CROATIA 2007 - I can't wait!

Feb 3rd, 2007, 06:40 PM
  #1  
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CROATIA 2007 - I can't wait!

I thought I posted this earlier-- but it looks like it's gone (?) strange...

In any event, after some exhaustive research over the last 2 years, I’ve finalized our 24-day Croatia Itinerary!
I went back and forth about whether to take an organized tour, but soon realized it was very VERY do-able on our own.
We’ll leave the 3rd week in September, which gave us some decent hotel rates (except for Zagreb and Ljubljana—the two most expensive hotels)
I simply can’t wait to go!

Day #1: Arrive Zagreb from Frankfurt (Hotel Dubrovnik – 2 nights)
Day #2: Zagreb
Day #3 Zagreb (pick up rental car booked thru Auto Europe) to Ljubljana Slovenia (Hotel Union Executive- 1 night)
Day #4 Ljubljana to Bled- late afternoon departure (Pensioner Mayer- 2 nights)
Day #5 Bled -exploring the Julian Alps
Day # 6 Bled to Porec (Hotel Neptune - 5 nights). Picked Porec as a good base to explore the entire Istrian peninsular
Day # 7 Exploring Pula
Day #8: Exploring Western Istria Rovenj; Limica Dragon Fjord/ Limiski Canal; and Vrsar if time permits
Day # 9: Exploring Eastern Istria: Pazin to Plomin to Opatja—heading back thru Buzet and of course fitting in Roc or Hum for supper
Day #10: Head north from Porec hitting Tar-Vabriga before heading to NoviGrad- and from there, heading inland, stopping at the villages of Grozjan, Livade & Motovun.
Day #11: Porec to Plitvice National Park (Hotel Jezero – 2 nights)
Day #12: Plitvice
Day #13: Plitvice to Split/Trogir area with an extended stop in Zadar (Hotel Zora in Primosten - 3 nights).
Day #14: Morning in Split; afternoon in Solin
Day #15: Morning in Sibenik; afternoon in Trogir.
Day #16: Car ferry from Split to Hvar (probably to Stari Grad) (Hotel Podstine - 3 nights)
Day #s 17-18: Hvar
Day #19: Hvar to Dubrovnik (via ferry from Sicuraj to Drvenik) where we will turn in the rental car (private accommodations in Old Town – 5 nights)
Day #s20-23: Dubrovnik (will take the day tour to Montenegro one of those days)
Day #24: Dubrovnik to Frankfurt and….home to the USA!

The only thing I’m a little nervous about is the car ferries getting to/from Hvar. If there’s a SNAFU, then plan B calls to leave the car parked in Split for those 5 days.
I know there are some real experts on this board, so will be grateful for any comments or suggestions.

Thanks fellow travelers!



Centavo is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 06:08 AM
  #2  
 
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I have no experience with the first part of your trip but you might want to think about leaving the car in split then you have more flexibility with water travel to dubrovnik, not having to use the car ferry. If you are just turning your car in when you get to dub not sure why you are taking it there.
rosexmke is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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ttt
Luhimari is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Your 24 days will be a blast! We, too, left in the third week of September - a gorgeous time.

We did not spend long in Zagreb - in my opinion it easily seen in a few hours. Pula is a nice stop and I definitely think the one day you have reserved for it is enough. We did Rovinj, Limska Canal, Vrsar, etc. and enjoyed it. Rovinj is breathtaking. That is one spot we wished we would have allotted more time for.

I am glad you are spending time in Istria. I would suggest eating dinner in Hum - there is only one restaurant and the atmosphere outside is remarkable. We were in Roc, too, a lovely little and extremely friendly place. We met a man who graciously picked some of his fresh figs for us. We also went truffle hunting and arranged it through the Roc TIC.

We adored Groznjan and liked Motovun - it would have been much nicer without a billion tourist buses! There is not a lot to explore in Livade but may I recommend the truffles restaurant there? It is called Zigante and is a FANTASTIC splurge. Another little hilltown I would suggest is sleepy Bale. Just lovely. We really liked Grascice as well.

Plitvice Lakes is a must see. Of course the only day it rained while in Croatia was that one day we had set aside for the lakes! A pity but still splendid.

Zadar was a nice afternoon/evening stop for us. It is a really beautiful place (underrated in my opinion). Split was underwhelming to us but then everyone is different!! We based in Trogir and are glad we did.

Dubrovnik - wow. What can you say? There are so many places in Croatia that we ran out of descriptive adjectives - there were a couple of spots where I had tears trickling down my cheeks because I just could not take in the beauty (and we have been to many European countries).

The places I did not remark on are those that we did not go to so I cannot, obviously, make good recommendations!

You are in for a treat - I love your itinerary. If we had more time (we only had 16 days) we would have done Hvar, etc. as well. We did Ugljan and Pag Islands for something different and unique.
batraveler is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 09:04 PM
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You're itinerary looks fantastic. I'm envious! Istria is a wonderful contrast to the southern coast of Croatia.

