Croatia / Montenegro

Old Feb 15th, 2019, 08:14 AM
  #1  
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Croatia / Montenegro

Two women in late 50s traveling in 2019 to Croatia arriving and departing Dubrovnik. We arrive on 8/31 and will depart on 9/11. We are active, like hiking, food, wine, history, and some water fun. We have never traveled this area and would appreciate any suggestions. We have a rough itinerary below. Would like to see as much as possible, but do not want to wear ourselves out. Once we confirm the destinations, we would like to then book, as needed, ferries, attractions, etc. We plan to utilize hotel and airbnbs (or similar).

Possible itinerary is

8/31 Arrive Dubrovnik early a.m., shuttle to Old Town area
9/1 Dubrovnik
9/2 Dubrovnik
9/3 Leave Dubrovnik by car to Kotor with stop in Perast along the way
9/4 Stay in Kotor with day trip to Cetinje or Budva
9/5 Leave Kotor to Dubrovnik - take ferry to Split?
9/6 Split
9/7 Split - day trip to Plitvice or Krka
9/8 Leave Split, go to Hvar or Korcula
9/9 Stay at Hvar or Korcula
9/10 Travel back to Dubrovnik - by ferry or bus?
9/11 Early flight out of Dubrovnik home

From return to Dubrovnik on 9/5 through end of trip, we are unsure on how best to plan the itinerary. Would it be best to leave Dubrovnik and visit a couple of islands on way to Split and then take bus from Split back to Dubrovnik or best to go directly to Split from Dubrovnik and then work our way back to Dubrovnik visiting a couple of island along the trip back? We are planning to drop off rental car after trip to Montenegro.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. We are wanting to make the travel time as efficient as possible.

Thanks in advance for any input / suggestions.
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Old Feb 15th, 2019, 05:46 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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Croatia is delightful!

I take it you have already booked flights into and out of Dubrovnik? If not, be sure to let us know as that could drastically affect our advice.

Assuming that you must be back in Dubrovnik at the end of your trip, 2.5 days at the start seems excessive to me. For most people, 1.5 days is more than enough for the delights of Dubrovnik – and it is delightful! (Be sure to visit the Buza Bar. ) So my first sugestion would be to explore your options for putting Dubrovnik (and Kotor) off until the end of your trip.

IMO, the bus between Dubrovnik and Split offers some of the most magnificent scenery any where in the world – and I’ve been fortunate enough to see some spectacular scenery! I preferred the views from the bus to the views from the water.

I consider the Plitvice Lakes to be among the world’s treasures (which is probably why they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site), but IMO, they are not well suited to a day trip. A basic circuit of the park takes 6 or 7 hours. Because it has become incredibly popular with tour groups in recent years, I think most people now recommend splitting one’s visit into two smaller loops (which is very possible, given the layout of the park and the location of the entrances) – plan on 3 or 4 hours as late as possible on one day and another 3 or 4 hours as early as possible the next day.

Despite the similarities, I was surprised by the differences between the Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Parks: The Plitvice Lakes are lakes connected by gorgeous travertine waterfalls, and the lakes – and even parts of some single lakes --are different colors (apparently, a product of highly localized microbiota). 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 – but without the variations in the colors of the water. Too, people can swim at the base of the main Krka falls; swimming is not permitted in the Plitvice Lakes.

You should be able to visit either Hvar or Korčula on your way to or from Split. You will be there during high season, so note that Hvar Town is likely to be in full party-hearty mode; there are, of course, other places to stay on Hvar Island if that is not your preference. And because it’s high season, the moreška will likely be performed in Korčula at least one night each week; if that interests you, you might see if it you can make the timing work.

Hope that helps!
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Old Feb 16th, 2019, 12:53 AM
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If there are any Cruise ships alongside in Dubrovnik, then half a day will be long enough, as all the sights, best restaurants and bars will be saturated.

You need to allow plenty of time for the Border crossing into Monenegro.

