Can you comment on my itinerary?

Old Dec 14th, 2015, 09:45 AM
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Can you comment on my itinerary?

My husband, 9 year-old daughter, and I will be visiting Croatia next summer. We have a total of 8 nights. We are planning on renting a car. I have some doubts regarding our itinerary, and would be grateful for input comments:
We land in Dubrovnik on August 16th, mid-afternoon. I was thinking that we could stay three nights, and do a day trip to Mljet (or should I priorize somewhere else as a day trip?). I had read that staying at Cavtat can be a good idea. If I am trying to avoid the cruise crowd, is that smart? Part of me feels that staying in Dubrovnik will allow us to explore the city early/late and chill at the hotel when it gets too busy. Reactions? Should I rent a car when we land or wait for after our Dubrovnik visit is over?
I have agonizing over what island to choose, and I think I am leaning towards Korcula. We are not into ‘seeing and being seen”, nor partying (obviously as we have a kid with us). So I am thinking about skipping Hvar altogether. We would do two nights in Korcula (recommendations where?) Or is there another island I should choose instead? Part of me feels it would be better to do an island I can get to from Dubrovnik, so I don’t have to drive all the day to Split.
That leaves me three nights. Originally I had thought we would do another island (Vis? Brac?) but reading further about how long it takes from place to another, I feel I want to spend less time in transit. I was thus leaning towards Bela, and staying there for some exploring of the coast. Maybe a trip to Split?
Our flight from Dubrovnik leaves at 3 pm, so I had thought we would just drive in the morning from Bela to the airport. Is this too ambitious? Should I stay two nights in Bela and one in Cavtat before flying?
I appreciate your thoughts.
renatica is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2015, 03:39 PM
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You may want to read our trip report...

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...a-slovenia.cfm

We didn't do any of the islands but I have Dubrovnik, Kotor, Split info that would be helpful.

Also, look for trip reports from a guy named Andrew.

Best!
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 04:12 PM
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Dubrovnik in August is like hell on earth.

First, it will be burning hot. Dubrovnik's main attraction is walking the wall. It is quite a walk and includes 1,080 steps. Expect extreme crowds. Certainly not exactly fun with a nine-year-old girl.

Second, everything in Dubrovnik will be crowded. On a good day, there will be 16,000 cruise ship passengers. They have already stamped the town. There is practically no hint of authenticity left. The town is full of tacky souvenir shops and restaurants serving American food. And crowds, crowds, crowds.

Yes, it might be a good idea to visit this pearl of a historic city in the morning when the sun is low and it is cooler and the cruise ships have not discarded their freight yet. I would not spend too much time in Dubrovnik. Three or four hours are enough to see everything.

Be aware that Cavtat is also a main destination for cruise ship excursions.

In my view, the best of Croatia is Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Do not miss Split. The Diocletian Palace is spectacular. And, other than Dubrovnik, Split is a city with a life of its own. While it is wise to visit Dubrovnik in the early morning, Split comes to life in the evening when the cruise ships passengers are gone and the locals swarm the cafés.

Islands: The Croatian coast is not diverse. It looks practically the same everywhere. So, it does not matter much where you go. The main criteria are access and quality of hotel. Be aware that most beaches are either pebbly or rocky (many with sea urchins!). There are very few sany beaches in Croatia. So carefully select your place to stay.
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 04:21 PM
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Agree with traveller 1959 although we visited in early June. We do have friends in Split who describe Dubrovnik July-August in exactly the same way.
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 05:41 PM
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Thanks. Yes, i know about the hordes but what can you do... So you think that evening should be sufficient time in Dubrovnic? Would you choose Split over Brela?

Does this sound better?

Dubrovnik (2 nights to allow 1 day trip to Mljet)
Korcula (3 night)
Split (2 nights)
cavtat (1 night before flying back)

Unfortunatelly we dont have time to make it to Plitvice
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 06:01 PM
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"We are planning on renting a car."

Depending on your itinerary, that might not be a very good idea. It will likely be a hindrance in Dubrovnik, would not necessarily help there or in Korcula, and whether it would be helpful after that depends on where else you go. In contrast, buses and ferries are, IME, frequent, convenient, and comfortable.

"We land in Dubrovnik on August 16th, mid-afternoon. I was thinking that we could stay three nights, and do a day trip to Mljet (or should I priorize somewhere else as a day trip?).... Part of me feels that staying in Dubrovnik will allow us to explore the city early/late and chill at the hotel when it gets too busy."

I haven't been to Dubrovnik in August, but think that you are right that you could spend your days elsewhere and enjoy Dubrovnik before and after the cruise crowd is around. I haven't been to Mljet, but think it might be a good choice for a family with a young daughter at this time of year. You could also spend a half-day on nearby Lokrum. Many people will recommend a day trip to the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, and I would normally recommend it for trips during other parts of the year, but IIRC, much of the city has little shade and the walk of the walls was so unbearable to me in the sunshine of May that I gave up only partway up. YMMV.

I must admit that I find some of the warnings you've been given about Dubrovnik to be a bit overdrawn, though I could easily be wrong. For one thing, I believe that a limit on cruise ships was put in place a few years ago, leading to at least a little control over the crowds. I think you can check this site for information:
http://www.croatiatraveller.com/sout...nik/august.pdf
For some weather information:
http://www.accuweather.com/en/hr/dub...weather/112593

"I have agonizing over what island to choose, and I think I am leaning towards Korcula. We are not into ‘seeing and being seen”, nor partying (obviously as we have a kid with us). So I am thinking about skipping Hvar altogether. We would do two nights in Korcula (recommendations where?)"

