Croatia-Slovenia-Austria Itinerary Help!

Old Apr 7th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Croatia-Slovenia-Austria Itinerary Help!

Hi,
I have just over three weeks in Croatia, Slovenia and Austria, in May and was trying to create a workable itinerary. I am mainly interested in sightseeing ( pretty buildings, historical sites, old towns, ect.), have no interest in partying and was hoping to work in a spa in Slovenia or Austria, as I heard they are quite nice. I am planning to use public transportation for part of my trip, and am hoping to hire a car for the Plitvice to Ljubljana portion.

At the moment my plan is:
May 6 - 9 Dubrovnik
9-11 Split
11-13 Hvar
13-14 Plitvice
14-17 Rovinj (day trip to Pula)
17-21 Ljubljana (day trip to Lake Bled)
21-26 Vienna
26-28 Zagreb.

I was wondering if anybody had any advice on this itinerary, particularly as I was considering cutting a day from Ljubljana and Rovinj and adding them to Vienna or finding another interesting city in Austria that would be on the way from Ljubljana to Vienna or Vienna to Zagreb (by public transportation) that I could potentially add in.
I was also wondering if there was any way to get from Rovinj to Ljubljana with public transportation (besides going through Zagreb)

Thanks in advance!
will_power27
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Old Apr 7th, 2014, 01:10 PM
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Hi, Will. Forgive me for asking, but did I understand correctly - you want to work in one of the spas? If so, it's going to be practically impossible to find a job for just a few days and without speaking the local language.

Moving to your itinerary, are your start and end points already set in stone? It doesn't make sense to me to backtrack from Vienna all the way to Zagreb, it's going to take a lot of time. If anything I suggest visiting Zagreb first and then going to Dubrovnik and working your way up the coast. You will also have to check the costs of that one-way cross-border rental, they are usually prohibitively expensive. If it's not too expensive for you, consider renting a car for your entire trip, if you rent in Dubrovnik and return the car in Zagreb there won't be any cross-border drop-offs involved.

If you want to visit a spa, there will be a few along the way from Ljubljana to Vienna, so maybe that's where one of those spare days could be allocated to. Consider visiting Terme Olimia in Podcetrtek, Rogaska Slatina or Thermana in Lasko, all three are roughly along the way from Ljubljana to Vienna. Another place to consider visiting on your way to Vienna is Graz, Austria's second city.

Getting from Rovinj to Ljubljana via public transportation should be possible via Koper on the Slovenian coast. Alternatively, you could book a shuttle transer.
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Old Apr 7th, 2014, 04:10 PM
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I trust you realize that you will lose as much as 1/2 day each time you change locations -- time for packing/unpacking, checking in/out, getting to/from the bus/train/ferry (and getting there early enough to be sure to catch whatever you are going to use), getting oriented, etc. SO you don't have much time in any of your locations in Croatia. Maybe that's intentional.

For Istria, unless you have a particular interest in Roman amphitheaters, you might want to consider some of your other day trip options, perhaps Porec.

Like rtt, I don't think it makes much sense to end your trip in Zagreb, but I have a different recommendation: IMO, it would make more sense to go from Rovinj to Zagreb, take a train or bus to Ljubljana, and then whatever to go on to Vienna. The drop off fees for renting a car in Croatia and dropping off elsewhere tend to be very high.

Personally, I don't think you have time to add another destination because your current plan really doesn't have any slack. Three days in Ljubljana is just about right, maybe even at the low end given your interests. And the time you have allotted for Vienna is about right, too, unless you have NO interest in the arts (in which case you may be giving it too much time) or a deep interest in the arts (in which case your stay will feel too short). If you do shift time around, you might want to add some time to Zagreb, which has the things you say you are interested in seeing (pretty buildings, historical sites, old towns....)

Much as I love Vienna, you might want to consider replacing it with some of the other destinations in the area that are closer to where you plan to be and harder to get to from elsewhere. For example, you could use that time to go to Mostar (plan on about 24 hours, including overnight) and Sarajevo (at least 2 full days). Or you could add Zadar or Sibenik or Varazdin or.... Well, you get the idea!

May is a lovely time to be in the area - enjoy!
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Old Apr 7th, 2014, 11:43 PM
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Thanks for the responses, and all the advice!

Rtt, sorry for the confusion, I meant that I would like to visit a spa in either Ljubljana or Vienna.

Kja, I am hoping that to be able to get transportation earlier in the day (and based on the research I have done it is possible) so we should arrive in each city well before noon... In your opinion is there any particular city in Croatia I should add time to? As every time I try to figure out the number of days I need in Dubrovnik / Split / Hvar / Istria / Zagreb I find conflicting advice on the number of days I should spend in each city, so I tried to find a reasonable medium. Also I am not particularly interested in the arts, but normally try to fit in an art museum or two if they are supposed to be particularly good, and part of the reason I decided to visit Istria was to see the Pula amphitheater.

Unfortunately my entrance - exit points are set in stone, as I bought my airline tickets a little while ago (on sale), and it is very expensive to change them now, though I have tried.

I am trying to find a way to get from Istria to Ljubljana by public transportation so I do not have to pay an extra fee for dropping a rental car off elsewhere, but have been having some difficulties, as I am trying to avoid stopping over in Zagreb. I have found a car rental agency that charges about $120 to drop the car off in Slovenia, and was thinking of booking that if I can’t find a way by public transport.

Finally, is going to Hvar in May worth it? Or will it be too cold to enjoy Hvar? And regarding Varazdin, would it be worth it to do it as a daytrip from Zagreb? Or would I need more time there?

Thanks for all the help!
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Old Apr 8th, 2014, 01:57 AM
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You can take a direct bus from Pula to Ljubljana, it leaves 05.30am so spend the night before in Pula.
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Old Apr 8th, 2014, 07:12 AM
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I will be in Rovinj the same time as you...

