Croatia Itinerary

Old Jan 6th, 2017, 05:57 AM
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Croatia Itinerary

We are a couple in our 30s traveling to Croatia in July. We love great food, beaches, beautiful settings, medieval locations and a more relaxed travel style. We are looking to arrive from Berlin in the afternoon of July 1 and depart early morning on July 12. Here is a rough itinerary I came up with. Sleeping location in ()

Sat July 1-Arrive in Dubrovnik at 2:30. Explore the town (Dubr)
Sun July 2-Explore Dubrovnik (Dubr)
Mon July 3-Day trip to Kotor/Budva (Dubr)
Tue July 4-quick ferry over to Hvar (Hvar)
Wed July 5-Hvar (Hvar)
Thur July 6-Hvar, perhaps day trip to Mljet or Korkula? (Hvar)
Fri July 7-ferry over to Split, explore Split (Split)
Sat July 8-explore Split (Split)
Sun July 9-free day, perhaps day trip to Mostar or Trogir (Split)
Mon July 10-morning drive to Plitvice Lakes, all day at the lakes (Plit)
Tue July 11-afternoon drive to Zagreb, explore Zagreb (Zagreb)
Wed July 12-8am fly home

or we can try to squeeze in Istria by cutting down time in Split and bypass Zagreb but would need to leave earlier by a day due to flights

Sat July 1-Arrive in Dubrovnik at 2:30. Explore the town (Dubr)
Sun July 2-Explore Dubrovnik (Dubr)
Mon July 3-Day trip to Kotor/Budva (Dubr)
Tue July 4-quick ferry over to Hvar (Hvar)
Wed July 5-Hvar (Hvar)
Thur July 6-Hvar, perhaps day trip to Mljet or Korkula? (Hvar)
Fri July 7-ferry over to Split, explore Split (Split)
Sat July 8-morning drive to Plitvice Lakes, all day at the lakes (Plit)
Sun July 9-drive to Istria, Pula/Rovinj (Pula)
Mon July 10-Pula/Rovinj (Pula)
Tue July 11-4pm flight out of Pula

Does anyone have any reco's on the itinerary? Places to skip or miss. I know Dubrovnik is overrun with cruise tourists but its like Santorini..its a MUST to see.

Thanks

Sergey
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 06:15 AM
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Please don't squeeze in Istria or any more places. Your itinerary is tight enough (or too tight IMO). For example, you list 1.5 day for Split which is not much. Imagine if you cut that 1.5 day down...

If you arrive from Berlin in the afternoon of July 1 then you have a little more than 1 days to discover Dubrovnik, which is like no time at all. If you prefer "a more relaxed travel style" then I recommend you to stay at least 3 nights at each place, not counting day trips. You don't have to see all of Croatia in one trip.
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 06:23 AM
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I hear you. With Dubrovnik specifically, everywhere I read it says "STAY AWAY" because its overrun with tourists. A Croatia recently told me to not even go to Dubrovnik in the summer because of the insane amount of people and instead go in the winter. We do want to see it, but 1.5 days is primarily for this reason. We do have 3 evenings in Dubrovik.

As far as Istria, the question is, is it better to visit Split for 2-3 days+ 1 day in Zagreb, or basically bypass Split and skip Zagreb to spend the same amount of time in Pula/Rovinj?

Or should I work the itinerary completely differently?
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 06:29 AM
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its basically the same distance from Plitvice Lakes to either Zagreb or Istria..I have the option of flying out of either
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 09:24 AM
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Visit Mljet and Korcula on your way from Dubrovnik to Hvar instead of backtracking.
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 05:16 PM
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Should be a great trip, no matter what you choose! Some observations:

