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Croatia before a river cruise?

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Jul 14th, 2015, 09:38 AM
  #1
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Croatia before a river cruise?

We're booked, with friends, on Viking's Passage to Eastern Europe September 2016. This will give us a taste of the area but we'd like to explore more on our own. Because of other commitments we need to do this before the cruise, in early September. I've been thinking that a short driving tour would be nice. In my very limited research so far, it seems that we could start in Dubrovnik (2 or 3 nights?) and go from there to...Mostar? Split? Where else? 6 to 8 days total. We like cities and learning about an area's history and culture. Thanks for any advice!
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Jul 14th, 2015, 09:56 AM
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If in Croatia, don't miss Plitvice Lakes. Spend a night there, to have the park in the morning before the crowds. You can also try one of their islands (Hvar, Korkula, Brac, plenty to pick from). We also loved Istria peninsula (especially Rovinj), but I don't think you have time for it. Whatever you decide, Croatia is beautiful and I'm sure you'll have a great time.
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Jul 14th, 2015, 10:02 AM
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Work backwards by figuring out the best way to get to where you need to be for your cruise, as that could be a flight from Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, or Zagreb.
Once that bit is sorted, it will be easy to fill in the blanks.
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Jul 14th, 2015, 02:16 PM
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Two nights in Dubrovnik would give you plenty of time to see much of the Dalmatian Coast by car in another four days, or part of it plus an island (Korcula, Hvar, etc). If you can throw another two days in to make it eight it would be easy to get all the way up to see Plitvice Lakes NP and also the Istria region (Rovinj, Pula, etc). As yorkshire pointed out though the departure point from Croatia is going to be a big determining factor.
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Jul 14th, 2015, 05:20 PM
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kja
 
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With only 6 to 8 days, you will need to be very selective, and because there are some really big differences between various parts of Croatia -- not to mention Mostar -- I don't think any of us can tell you what will work for you.

yorkshire's point about your departure point is a key one, I think.

And I agree with xyz99 that the Plitvice Lakes are the single most spectacular, un-missable place in a gorgeous country.

My recommendation is to consult a good guidebook or two (always a worthy investment, IME, but you can also check your local library) and note the things that YOU most want to see and experience. Check opening hours if relevant Block out your time for transportation, checking into / out of hotels, meals, etc. Then see where you stand.
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Jul 14th, 2015, 07:44 PM
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Thanks for all the ideas. We depart for the cruise from Bucharest. When I Google flights to there from Croatian cities it seems that no matter what city we leave from we need to backtrack (via Vienna, Munich, Paris, etc.). I will definitely get a guide book and usually find Rick Steves very helpful. This is just the first day that I've started thinking about the trip. Luckily we've got a lot of time.
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Jul 14th, 2015, 08:03 PM
  #7
kja
 
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"I will definitely get a guide book and usually find Rick Steves very helpful"

For Croatia, I found the RS guidebook woefully inadequate -- it did not even mention any number of places that I considered highlights.
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Jul 15th, 2015, 07:39 AM
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I took a peek at skyscanner and even out of Zagreb it looks like you'd be routed through Belgrade. It would be a very different trip versus the Dalmatian coast, but you could go from Dubrovnik to Mostar to Sarajevo to Belgrade, then take a direct flight to Bucharest. Just an idea.
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Oct 4th, 2015, 01:49 PM
  #9
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I find yorkshire's idea intriguing:

2-3 nights in Dubrovnik
1 Mostar
2 Sarajevo (or 1?)
1 Belgrade (we'll be stopping here on our cruise as well)
Fly to Bucharest

It looks like it would take 2+ hours between Dubrovnik/Mostar and Mostar/Sarajevo. Sarajevo to Belgrade is 4+ hours.

What do others think?
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Oct 4th, 2015, 02:00 PM
  #10
kja
 
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The bus from Dubrovnik to Mostar is spectacular. I took the train between Mostar and Sarajevo, but you can also travel by bus -- again, the scenery is stunning.

"2 Sarajevo (or 1?)"

I spent only 2 days in lovely Sarajevo and regret that I did not give it more.
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Oct 5th, 2015, 09:26 AM
  #11
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We were thinking of renting a car. Is that even possible? We'd be picking it up in Croatia and dropping it in Serbia and I haven't checked into the rules/rates. Anyone know?
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Oct 5th, 2015, 09:43 AM
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There is usually a drop off fee to do that, but public transport for these routes is excellent, and you don't have a ton of time to wander anyway.
I'd add a day from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo.
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Oct 5th, 2015, 04:00 PM
  #13
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yorkshire, are you suggesting 2 nights in Mostar? And do you suggest train or bus?
Thanks!
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Oct 5th, 2015, 05:18 PM
  #14
kja
 
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OK, I'm not yorkshire, but FWIW, I would think that 1 night in Mostar should be enough. I like yorkshire's idea: Cut one day/night from Dubrovnik. Add that day/night to Sarajevo. For the part from Mostar to Sarajevo, choose whichever better suits your needs.
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Oct 5th, 2015, 07:18 PM
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You can make your way up the Dalmatian coast, see the Istrian Peninsula, then fly to Bucharest from Venice. Probably not non-stop.
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Oct 11th, 2015, 04:06 PM
  #16
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Wow, that's a completely different idea and I'll check into it.

Thanks everyone! I'll post more questions when I have them!
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Oct 11th, 2015, 04:34 PM
  #17
kja
 
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"You can make your way up the Dalmatian coast, see the Istrian Peninsula, then fly to Bucharest from Venice."

In 6 or even 8 days? WAY too fast for me -- I took more than 2 weeks for Dubrovnik through Istria, and travelled at a MUCH faster pace than many people prefer! But we all travel differently....
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