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Trip Report Chech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Slovenia in 3 weeks

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Just back from our trip and thought Id write a quick report as a thanks to all the great info we received from this forum.

Prague: We arrived around 1 pm after long day flying from Vancouver Canada. Pre- arranged with Chech airport shuttle and this went very smoothly which is nice after 16 hours in transit. We had use of an apartment old town which was great for walking everywhere. Our favorite restaurant was La Degustation Boheme , expensive but worth it. Kampa Park restaurant was expensive and disappointing. We took self guided walking tours of the Castle and Jewish Quarter. We used the tram system to cut down on some of the walking. Purchased a 24hour ticket from machine in Metro station and then validate it when you get on the tram. Spent 4 days touring Prague and then took CK shuttle to Cesky Krumlov. CK shuttle picked us up at our apartment and dropped us off at Pension Athanor in CK. Pension Athanor was in a great location just outside the walled city. It had been newly renovated and the room was spacious, bright and modern. I would highly recommend it.
Cesky Krumlov: We spent the afternoon touring the Castle and walking around the old town. It rained on and off but still a pretty town. Next morning CK shuttle picked us up at 7 am and drove us to Vienna where we had a 12:30 flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was an interesting transfer driving through little Austrian villages.
Day 1 Croatia, Dubrovnik: Took the bus from airport to the Pile gate entrance to old town. From there it was a short walk to Celenga Apartment down a quiet side street in the pedestrian only old town. The apartment was perfect. It had a small kitchen, Tub with shower and a sitting area. They had a washer and dryer on the main floor free to use. It was handy to be in old town.
Recommend renting the audio guide for the wall tour. It gives a comprehensive overview of the cities history. Much better than the walking tours we saw. We went up the gondola which offered a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Dinner at 360 degrees was good but we were still a little hungry after the tasting menu. Olivia's was excellent. The restaurants around the harbor offered nice views but the food was so-so. Also very irritating that anytime you sit outside at a restaurant in Croatia everyone around you is smoking.
Day 3 Montenegro: We rented a car and drove to Kotor. Our rental car had the green card for driving in Montenegro. We also purchased the insurance. Every time we crossed a border they would ask to our car papers and drivers license. I had gotten an international drivers license and I am glad I did now. The border guards all commented on the fact that I was driving and my husband navigating. I gather the men usually drive. At the borders there are 2 stops. one for leaving Croatia and one for entering Montenegro. The bay of Kotor is beautiful. We drove part way up the road to Cetinje but changed our minds after having to back up twice for tour buses coming the other way. The road is very narrow and winding and many spots 2 cars don't fit. Returned to Dubrovnik to sleep.
Day 4: We drove to Mostar in Bosnia-H. Stayed at the Casa Mostar which was very nice and clean in a great location to the bridge. Parking was difficult, the streets are very narrow, GPS recommended. We hired a private guide Asim from fortune tours as recommended by previous posters. He was excellent I would highly recommend him. Especially as we only had the one night in Mostar. It was amazing to see the after effects of the war and how much they have re-built.
Day 5: Ferry from Drevnic to the Island of Hvar. This crossing only takes 35 minutes and lets you off on the south end of the Island. It took 1 1/2 hours to drive to the city of Hvar. The road was very narrow and winding in some parts and under construction.
Day 6: We spent 2 nights in Hvar at Apartment Marinka. The owners were very nice. They had a garage that we had reserved to park our car. There was a nice beach just down the stairs from the apartment. The town was a 15-20 minute walk along the waterfront. We ate at Luna and it was excellent.
Day7: Ferry from Stari Grad to Split then doive to Plitvice National Park. Stayed at Pansion Breza. I highly recommend it. We arranged to eat dinner there and it was one of the best meals we had in Croatia. It was only 15 euro each for dinner. Breakfast is included and it was excellent as well. They are 1 km from a gate P3 into the park. You can park your car for free outside this gate. Also some of the best viewpoints are close by to side of the park. They recommended walking to Station 1 and taking the bus to station 4 and walking down to P2 and take the boat to P3 and walk10 minutes to our car. The walk from station 4 to P2 took us 2 hours with stopping to take pictures and navigate through the throngs of Chinese and German tours. It rained quite hard so it was much better walking the opposite direction to most people so that you could get around their umbrellas. There should be hiking etiquette signs explaining that on narrow trails you should walk single file so that people can go past.
Day 8: We woke up to a beautiful sunny day so we decided to go back into the park to take some pictures in the sunshine. We started at 8 am and it was much more pleasant without the large tour groups. Drove to Rovinj Istria
Day 9, Rovinj: Stayed in apartment called Poco Paradiso just outside of old town. The apartment is in a pedestrian only area so we had to park quite a ways out and walk in. Great location but the apartment was up 2 flights of very steep narrow stairs. The bedroom was up in a loft with a sloped ceiling so you had to remember to duck. I had a great sitting room and table. No Wi-Fi. Walked around old town and dinner just up the street from apartment.
Day 9: Went touring through the hill towns of Istria. Motovun is most popular but we like Grozjan better. It was quieter with twisting narrow streets and several artist shops. Very much like Italy.
Day 10 : took the ferry from Rovinj peir to The Red Island. walked around the Islands checking out the best beaches. Found a good one and spent day at the beach, lunch at the hotel on the Island. Dinner in Rovinj at Monte. It was expensive but the food and service was exceptional
Day 11: Drove to Slovenia. Stayed in Ljubljana at the Adora Hotel. The hotel is in a pedestrian only area. They have 1 parking spot close by that we were able to reserve for 10 euro/day. The staff were excellent. The hotels location is walking distance to everything. Breakfast included. We loved Ljubljana. Very beautiful city with lots of outdoor cafes along the river and bands playing on the bridges. People dancing in the streets. It was a pleasant surprise.
Day 12: Drove to Lake Bled. rented bicycles and rode around the lake before the tour buses arrived. Drove to the castle for quick look and then to Vintgar gorge. Hike along the gorge takes 1 1/2 hours. Had lunch at a little restaurant outside the gorge. Drove a back mountain road to Lake Bohinj. The drive was pretty winding, hilly and narrow but the views were outstanding. It looked like the scenery from the sound of Music. You expected to see Julie Andrews or Heidi running across the lush grass fields. At Lake Bohinj we took the Gondola up to the top of Mount Vogel. We were lucky to get a sunny day so the views were great. The Julian Alps were spectacular.
Day 13: We decided to drive to Logarska Dolina a small Northern valley. It was a 3 hour drive but the scenery and little towns were interesting. Hiked to the Rinka waterfall at end of Valley. Decided to follow Rick Steves' advice and drive the Panoramic road. Some parts were pretty but the road was in very bad shape with no signs. I wouldn't recommend it. Drove to Zagreb to spend night in hotel near airport
Day 14: Fly home

we had a copy of Rick Steve' book Croatia and Slovenia that was very helpful for maps directions and suggestions

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