Croatia Towns/Islands Suggestions

Jan 18th, 2018, 08:20 PM
  #1  
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Croatia Towns/Islands Suggestions

Hello all.

Iím looking for thoughts on a trip to Croatia in late Sept/early Oct for 2 weeks. We are experienced travelers but have not been to this country, but from talking with friends and researching, it seems like an incredible place. We are interested in Dubrovnik and Split, and I believe the islands in those areas would be fascinating to explore as well (Vis, Hvar, etc). Often we combine two countries in our trips and we were thinking of flying to Crete as well.

My question is for those who have been there, would you choose to stay in Croatia the whole trip or do you feel you can adequately experience those 2 cities/towns in about 7-8 days, with possible day trips to an island(s)? Or would you choose to spend your whole trip in Croatia, and if so, what areas outside those places would you visit? Is there ďbeach weatherĒ that time of year? Iíve heard some people say 3 days in those places is wonderful while others thought 24 hours was enough.

We are young/mobile and travel by bus/train/plane (no car rental). Thank you for your help.
abs004 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2018, 08:45 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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I think itís a personal choice, but FWIW, Croatia is SOOooooo diverse that I would not try to combine it with any other country with the possible exception of some forays into neighboring areas of what was once Yugoslavia. In fact, I found it very difficult to see what I wanted to see with a full month of travel Ė and I travel HARD!

How to plan out your trip, whether Croatia only or Croatia and another country, depends on what, exactly, you want to see and experience Ė and none of us can tell you what plan will best suit your interests. If you donít already have a guidebook, I strongly recommend the Rough Guide. I recommend that you use that guidebook, or a few other good ones, identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their opening/closing times on the internet, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting lost/oriented, etc.) and see how things fit together. Because you plan to use public transportation (which is, IMO, comfortable and convenient in the area), be sure to check schedules carefully, as they tend to change from high to low season.

One place you did not mention is the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is, IMO, the single most un-missable of Croatia's many splendors.

BTW, I thought it hard to narrow down my interests in Crete to fit into just one week. YMMV.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jan 19th, 2018, 05:02 AM
  #3  
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Hi Kja!
Thank you for your thoughts. My friend also said P Lakes National Park is outstanding so I will look into that. And I've read great things about that guide book. I understand what you are saying about the extreme diversity of the country and good to know transportation is done well.

I suppose it really comes down to if our experience would be most enjoyable in Croatia only or if exploring another country/region too, albeit in less depth, would bring more joy. I'm hoping more people will chime in with their opinions/experiences and I will continue to research as well.

Thank you for your time.
abs004 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2018, 09:00 AM
  #4  
 
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It is really hard to say about adding in Greece. Of course the neighboring countries are quite easy to include, but with a two-week trip, I would not be inclined to add additional flights. It is just a matter of your personal travel style and preferences. You will have no trouble filling two weeks within Croatia, and if you include visits to Slovenia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, as is common, even less trouble. One week to include some island time would be a challenge, as I find the islands to be the real attraction and consider just day trips a wasted opportunity.
yorkshire is online now  
Jan 19th, 2018, 04:47 PM
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I'll offer another enthusiastic vote for visiting Slovenia. Ljubljana was one of the most pleasant surprises as well as going off the beaten track to go from Ljubljana to Lake Bled.

It's a straightforward train trip from Split to Zagreb then onto Ljubljana. Zagreb is also worthwhile.
His_Dudeness is offline  
Jan 19th, 2018, 05:55 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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I believe that Lake Bled is now quite firmly on the beaten track. Doesn't mean it isn't worth seeing.....
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Jan 20th, 2018, 02:52 AM
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I think that wherever you go in Croatia you won't be disappointed, unless you visit Dubrovnik with cruise ships alongside for the duration.

We had a fortnight in April last year staying in Solin [just outside Split] for 4 nights, Island of Brac for a week, and Tucepi on the Makarska coastine for 4 nights. We also visited Trogir for a few hours, but although it's a pretty place it's a magnet for tour groups and mobbed between 100-1500. Brac was great, as the tourist season on the island hadn't quite started it turned out to be a very pleasant week, with lots to see and o, and very easy to get get around by public bus.

At the end of September we flew from UK to Split, stayed for a couple of nights close to the Old Town, using our one full day to visit Stari Grad on the island of Hvar by ferry. The ferry from Split to Stari Grad takes 2 hours, with great views all the way. I booked online in advance.