If you're day tripping by ferry from Split to Hvar, then why not go to Brac instead. Why? Hourly ferries, only takes an hour, just as scenic.
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Old Feb 16th, 2019, 01:14 AM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by LancasterLad View Post
If you're day tripping by ferry from Split to Hvar, then why not go to Brac instead. Why? Hourly ferries, only takes an hour, just as scenic.
Interesting suggestion, but I would think it would depend on one's interests. Brac might be scenic, but from what I've learned, it doesn't have the depth of cultural or historic treasures to rival Hvar.
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Old Feb 17th, 2019, 02:20 PM
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Thanks for suggestions/opinions. We already have flights booked - in and out of Dubrovnik. Looking at cruise ship schedule, it seems no cruise ships in Dubrovnik on 9/1 or 9/4 - all other days there are one or more ships at port. On 8/31, two ships leave before 13:30 and one leaves at 16:00. At the end of our trip, on 9/8, there are two ships and one ship on 9/9 and on 9/10. Based on this schedule, what would be the recommendation?

Taking bus between Split and Dubrovnik sounds great, thanks.

On border crossing, is it better in early morning or on a specific day of the week?

Really appreciate the feedback.
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Old Feb 17th, 2019, 03:19 PM
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Dubrovnik will be busy no matter what. Besides the boats, there are bus tours and it is high season. Maybe it would be better to have two nights on the front end and two on the back instead of 3 and then 1 (or vice versa.)

It makes sense to take a bus from Dubrovnik to Split but if you are going to Hvar or Korcula to or from it makes a lot more sense to take one of the catamarans.

In Dubrovnik, many visitors don't climb stairs, they stay on the flat part so just walk up to higher parts of the city to get a bit of breathing room. If you like wine you must visit D'Vino wine bar and they are also opening a new restaurant around the corner. Another good place to escape the crowds and summer heat.
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Old Feb 17th, 2019, 03:48 PM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by rialtogrl View Post
It makes sense to take a bus from Dubrovnik to Split but if you are going to Hvar or Korcula to or from it makes a lot more sense to take one of the catamarans..
I hate to disagree with rialtogrl, but if making a round trip, wouldn't it make sense to take the bus one way and go by water in the other direction? It would seem it wasn't clear, but that's what I was trying to suggest.
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Old Feb 17th, 2019, 03:55 PM
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that is what I meant too kja sorry if I was not clear!
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Old Feb 17th, 2019, 03:59 PM
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@ rialtogrl: Always best to check!
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Old Feb 17th, 2019, 06:18 PM
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If you do ride the bus between Split and Dubrovnik (South) be sure to get seats on the right side of the bus. The views are much better on that side as you can look from the windows directly down at the sea and some charming villages clinging to the cliffs. Seated on the right side going from Dubrovnik (North) you will mostly see a sheer cliff whizzing by your window. The busses, BTW, are modern and safe.
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Old Feb 17th, 2019, 06:49 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by nukesafe View Post
If you do ride the bus between Split and Dubrovnik (South) be sure to get seats on the right side of the bus. The views are much better on that side as you can look from the windows directly down at the sea and some charming villages clinging to the cliffs. Seated on the right side going from Dubrovnik (North) you will mostly see a sheer cliff whizzing by your window. The busses, BTW, are modern and safe.
To clarify: Be sure you are on the sea side, which is to the right if traveling south from Split to Dubrovnik and to the left if traveling north from Dubrovnik to Split.
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 12:19 AM
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That's what I said, kja.
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 12:23 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by nukesafe View Post
That's what I said, kja.
Perhaps, but honestly, "BETWEEN" is not entirely clear. If the goal is to help the OP -- and isn't that the goal? -- then being crystal clear would seem to be a good thing. JMO.
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Interesting suggestion, but I would think it would depend on one's interests. Brac might be scenic, but from what I've learned, it doesn't have the depth of cultural or historic treasures to rival Hvar.
The sole reason I suggested Brac, is based on time available.

The small ferry port in Brac is in Supetar, yards from the Bus station and village centre. While the buses aren't frequent, there are enough in the morning to whisk you to most parts of the Island quickly. The ferries from Split are hourly, and only take 50 minutes.

