Croatia-Itinery Help Please

Old Jul 29th, 2022, 07:59 AM
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Croatia-Itinery Help Please

Hi everyone. Four of us are looking to travel to Croatia May 2023. We are focusing on the coastal area between Dubrovnik to Split. I'd love to venture out more and really tour around, but the two husbands prefer to stay put "somewhat". We will have 13 full days on the ground, not including travel/arrival days. We can fly into Dubrovnik and out of Split. I want to stay in 3 areas, but could really use help deciding on how many days in each. We are focusing on Dubrovnik (with maybe a day trip to Montenegro), an island, and Split (whatever day trips we can work in without taxing the husbands need to chill). I've read lots of posts and trip reports and I get mixed reviews about how many days to give to Dubrovnik. I get the impression that less time is needed there, and maybe there's more to do in and around Split? Would Korcula be a better stop for a few overnights and just day trip to Hvar from Split? Or would Hvar be better for overnights? We are all well traveled 60 year olds from California, fairly active (the husbands are typically the athletic types but on vacation...not so much). We're not into hiking but enjoy taking boat rides, wine tasting, walking around town, relaxing with a view, eating, drinking, basically just absorbing the atmosphere of the place. We don't typically do tours and we often rent a car, or scooters, and of course use ferries. However, we're hoping not to have a car this time, and will use taxis/drivers or whatever makes sense for each location. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions to help with the requested advice.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 10:30 AM
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I am a active 60+ (and let's leave it at that) and just spend April 2022 in Croatia, except for Zagreb solely on the Istrian. Croatia was fabulous, smaller cities wonderful. Pula, Porec, Rovinj were delightful. I am just writing to give you some food for thought to expand your visit.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 11:20 AM
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Trust me, if it were just us girls, we'd be staying 2 nights in a variety of spots, lol. But the men like to unpack and not move too much. We don't need to stay right in the main towns if there are more charming spots to stay just outside of the main areas. Hoping someone can direct us to something like that.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 11:53 AM
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I recommend staying in Dubrovnik. Architecturally, it is a beautiful city with its lovely location on the Adriatic Sea. Walking the walls is a highlight but there are other things to see in Dubrovnik. War Photo Limited for history, and there are several monasteries and churches. I know some people enjoy staying in Cavtat, just outside Dubrovnik. But we really enjoyed staying inside the walls. We did not go to Korcula but we did a day trip to Hvar Town from Split. Hvar Town is beautiful. One of the highlights of our trip. I think it won't be too crowded in May. We were there in September. We spent 4 nights in Split, which is a beautiful city architecturally and a pretty location on the water. We also visited Trogir from Split. We did hire a private guide for a 2-hour tour of Old Town and Diocletian's Palace.

I highly recommend visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park. And spend a night at Plitvice, either inside the park or just outside. Visit the Upper Lakes in the afternoon of your first day to avoid crowds, and visit the Lower Lakes the morning of the next day to avoid crowds. Or you can do vice versa. I know this means an extra stop but Plitvice is well worth it.

If you haven't done so already, you can click on my name to read my trip report.

We did visit Montenegro from Dubrovnik, which I highly recommend. We hired a private driver for the day who drove us around the Bay of Kotor and made stops in 3 places: Budva, Kotor, and Perast. We did have a rental car while in Croatia. It's very easy driving. We picked up the car on the day we left Dubrovnik. While in Split, we parked the car at a parking garage that our hotel has an agreement with. I don't remember if we paid an extra fee or if the price was included with our hotel rate.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 12:12 PM
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Three places in 13 days is great, as are your choices of Split, Dubrovnik, and an island for those places. Confining it to that stretch of coast helps limit the urge to pack too much in--there is plenty just in that area. You could also stay on the mainland in between (better if you rent a car)--the Makarska area has hiking, Omis has white water rafting. There is no shortage of outdoor activity anywhere in Croatia. I am partial to Korcula, but really just about any island is an option because of the catamaran schedule. There is wine tasting on the Peljesac peninsula, north of Dubrovnik near Korcula, vineyards on Korcula too (see Lumbarda). There are also places you might want to day trip to in Bosnia.
How long to stay in each town depends on which day trips you wish to do, so while Dubrovnik is very small, if you are going to Montenegro, that tacks on at least one full day. There are also island day trips to Mljet and the Elafiti islands. Split does have more day trip options, so I'd lean toward more time there versus Dubrovnik.
I'd have everyone consult a guide book or web guide and pick something out, then see where you all overlap.
If you want to swim, I'd push it as late in May as you can, as that is when the sea starts to warm up.
See if you can fly open jaw, but if it does not work out, say for example you do round trip DBV, you could head straight to Korcula on arrival, then ferry/cat to Split, then back to Dubrovnik. Or you could just stay in Cavtat your last night close to airport. Trogir near Split is a nice place also close to airport, but I would choose Split for a base if doing day trips, plus Trogir is tiny.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 12:44 PM
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Iíll just second pretty much most of whatís said. We really loved Dubrovnik and walking the walls was a highlight. We were fortunate to visit in the fall of 2019 when tourism was only starting to pick up and there were few cruise ships around, so we didnít experience any real crowds. Iíve heard that Dubrovnik can be difficult when the cruise ships are in because it is so small. It is a beautiful city and worth visiting.

