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Croatia and Slovenia Itinerary

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We (two couples) will be travelling to Croatia and Slovenia May 16 - June 2.

We are planning the following Itinerary:

May 17 - arrive into Zagreb, sleep in Zagreb
May 18 - Spend half a day exploring Zagreb; pick up rental car, drive to Ljubljana ( 1.5 hrs plus border crossing);
Explore Ljubljana in the evening. Sleep in Ljubljana.
May 19 - Explore Ljubljana; sleep in Ljubljana;
May 20 - drive to Bled (1 hr ) via Skofia Loka. Stop in SL. Explore Bled. If time allows, drive back to Ljubljana via Lake Bohinj nearby. Sleep in Ljubljana.
May 21 - leave Ljubljan. for Piran ( 1 hr 35 min). Stop in Postonja Caves for a few hours. Stop in Piran for 1-2 hrs latte afternoon. Drive to Rovinj ( P- R 1 hr 13 min plus border crossing). Sleep in Rovinj
May 22 - explore Istria; sleep in Rovinj
May 23 - leave Rovinj for Plitvice lakes area via Istria Hill towns ( about 4 hr drive); sleep in Plitvice lakes
May 24 - hike Plitvice lakes park ( 6 hr hike); in the late afternoon leave Plitvice lakes for Zadar ( 1.5 hr) ; sleep in Zadar
May 25 - explore Trogir, Ston, Split area, and Split - drop off the car; explore Split in the evening; sleep in Split
May 26 - day trip (ferry) to Hvar - leave Split at 7:40 am - leave Hvar at 19:45.Sleep in Split
May 27 - bus Split - Dubrovnik (leaves Split at 12 pm); ubrovnik in the afternoon; sleep Dubrovnik
May 28 - Book organized tour of Montenegro - one day; sleep Dubrovnik
May 29 - Dubrovnik; sleep Dubrovnik
May 30
May 31
June 1
June 2 - fly back home from Zagreb

One couple leaves May 29 evening from Dubrovnik, and another couple has 3 days for getting to Zagreb and seeing something else. How would you get back from Dubrovnik to Zagreb?

We do not want to drive along the coast to Split. We would either take a ferry from Dubrovnik to Split on May 30 (no ferry on May 29), overnight in Split and then take a bus or rent a car from Split and drive to Zagreb on May 31.

Do you think that the itinerary is too congested and optimistic? We know that we are limited by ferry schedule - full schedule starts on June 1.

Any other suggestions - all would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


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    I did a similar itinerary in 2014, but I had about 5 additional nights.

    Since you're only staying 2 nights in Rovinj (I stayed 3), don't rush out to get to Plitvice. There's nothing to do there other than visit the park, and if you're planning to do that the next morning, you're better off spending the morning and early afternoon in Istria.

    My suggestion for traveling from Dubrovnik back to Zagreb is to rent a car and drive through Bosnia & Herzegovina. Drive to Mostar on the 29th and spend the night there. Then the next day drive to Sarajevo. Stay there on the 30th and 31st. Then drive to Zagreb on the 1st.

    If you're interested, you can see the itinerary for my trip at, and feel free to read any other parts of my blog while you're there.

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    Why are you dropping the car in Split? I would keep it and drive from Split down to Montenegro for a night, then drop the car back in Dubrovnik. That would give you two nights in Dubrovnik instead of three.

    I did roughly what nocloset suggests: drive back to Zagreb through BiH. I did it more slowly, though. I would probably drive to Sarajevo the first day stopping in Mostar for a few hours, then have two nights in Sarajevo. The drive from Mostar to Sarajevo along the river is beautiful. Then stop for a night in a town like Jajce or Travnik in Bosnia on the way back to Zagreb (about a five hour drive direct from Sarajevo to Zagreb I think). Or, just stop for a few hours if you don't want to overnight between Sarajevo and Zagreb.

    There is a train from Split to Zagreb FYI.

    You could also fly from Dubrovnik to Zagreb pretty cheaply via Croatia Airlines, if say you wanted to spend more time near Dubrovnik e.g. in Montenegro beyond just one night or something.