It should not be too cold in Hvar to enjoy it but I would suggest switching Split and Hvar in your itinerary. It makes a long travel day but at least you'll get it over with. The passenger ferries leave Split for Hvar in the afternoon and leave Hvar for Split very early in the morning. There are car ferries all day but they take longer.

I'd drop Vienna and spend more time in Croatia, or one of the cities kja mentions.
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Old Apr 8th, 2014, 07:23 AM
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I was in Hvar last May and the weather was perfect!
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Old Apr 8th, 2014, 04:28 PM
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"so we should arrive in each city well before noon" -- which means that you've lost about 1/2 day for any place that has opening/closing hours that approximate business hours. Maybe the places you want to visit don't have such hours or maybe you've already taken that into consideration.

"every time I try to figure out the number of days I need in Dubrovnik / Split / Hvar / Istria / Zagreb I find conflicting advice on the number of days I should spend in each city" -- I would imagine so! After all, we all travel for different reasons, at different paces, and with different preferences. Others might be able to give you an idea of how to scope your travels, but only you can decide which opportunities to pursue.

"I am not particularly interested in the arts, but normally try to fit in an art museum or two if they are supposed to be particularly good" -- The Kunstmuseum in Vienna qualifies.

"part of the reason I decided to visit Istria was to see the Pula amphitheater." Then take advantage of LittleVicky's solution to your transportation problem by staying overnight in Pula before your bus. And in this case, consider adding a day to Istria so you can also take a day trip to Porec to see the Euphrasian Basilica there.

"regarding Varazdin, would it be worth it to do it as a daytrip from Zagreb?" I enjoyed my full day + in Varazdin. I don't think you have enough time in Zagreb, so I really can't recommend taking the time for Varazdin - but it's your trip!
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 06:10 PM
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Thanks for all the responses and advice!
I changed my itinerary based a little, and removed Vienna, as it was quite out of the way....

I am planning to rent car for the Hvar to Rovinj portion.
May 6 - 9 Dubrovnik
9-10 Mostar
10-13 Split
13-15 Hvar
15-16 Plitvice
16-19 Rovinj (day trip to Pula + possibly Porec)
19-23 Ljubljana (day trip to Lake Bled)
23-28 Zagreb. (day trip to Varazdin or over night in Varazdin)

Are they any glaring omissions?
Also, I added some time to Split and Zagreb. Is there anywhere I should consider adding/removing time from?
Lastly, I am travelling with my mother (she's 50 and I'm 21)and she would really like to visit a spa on the trip... Are they any good (and cheap if possible) spas in/near the areas I am visiting that would be worth a trip?

@rialtogrl maybe we will run into each other then . I was planning to do Split before Hvar as the early ferry from Hvar to Split would let me get to Plitvice earlier in the day... Should I considering changing my plans?

Thanks again!
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 06:41 PM
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I think this plan gives you a lot more latitude to enjoy what you will see!

Spas are not a priority for me, so I can't provide any input on that question. Do a google search and/or check all of the relevant guidebooks at your local library. (I'm always surprised by how much variation there is between guidebooks in what is covered.) And you might wait to finalize your itinerary until you've determined whether a spa fits your schedule so that you are sure to allow your mother enough time to enjoy it.

Much as I enjoyed Zagreb, I now think you may be spending more time there than might suit your interests. You might consider adding 2 nights In Zadar between Hvar and the Plitvice Lakes. Look into it an see if it interests you! Or, depending on your interests, you might add a day to Rovinj -- since you'll have a car, you'll be free to tour the hill towns. Or Sarajevo. Or.... Actually, the problem is that Croatia and Slovenia offer an incredible array of options!

While in Zagreb, given your interest in "pretty buildings and historic sights" consider trying to get a tour of the National Archive -- a stunningly beautiful (IMO) building with a very interesting history. At least when I was there, one did need to arrange a tour in advance, which I did by asking someone at the Tourist Information office to call for me. A tour typically takes about an hour.

Another "pretty building/historic site" worth considering that is often overlooked is Tvrdalj in Stari Grad on Hvar.

Hope that helps!
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 08:49 PM
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BTW - parking is restricted in/around Rovinj. Make sure your lodging has a parking option or that you know where to park before you get there! And depending on what you want to do while on Hvar, you might want to wait to pick up your rental until you leave Split for the Plitvice Lakes.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 08:01 AM
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It would be fun to run into you! If you want we can make a place to meet on the early evening of the 18th. (If not, absolutely no worries but I will keep an eye out for you.)

As for parking in Rovinj there is some free parking but it is a bit of a distance to walk there and you have to know where it is. If your lodging does not have parking it can get very expensive to do the pay-by-hour way, but there are day passes that are a lot less, so ask your lodging about that. If they can't help I know an agency that sells these day tickets.

I think it is a good idea to have a car on Hvar Island, you would have a lot more flexibility exploring the island that way. Picking up a car early in Split for your early head start to Plitvice works too though and the passenger ferry is faster (one hour instead of two on the car ferry.)

As for spas I have no direct experience but in Hvar Town I have walked past this hotel many times and they have a spa:
http://www.suncanihvar.com/adriana-hvar-spa-hotel.html

Or you could wait till you get there to find a spa, ask the locals to help
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 09:06 PM
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Thanks for all the help! Sorry it took so long to respond, final exams take up way too much time
We will probably just add a night in Lake Bled, so we are able to use the spa there.

@rialtogrl it would be great to meet but we don’t have any firm plans for what we are doing on the 18th yet, but I will definitely PM you closer to the time if we are free.
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 02:20 AM
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No worries. Have a great time!
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