We liked Split though, for city lovers, didnít love it as much as we expected to. Donít misunderstood me, it is a wonderful city, with lots to do - we were perhaps a little taken aback that there were more tourists here than weíd seen up until this point. It was the busiest place we visited but it is ideal for day trips. I followed in the footsteps of KarenWoo and did the day trip to Hvar almost exactly as she describes in her trip report! It was a favorite day trip and I highly recommend. There are also organized boat tours that stop in several islands. We also visited Trogir, which we liked a lot.

We stayed 2 nights in Korcula and loved it. I wouldíve loved an additional day or 2 to explore the island. I highly recommend it as a place to stay and it works easily with Split and Dubrovnik.

And yes, definitely try to see the Plitvice National Park - it is beautiful, and worth staying nearby. We enjoyed visiting the park on 2 consecutive days, visiting both the upper and lower lakes. Itís quite spectacular.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 12:47 PM
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Just noting there is an alternative to Plitvice called Krka, which is much closer to Split. I have only visited Plitvice as I was en route to Zagreb. If you end up flying out of Zagreb by all means try to include Plitivce, but it is really far from Split for a day trip.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 01:32 PM
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Thank you so much for all your replies. Does this sound like a good plan or should I make some adjustments? I worry that 7 nights in Split might be too much, but we also don't have to fill each day with something we have to do. Should I add another day to the island stop? If it were just me I'd take two days from Split and add two to Hvar. I don't usually plan my days, just the locations, and then we decide when we're there what we want to do, but I want to be in the right places to do the most fun things. And I really want to spend most of our time in the most charming areas as well.

Dubrovnik - 4 nights
May 14 - Arrive Dubrovnik 2:50pm, dinner, sleep
May 15 - Tour around Dubrovnik
May 16 - Day trip to Montenegro?
May 17 - Mostar too far? Boat trip? Something else?

Island - 3 nights
May 18 - Ferry to Korcula or Hvar or other island?
May 19 - Island day
May 20 - Island day

Split - 7 nights
May 21 - Ferry to Split
May 22 - Split
May 23 - Day trip to Hvar (if we donít stay there, but I worry one day won't be enough)
May 24 - Split
May 25 - Boating around?
May 26 - ?
May 27 - ?
May 28 - 8:35am Flight home from Split

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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 01:42 PM
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Now that I see it all laid out, I would work on the husbands to stay on both Korcula and Hvar--the catamaran line stops at both en route to Split, so it is really is not onerous. To me, it looks like your priority is leisure in a small, charming place. As mentioned above, Split is quite large.
Various tourist agencies will be advertising their day trips, some are only certain days per week, so do scope that out. You can just pop in a day or two before to see what's on offer.
On Hvar, there are day boats over to the Pakleni islands, or you can rent a car to drive around the island. You can also do a day trip to Bol on Brac (from across the island at Jelsa).
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 01:54 PM
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I like Yorkshireís suggestion. Since the ferry does stop at Hvar between Korcula and Split, itís very easy to break up the trip. And youíd probably find Hvar much more of a place to chill than Split. I would break up the time in Split. With day trips to Montenegro and/orMostar, 4 nights in Dubrovnik is good. So why not
Dubrovnik- 4
Korcula -3
Hvar-3
Split -4
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 02:17 PM
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Yes, I like this idea of adding the stop in Hvar, especially considering I was probably just going to be heading out to the islands from Split anyway. I just need to twist some arms, lol. I would have loved to do a small boat cruise through all the islands but we're in the middle of building a house and I promised to keep the costs down So what are some must do's in Split if I only have 4 nights there? The day trip to Krka sounds like a good idea....anything else? Or is there enough to keep us busy for 3 days without a specific agenda?

