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Croatia Itenerary

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Apr 30th, 2016, 06:55 AM
  #1
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Croatia Itenerary

Hi,

Need help with 10 day Croatia itenerary.

Flying in to Zagreb and flying out to Split in early June. (These flights are pretty much fixed).

How does this look ?

June 2) Fly in to Zagreb by noon (Long Haul flight). Drive to Plitvice - stay overnight in Plitvice.
June 3) 6-8 hour hike in Plitvice. Drive back to Zagreb airport. Take 10PM flight to Dubrovnik.
June 4-6) 3 full days in Dubrovnik. Stay overnight in Dub. Perhaps a day ferry to a nearby island..
June 7) Drive to Mostar. Overnight Mostar.
June 8) Drive to Split early AM. Full day Split.
June 9-11) Ferry to Hvar or Korkula. 3 days
June 12) Return via Ferry to Split. Take 4PM flight out...

I was wondering if I can cut out a day and fit in Skocjan caves in Slovenia from Zagreb in the beginning of out trip.

Appreciate thoughts on this itenerary. We love nature/scenery as well as walking in great towns.

Not much of museums, nightlife etc...

Thanks a lot
TB.
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Apr 30th, 2016, 08:24 AM
  #2
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Just thought of another option. Please comment on both of these.

June 2) Fly in to Zagreb by noon (Long Haul flight). Drive to ljubljana - stay overnight in ljubljana.
June 3) Day Trip to Bled. Sleep in ljubljana.
June 4) Day trip to caves - drive to PLitvice Lakes
June 5) 6-8 hour hike in Plitvice. Drive back to Zagreb airport. Take 10PM flight to Dubrovnik.
June 6-8) 3 full days in Dubrovnik. Stay overnight in Dub. Perhaps a day ferry to a nearby island..
June 9) Drive to Mostar. Overnight Mostar.
June 10) Drive to Split early AM. Full day Split.
June 11-12) Ferry to Hvar or Korkula. 1 days
June 12) Return via Ferry to Split. Take 4PM flight out...
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Apr 30th, 2016, 12:03 PM
  #3
kja
 
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Your call -- it really depends on your priorities.

If you have a long haul flight to reach Zagreb, please spend at least one night there. Many people don't realize that driving with jet lag is just as dangerous, to yourself and others, as driving drunk. Or go first to a place you can reach by train (e.g., Ljubljana) or bus.

IMO, three days is a LOT for Dubrovnik.

Enjoy!
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Apr 30th, 2016, 01:42 PM
  #4
 
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How about this:

June 2 - arrive in Zagreb at noon. Fly out to Dubrovnik on the 2:45PM flight same day.

Dubrovnik - 2 nights (June 2, 3)

rent a car in Dubrovnik, drive to Mostar

Mostar - 1 night (June 4)

Drive/ferry to Hvar or Korcula

Hvar or Korcula - 2 nights (June 5, 6)

Ferry back to mainland, drive to Plitvice

Plitvice - 1 night (June 7)

Somewhere else - June 8, 9 (or use them elsewhere earlier)

Split - 2 nights (June 10, 11)

Fly out of Split - June 12

--
Yes, if your flight into Zagreb is really late you might miss the connection. But Zagreb's is a small airport, and if you arrived even two hours late you'd almost certainly make the flight to Dubrovnik. Your backup plan might be staying overnight in Zagreb the first night and fly into Dubrovnik first thing the next morning. Travel insurance might cover the expenses of a delay.

My plan avoids the "drive a car in a foreign country as soon as you arrive" and gives you a few days to unwind in Dubrovnik before you start driving. And it avoids another "airport day" and having to fly out really late from Zagreb when you might be super tired from jetlag - I know the first few days after I get to Europe I have trouble staying up super late.

Also, know that your plan to ferry back to Split the last day and fly out same day is risky, because occasionally ferries or catamarans don't run in really bad weather. In 2009, I took a catamaran from Korcula to Split and we had a really bad storm that night; the catamaran I'd taken the previous day didn't run the next due to the storm. There may be other options to get back to Split in time for the flight out - local ferries - but it could be complicated and nail-biting.

--

Ljubljana is lovely, one of my favorite cities in Europe. If you want to do that and a little of Slovenia. Your plan for that could work, but it still has you driving immediately and then having to take that very late flight out of Zagreb.
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Apr 30th, 2016, 11:45 PM
  #5
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Thanks Andrew and kja.

How does this look ?

