Croatia - Help on itinerary

Apr 25th, 2017, 01:22 AM
  #1  
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Croatia - Help on itinerary

Hi everyone, my wife and I are planning a trip to Croatia in June for 10 days. We will be relying only on public transportation.

Dubrovnik - 3 days
Split - 3 days
Zadar - 2 days (including one day for a day trip to Plitvice Lakes)
Zagreb - 2 days

Can you please let us know if this sounds good or if you would advise on any changes?

We wanted to do Zadar because we were intrigued by the sea organ and the monument to the sun. Do you think a trip to the islands (Korcula?) may be a better use of the time? Also, can Plitvice lakes be done as a day trip or it is better to camp there overnight?

Thanks a lot. All the help is much appreciated.
Rizplanet is offline  
Apr 25th, 2017, 06:47 AM
  #2  
 
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Well you mention having a specific reason for wanting to visit Zadar, but I am certainly partial to the islands. Trying to fit in an island stay in problematic because it could result in having three one-night stays at the end: Zadar, Plitvice (since it is in between, I would do an overnight), and Zagreb. Decisions, decisions!
yorkshire is online now  
Apr 25th, 2017, 06:13 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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Your itinerary could work well, but it really depends on your interests, preferred pace of trave, and willingness to skip huge parts of Croatia to see a few widely scattered destinations. Your call! Some comments:

I don’t know if it is/was/is-still true, but I read, some years ago, that getting a bus TO the Plitvice Lakes is easy, while getting one OUT of the Plitvice Lakes can be difficult, as buses that are full won’t stop. There is some reason to believe that you can now book online and in advance, although I can’t personally swear to any of these claims! Here’s a relevant recent thread:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...r-to-split.cfm

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is, IMO, the single most un-missable of Croatia's many splendors. 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 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.

I trust that you don’t literally mean to “camp” at the Plitvice Lakes? I honestly don’t know, but I’m not sure that’s an option….

Zadar vs. Korcula – your call! I found the Sea Organ and Monument to the Sun quite enjoyable, and there were other things that I enjoyed in Zadar, too, so I had no regrets about spending a night (about 24 hours) there. But I didn’t have to choose between the two – I also spent a night (about 24 hours) on Korcula, which I also enjoyed. And I timed my trip to ensure that I would see the moresca while in Korcula – bonus!

BUT as yorkshire notes, trying to fit in an island creates some logistic difficulties. And I’ll add another complication: If I were to go as far south as Korcula, then I’d really want to also see soooo many other places in between! In that sense, Zadar fits into your plan much better, IMO.

And that leads to my most substantial comment on your plan: Are you sure you really want to try to “cover” Croatia in just 10 days? You will be skipping sooooo very much! To make a radical suggestion, you might want to consider EITHER (a) Dubvronik, Split, and Korcula OR (b) Zagreb, the Plitvice Lakes, Zadar, and MAYBE one other destination in that part of Croatia, something you can see in just a day or two or at most three.

Here's what I recommend: Get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting lost/oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

And give some thought to how much time you are willing to spend in transit relative to the time you will have to actually see/experience the places you do visit. FWIW, I’vealso realized that if I can return to a region, the LAST thing that I am likely to do with my time is re-tracing even part of my original route, just so that I can go back and finally see the things I skipped the first time, because of all the time it would take me to do so. In fact, I might end up not returning specifically because it would mean taking so much time going (again) from place to place!

Good luck!
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Apr 25th, 2017, 09:03 PM
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Rizplanet: We wanted to do Zadar because we were intrigued by the sea organ and the monument to the sun.

They are interesting - but in my opinion, they are among the least significant or interesting things you can see on the Dalmatian coast. It's well worth checking them out if you happen to be in Zadar, but in 15-20 minutes, I was done with them. Neither seems like a reason to go so far out of your way, when the are so many other things to see in Croatia.

Zadar does have its fans. The center is the old Roman forum, which still has some of the ruins, old pieces of pillars of old buildings, laying around. The old town is on a peninsula, with beautiful scenery on the water. Alfred Hitchcock once famously claimed that the sunset in Zadar was the most beautiful in the world. Sadly for me, the clouds obscured the sunset the night I was in town...

I'd probably skip Zadar in favor of an island given that you've expressed interest in that. You could do an extra night in Split and day trip to Hvar, perhaps, which might be more convenient than changing hotels so many times.

I'd do a night in Plitvice, too, most likely, especially if visiting by bus. I'd probably stay at one of the overpriced park hotels (I stayed at one on my first visit) just for the convenience. You can walk right down into the park.

Another Plitvice option might be one of the tour companies (I have no experience with them) that will take you from Split to Zagreb in a day. They give you several hours in the park, I believe, and they would make the trip easier than trying to coordinate bus schedules that might make it hard to do the visit in a single day. The downside is that they would put you in the park mid-day among crowds of people, which can make the park unpleasantly crowded. I prefer the park first thing in the morning before all the people arrive. June is not quite high season in Croatia but getting close. I'd expect a lot of people in the middle of the day.
Andrew is online now  
Apr 25th, 2017, 10:16 PM
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How about Dubrovnik - Korcula or Hvar - Zadar and Plitvice - Split? Depart Croatia from Split instead of Zagreb. Would that work for you?
dreamon is offline  
Apr 25th, 2017, 10:49 PM
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If you need to shave a day to visit an island, I would shave it off of Split. Maybe my view was colored by the very hot weather... that can happen.... but I think 2 nights are enough to see the essentials.
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Apr 25th, 2017, 10:56 PM
  #7  
kja
 
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To each his/her own! Split is my favorite city in Croatia, and if Split is used as a base for other destinations -- as it often is, then 3 nights might actually be too little. Again, it really depends on what YOU want to see and do.
kja is offline  
Apr 26th, 2017, 11:15 PM
  #8  
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Thanks a lot for your help and suggestions, everyone....

