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Croatia, Croatia/Slovenia, or Croatia/Venice?

Croatia, Croatia/Slovenia, or Croatia/Venice?

Old Mar 13th, 2016, 05:00 PM
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Croatia, Croatia/Slovenia, or Croatia/Venice?

Hello, I have been reading a lot of forums and have some good information but want to ask a few questions. Four of us are going to Croatia for two weeks in September. We are discussing Croatia with a few days in Venice or Croatia with a bit of Slovenia. And we are discussing just Croatia. How much of Croatia can be done if we add Venice or Slovenia? Thanks!
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Old Mar 13th, 2016, 05:55 PM
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With two weeks, you can't even cover the majority of Croatia, IMO, though you can have a nice visit there. As a starting point for your planning, you might want to choose between (a) the area from Split through Dubrovnik (only) in 2 weeks or (b) Istria and a tiny bit of the north or Croatia with EITHER a bit of Slovenia OR a few days in Venice. Once you make that choice, you can narrow down your options -- and prepare for the next set of difficult decisions!

Get a good guidebook or two, or consult them at your local library (I found the <i>Rough Guide</i> particularly useful for Croatia), decide on some priorities, and -- after checking opening hours on the web -- plot them on a calendar. Use viamichelin.com to estimate driving times or rome2rio and the Rough Guide for public transportation options. Once you narrow down your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

No bad choices for this area -- just hard ones!
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Old Mar 13th, 2016, 06:08 PM
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Have you been to Venice before? It's lovely but very touristy. I both love it and hate it. My last visit (my third) was a day stop off the train for a few hours on a Sunday - when Venice was so busy with lines and crowds that I couldn't wait to leave. And everyone seemed to be an American - didn't seem very exotic at all. On the other hand, on past visits where I stayed a few nights, I found Venice charming and delightful at night and in the morning when there were fewer tourists.

Dubrovnik is also fairly touristy (and much smaller than Venice) due to cruise ships that stop there. But it's also delightful - same kinds of reasons.

Slovenia is by contrast not very touristy at all, at least by North American tourists. (Lots of tourists seem to visit from other European countries.) The capitol city of Ljulbjana is maybe my favorite city in Europe: a vibrant, real city that also feels like it's out of a fairy tale...but doesn't feel very touristy at all.

You really can't go wrong no matter what you pick. I suggest you make itineraries for: Venice + Slovenia + northern Croatia (Istria + Plitvice Lakes). Or just Slovenia + Croatia. Or just Croatia. See what you can fit into two weeks and how rushed it might be. A few years ago, I did a long trip starting in Venice, then Ljubljana, then down to Plitvice and to Dubrovnik - and I did it in just over two weeks (you can find my 2009 trip report by clicking on my name). It might seem a bit rushed to some, but it worked for me (I skipped Istria on that trip, though.) I was able to fly into Milan, out of Split (with a stop in Paris), I rented a car only in Croatia (which avoided steep drop-off fees for dropping in another country), and I went in September-October. The weather in September should be ideal but less busy than the summer.
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Old Mar 13th, 2016, 07:22 PM
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I agree with Andrew. We did Part of Slovenia ( Bled , Ljubljana and Postonja caves) before venturing into Croatia. Our itinerary included Rovinj, Plitvice, Split, Mostar, Sarajevo and Dubrovnik. We did day trips from Rovinj : Pula, and from Split: Trogir, Zadar, Sribinek and Brac, and day trips from Dubrovnik: Kotor. We had longer than two weeks so if pressed for time, you could cut out Mostar and Sarajevo. I do not at all share kja's enthusiasm for Plitvice, but to each his own. I suspect that where you come from may influence your view of Plitvice. For us it was nice but crowded and underwhelming.

We have been to Venice and considered adding it to our trip last September as well. For us the flights did not work and we found there was more than enough to keep us entertained in Croatia
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Old Mar 13th, 2016, 08:02 PM
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I loved Plitvice enough to visit a second time last year even though I live near some amazing waterfalls in Oregon. Plitvice doesn't seem the same to me at all. But it is true that Plitvice can get crowded - it's a well-developed park with wooden boardwalks, not exactly a virgin wilderness.