I loved Korcula and think it should suit your needs well. By contrast, I'm one of those who found Hvar WAY too upscale -- beautiful, but not my style. (Of course, the islands of Croatia's coast are distinct from one another, and you also have other choices.) If you can visit Korcula on one of the nights when the moresca is performed, I would recommend it -- its awesome! I stayed at the Royal Apartments, which still get great reviews.

"That leaves me three nights.... Maybe a trip to Split?"

I loved Split -- but it isn't to everyone's taste. (It is a very dynamic and energetic city with lots to see, but it is not as dependent on -- or oriented to -- tourists as many other areas.) You might consider going a bit north to Sibenik, from which you can see the Krka National Park, where your daughter can swim in front of a glorious waterfall. I agree with the recommendation for the Plitvice Lakes National Park -- it is, IMO, Croatia's single most unskippable destination -- but that said, I don't think you have time for it. The Krka National Park is not a substitute, but it would likely fit your route much better.

"Our flight from Dubrovnik leaves at 3 pm, so I had thought we would just drive in the morning from Bela to the airport"

Have you considered reversing your itinerary? I always prefer to be near my departure airport on the night before a flight. Or -- better yet -- if you haven't already booked your flights, consider options to fly into Dubrovnik and out of Split or vice versa.

Hope that helps!
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 06:13 PM
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"So you think that evening should be sufficient time in Dubrovnik?"

For me, it would NOT have been sufficient -- I wanted to see inside the monasteries and churches and the treasury, etc. -- and I wanted to see those things even when I was 9 years old. Some people are not interested in those things at any age. Only you can decide what is right for you and your family.
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 06:44 PM
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Thanks all. The reason why i am leaning towards staying more time in the islands rather that going to Split is that we live in NY and will have been a week before in Paris, so i think a little more "chill" beach/pool time would be welcome. But we want to explore as much as possible without turning this into a frantic trip. With that in mind would you suggest that we go to Split? I was thinking that a leisurely drive through the Peljesac to get to Korcula and then having a couple of day trips (mljet, which seems better to do from Korcula, right?; maybe Hvar would be nice.

Thanks for the warning about the car! We had been told that it would be useful in the islands to explore hidden parts. Also, with a child it is sometimes easier...

Thanks also for the suggestion of switching itineraries and being in Dubrovnik last. Great idea!

I will look into how possible/expensive would be to change the return from Split, but perhaps you can tell me, kja, if you think that would be good for us given what i said before.
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 11:33 PM
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"The reason why i am leaning towards staying more time in the islands rather that going to Split is that we live in NY and will have been a week before in Paris, so i think a little more "chill" beach/pool time would be welcome. But we want to explore as much as possible without turning this into a frantic trip. With that in mind would you suggest that we go to Split?"

Again, your call! IMO, the similarity between Split and NYC stops at the fact that they are both cities. Whether you and your family would enjoy the things that make Split unique -- Diocletian's Palace and the amazing spaces in which one can still roam, despite how different their original purposes might have been; and its spectacular cathedral and baptistry, transformed in astonishingly powerful ways from their original purposes; and the stunning other sites of this vibrant and dynamic and fascinating city.... If you haven't already done so, you and your family would do well to consult some good guidebooks (e.g., the Rough Guide) to decide what YOU want to see and do.

I again encourage you to look at Split and the Krka National Park....

For me, I would HATE having a car for most, if not all, of the plan you are considering. It will not help you in Dubrovnik, and parking there will not be easy. Cars are prohibited in the park on Mljet. A car will not help you get to or visit Korcula Town. You might be able to visit a few places on Korcula island with a car that would not be easily visited without a car, but those places would be few and far between, and not -- by my thinking -- worth the time or expense or inconvenience of having a car. YMMV. If you go on to Split, a car will not be welcome. If you go on, as I suggested, to Sibenik, it will not be necessary. Honestly, I can not see a single leg that you are considering that would justify the incredible inconveniences that a car would impose. Not too mention the fact that the driver will have to forego astounding views.... JMO
I was thinking that a leisurely drive through the Peljesac to get to Korcula and then having a couple of day trips (mljet, which seems better to do from Korcula, right?; maybe Hvar would be nice.

"I will look into how possible/expensive would be to change the return from Split, but perhaps you can tell me, kja, if you think that would be good for us given what i said before."

I'm sorry -- I'm not sure I understand your question. I recommended checking into options to fly into one city and out of another because that is often the most cost efficient way to route one's trip, particularly when one counts the cost of backtracking to the city into which one flew. Only YOU can decide whether the options for flying into and out of different cities works for YOU.
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Old Dec 15th, 2015, 04:21 AM
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Thanks, kja. I obviously understand this all comes down to personal preferences, but everyone's i sights are useful. I know split will be gigantically different from NYC, i guess my point was. Ore than being on an island and on a city are very different kinds of vacations and by that point we might be ready to chill a bit. My question regarding the plane change alluded to the decision or not to go to Split. I do have a couple of guides and will look into that option plus Krka, although i am leaning towards staying put in the south.

Thanks very much for your thoughts on the car. Very useful.
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Old Dec 15th, 2015, 06:19 PM
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The OP has started a new thread:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ary-take-2.cfm
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