Hvar is a very laid back kind of place. We rented scooters for one day and explored much of the island. We didn't think we needed more than a day for that. You may want to consider leaving your car in Split and taking the high speed catamarn to Hvar. You can easily rent a car/scooter for a day.
issy is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 12:06 AM
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I am curious about what kind of budget this would take as it sounds like a perfect trip? Have you booked all accomodations in advance? How did you go about this? Did it work out to be a lot less expensive than booking a group tour?
irecommend is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 02:40 AM
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Centavo -

You did post before, and the thread can still be viewed.

Just click on your own name at the top of this thread and both threads will come up as well as any other threads you may have contributed to.

I've been to Croatia 3 times. You've built a great program. Have a great time !!!
sssteve is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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ttt
irecommend is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 08:07 PM
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Irecommend:

This is a road-trip I built from the ground up. Via Michelin is a good tool to determine distance etc.

Yes, I did book all accommodation in advance. I used Tripadvisor; Virtual Tourist; Fodor's; Frommer's and Yahoo Travel for reviews on various properties, and went from there.

I should point out I booked Deluxe/ Sea Front or "Club" Rooms in some locations (off-season = good deals, so one can afford to splurge a little), and in DBV, I have rented a 1400 s/f apt. in Old Town within the city walls that sleeps 6 (3 b/r’s). The most expensive lodging will be Zagreb ($150/nt) and Ljubljana ($225-- which is why it was revised to ONE night.) The total lodging budget comes to about $2300. (I have my own room throughout except DBV—, which I am spitting). It ccan be done MUCH cheaper.

Rental car (for a Skoda/Passat-like vehicle/ automatic) ran $1207 from Auto Europe. (pick-up ZAG/ drop off/DBV)

RE: Independent versus Group tour: I find that couples can usually get by cheaper independently (after all they’re sharing one room), but it depends on one's desire: some do not mind expending the effort while others think, “Hey!... it’s my vacation—let someone else worry about that!” I usually run a per diem charge—excluding the air.
Vantage has a nice tour (indeed many on this board have good things to say about it) called "Croatia & Hidden Treasures of the Adriatic". 15 days.

Doing a straight apples-to-apples comparison (I included my air—since theirs does): mine works out to $187/day. Theirs is $224
They have ease of logistics & nice hotel rooms, and some included meals. I also have nice (frankly, nicer) hotel rooms and have the freedom to stay as long as I want at a particular site/ town/ or restaurant. They are on the bus; I must still pay for gas and tolls. Therefore, it’s a toss up.
I’ve done both group tours and traveled independently. I’ve met some great folks on that bus tour, so either way of traveling can be advantageous.

I just wanted to see more of Croatia than what was offered—and I do not think I could get as good a deal on a 25 day tour,… so I decided to build it myself. (btw: Thanks SSteve -- for the encouragement!)

Anything else I can help you with?

Centavo





Centavo is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:27 AM
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RE the car ferry to Hvar. You are correct the car ferry goes to Stari Grad. I think you will be really glad to have the car on Hvar because you will be able to explore the entire island thoroughly--it's a big island! Plus, as you have planned, you can drive to Sucuraj to take the ferry to Drevnik, saving you time on your drive to Dubrovnik.
yorkshire is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2007, 09:46 AM
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Yorkshire:

Have you driven to Sucuraj and taken the ferry to Drevnik?

Just wondering if you had any pearls of wisdom to share about that. I get the sense the road to Sucuraj is a little... well... "tense".

Regarding scooters on Hvar: It does sound fun. Problem is, I've been permanently banned from scooters... Accident in Santorini. I provided us all a new definition for "road rash" along with a fractured shoulder.
9 years later it makes for a great story.... but it wasn't so funny at the time. Nope... Centavo is officially banned from dem scooters.

Definitely going on a truffle hunt tho!!!

Are we there yet?
Centavo is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2007, 10:27 AM
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I have not done this drive and have heard things about that road being rough myself, but I have also heard it has been improved and frequently read people recommending it. You can ask at the tourist office--and if it does sound dodgy depart from Stari Grad and drive to Dbv.
I still think you will be very glad to have the car to explore Hvar. I missed the lavendar fields because I did not. Probably best you stay off the scooter! The roads are curvy and mountainous, fun but scary!
The Hvar homepage http://www.hvar.hr/ has an interactive map where you can pick all the places you want to see.
Good Luck!
yorkshire is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2007, 03:13 PM
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Thanks Yorkshire.

I've bookmarked the site.

Centavo is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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When in Opatija visit restaurant Le Mandrac ( in Volosko ), one of the best meals ever.
guraman is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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sorry , www.lemandrac.com
guraman is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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I am planning a trip to Istria and was thinking of staying in Porec - how did you chose Hotel Neptun? Did u see good reviews? Thanks
bgreener is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:05 AM
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We just got back from Istria/Kvarner and the best dining experience we had was at Le Mandrac in Volosko harbour, Opatija.
DansDelight is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:22 AM
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Not sure of your dates, but I shall be in Dubrovnik 16-19 October, so if it fits with you and you feel like a mini GTG... post back!

I will have driven down from Split via Mostar and Montenegro - and I'd love to hear about all your travels.

Even if we don't get to meet, please post a long trip report when you get back!
julia_t is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:35 AM
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Julia - I tried to reply to your email, but it is not going through for some reason?

I will be in Dub. from 10/2 to 10/17, and would also love to GTG.
Barb is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 05:33 AM
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