That's why I recommend people try to get into the park first thing when it opens, at 7am in season, to avoid the crowds. And to do that, it's usually best to stay overnight the previous night in or near the park (there are a few overpriced but convenient hotels in the park). I know getting up early on vacation to go hiking isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it sure was worth it to me. I wouldn't want to deal with the mid-day crowds either, just like I wouldn't recommend going to Venice only at mid-day and seeing it at its worst. You can get the gist of Plitvice easily in 5-6 hours - both upper and lower lakes - and get out mid-day and on to your next stop.
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Old Mar 13th, 2016, 10:46 PM
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@ pirouette -- just curious: Do you remember whether you entered the Plitvice Lakes from the north (from the tops of waterfalls) or from the south (at the base of the falls and facing them)?
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 06:29 PM
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From the top, hiked down, took boats, hiked around on and off boardwalk and trails. I know many recommend doing the reverse, but we still had to return from where we came. I would never say that Plitvice is not a pleasant place to spend a few hours, it was just not for us. As I said on another thread, we had just been in Iceland and Greenland weeks before and the scenery in my own neck of the woods (literally) is more impressive than Plitvice. Even nicer than Oregon, which I have visited many times, and agree is also beautiful.

I am happy to have visited Plitvice; the waterfalls are pretty as are the shades of blue and green in the clear waters. My spouse also thought that this was one of the least enjoyable stops in Croatia. Our private driver ( from Split) also believed that the park was over-rated. Others may love it, we did not. Andrew also raises a point about the crowds. We were there in September when it was supposedly less busy. I would hate to see the boardwalks on a busy day in high summer!

We stayed overnight by the way, right at the park and just a couple hundred meters from entrance 3. The easy access was a bonus.
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 06:46 PM
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@ pirouette -- thanks for responding! I asked because, IMO, the most magnificent and unique of waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes are the lower ones. The tops ones are most interesting, IMO, for their contrasting colors, and for the contrasts to the lower lakes. JMO. In honesty, I think that if I seen only the upper falls, without seeing the very lowest ones, I might have been disappointed too.
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 08:27 PM
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We spent 16 days in Croatia, Sliovenia and Venice in 2008. Here is our trip report with photos,...it should give you some ideas. Plitvice was heaven on earth! (the Croatia/Slovenia/Venice part of our trip starts at Chapter Eleven)

<B>http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/central-europe-venice-2008/</B>

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Old Mar 19th, 2016, 12:56 PM
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We are traveling from the states to visit Slovenia and Croatia in September. It doesn't seem easy to get from point A to point B. Our thoughts now are to fly into Venice, rent a car and drive to Ljubljana. Stay a couple of days and drive down to Dubrovnik as we see the sites along the way. Any suggestions on where to fly out? Also, what are the must sees in Croatia? Thanks!
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Old Mar 19th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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It is pretty easy to get from point A to point B in Croatia and Slovenia, once you learn the way. There is good bus service in Slovenia and Croatia, but it can be time consuming. There is train service between Ljubljana and Zagreb, between Ljubljana and Rijeka, between Zagreb and Split. There is catamaran/ferry service between Split and Hvar and Korcula. There is bus service between Split and Dubrovnik, between Korcula and Dubrovnik.

I found it convenient and cheapest to fly into Venice and take a shuttle to Ljubljana. Renting a car in Italy and dropping it in Croatia is going to be very expensive, but if you don't mind the expense it would be the most convenient. It would be a lot cheaper to take a shuttle to Ljubljana and a train to Zagreb, then rent a car and drive to Dubrovnik and fly out of there or Split.

Must-sees? Read one of the numerous trip reports we've posted. Pick up a guide book. The Rick Steves Croatia/Slovenia book has always worked well for me on my three visits to the region.
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Old May 10th, 2016, 03:35 PM
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Thanks All! I appreciate the help. Does anyone know of an airline that has direct flights from Venice to Split? it looks like there is at least one stop required and a lot of options with two connections. Thanks!
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Old May 10th, 2016, 05:33 PM
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Probably no direct flights from Split to Venice, especially in September. Check on www.Kayak.com/flights to see what your best option is.

If it helps, there's a daily direct flight north from Zadar (not far north of Split) to Pula. Then you could ferry from Pula or Rovinj to Venice. Although this won't save you any time, it would give you the option to overnight in Rovinj, a lovely town in Istria.

http://www.venezialines.com/schedules
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Old May 13th, 2016, 04:54 AM
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Thanks Andrew!
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