Jan 22nd, 2015, 09:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 74

I am planning a trip to Croatia at the end of May. We will have 8 days on the ground and so far this is what I have:
2 days Dubrovnik
1 day Mostar maybe as a day trip from Dubrovnik and stay there 3 days
2 days Korcula (or maybe go to Kotor instead)
1 day Split
1 day Plitvicka
last day Zagreb

Is this doable without spending most of our days in the car? Suggestions as to eliminating/and /or adding other places or staying longer in some places?
I'm including Plitvicka as we would like to hike. Is it worth the detour or are there other places we should consider if we leave from Dubrovnik instead of Zagreb?
Thanks so much for your help.
nycmary is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2015, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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This is the quintessential quandary on every travel forum, and only you can answer it. But, have you mapped the drives yourself? (viamichelin is a good site for this.)
At first blush, I would say eliminate Kotor, as it is a 2-3 hour drive south. I would skip Mostar, too, because your time is so limited, and May is just such as stellar time to be on an island. Without Kotor and Mostar, you have no need for a rental car. You will actually save time by taking the bus from Dbv to Korcula, a ferry to Split, and the bus to Plitvice and then Zagreb, never needing to worry about parking and not having time to wander anyway. If you like moving and especially wanted to see Mostar, then drive from Dbv to Mostar to Korcula. Also, when you say "we"--how many? For a solo traveler this is not the worst pace but I would not do it with children (or even certain partners).
Plitvice is a unique place, and I always encourage visitors to the country to see it IF it fits into an itinerary, and if you fly into Zagreb and out of Dubrovnik it certainly will. If you fly out of Dubrovnik or Split it is a different trip. Let us know when you book the flights and we can advise more definitively.
yorkshire is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2015, 04:17 PM
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I agree with everything yorkshire said! except for one thing: You might want to rent a car when you leave Split, use it to visit the Plitvice Lakes, and then return it upon arriving in Zagreb.
kja is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2015, 07:04 PM
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It's been a few years since I rented a car in Croatia, but at that time (2009) in order to rent a car one way (return in a different city) I would have had to pay a pretty steep drop charge. I rented through Auto Europe and I think there was a four day minimum rental to avoid that. But things change or other rental car options may now be available.

It could be that renting a car in Dubrovnik and driving up to Zagreb, stopping in Korcula, Split, and Plitvice, might not cost too much more than renting one for just two days in Split if that minimum rental period still applies. I rented a car in Zagreb and drove the other way, stopping at Plitvice and Mostar, dropping the car in Dubrovnik then heading back to Korcula by bus and Split by ferry.

If I were going to do it again, I'd probably skip Split entirely and take car out to Korcula then on to Dubrovnik. With a car you can get from the mainland daily out to Korcula via two car ferries, one at Orebić (which the bus also uses). The problem with the bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula was that it left Dubrovnik very late in the afternoon which was somehow inconvenient, and the cataraman up to Split leaves Korcula at the crack of dawn. A car would sure make things easier, though it's an extra cost to park it in Korcula and completely unnecessary there unless you want to explore beyond Korcula Town.
Andrew is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2015, 07:29 PM
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If there's a big drop-off fee, you could simply return to Split and fly home from there instead of going on to Zagreb. (If you do that, try to put all of your time in Split at the end of your trip.)

Personally, I'd recommend using public transportation whenever you can, so you can truly appreciate the spectacular scenery instead of having to pay attention to the roads and other drivers. For my interests, the timing of the bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula worked out very well. I took a ferry from Vela Luka (also on the island of Korcula and connected by bus to Korcula town) that left late in the afternoon, reaching Split in the early evening. It was delightful to watch the sun set while I was on that ferry.

BTW, I loved Split and much as I enjoyed Korcula (I did!), I'd spend 2 nights in Split and only one in Korcula. But it really depends on what YOU want to see and experience. No bad choices here IMO.
kja is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2015, 09:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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We liked Split too and found a rental car easy where needed and only where needed. We liked Mostar but not for three days. One overnight was fine for us.
pattyroth is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2015, 09:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 74
Thanks for your comments. I was only intending on going to Mostar for one day/maybe as a day trip from Dubrovnik. There will be two of us traveling and we are starting in Dubrovnik and departing from either Split or Zagreb. Sounds as if the group is divided on the benefit of renting a car - will have to check out pricing and see if it makes sense. The ferries are car ferries, yes? I gather one car ferry goes to Korcula. Is the ferry to Split a car ferry too?

