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Croatia: Help with 7 day itinerary

Old Jan 4th, 2015, 08:15 PM
  #1  
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Croatia: Help with 7 day itinerary

Hi everyone!

I am so amazed by everyone's expertise on this forum, so thought I'd start this thread to get some advice on a 7 day itinerary in Croatia.

We have to be in Dubrovnik smack dab in the middle of the week...so we'll have two days free, then two days in Dubrovnik, and then three more days to play with.

Trying to decide where to fly in and fly out - we're flexible. Considering flying into Dubrovnik and out of Split, and potentially seeing Hvar and Vis. Not sure what makes sense logistically.

So would love insights on:
1) Where you'd go with those 7 days
2) How you'd arrange it logistically (flying in where, driving/ferrying where, flying out of where)
3) Any must-dos in any of those locales?

In case it helps with advice, we tend to travel with an emphasis on getting to know an area through food and locals, with less time spent at museums/historical sites. We also tend to travel pretty quickly, e.g., did an 8 day trip in Italy and covered Rome, Cinqueterre, and Siena in that time.

Thanks everyone!!!!
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 11:01 PM
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Plitvice Lakes National Park, an amazing park full of lakes and waterfalls, should at least be on your radar even if you can't quite fit it in. It was the highlight of Croatia for me (even over Dubrovnik.) It's a little bit of a push from Split, but as you are the kind of traveler who seems to do that, you might be able to pull it off. The closest major city is Zagreb if you would consider flying in/out of there.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 06:56 AM
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I agree Plitvice is a must-see, but I have difficulty fitting it into an itinerary, so I think I would do something like the following, with the caveat that the entire thing may change based on the month this trip is occurring.
Fly into Split, enjoy two days there, with day trips as you desire.
To Dubrovnik by road, bus or car.
Return to Split by sea, spending tow days on an island. Korcula would work well. Spend last night in Trogir.
Or course there are a million options, but with the two days in Dubrovnik it is difficult to maximize time.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 04:21 PM
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kja
 
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Much as I love the glorious Plitvice Lakes, I tend to agree with yorkshire, noting that with only 2 days in Split (and is that really 2 days? or is it 2 NIGHTS = 1 day?) you will have to be VERY selective. Even if it really is 2 days at the beginning and 3 days at the end, I might consider reversing yorkshire's plan to have more time in Split.... If you do that, you might be able to fit in a visit to the Krka National Park, which is not, by any means, a true substitute for the Plitvice Lakes, but would at least give you a glimpse of travertine waterfalls. Or, if you do have 3 days at the end, you could take Andrew's suggestion of visiting the Plitvice Lakes on your way to a flight out of Zagreb.

I think you'll need to spend some time with guidebooks to decide what options suit YOUR interests most closely.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 04:34 PM
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I mentioned Plitvice because I consider it a "must see" in Croatia and because the OP is the kind of traveler who typically covers a lot of ground in a trip.

While kja and others love Split, some of us did not (I know I am not the only one). Not that I hated Split, but it wasn't my favorite place. With only a week in Croatia, I wouldn't waste more than half a day there myself (though for practical reasons, with ferry/catamaran schedules, you may wind up needing to spend at least a night there anyway). If I had a choice of spending three nights in Split or half a day seeing Diocletian's Palace there and a night in Plitvice before departing out of Zagreb, I'd choose the latter. Getting into Plitvice late in the evening (staying at a park hotel) and seeing the park first thing the next morning before a final night in Zagreb would work as a rushed trip at least for some travelers.

Even if not going to Plitvice, I'd still spend more time on the islands than in Split - maybe in Korcula or Hvar then take the catamaran and spend the final day in Split before flying out.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 05:25 PM
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kja
 
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Just to be clear – when I said that you would need to be selective about your time in Split, I wasn’t presuming that you would necessarily spend all of your time IN Split. Yes, I loved it, but honestly, I loved all the other places that have been mentioned, too! (Well, OK, I didn't make it to Vis -- but I would have liked to!) What really matters is what suits YOUR interests.

Depending on the month, any time you allocate “to” Split could, as noted above, include visits to Hvar (or possibly Vis) or Trogir or the Krka National Park, in addition to or instead of Split itself.

I still think that Andrew's suggestion of visiting the Plitvice Lakes on your way to a flight out of Zagreb is worth considering, but you have some tough choices to make!

Whatever you choose, you'll see some wonderful things!
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 09:59 AM
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You all have already been INCREDIBLY helpful!!!! I'm so grateful to you all for sharing your expert opinions!

In case it's helpful to know - per all of your posts - we will be traveling the last week of June / first week of July.

Does that change any of the suggestions? Many thanks again!
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 10:07 AM
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Also, in case this is a factor in an itinerary, we are definitely open to flying in and out of different cities.
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 07:16 PM
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Ok everyone, opinions welcome!:

Option 1:
-F Day 1: Fly into Zagreb or Split. Settle in.
-S Day 2: Rent a car and visit Plitvice for a day/night.
-S Day 3: Spend a day in Split
-M Day 4: Drive to Dubrovnik
-T Day 5: Dubrovnik
-W Day 6: Ferry to island
-T Day 7: Island
-F Day 8: Island to Split
-S Day 9: Fly out of Split

Option 2 (same as above except):
- Day 1: Fly into Dubrovnik
- Day 2: Montenegro
- Day 3: Montenegro
- Day 4: Dubrovnik...