Quick question: To see the blue cave/grotto, is that something we would do from Korcula or Hvar?
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 04:10 PM
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In Split we hired a private guide, Maja Benzon, for a 2-hour guided tour of Old Town and Diocletian's Palace. We visited the very interesting Ethnographic Museum. We visited a market. We took the day trip to Hvar Town. And we visited Trogir for 3/4 of a day. We spent 4 nights in Split. We love to take our time, wander, take photos, stop for drinks, etc. There is also a sculpture gallery in Split (Mestrovic Gallery) that we didn't have time for but a lot of people really like it. You can walk up to Marjan Hill which we didn't have time for. You could also visit Sibenik from Split, unless the husbands revolt and prefer to stay in Split to relax.

I like Progol's and Yorkshire's suggested itinerary. Progol's allotment of nights is perfect.

You can visit Mostar as a daytrip from Dubrovnik if you like. My daughter and son-in-law did just that on a bus tour. But I think it's a long day. I would love to spend a night in Mostar some day.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 04:19 PM
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Thank you Karen, I just finished reading your trip report, it helped a lot! My friend said her husband would be fine with whatever as long as he has a few days just relaxing on the beach with nothing to do. My husband is less excited about packing and unpacking and checking in and out of hotels, but he's good with day trips, even if long. I just informed him that making a decision to cut something out would be as if I asked him to choose between Marrakesh or Essaouira in Morocco...both of which he loved
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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 12:28 AM
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You have got some great advice here so far. I will just add a couple of things - I don't care for staying inside the walls of Dubrovnik or Split, it can be noisy and it also a pain to get luggage in and out. Much better, for me, to stay outside the city walls and just walk in. Apartments are a better value than hotels. but they do not include breakfast, so if breakfast is important to you then go with hotels. There are some fabulous apartments in Dubrovnik with views of the walls (better than being inside the walls) such as this one - https://www.dubrovnik-tours.hr/accom...ont-apartment/
There are lots of others but there are a lot of stairs in Dubrovnik, keep that in mind.