Whereas the ferry to Hvar [Stari Grad] takes twice as long [2 hours], are less frequent. And from the Stari Grad terminal it's necessary to get to Hvar Town in order to get public transport to other parts of Hvar. All very time consuming if the time available is limited.
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by LancasterLad View Post
The sole reason I suggested Brac, is based on time available.
Thanks for clarifying, LancasterLad! I think that many people believe that Croatia's islands are fungible, even though there are, in fact, substantial differences among them. Information about why one might choose one island rather than another would thus seem to me to be very useful.
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Thanks for clarifying, LancasterLad! I think that many people believe that Croatia's islands are fungible, even though there are, in fact, substantial differences among them. Information about why one might choose one island rather than another would thus seem to me to be very useful.
These are quite useful links to both Islands...

Island-Hvar.info - The island of Hvar, Croatia

https://www.bracinfo.com/

Plenty of sections to click on.


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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 09:01 AM
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-Whereas the ferry to Hvar [Stari Grad] takes twice as long [2 hours], are less frequent. And from the Stari Grad terminal it's necessary to get to Hvar Town in order to get public transport to other parts of Hvar. All very time consuming if the time available is limited.-

Or take the catamaran to Hvar Town (one hour) if staying in or around that area. Hvar Town is busy, but it is also a lot of fun.
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Old Feb 19th, 2019, 07:57 PM
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Thanks for the comments. We are going to try to finalize the schedule in the next few days. I have been told by many to figure 1.5 to 2 days in Dubrovnik. How many days would you recommend for Split? We are now trying to figure how many and which islands to visit and if we should try for Plitvice or stay more local with Krka.
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Old Feb 19th, 2019, 08:27 PM
  #19  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Lolie View Post
I have been told by many to figure 1.5 to 2 days in Dubrovnik.
Yep. Even with jet lag, 1.5 days is enough for most people.

Originally Posted by Lolie View Post
How many days would you recommend for Split? We are now trying to figure how many and which islands to visit and if we should try for Plitvice or stay more local with Krka.
IME, people differ greatly in their preferences for time in Split itself. For my interests, 2 days would have been about right to see the highlights; other people spend only part of a day there. Split offers a wealth of opportunities for day trips -- Trogir, Sibenik, the Krka National Park, various islands, even Zadar (depending on how far one is willing to go on a day trip), so you you can decide on some options after you are there. I think your big choice is whether to visit the Plitvice Lakes (IMO, the most glorious of Croatia's many glorious options) or the Krka National Park, which is lovely, but not one of the world's treasures. JMO.
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Old Mar 5th, 2019, 02:42 PM
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Hi again, my friend and I have met and now are looking at the following itinerary.

8/31 Arrive Dubrovnik 9:35 a.m., shuttle to Old Town area - three cruise ships in port leaving at 1p, 1:30p and 4p
9/1 Dubrovnik (no cruise ship in port)
9/2 Leave Dubrovnik early morning by car to Kotor with stop in Perast along the way
9/3 Stay in Kotor with possible day trip to Cetinje or Budva
9/4 Leave Kotor to Dubrovnik - drop car at port - take ferry to Hvar - leaves at 4p
9/5 Hvar
9/6 Ferry to Brac - leave Hvar on 10:50a ferry
9/7 Brac
9/8 Ferry to Split - many options for ferry times - two cruise ships in port leaving at 1p and 7p
9/9 Split - day trip to Krka - one cruise ship in port leaving at 3p
9/10 Take bus from Split to Dubrovnik - leave Split around 2p - stay near Dubrovnik airport
9/11 Leave Dubrovnik on 11:40a flight to home

Any suggestions on the above itinerary? If this makes sense, we are now looking at best areas/accomodations to stay at each location as well as how to get from airport/ferry ports/bus terminals to accommodations. We will probably only have a car for the trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro and back. We are looking at doing a day trip to Krka through Viator or such. Also, would you recommend a visit to the Blue / Green Caves. It sounds like we can do a day trip from Hvar or Brac.

Thank you all very much for the input so far. We are very excited to travel this part of the world.
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