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks, nocloset. We were planning to visit Opatija and Rijeca on our way to Plitvice. In Plitvice we booked a place 10 min walk to the Entrance 1. We were planning to arrive to Plitvice Lakes area by dinner time.

    I started reading your trip report, and really enjoy it. We are newly retired, and also never travel with large groups, usually just two of us,and a few of our friends.

    Will look at all options for the last 3 days.


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    Should be a great trip! Late May is, IMO, a wonderful time to visit Croatia!

    Here are some of my thoughts:

    "Spend half a day exploring Zagreb; pick up rental car, drive to Ljubljana"

    You might consider waiting until you are ready to leave Ljubljana to pick up your rental car. You won't need it in Ljubljana itself, which you can reach from Zagreb easily by train. (Or bus, but I think the buses are a bit less convenient. Check )

    "Explore Bled"

    I was barely able to see everything I wanted to see in Bled in a single day -- and I stayed there 2 nights. So I recommend that you think through what YOU want to see and do in Bled before committing to this day's plan.

    "Drive to Rovinj "

    You might consider taking public transportation to Rovinj, and renting a car only when you are ready to leave it. If you do take a car TO Rovinj, make sure you have a plan for parking, as Rovinj's core is off-limitis to most cars.

    "leave Rovinj for Plitvice lakes area via Istria Hill towns ( about 4 hr drive)"

    That estimate of driving time sounds short to me. I think it's closer to 4.5 or 5 hours, not counting any stops you make in Istria or just to take a break. Have you consulted IME, it gives the most accurate estimates of driving time.

    "hike Plitvice lakes park ( 6 hr hike)"

    Perfect! Not only are the lakes connected by travertine waterfall formations, each lake has unique microbiota, and as a result, the lakes are different colors. The best way to see that is, IMO, to make a single, long loop through the park -- something on the order of 6 hours or more (including time for the boat that connects the lower and upper lakes), and by all means, start at the lowest part of the park so you are facing the falls as you proceed.

    "sleep in Zadar ... May 25 - explore Trogir, Ston, Split area, and Split"

    Sounds a bit too much for my tastes! FWIW, I spent about 4 days in these areas (but skipped Ston) and thought I gave it insufficient time. Are you sure you can see / do the things that interest you in this timeframe? If I'm following correctly, you won't reach Zadar until dinner time or later, and you would still have to drive on to Trogir / Split the next day....

    "Split - drop off the car"

    Perfect! You really won't need it for or after Split, and it could easily be an encumbrance for the later part of your trip.

    "fly back home from Zagreb"

    Have you already booked your flights? If not, consider flying home from Dubrovnik or Split rather than returning to Zagreb.

    Also, you might consider reversing the order of your trip: May is a transitional month in this part of the world, and traveling from south to north (warmer to cooler) might make greater sense in the pre-summer months than the reverse. Just a thought, that I realize might not work for you!

    "another couple has 3 days for getting to Zagreb and seeing something else. How would you get back from Dubrovnik to Zagreb?"

    Assuming you really do need to get back to Zagreb, you might consider taking a bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula for a night, then on to Split or Trogir to pick up some of what you didn't see on your southbound route, and then on to Zagreb the night before your flight. (I generally try to avoid arriving in my departure city on the day of my departure, as it seems to me that too many things can go wrong.) OR instead of visiting Korcula, you could take the bus from Dubrovnik to Mostar and spend the night there before heading back to Split / Trogir. Just two options; you have many others!

    "Do you think that the itinerary is too congested and optimistic?"

    As already suggested, sorry, but yes, I do think it is too congested. But I could be wrong! It really depends on what YOU want to see and experience. I recommend that you pull out a calendar and mark it up: Identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their opening/closing times on the internet, and mark them on the calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). And then see how things fit together.

    "We were planning to visit Opatija and Rijeca on our way to Plitvice."

    As noted above, I don't think you have time for these side stops, but FWIW: My experience of Opatija, back in 2009, was decidedly unpleasant. I didn't visit Rijeka, but ended up in a nearly 2-hour traffic delay just trying to get around the city. I, personally, would not make either a priority. YMMV.

    Hope that helps!

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