June 2) Fly to Dub 2:45PM flight
June 3-4) Dub
June 5) Mljet Day Trip -> Stay in Dub
June 6) Drive to MoStar. Stay in MoStar
June 7) MoStar->Zadar. Stay in Zadar
June 8) Plitvice Lakes-> Stay in Zadar or Split or take evening ferry to Hvar if available.
June 9-10) Hvar & some nearby island
June 11) Return to Split -> Check out Split and Roman Palace
June 12) Fly out
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May 1st, 2016, 12:01 AM
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I was a bit disappointed in Zadar myself, maybe because I didn't get to see the fabled sunset there (it was partly overcast; to see what I'm talking about, google for "hitchcock zadar"). It was an interesting town with the Roman ruins in the center...but it felt a lot less endearing for some reason than it sounds. Trogir was somehow more charming, and Split was more of a real city. So I wouldn't necessarily want to spend two nights in Zadar. I preferred the less touristy town of Sibenik to the south, though I'm not sure I would need two nights there, either.

In my opinion, Plitvice is best experienced first thing in the morning (park opens at 7am) before the big tour groups arrive, clogging the paths and the boardwalks. And that's why I recommend staying over close to or even in the park (at one of the park hotels) so you can get in early, even though there's not really much of a town nearby to do much in the evening. Unless you get a super early start from Zadar driving up, you probably won't arrive til mid-morning, and you may hit the park at the busiest time. I have read several reports of people who didn't like Plitvice so much because they thought it was too crowded, and they seem to have visited at that busy time.

But if you are willing to accept the crowds in the park when you are there, no need to spend a night right at Plitvice.

Otherwise, looks like a good plan.
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May 1st, 2016, 12:46 AM
  #7
kja
 
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I enjoyed Zadar, but more for its museums and ancient churches than for its scenery -- given your stated interests, I'm surprised you've targeted it. But maybe you have a specific reason for wanting to visit it?

I think Andrew gave you a great plan. If you want to add a day for Mljet, that could work nicely, and you'd still have a day to add somewhere else -- maybe a 2nd day in Hvar or Korcula so you can explore more of whichever island you visit? Or an extra day in Split / Trogir so you have time for a day trip to the Krka National Park?

And I, too, think that staying overnight in Plitvice Lakes makes a lot of sense, even if my reasons (and experience) are different than Andrew's: I wanted to visit the park after breakfast, but since I'm not an early riser, that meant that I had to stay in the area to get to the park by 10 or so. It was around that time that the last of the tour groups set out, so I was able to avoid the crowds by starting my time there after the tour groups began their visits. Either way, trying to visit that magnificent park without a night's stay in the area complicates things.
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May 4th, 2016, 07:59 AM
  #8
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Thanks.

The itenerary Andrew suggested makes a lot of sense.

w.r.t. couple of days earlier in the itenerary, would you recommend a day trip to Bay of Kotor followed by drive to Star & onward to Hvar ?

Also, any other recommended islands nearby Dubrovnik or Split ?

One more logistical question, (since I'll have a rental car) - does it make sense to drive from Mostar to Plitvice and then return the rental car in Split and just take catamaran to Hvar with car ? Not sure if it'll become a really long drive.

Its not the cost driving the question (one week rental seems to the same cost as a 4 day rental). More logistical convenience.

Thanks a lot
TB
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May 4th, 2016, 09:52 AM
  #9
 
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Yes, I think dropping the car in Split before going to Hvar makes sense, unless you want to drive on Hvar. Yes, being able to take passenger catamarans is a big advantage in my view. It's easy to get from Split to the airport. There are city buses that go from the center of town, but there are also Croatia Airlines express buses to the airport. (You don't need to be on a Croatia Airlines flight to use them.)

I did a night in Kotor following Dubrovnik. I loved the scenery around the Bay of Kotor, liked the city of Kotor OK but didn't love it. The views from the walk along the "walls" above Kotor are amazing, but it's a steep hike up there. (But many people do it, including lots of the cruise ship passengers.) I also drove from Kotor through the mountains to Cetinje, along a twisty road with 25 hairpin turns but with breathtaking views down on the bay. (I didn't mind this drive but some find it scary.) You could do everything I did in a long day of driving, but it would be a very long day - I'm glad I did it over two days. You don't have to do all of that; just walking the walls above Kotor still gives you some amazing views down.

I drove from Dubrovnik to Kotor in May, so the border wasn't that busy yet. By early June it might be busier. FYI, there is more than one border crossing; there is a main crossing that all traffic can use a smaller one that requires a detour (in the Rick Steves book referred to as the "Konfin Border Detour") but could be faster, because tour buses can't use this crossing. I had only one car ahead of me at this crossing; I don't know what the main border crossing was like in May.
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May 4th, 2016, 06:35 PM
  #10
kja
 
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It sounds to me like you might benefit greatly from a good guide book. Of the half-dozen or so that I used when planning my time in the area, I found the Rough Guide by far the most useful.

For transportation options, check rome2rio.com

Personally, for your itinerary, I probably would not add Kotor -- Much as I enjoyed Kotor, it was -- for me -- too similar to Dubrovnik to justify an extra day with so little time in the area. But then, I seek to maximize the diversity of my experiences when I travel, and easily acknowledge that other priorities are just as legitimate.

Good luck!
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