Also, the boat that connects Dubrovnik - Korčula - Hvar - Split is a catamaran, not a ferry, so there are no cars. Just pointing this out in case you are considering getting a car. It would only affect the Korčula - Hvar part. You should get a car on Hvar, but you can rent one when you get there for a day or two.
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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 07:47 AM
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Realtogrl, yes, I have been concerned about too many stairs with luggage so thank you for that tip. We do pack light, but I remember arriving into Venice and almost ruining our luggage lugging it all though the cobblestone streets and stairs. I also think we'll probably opt for an apartment, its what we usually do any more. And I don't think we'll have a car to worry about, but we might rent something in Hvar to get around on. I think I read that you stayed outside of Hvar town? It could have been someone else, but I'm wondering about location in that area. We'd like a place with a view...veranda or patio or something to hang out on, but not too far to get to restaurants and shops. Argggh, as always, you never know the lay of the land until you get there!
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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 08:04 AM
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You have received a lot of good advice here - from some of the same posters who helped me with my recent trip -but I will add my two cents. I just returned from 3 weeks in Croatia and a week in Slovenia - one of the best trips I have ever taken. I started in Dubrovnik and spent 6 days there - very leisurely. They included a day trip to Montenegro and one to Mostar, both of which were interesting. I went with Perla Adriatica, which has an office just outside the old city. Highly recommended. You will be there exactly when I was - I arrived in Dubrovnik on May 16 and it was a perfect time to go. Although It was hotter than expected, the water was warm enough for swimming but the crowds were non-existent, as they were throughout my stay. Even when the cruise ships were in, it was never really very crowded, which was a real pleasure. I stayed at a wonderful apartment outside the walls with spectacular views and had a beautiful 15 minute coastal walk into town every day. On my last day in Dubrovnik I boarded a small yacht for a 7 night cruise to Split. I know you are concerned about costs but they are quite affordable and a great buy when you consider that you have a room for 7 nights, 2 meals a day, (dinner on your own) and transportation to a different island every day, with swim stops along the way and a one hour walking tour of each island and several hours for dinner and exploring on your own. Check out Ambassador Travel, Croatia. They have a fleet of about 6 or 7 yachts that follow the same itinerary. I was on the smallest one, the Splendid, which held 32 passengers and there were only 9 of us on the cruise. It was like being on your own private yacht. I loved every minute. When I was trying to plan a trip to Croatia - for several years, in fact - I had a hard time figuring out how to make the most of the islands and see as much as possible and when I found the cruise it was the perfect solution.
I stayed 4 days in Split, which could have been shorter but I just took things leisurely, as I like to. I took a local bus to Trogir one day and a van tour to Krka National Park, which was beautiful with its many waterfalls and a boardwalk hike through the park. It included a stop at a lovely island, whose name escapes me and a brief stop for a wine and olive oil tasting. One day in Zadar to see the Sea Organ and two days in Plitvice National Park, a wonderland of waterfalls and lakes of the most incredible color. With limited time, as I think someone suggested, you can choose between Krka and Plitvice. I was glad I got to see both. I spent 2 days in Zagreb, which I loved. I'd been undecided about going b/c I was just expecting a big city but the old town, which consists of the upper and lower towns, was charming and lovely. The modern area was very lively and happening too and everything is walkable. I walked everywhere in every place I visited, even Split. Between cities, I took Flixbus, which was very convenient and reliable. Buses were new and spotless.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 08:12 AM
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Wow, your trip sounds fantastic. I'm so glad to hear that the weather will be warm enough to get in the water. I will check out the cruise you suggested, it sounds perfect, especially in May. Can you say which apartment you were at in Dubrovnik? It might at least show me an area to start looking around.
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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 08:29 AM
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Pannecot - I just checked out the cruise you suggested and it does seem reasonable, probably only a little more than we might spend doing it on land but perhaps more worth it. My only concern is we arrive in Dubrovnik on Saturday May 14, but the next cruise out to Split isn't for another week, and goes until our time in Split...waahh. Our flights are booked because we had limited options when flying using miles from LAX, and there are four of us wanting to get on the same flights with miles. I'm just wondering what to do with 7 days in Dubrovnik...and then only having one evening in Split before our flight out. Any suggestions on how to use that time? And is the cruise worth it to give up time in Split?
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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 09:01 AM
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Loves2sing, I stay IN Hvar Town but not in the center of it. Where I stay is 15 minutes walk to the center.
https://www.mysuitehvar.com

They have 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartments with views and are quite affordable. The Komazin family lives downstairs and I love them, they are like family now. But it is not in the old town. There is a super nice beach close by. Pokonji, and a nice little harbor with a locals vibe. You can rent a car from Dino, he has a stand down by the harbor.
https://www.dinorenthvar.com

I can also vouch for Perla Adriatica in Dubrovnik for day tours and there is a wine bar in the old town, D’Vino, that does fun (and long) wine tours to the Pelješac peninsula.




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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 12:40 PM
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You will have a wonderful trip and you have some really fantastic advice! We went in May, also, the weather was perfect and it wasn't crowded.
I would also vote to not stay within the city wall. When the cruisers descend, it is really unpleasant. You also have the restaurant and bar noise and people walking the wall can look in on you. We stayed in apartment that one was of favorite places we have ever stayed. Unfortunately, they don't rent it anymore but it was basically in the area a little north and east of where you catch the cable car. I notice there are a lot of apartments available around there. The views are fantastic and it was great to eat breakfast in. It was heavenly to have coffee on the terrace in the morning and wine out there before we headed out to dinner.

You will love Kotor and the drive to it. It is beautiful! We had a car because my husband likes to drive and we like to stop when we happen upon somewhere unexpected and wonderful. Like Verige 65, we were humming along and almost missed it, we had to back up to go in. It had breathtaking views and a reasonable lunch menu.https://verige65.com
I do like Karen's idea of getting a driver, too, it is more relaxing to let someone else navigate and they will have some great information and advice. It just depends on what you prefer.

I like using cruisedig.com. It tells you how many ships are in a harbor any day, how many passengers they carry, what their arrival and departure times are. It was great to avoid the most crowded days in Dubrovnik. We were like you and wanted to go to Kotor our 2nd full day but because of cruise ships, we went the 1st. I notice for your trip on the 15th there are 2 ships with 2873 and 3923 passengers from 7am to 8pm and none on the 16th and 17th so you might consider changing your order, also.



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