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Croatia :: Thoughts on Itinerary

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Feb 11th, 2014, 04:13 AM
  #1
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Croatia :: Thoughts on Itinerary

Hello, In April, my family (2 adults & 1 child-11yr) and I will be spending 8 days/7 nights in Croatia. We fly in & out of Zadar. We're very easy going travelers & prefer spending more time in one location. Museums are wonderful but we prefer to be outdoors enjoying the weather, architecture, parks, walking, and taking in the ambience. The only "must see" on our itinerary right now is to spend the day at Plitvice National Park.

Here is our plan:

Day 1: Arrive in Zadar (late afternoon) Rent car and drive to Plitvice area.
Day 2: Plitvice National Park
Day 3/4: Split
Day 5/6: Hvar
Day 7: Zadar
Day 8: Fly out

Does this sound like a good plan? We prefer to base ourselves in one or two locations but I'm not sure this is the best for this particular trip. Not sure if we should just stay in Split and do a day trip to Hvar. I've also seen some travelers recommend staying away from the islands during off peak season. Any suggestions? Will it be difficult to catch a ferry/catamaran from Split to Hvar in April? Also, we were planning to rent a car the entire time so we could easily drive to Plitvice and then drive back to Zadar to catch our flight home. Will parking/driving be difficult in Split? Can we bring the car to Hvar or perhaps leave it in Split? We haven't booked any accommodations so if there is a place you've enjoyed I would love to hear about it. We usually like to stay within the 100 to 130 Euro/night and prefer B&B's or apartments over hotels. Thank you!!
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Feb 11th, 2014, 10:56 AM
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A day trip to Hvar from Split doesn't really work because the passenger ferry leaves in the late afternoon to Hvar. If you do it in the opposite direction you can take the early AM passenger to Split and then the late afternoon ferry back to Hvar. The car ferry takes two hours, so you could drive from Plitvice, catch the ferry to Hvar and base there for four days with one day trip to Split.

I didn't find driving to the ferry in Split too difficult, there are a lot of signs to the ferry terminal, and the ocean is a good landmark. If you do decide to stay in Split there are a few hotels south of the old town where there seemed to be a lot of street parking - for instance (and I am just using this as an example, I haven't stayed here) this place - http://www.villaana-split.hr . If you choose something in the pedestrian only old center, I am pretty sure that is going to be a pain.

I am not sure you are allowing enough time in Zadar, hopefully others will comment on that.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 05:15 PM
  #3
kja
 
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I don't know where you live, but if jet lag is a possibility, you might want to rethink that first day -- I try to avoid driving until I'm sure I'm over jet lag.

Having a car will be a great advantage for getting to/from the (magnificent) Plitvice Lakes. Having a car for the rest of your trip could be more of an encumbrance than a help -- it'll depend on the arrangements you can make for parking.

I trust you have confirmed that you can get to/from Hvar when you want to do so? Ferries are more limited in April than in high season. Too, you will likely have more options if you are not traveling with a car.

While in Split, be sure to hop over to Trogir for at least a few hours!

It's a beautiful part of the world - enjoy!
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Feb 12th, 2014, 12:21 PM
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Hi Kja & Rialtogrl, Thank you for your responses. Luckily, jet lag isn't an issue since we currently live in Europe. This is a bit of a last minute trip so I feel like I need to quickly decide on the itinerary so I can begin booking accommodations. If we don't rent a car what are our options? My husband isn't too crazy about taking a long bus ride. Will parking be a real issue in Split? I haven't checked ferry schedules yet. I'm a little confused about the routes. In "rialtogrl" message, she indicated that going from Split to Hvar wouldn't work. Is the only route to Split via a ferry? I don't know why but I thought there was a bridge that could get me to Split. If so, I thought we'd take a ferry to Hvar Town. But perhaps I'm thinking of another city that has this bridge. Need to reference my travel book again. I'm also on the fence about whether we should make the long drive to Dubrovnik. I hear so many wonderful things! But would it be too much to cram in for a week long visit or should we save it for another trip?
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Feb 12th, 2014, 12:23 PM
  #5
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Also, how long of a drive is it from Zadar to the Plitvice Lakes? Is a long drive due to distance or the type of roads?
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Feb 12th, 2014, 12:36 PM
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Maybe rialtogrl was referring to the catamaran that goes direct from Split to Hvar town, but there is a car ferry that goes from Split to Stari Grad on Hvar, about 30 minutes by bus from Hvar town. Determine schedules by date at http://www.jadrolinija.hr/en/home

The weather could be cool in April, but no way to predict. I don't think you would really need to nail down accommodations for April, so you could decide later. I stayed here in Hvar and the family was lovely: http://www.dalmacija.net/hvar/scepanovic/
With only one full day in Hvar, I would not bother to bring a car.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 12:39 PM
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Also, check drive times with viamichelin website.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 03:18 PM
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Thank you so much for the links yorkshire! I really appreciate it.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 05:29 PM
  #9
kja
 
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With the time you have, I'm not sure it makes sense to try to get to Dubrovnik, particularly when there are things worth seeing near where you plan to be.

I'm not sure what your husband would consider a "long" bus ride, but FWIW, I found the buses in Croatia very comfortable.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 07:46 PM
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t me the worst thing about the buses in Croatia was the fact that they didn't have restrooms on board—or at least the ones I took didn't. (I guess technically they had them, but they were locked and not available for passengers to use.)
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Feb 12th, 2014, 09:39 PM
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The longer bus rides I took in Croatia and Slovenia all had a few built-in breaks every now and then for the driver to have a smoke and for the passengers to stop and use a bathroom, usually at a bar or convenience store of some sort. So the lack of bathrooms on the buses wasn't a big deal.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 10:40 PM
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In my above post I was pointing out a day trip from Split to Hvar isn't realistic (answering the first post.) to take the car ferry for a day trip is to the best use of time or money... There is no bridge, you need to take a ferry. Check the schedules that Yorkshire posted.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 12:14 AM
  #13
kja
 
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If you decide that buses of any length are out and a car is necessary, make sure you consider that as you plan your itinerary. The car will be most valuable for your trip to the Plitvice Lakes; it might have some value on Hvar (if the timing of the ferries works out for you and if you want to have a car while on the island); it is unlikely to help you while in Split. A car might be an advantage to some travelers who visit Zadar, but IMO, you aren't leaving yourselves enough time there for it to make a difference. (Zadar's Old Town is, I believe, off-limits to cars except for those who live there, and parking in the area nearby is extremely limited.)

I guess you could use a car to go from Split to Trogir, but the bus takes only about 1/2 hour and you would probably spend at least that long, if not longer, trying to deal with parking at either end. If a bus of even that length isn't something you would consider, you might want to explore options for a taxi or driver instead. I honestly don't know what the comparative times or costs would be.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 09:15 AM
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"to take the car ferry for a day trip is to the best use of time or money"

What I MEANT to write was, to take the car ferry for a day trip to Hvar is NOT the best use of time or money.

You could take the car to Hvar, have the car in Hvar, but return on the catamaran ferry to Split for a day trip to Split. The catamaran ferry leaves very early in the morning and returns late afternoon.

Hope that is clear...
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Feb 13th, 2014, 11:57 AM
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So the lack of bathrooms on the buses wasn't a big deal.

The buses I took made one bathroom-break stop in the four-hour trip. If you have to go and there's not a stop for another hour, it's not fun.
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