Decisions Decisions Decisions !!!

If we had to drop Zadar (since some of you seem to suggest it is a bit further away and the organ/monument perhaps do not merit all that extra travel), which of the islands would you recommend?

Would it be possible to stay in split and do the islands as a day trip via public transport?

Any thoughts on doing Krka national park as a day trip from Split? Can we skip it since we are doing Plitvice or do you guys think it merits a visit?

Thanks a lot!
Rizplanet is offline  
Apr 26th, 2017, 11:39 PM
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It's not that Krka doesn't merit a visit - it's a question of how much time you have. Krka is different from Plitvice. The highlight is a big cascading waterfall called Skradinski Buk, which is bigger and more impressive than any single waterfall at Plitvice. You can take a bus to the town of Skradin (not the only entrance to the park) and take a boat up the river to the waterfall, which you can walk around (it's kind of a long falls).

You could see only Skradinski Buk with limited time, but there is more to the park than that, which you can read about elsewhere. Of course, it takes more time to see the rest. I'd guess you could have a comfortable visit to Skradinski Buk in about four hours including the boat rides and maybe an hour there. Note that you can swim below the falls if you want - one thing you aren't allowed to do at Plitvice. Water will be pretty cold still in June, but I saw some brave souls swimming there in early May.

Still, if I had my choice, I'd choose Plitvice. But if you love waterfalls, Skradinski Buk will impress you.

I do think that if your primary reason to visit Zadar is the organ and sun salutation then you should drop it; but if you read more on Zadar and find other things about it and think you might like it...then go, and see the organ and sun salutation of course. That's how I meant to put it. I can't tell you whether you would like Zadar or not - some people do love it. For me is more like not love.

You should be able to dig up ferry or catamaran schedules for various islands accessible from Split, then try to decide whether it's worth doing those day trips. I've visited only Korcula (I spent two nights) and did take a catamaran from there to Split. You might limit yourself to just one island to keep it simple.
Andrew is online now  
Apr 27th, 2017, 12:45 AM
  #10  
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Thanks a lot, Andrew. I'll look it up.


Also on the ferry and catamaran schedules, i just found one service from Dubrovnik to Split

http://krilo.aktiva-info.hr/eng/frmP...obodnoEng.aspx

Not sure if it can be right. Are ferries that infrequent between towns?
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Apr 27th, 2017, 04:27 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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Whatever other merits Zadar has, note that it isn’t an island – it is a peninsula. I don’t know if that’s important to you are not, and as already noted, I don’t think any of the islands really fit your itinerary particularly well. JMO. But if you do, Hvar would probably be the easiest to reach as a day trip from Split, and in that case, you would probably want to see Hvar Town.

As Andrew notes, the Krka National Park bears some similarities to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, but there are also some important differences. As already noted, the Plitvice Lakes are, indeed, lakes, connected by gorgeous waterfalls, and part of the beauty of the park is that not only are there many, many waterfalls, but also, the lakes seem to be different colors. In contrast, Krka's most famous falls are along a river and the main set of falls are broader and contain more cascades (of varying heights and widths) than those of the Plitvice Lakes. You might do a google image search to see the differing images. Whether Skriadinski Buk is “THE” highlight of the Krka National Park is, I think, subject to debate, as some of the up-river falls are also quite stunning, IMO....

One other difference worth noting is that swimming is permitted in part of the pool at the base of the major waterfall at Krka NP; to the best of my knowledge, no swimming is permitted anywhere within the Plitvice Lakes NP.

The Krka National Park should be reasonably easily reached by public transportation (bus from Split to Sibenik, bus to Skradin, walk or boat to the park). You would probably need to plan on a full day if going by public transportation; depending on how the timing works out, you could explore more or less of the park and/or spend a bit of time in Skradin or Sibenik (or, perhaps, both).

While I completely agree that the Plitvice Lakes are the more spectacular and unusual (by far, IMO!), the Krka National Park is, I believe, easier to reach by public transportation. Neither would be a BAD decision; but choosing between them could be a difficult decision.

Note that there are several ferry companies that offer service between the islands; krilo is only one of them. Do a bit more searching. You might find some links on rome2rio.com
kja is offline  
Apr 27th, 2017, 06:16 PM
  #12  
 
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I have found this site useful http://www.croatiaferries.com/
dreamon is offline  
Apr 27th, 2017, 09:27 PM
  #13  
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Thanks a lot, kja and dreamon...

Appreciate the info on krka.

Islands fitting my itinerary - well i guess dubrovnik, split and zagreb are pretty much nailed on. so in some senses, it is a toss up between staying in zadar vs. korcula/hvar. you said you enjoyed both so i guess we just need to pick one just like that
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Apr 27th, 2017, 09:41 PM
  #14  
kja
 
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If you are going all the way to Dubrovnik (and as noted above, I think there are reasons why you might not want to do that), I'd choose Korcula over Hvar as my island -- during high season, Hvar Town can be a bit of a party-hearty yacht parking lot. And unless you have specific interests in the architecture of the area or other very particular reasons for making time for Zadar, I would think it a third choice destination. JMO.
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