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driving the coastline of Croatia

Old Feb 6th, 2017, 08:32 PM
  #21  
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Thank you, again! You fodorites are really masters at answering such specific questions that provide so much useful information.

We are still considering staying only 2 nights in Dubrovnik (skipping Kotor) and adding a day to Istria. My husband has never been to Dubrovnick so we don't want to short change him but we do love the small villages and seaside walks very much. I am sure he will be happy either way. My daughter and I missed Kotor last time but it is in another country and it seems like it might be better to spend more time where we are rather than add in another site that requires more driving.

So I think we will drive from Ljublijana to Portoroz airport, hopefully catch a bus to Porec and then rent another car for the rest of our journey. I have to check on the bus schedule between Portoroz and Porec.

I really appreciate your comparison of Hvar and Korcula, kja. Your detailed descriptions are very helpful. With our present itinerary we would be on Korcula for a Thursday in late May. Maybe that will be the tie breaker! I looked at the tourist office web page but emailing their office is a great idea.

Thank you also for the tips on Plitvice. It is fascinating that the colors of the lakes actually are different because of the unique microbiota! I really like dugi_tok's suggestion of spending two half days in Plitvice to free up one night for another location but I think we will stop and walk the Kvarnar Gulf lungomare on the way to Plitvice which will get us there too late to see the park. We also plan to stop in Trogir on our way from Plitvice to Split. We missed that last time because it was Easter Sunday so we decided to go to Krka National Park instead. It was amazing and the waterfalls don't close! Last time, we were actually snowed out of Plitvice in April. I wasn't comfortable driving in the snow so we spent the day driving around the area lower down, visiting a little village and an amazing cave. It was great to explore but we then didn't go to Plitvice until the next day when the sun came out and it was even more stunning! However, we spent about 6 hours in the park and then still had to drive to Split, making it impossible to stop along the way. I didn't want to get to Split after dark! All in all, such an amazing adventure for a mother and daughter-it doesn't get better than that!
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 09:02 PM
  #22  
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Why drive from Ljubljana to Portoroz? Perhaps I'm missing something, but it would seem easier to return your car in Ljubljana and then take a bus from there to Porec.

For the Kvarner Gulf lungomare, consider leaving your car in Lovran, walking to Opatija (or beyond), and then taking a bus back to your car. I know you can get a bus in Opatija; I don't know about bus stops further to the east, but am sure someone can tell you. And do get info about the bus stops beforehand -- as I recall, in Opatija, one could only get on the bus at the station itself. Wish I'd known that ahead of time!

I'm glad my comments about Hvar and Korcula helped. And if you decide on Korcula, I hope you are able to catch the moresca! I thought it a very special tradition, and quite an impressive performance, too.

To be clear, the lakes of Plitvice differ in color for several reasons, including depth and the reflected light, etc. Just ONE reason is unique microbiota. But I agree -- fascinating, isn't it? When you are seeing different colors, pause to see if you can make sense from the light and shadows -- if not, you may be seeing the evidence of otherwise invisible beasties.

Trogir is definitely worth a few hours, IMO.

Sounds like you and your daughter had a wonderful trip, and that you and your daughter will be able to experience a few new delights while introducing your husband to glorious Croatia. When in Dubrovnik, please raise a glass to me at the Buza Bar.
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 09:23 PM
  #23  
 
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It's too bad you can't "wing it" like I did in May 2015 and not necessarily commit to a fixed itinerary, other than the car pickup/dropoff and your first few nights. I had little trouble booking things last minute in May, even same morning, sometimes even just driving up to places I had already put on my list of potential places to stay.

That way, you could decide on the fly whether you want an extra night in Istria. And having been to Croatia before, you might feel a bit more comfortable not having a fixed schedule. (May 2015 was my second trip to Croatia, too.)

Obviously, you'd want an internet device - a tablet, phone, or laptop - to be able to book places as you go, and research places ahead of time. I used Booking.com for many reservations, even last minute.

There are several ways to do the rental car switch as you drive from Slovenia to Croatia. I picked the direct train from Ljubljana to Rijeka in part because I love trains (and not long bus rides) and it was a direct train only about 2.5 hours, 2X a day (train to Pula is much longer and not direct, at least one change). The drive from Rijeka to Rovinj was easy, just over an hour. And I think you may find more competitive rental car prices in Rijeka than in say Rovinj - I know I did.