Also, have people stayed in Plitvice or just gone for a day trip? Seems like a long way to go for just a day. If you've stayed there, any recommendations?

Thanks again.
nycmary is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2015, 10:18 AM
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You need to lay out your itinerary by nights and calculate how much time it will take to transfer from one destination to another.

Croatia is a laid-back easy going destination. I think you miss the essence if you pack in every possible sight. However, we had more time than you do. I loved Korcula; it's the most relaxing place I've been in Europe. Reminds me of Hawaii (outer Hawaii not Honolulu-Waikiki). But you might look into Hvar instead of Korcula; transportation is a little easier.

For your trip you might do as we did, take the early morning catamaran from Korcula to Split, leave your bags at the luggage storage opposite the docks, spend a half day touring Split, then pick up a car back at the docks and drive to Plitvice, spending 2 nights there. Plitvice is a UN World Heritage Site, very beautiful, well worth visiting. We stayed at the Hotel Jezero in the park.

(We rented our car from and dropped the car at Pula; don't remember any big drop-off charge.)

We flew out of Split after a couple nights in cute little Trogir. Split's airport is pretty big; you might look at the options there.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2015, 11:11 AM
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There is a daily bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula (the bus takes a ferry). If you drive, you would take the ferry at Orebic.
Check boat schedules at (car ferries and catamarans)
and (no cars).

For Plitvice, it entirely depends on if you are headed to Zagreb or not--in which case you would pass Plitvice. I would not drive there and back from Split with your limited time. I stayed in the Hotel Plitvice, which was fine--has view of the parks and decent food--nothing to write home about but quite convenient.

Time to do the math on the drive times.
yorkshire is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2015, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I would not visit the Plitvice Lakes as a day trip. Part of what makes these lakes so spectacular is that each is a different color because they have unique microbiota. To see that, you have to get some distance into the park and do it as a single loop of 6 hours or more. Staying the night before visiting the park is a typical strategy. I have to admit that I thought the Plitvice Lakes the single most stunning thing in all of Croatia, so I can see it being worthy of a stop even with a trip as rushed as yours. Your call.

I can imagine that Croatia can be a delight for those who look to relax. i don't look for relaxation on my trips, and still enjoyed Croatia immensely.

When I was there, I actually found transportation to Korcula easier for my schedule than transportation to Hvar; YMMV. Also, although Hvar Town is stunningly beautiful, I found it far to upscale for my tastes. I preferred Korcula. Again, YMMV.
kja is offline  
Jan 24th, 2015, 07:43 PM
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We stayed one night in Plitvice arriving late afternoon and hiking the following day which allowed us to start out very early. Worked very well.
pattyroth is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 07:51 AM
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May I suggest something entirely different? Fly into Zagreb and spend a day there. It is one of the nicest capital cities in Europe and there is lots to see. If you afford to stay at the Regent Esplanade, it is the best hotel in town and quite an experience. There are also many cheaper hotels.
Instead of flying to Dubrovnik, from Zagreb, fly to Split. Split is a wonderful city and rivals Dubrovnik. From Split why not take a seven-day cruise visiting the islands between Split and Dubrovnik and back to Split? These cruises are most enjoyable and are at various levels. Though I would recommend the A+ class of ship. Have a look at the Katrina Line website. Let someone else do all the work (i.e. the captain of the ship). Just enjoy the magnificent scenery and the towns and islands you visit. My wife and I did such a cruise in 2013, just 28 passengers. On returning to Split you would then be able to hire a car to visit Sibenik and Zadar, the Krka national park and waterfalls, and if you had time Plitvice Lakes. You could then fly back to the USA from Split via Zagreb.
An alternative would be, when you arrive in Split, to hire a car and visit Sibenik, Zadar, Krka and Plitvice, and then get a one way cruise from Split to Dubrovnik and spend more time there, before returning to the USA from Dubrovnik, via Zagreb.
Dubrovnik in the most marvelous small city in the world. Unfortunately in the summer, all week, it is over-run by tourists, particularly when the cruise ships with many thousands of passengers are in town. It is only sensible to go into the city early in the morning, or late afternoon when the hordes have returned to their ships for dinner. Last time we were there we stayed in the small village of Cavtat, just across the bay.
My wife and I have been visiting Croatia since 1966, when it was part of Jugoslavia, so you can imagine we are greatly enamored of the country.
This year we are planning to visit Zagreb for a couple of days before going on to Split and taking an island cruise north of Split to Zadar.
A_S_M is offline  

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