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Croatia Trip Report with a bit of Italy and Slovenia on the side

Croatia Trip Report with a bit of Italy and Slovenia on the side

Old Apr 15th, 2009, 10:46 AM
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Croatia Trip Report with a bit of Italy and Slovenia on the side

My husband and I have just come back from a wonderful week in Croatia. We had a short time in Slovenia and Italy too. There is so much terrific information from other travellers on this forum, I wanted to add something that may help others. If you would like any more info, I would be very happy to help if I can.

This is our trip in a nutshell:

TRIESTE - Flew into Trieste, Italy, from London Stansted with Ryanair. Picked up a hire car from Hertz and drove to Piran, Slovenia. Took about 2 hours.
PIRAN - Stayed 2 nights. Drove to Rovinj in Croatia, via a few hilltop towns and Porec.
ROVINJ –Stayed 4 nights. Drove to Opatija, took about 3 hours at a leisurely pace.
OPATIJA –Stayed 3 nights. Drove back to Trieste for our flight home. Took about 2 hours.

Where we stayed:

PIRAN – Max http://www.maxpiran.com/
Nice, though fairly basic room. Good breakfast. 60 euro per night. Great view of the church from our window though the bells did ring all day and night. Don’t expect a lie in on Sunday morning! Parking was either in a public parking garage or a public lot. Reasonable rates.

ROVINJ – Porta Antica http://www.portaantica.com/ENG/index.asp
We had apartment 3 and thought it was fantastic. The views over the harbour really made the place. Be careful though of the hot water, it can get really scalding. Parking is outside Rovinj, in a public car park about 10 mins flat walk away. Parking was a bit pricey – approx 120 kuna per day.

OPATIJA – Savoy Hotel http://www.hotel-savoy.hr/index_eng.htm
Nice big hotel, a little anonymous after the character filled Porta Antica in Rovinj. Lots of dark brown tiles and wood so not my style. Very pleasant and helpful staff. Overall very comfortable with loads of facilities including a heated indoor pool and wellness therapy centre. Limited parking outside the hotel.

We left on 3 April and came back on 12 April so were away over Easter. There was practically no sign at all that it was Easter which is quite different from where we come from. Everything was open and there were no chocolate Easter eggs to be seen! Good thing we took our own….

It was fairly quiet but almost everything seemed open. There were lots of European tourists, mainly German and Italian I think. Almost no English speaking tourists at all.

We enjoyed Piran, fell in love with Rovinj and thought Opatija was lovely. Rovinj and Piran were similar, they both have very old buildings and were once part of the Venetian empire. They are both small and built out on peninsulas. The only cars allowed in are local cars which makes it very relaxing walking about as there is very little traffic.

I was disappointed in Opatija at first as it’s so different from Rovinj but over the time we were there, I grew to really like it. Rovinj feels very Italian but Opatija felt quite Austrian. Opatija is full of grand ornate hotels, mostly built in the 1800s. There didn’t seem to be any small pensiones or trattorias, most cafes, bars and restaurants were in the big hotels. There are no beaches but the locals and tourists sun themselves on man made concrete platforms. Coming from Australia, this looked very odd to us.

There is a 7km man-made path running along the sea, from Opatija to Lovran. It made a really lovely walk, we caught the bus one day to Lovran (21 kuna for both of us, one way) and walked all the way back. Took a couple of hours. There are cafes along the way and the views are lovely.

We found the whole trip to be quite cheap but this may be because we are used to London prices. To give you an idea, an average meal, including beer or wine, was about 240 kuna. Two coffees and two big pieces of yummy cake were about 22 kuna.

We hired the car through the Hertz link on the Ryanair website and saved money doing this. Also I found that all the other car hire companies at Trieste airport were closed on Easter Sunday, except for Hertz. I guess this was because there was a Ryanair flight leaving that day.

If you are flying with Ryanair, you can no longer check in with a person at Stansted. It’s all machines though we did have to wait in the bag drop queue following check in at the machine.

There were a couple of road tolls we had to pay and we had to buy a vignette for travel through Slovenia. The vignette allows you to travel on the highways in Slovenia and replaces tolls. It cost us 35 euro for 6 months, even though we only used it for a very short time. There was no cheaper option but I believe they are bringing in a 7 day pass this year.

Twice, in Italy, we had to stop at a toll booth, press a button to get a ticket, then further down the road, we handed in the ticket and paid the toll – only 80 euro cents. It does pay to have a little small change on hand for that. One toll was very close to Trieste airport.

We also had to pay a 5 kuna toll in Croatia, just before the Slovenian border.

Croatia is not a country you’d visit to go shopping. I would have loved to buy a few things but came home empty handed except for some nice local chocolate.