- Although I found Hvar Town to be beautiful, it was FAR too party-hearty for me. I stayed elsewhere on Hvar Island and just visited Hvar Town for part of a day. Your interests and preferences might well be different!
- I loved Korcula and was glad to spend a night there – particularly because I stayed on a night when I could see the moreška. If you decide to vist Korcula, consider stopping there between Dubrovnik and Hvar (as neckervd suggested).
- Mostar is, IMO, infinitely more enchanting after daytrippers leave. Consider staying a night!
- Trogir is tiny and only ½ hour by bus from Split. It has some of the most stunning stonework imaginable, so if you have ANY interest, do find time for a 1/2 day there!
- I really enjoyed Zagreb and wish I’d given it more than 2.5 days; others are less enamored of it.
- I would NOT try to fit Istria in – IMO, you simply don’t have time this trip unless you make some serious cuts to the rest of your itinerary. For example, Split is my favority city in Croatia; this plan gives you basically no time there. (I should note, however, that while I loved it and wish I’d had days for Split and surrounding areas, others are not so fond of it.) And you really wouldn’t be giving yourselves time for Istria’s hill towns, which many enjoy. In contrast, Istria is reasonably easy to visit from Slovenia or Italy, so you can make time to visit it on a future trip much more easily than getting as far south into Croatia as Split. Just something to consider...
- I’m glad I visited Dubrovnik! You just need to realize that some days will be cruise-heavy and plan accordingingly. (Someone – thursdaysd? – routinely links in a web-site that has the cruise schedule for Dubrovnik. You might want to search for it….)

If you don’t already have it, I strongly recommend the Rough Guide for Croatia.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 07:00 PM
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Dubrovnik is very touristy but still a wonderful town, especially at night when most of the day trippers leave.

Still, I wouldn't go anywhere near the Dalmatian Coast or Istria in the summer - far too crowded for me! I prefer shoulder season.

I found the Rick Steves Croatia/Slovenia guide extremely helpful and almost indispensable for planning my two trips to Croatia (at least my first trip). While Rough Guide and other books filled in some gaps Steves's book missed, those books tend to be too dry and objective for me, making it hard to figure which places are really worth visiting - and I could get the same basic info on the web nowadays, anyway. Steves's books give subjective, practical advice to help guide you (even if you disagree with his specific recommendations, you can see where he's coming from).
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 07:16 PM
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To each his/her own! Of the more than 100 guidebooks I've used when planning various trips, the Rick Steves guidebook for Croatia / Slovenia is the only one I ever considered a waste of money. JMO.
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 07:20 PM
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I've never wasted my money on a Rough Guide - I sometimes get them out of the library to augment my research for a particular trip, but I can't say I've ever found the books that useful.
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 09:07 AM
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Ok, I will consider both books . I am sure each has its own merit. As far as the itinerary, I will take the advice and skip Istria. I also added a day to Dubrivnik that we can either choose to spend in the town or take a day trip to Korkula or Mljet. It looks like July 1-4 are not too terrible with cruise passengers these days. I prefer not to do 1-night stay overs/island hopping. We much more enjoy longer hotel stays in 1 place and taking day trips.

Here is what the itinerary looks like now (we are coming from NYC but connecting overnight in Berlin either on way or both.:

30-Jun Fri Arrive from NYC to Berlin @1pm. Free day (BER)
1-Jul Sat 2pm arrive in Dubrovnik. Free day (DBR)
2-Jul Sun Explore Dubrovnik (DBR)
3-Jul Mon Day trip to Kotor (DBR)
4-Jul Tue Flex Day-day trip to Kotor or Mljet? (DBR)
5-Jul Wed Ferry over to Hvar (HVR)
6-Jul Thur Free day in Hvar (HVR)
7-Jul Fri Flex day-Brac or Korkula day trip? (HVR)
8-Jul Sat Ferry over to Split. Explore (SPL)
9-Jul Sunday Explore Split or visit Trogir (SPL)

After that we have 2 options based on flights:
Option 1-
10-Jul Mon Flex day in Split, beach/relax (SPL)
11-Jul Tue One-way to Plitvice Lakes then to Zagreb (ZAG)
12-Jul Wed 8am Zagreb to Berlin>>8hr layover>>6pm to NYC

Option 2-
10-Jul Mon Day trip to Plitvice Lakes (SPL)
11-Jul Tue Free morning, 2pm Split to Berlin (BER)
12-Jul Wed Free afternoon>>6pm to NYC

I am leaning to Option 1 so we can spend more time in Croatia..but the appeal with option 2 no 8hr layover and less risk of missing NYC flight.

I would probably rent a car for the entirety of the stay in Split.