I dropped a car (Sixt) in Portorož some years ago (not at the airport - just in the center of town, near a bus stop). There are also rental places in Koper - depends on the agency you book with. I don't think driving to Portorož makes much sense unless you are also going to see places nearby like Piran.

If you do choose to visit Kotor this time: I really am glad I drove the bay, as I think I said before, just so I could get out and take pictures numerous times, plus stop off at the beautiful town of Perast on the way to Kotor, then drive up to Cetinje through the mountains and get that great view down. You can also take a boat out to the church on the water.

Having a night in Kotor or Perast or nearby really makes doing all of this easier than a day trip. Kotor itself didn't impress me much - it was OK. But I can't imagine I would have enjoyed a bus direct from Dubrovnik to Kotor and back - I would have missed so much. It sounds like you like this region and, like me, might come back yet again, so you could certainly add Kotor onto a future trip! There are lots of other places to see in the region.
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 10:18 PM
  #24  
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I have no doubt that Andrew is reporting his experience accurately and honestly, but I would note that in late May / early June 2009, I was glad that I had booked my lodgings in advance, not only because I didn't want to spend unnecessary time checking out my options, but also because I booked far enough in advance to get places that were particularly well suited to my interests and preferences, and at very good rates. And I say that as a solo traveler -- I would think that "winging it" would be more difficult for a group of three. But I'm sure I could have found lodging had I just shown up, or made decisions at the last minute. IMO, there's no right or wrong answer to this question; just a personal preference.

And vive la difference -- a day trip to Kotor was more than enough for me, even though I'm usually happy to spend a night somewhere. Perast is a sweet little (LITTLE) town, worth an hour's stroll IMO, and I had no trouble seeing everything I wanted to see in Kotor -- which is to say, just about everything there is to be seen in Kotor -- on the same day trip from Dubrovnik. Yes, it was a long day, but not unmanageably so. (If I haven't already said so, I had a one-day car rental for this day, which worked out exceedingly well from my perspective.)

Again, to each his/her own! Isn't it wonderful that people travel in different ways? I, for one, would hate it if we all had the same preferences.
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Old Feb 7th, 2017, 10:02 AM
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>> If we choose Korcula, is it better to ferry from Split to Korcula or drive the coastal route from Split to Ploce and then take the two short ferry trips?
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Old Feb 9th, 2017, 01:06 PM
  #26  
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I will be very happy to raise a glass to you all at Buza bar-definitely on our list of places to show my husband! I totally agree that it's wonderful that people share so many different points of view. It all helps!

I did want to stop in Piran but as it turns out, the daily bus from Portoroz to Rovinj or Porec doesn't begin until June, and the bus doesn't run the day in May that we would need it. Do you recommend Go Opti shared transfers over the bus from Ljublijana to Rovinj? It's only 22 euros and I wonder if it would be faster. We may still take the train to Rijeka and then rent a car, but all of that will take as long as the 4 1/2 hour bus ride to Rovinj. Of course, then we would have our car. As you said, so many options!

dugi-otok-your Split to Korcula options are very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to make it so clear. Now we just have to decide!

Like you, kja, I always book our accommodations ahead of time. I dream of winging it but then I always end up deciding to book ahead to save time while traveling. Plus, given the immediate choice of staying or leaving a place, I might never leave!

We will definitely plan to walk the lungomare on our way to Plitvice. Thank you for the advice about the bus. That sounds like the perfect plan.

Thanks, again, for your invaluable suggestions!
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Old Feb 9th, 2017, 04:27 PM
  #27  
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??? I thought the bus from Ljubljana to Porec ran every day, twice a day ... but I could be wrong!
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Old Feb 10th, 2017, 12:17 AM
  #28  
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Yes, it does, and I believe it's the same bus that continues on to Rovinj. But it takes 4 1/2 hours to Rovinj and since driving is much faster, (2 hours 20 minutes), I thought maybe the transfer through Go Opti would be faster than 4 1/2 hours. But I'm guessing that if it is shared, it may very well take as long as the bus.
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