We thought Croatia was a great country for a relaxing holiday. There were not a lot of big things to see, you know to tick off your list, so we walked a lot, explored, ate and drank and generally relaxed.

Kay
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Thank you for the report . . . we are trying to get to Croatia, waiting for the airfare to come down. I am bookmarking this for when it does.

Thanks again,
Sandy (in Denton)
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Thanks for your report. With your auto rental did u need any special license or permit to drive in to Slovenia?
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 11:02 PM
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Thanks Sandy, hope your enjoy Croatia as much as we did.

To yestravel -

we advised Hertz we wanted to drive into Slovenia and Croatia and they provided the paperwork that was needed. We were never asked for it at border crossings.

We have UK drivers licences and did not buy international driving permits. There is conflicting information on the web but we think that it was not required. We were never asked for one. If you have a drivers licence from outside the EU, I think you may need an international drivers permit, it would be worth checking.

You will need to buy a vignette to drive on the highways in Slovenia, unless your car already has one. You can buy them at the border or at service stations.

Kay
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 05:01 AM
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Kay, thanks! We have the IDP, but can't seem to get a straight answer on our car rental which is thru Auto Europe (Europcar).
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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Thank you, Kay, for yoiur report.

We'll be in Croatia in two weeks!

Byrd
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 06:11 AM
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glad you enjoyed it
we went along the dalmatian coast back in 06

as for shopping
there is some nice jewellery featuring santa marias eye shell
it is a deep salmon/ pale orange flattish shell set in copper
i bought a necklace and bracelet
looks nice on a black sweater

bought in the old town of dubrovnik
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Thanks everyone for reading!

To yestravel -

I read on the web that car rental companies in Trieste are used to people taking the hire cars into Slovenia and Croatia so know what paperwork is required. There is something called (I think) a Green Card for insurance. We emailed a contact address for Hertz and they emailed back saying they had notified the Trieste office of our requirement. I would have called but my Italian is pretty limited.

If you click on my name you will see another thread about international drivers permits. There is info on there that may be useful to you.

Slovenia and Italy are both in the EU (Croatia is not) so the rules should be the same in both these countries. The vignette is only for Slovenia though, the road tolls in Italy are by cash/credit card. There is also no border between Italy and Slovenia any more as they are both EU.

Kay
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 06:05 PM
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Hi KayF
enjoyed your report.
We leave Monday - April 20 for Dubrovnik. Will be in Rovinj May 1,2,3. How was the weather at the end of your trip??
I am busy packing and am confused as to how warm it will be. Will I need anything sleeveless and/or shorts? Were your days sunny?
Anxious for your response.
Mary Ann
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 08:09 PM
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Mary Ann: You should be packing some summer pants, if you have those which come down to below the knee. Sorry I don't know what they're called these days, way back when we did refer to them as capri's.. Cotton tee shirts, 3/4 sleeve and a lite sweater or windbreaker. Good walking shoes and some type of sun hat is a must, but also bring a small umbrella. Our average temperatures are running between 15C to 21C. Rain is coming this week....it's spring.
Enjoy your time in Dubrovnik
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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Got it! Thanks. Will also have some long sleeve cotton shirts, cashmere cardigan, and windbreaker for Slovenian Alps and Bled. I understand Bled is always cooler and/or rainy. Right? Will Plitvice also be cooler? We'll be there April 30.
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 10:45 PM
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Hi Mary Ann,
we had pretty good weather the whole trip, it got better each day. It was bright and sunny most days with one day of sunshine but heavy sea mist obscuring seaviews.

By the time we left Opatija, it was sunny and about 22 degrees (celsius). My husband ended up buying a hat as he was worried about getting a burnt head. Most days I wore light trousers, a t-shirt and a light fleece or cardigan. It was a bit cooler at night, we needed a heavier top.

We were checking weather websites while we were actually there and they were quite inaccurate. Out of bbc.co.uk/weather and wunderground.com and weather.com the most accurate seemed to be wunderground.com

Have a great time.
Kay
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Sounds like you had a great time! Croatia is definitely on our list of (a million) places we want to see!!
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 05:21 PM
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At last someone is discussing clothing. So I would like to know what is fashionable during the day: capris? casual dresses? skirts and tops? Stylish, not only comfortable. thanks
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 10:53 PM
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We saw every type of clothing - from women wearing gorgeous day dresses with high heels and stockings to women and men wearing tracksuit bottoms and tshirts. Lots of people with little dogs on leads - that seemed fashionable! People were wearing trousers and tops mainly. Certainly a lot of Europeans seem to be effortlessly stylish. There were also people sunbathing and a few swimming. Topless seemed to be pretty common, or bikini.

Kay
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