Thoughts?
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 09:25 AM
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Did you check for a flight from Zagreb to NYC? Why are you going through Berlin, or have you already booked that? Have you considered an open jaw - fly into Berlin from NYC, out of Zagreb to NYC?
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 09:38 AM
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While a day trip to the Plitvice Lakes is certainly possible, it can make for a very long day. If you can, you might want to consider walking a single 6 - 7 hour loop of the park, and in July, I would think you would either want to start out before tour groups get there (before 9 a.m.), or after they start into the park (after 10 a.m.). So spending a night in the park before your walk can be a really good strategy, IMO.

Having a car in Split can be a real disadvantage because of the difficulties with (and expense of) parking. There are many, many, many day trips you can take from Split using easy and comfortable buses. I, personally, would wait to pick up the car until you are ready to leave the city.

If you don't already have your flights, try to book through to Dubrovnik and out of Zagreb. You'll have a stop en route, but if the flights are all on the same ticket, if there are flight delays, its usually up to the airline to get you where you want to be, rather than up to you to deal with it.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 10:01 AM
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Forgot to mention, We are flying on Air Berlin to and from Berlin on miles and changing these flights is not an option. Thats the price of flying for free . Unfortunately, Air Berlin doesnt fly to Croatia so we need to book Berlin-Dubrovnik and Split or Zagreb to Berlin separately. This is why we are spending the 1st evening in Berlin and possibly the last if we go back via Split.

Basically my 2 options are day tripping it to PL from and back to Split. flying to Berlin from Split the day before and spending the night in Berlin. OR. One-waying it Split to PL..all day there and then to Zagreb. Spending the night in Zagreb..and then flying to Berlin in the morning, 8hr layover there and then to NY. We can do one-way either by our own car or via a tour.
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 10:03 AM
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With option 2, we can also leave Split a day early, spend the day in PL and sleep there...then to Zagreb..spend the whole day/night in Zagreb.
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 10:06 AM
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For the reasons already mentioned, I think there are good arguments for spending a night in the Plitvice Lakes. Your call as to whether to put your time in Split or Zagreb!
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 11:34 AM
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Thanks. We may consider staying the night in PL. That aside, if we are only staying in 3 locations (Dubrivnik, Hvar and Split). What would you say are the best day trips if we had to pick just 1 or 2? There are so many: Korkula, Mljet, Kotor/Budva, Mostar, Trogir, Brac, etc.. How would you rank them in order of priority for you?
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 11:37 AM
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Sorry, but that's not a question I can (or will) answer -- I found those I visited (which did not include Mljet or Brac) unique and I treasured each. Only you can decide which ones to visit.

No bad choices -- just difficult ones!
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 11:55 AM
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Thanks anyways. Appreciate the help. When I travel, I usually come back with some places that I loved the most. Figured there must be some on the list that would stand out but they they are all equally amazing, I will just pick something. From what I am reading, it appears that Korkula and Trogir are similar to Dubrivnik, Hvar and Split..where as Mljet, Kotor/Budva and Mostar are quite different from the others. Is that a fair statement? Sorry, if my questions are stupid but I just started doing the research and there are SO many options that all sounds similar.
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 12:09 PM
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Also, one other question, is it fair to say that the only time a car can be useful is from Split to Plitvice to Zagreb? Seems we can get around Dubrovnik, Hvar and Split without a car? Or should we rent a car on Hvar island?
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 12:16 PM
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For your itinerary? Yes, a car probably isn't that helpful other than between Split-Plitvice-Zagreb. However, I wouldn't have wanted NOT to have a car driving down to Montenegro (I spent a night in Kotor so had more time) because for me, the highlight was the breathtaking scenery of the Bay of Kotor, and I stopped numerous times to take pictures. A car is kind of a burden in Dubrovnik itself.

On my first trip, I took the bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula, then a catamaran to Split (catamaran stopped in Hvar - I guess I could have spent a few days there or something but I didn't). I do kind of wish I'd had a car for Korcula island - would have been easier to explore it (I never really got out of Korcula Town without a car). I didn't need a car in the towns themselves, though.

But in July, I'm not sure I'd want to drive at all along the Dalmatian Coast. I understand the traffic can be crazy, not something I enjoy. In May and October, though, I found driving in Croatia easy and kind of fun.
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