After those first couple of nights we got a bus [Globtour, booked in advance online] across the border into Bosnia & Herzegovina for 12 nights, using Mostar and Sarajevo as bases for exploring. Both Mostar and Sarajevo are wonderful destinations, and the plight of their people during the Yugoslav War in the 1990s is very evident, very sad, yet fascinating. Taking the train from Mostar to Sarajevo [2.5 hours] is a dreamy experience, rivers, lakes, bridges, valleys, mountains, small villages all the way.

While there's obviously a lot of Croatia and B&H that we haven't seen yet, we found that the later to be much better value for money, no doubt aide by the fact it's not part of the EU yet.
LancasterLad is offline  
Jan 20th, 2018, 10:51 AM
  #8  
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Sounds like splitting up time by going to Greece wouldn't be worth it, a country we have already experienced/loved. I will start reading up on Slovenia and the places mentioned, thank you for those suggestions! And it seems like it is not difficult to travel between Croatia and the neighboring countries (I haven't looked into the necessary paperwork yet, if any...if you'd like to comment and let me know, I'd appreciate it...we're coming from USA).

I'm not worried about places that have tons of tourists/cruise ships as pretty much everyone here knows that it's not too difficult to avoid the hordes by doing a little planning/research. LancasterLad, thank you for those details! The more I read online and talk with people who have been there, the more I am getting really excited for this trip.

Thanks all and if anyone has other recommendations of places inside Croatia or the nearby countries, please keep them coming. Next step...planning the towns/cities itinerary. Cheers!
abs004 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2018, 11:02 AM
  #9  
kja
 
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I don't think you'll regret "limiting" your trip to Croatia and surrounds -- if anything, I think you will find it extremely difficult to keep your destination wish list to a trip that is manageable in 2 weeks! Some people manage by going to places throughout the area, but skipping a LOT; others limit themselves to just the south (Split through Dubrovnik, maybe Mostar and/or Kotor, maybe an island or two) or just the north (Split through Lake Bled, to include the Plitvice Lakes National Park, maybe Zadar or Sibenik or parts of Istria or Zagreb) -- and even by focusing on just one region, one has to make some difficult decisions about what to see and what to skip. You have an incredible array of options spanning diverse historic cultures and diverse terrain.

Good luck with your plans!
kja is offline  
Jan 21st, 2018, 08:36 AM
  #10  
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Hi kja, thank you for the reply and it is great to hear there is so much to experience not only in Croatia but in the nearby areas. I will research the locations that you mentioned and be back with any questions. Thanks again!
abs004 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2018, 09:52 AM
  #11  
 
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Hello,
if you choose Croatia all 14 days, one possibility would be to stay 7 days in Dalmatia and 7 days in Istria. Plitvice lakes is a must see place, you can visit it (half day is enough) during the travel from Dalmatia to Istria. In Istria your best option is to take Pula for your base. In October there are no traffic jam and tourist crowds so you can reach any place there in max 30 min. In Pula one of the must see places is certainly National park Brijuni. here's some links you may find useful:
Pula - Lungomare
Pula - a city with character
gigom is offline  
Apr 6th, 2018, 06:13 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by gigom View Post
Plitvice lakes is a must see place, you can visit it (half day is enough) during the travel from Dalmatia to Istria.
I couldn't disagree more strongly! While I agree that the Plitvice Lakes are the most stunning of Croatia's many splendors, IMO, the best way to see that park is to make a single circuit (including the boat between the lower and upper lakes) of about 6 or 7 hours. Add in the time to drive unfamiliar roads safely, and I think it would be difficult to do that en route -- unless one were willing to drive before dawn or after dusk, and I certainly wouldn't do that intentionally on unfamiliar roads. (Because of an error, I did end up driving after nightfall around the Plitvice Lakes, and wow! was THAT a nightmare!)

Originally Posted by gigom View Post
In Istria your best option is to take Pula for your base
To each his/her own! I'm not sure many of us would agree. I think many people would recommend Rovinj or perhaps Porec....
kja is offline  
Apr 6th, 2018, 11:52 PM
  #13  
 
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Uh, I ignored that they don't have a car. Consequently, it would be hard if not impossible to visit Plitvice during the travel from Dalmatia to Istria. On the other hand, things stand completely different if one has a car, here's an example:

From Split to Plitvice = 260 km = circa 3h.
From Plitvice to Pula 280 km = circa 4h.
Split 06:00, Plitvice 09:00 - 16:00 (7 hours), Pula 20:00.
Split 07:00, Plitvice 10:00 - 17:00 (7 hours), Pula 21:00.

If one is in a search for mostly statical relax, Rovinj and Poreč are ideal choices. But everything there's to see there, you have seen in a two and a half hours or even less. One will remain satisfied with Pula both if he's in search for mostly statical relax or something completely different (especially if he's young and without a car).
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