So Option 1 would be getting time in Plitvice and Split. Option 2 would save us the driving and would let us visit Montenegro. Would love any thoughts -- thanks so much!
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 07:21 PM
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kja
 
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Option 1, but turn the car in once you reach Split. You won't need a car after that, and it could actually be an encumbrance.
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 05:47 AM
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Awesome thanks kja! Would you recommend then taking the bus from Split to Dubrovnik?

I've also been trying to understand the ferry system for getting from Dubrovnik to Hvar (which we are considering making our island "home base," with a few boat day trips to other islands). It's quite confusing, but seems like taking a bus back from Dubrovnik to Split and then a ferry from Split to Hvar is the most efficient way to go (given the days of the week we'll be traveling - Weds from Dubrovnik to Hvar).

Thanks again for the help!
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 06:18 AM
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kja
 
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Yes, take the bus from Split to Dubrovnik. Not only is it comfortable, but it will let you sit back and enjoy the scenery.

I'm no expert on the ferry schedules, but agree that they can be confusing. Be SURE you are looking at the schedules for the correct month, and if your choice is Hvar, look for ferries and catamarans to either Hvar Town or Stari Grad (which is connected to Hvar Town by bus). The main company is jadrolinija.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 07:20 AM
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Also, in summer there are additional routes:
http://www.jadrolinija.hr/
http://www.krilo.hr/en/
I vote for #1. Although I enjoyed my visit to Kotor, Split and or Zagreb and Plitvice have the edge.
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 08:10 AM
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great, thanks again kja! we'll do the bus from split to dubrovnik (and likely again from Dubrovnik to split, if that's the best way to get back to Hvar). do you know if it's necessary or possible to book ahead of time? we'll be traveling at a peak time of year.

thanks, yorkshire, for the additional links! glad you are also on board with #1. much appreciated
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Old Jan 7th, 2015, 04:06 PM
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kja
 
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if you are going on as a foot passenger, I don't think you'll need an advance reservation for the ferry, but yorkshire knows far better than I....
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Old Jan 12th, 2015, 07:37 AM
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In high season, it is certainly possible for a bus to fill up, but in early July is is doubtful, and buses between Split and Dubrovnik are practically hourly.
Catamarans sell out in high season, but again in early July I would probably take my chances.
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Old Jan 12th, 2015, 08:48 AM
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Hi there -- we went to Dubrovnik a few years ago and would highly recommend using the services of Zoran. No matter how much time you have in Dubrovnik, you absolutely should contact him. He is a local and can do everything from airport transfers to day trips to Mostar and Montenegro to lodgings. - Here is a piece from the trip report I wrote: Perhaps the highlight of our vacation was the day we booked with Zoran from www.vacationindubrovnik.com. Zoran picked us up at 9:00 for our day trip to Mostar. A native Dubrovnian, he was an excellant guide and really engaged our sons in the tour - Zoran is a big sports fan! We stopped at picturesque places and small villages along the way where Zoran would explain the local culture. When we arrived in Mostar we walked through both sides and Zoran took us to a small Bosnian restaurant, which we never would have found on our own, for perhaps the best meal of our trip - meat, cheese and spinach pies along with a mixed grill that was absolutely delicious.

Hope this helps.
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Old Feb 17th, 2015, 11:37 AM
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Hi All,

We are planning a last minute trip to Croatia from London Mar 30-April 6. It's not beach weather, so we I think we can cover all this. Please let me know if you think it is too much. What we really want to see is Plitvice Lakes and Dubrovnik/Motar/Mljet.
Is there much open on Easter Sunday n the South? Are there ferries to Mljet on Easter Sunday? Is the park open?
Or should we go to Hvar from Split and skip Mljet?
We have a flight from Dubrovnik back to London on April 6, but all else is open.

This is the itinerary I came up with.
3/30 Day 1 fly London to Zagreb/ drive to Plitvice Lakes/stay Plitvice
3/31 Day 2 Plitvice all day drive to Split/ stay Split or other small town
4/1 Day 3 am in Split , Drive to Dubrovnik
4/2 Day 4 Dubrovnik
4/3 Day 5 Motar
4/5 Day 6 Miljet (this is Easter Sunday)
4/6 Day 7 am in Dubrovnik/ fly to London

We are open to suggestions.
Thank you!
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Old Feb 17th, 2015, 12:29 PM
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Why would you back track to Mostar (you mean "Mostar" in BiH not Motar" right?). Stopping in Mostar for a night between Split and Dubrovnik make more sense. Put all your Dubrovnik time at the end before you fly out. You wouldn't need the car in Dubrovnik so you can drop it once you get there.
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Old Feb 17th, 2015, 12:49 PM
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kja
 
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I agree with Andrew.

I'm not sure about the ferries to Mljet.

This itinerary sounds fast-paced to me. You might consider skipping Mljet and spending the extra time in or around Split / Trogir. Or if visiting one of the islands is a high priority, you might see if the times work for you to visit Korcula. Just a thought....
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