Also, we waited in line at the border crossing for almost an hour, and there couldn't have been more than 10 cars ahead of us. We breezed thru once we got to the front so not sure why it was so slow.

The next day we then drove up the Peljesac Peninsula and took the ferry from Orebic to Korcula. Another very scenic drive. We spent 2 nights on Korcula which was plenty as it was still end of winter so no swimming for us. In my research, it was suggested that we choose one island since we had limited time to work with. Old Town Korcula looked similar the Dubrovnik. We had wanted to take a day trip to Hvar, but I am glad we decided not to. We spent an entire day driving around Korcula Island, and it was so beautiful.

After 2 nights, we took the ferry from Vela Luka to Split where we spent a few hours and then had lunch in Trogir (before heading up to Plitvice). You could spend a night in Trogir, and then maybe head back to Dubrovnik via another overnight in Mostar, Bosnia if that appeals to you. We went to Sarajevo and Mostar and found Bosnia to be most interesting.

So, my suggestion is something like the following assuming that you have 9 nights:
3 Dubrovnik (1 full day Dubrovnik, 1 full day Kotor)
2 Korcula
1 Trogir
1 Mostar
2 Dubrovnik (1 full day exploring around Dubrovnik)

You can click on my name for my trip report with more detail and lodging recommendations. I would think you should start booking now since August is supposedly a very busy time.
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 08:04 PM
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We ended up having a fabulous trip. We based ourselves solely in Dubrovnik and Korcula, but did day trips out of each town. We just posted a trip report on www.hitherandthither.net.

Thank you again for all the help!
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