Driving through Slovenia and Croatia

Feb 8th, 2014, 07:44 PM
  #1  
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Driving through Slovenia and Croatia

My husband and I are planning a trip in late April / early may to Slovenia and Croatia. Ideally, we would like to fly to Dubrovnik, spend a few days there, and then drive North through Split, into Slovenia and end up in Venice.......has anyone done that drive and what advice would you have? We have two weeks....
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Feb 8th, 2014, 07:50 PM
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The first thing to do is make sure you can rent a car in Croatia and drop it in Italy, and see how much extra that will cost.
Cranachin is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 07:54 PM
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Yes that is a concern...but not sure about other options....flights are all very expensive and the cheapest flew into Dubrovnik and out of Venice...
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Feb 8th, 2014, 08:26 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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With only 2 weeks, you will need to be extremely selective. You might want to consult several guide books and, on this Board, look at trip reports, and especially planning threads, where you will learn what people considered and why they did/did not do various things.
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Feb 8th, 2014, 09:02 PM
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Check out my trip report..Chapters Eleven through Twenty-Six. Very doable…

http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/Tom_...nice_2008.html

maitaitom is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 09:35 PM
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You can always drive from Dubrovnik to Pula or Zagreb, drop the car there, then take buses/trains up to Slovenia. (Train service from Rijeka or Zagreb, Croatia; to Ljubljana; mostly bus service otherwise.) You can take a bus to Trieste and a train from there to Venice - or a bus from Ljubljana to Venice (Mestre).
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Feb 9th, 2014, 01:24 PM
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Thank you for the tips! Maitaitom, I started reading your blogs and appreciate the help in unjderstanding how we can indeed do this and also all the great suggestions....can you let me know where you picked up your rental car and dropped it off? Also, what car rental company did you use? Thank you!
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Feb 9th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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In 2009, I rented in Zagreb with Sixt (via Auto Europe) and dropped the car in Dubrovnik a few days later. The car was OK. It was a 5-speed not an automatic which was great for me - just keep that in mind as most European rental cars tend to be manual shift by default unless you request an automatic (almost certainly more expensive). I found driving in Croatia easy until I got to Dubrovnik (finding the correct drop-off location was a challenge, as was finding a gas station to fill up!).

You can search with Kayak for cars - they check AutoEurope among others for prices.
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Feb 9th, 2014, 02:26 PM
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"can you let me know where you picked up your rental car and dropped it off? Also, what car rental company did you use? Thank you!"

We picked up our car in Dubrovnik (rented through Auto Europe, I believe, and picked up the car at Avis). We drove Dubrovnik to Trogir to Plitvice to Ljubljana to Lake Bled to Rovinj. Eventually dropped the car in Porec, took a bus back to Rovinj (about an hour) then ferried to Venice the following day.

Driving in Croatia was a breeze.

maitaitom is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 04:25 PM
  #10  
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Thank you all again! This is great information and especially the line that Driving in Croatia was a breeze! My husband is pretty much a veteran as we have done many, many driving trips including through Turkey...but I had read that it was more challenging given the cross border issues. I like the idea of the ferry to Venice as well. Also was thinking of going over to Hvar...thoughts?
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Feb 9th, 2014, 11:44 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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"... planning a trip in late April / early may to Slovenia and Croatia." That would mean that you'll be traveling off-season, so not everything will be open. Plan accordingly.

"Driving in Croatia was a breeze." I would suggest that the ease of driving in Croatia varies with where one drives. I drove though areas where driving was "a breeze." I also drove through areas where it was decidedly NOT a breeze.
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Feb 10th, 2014, 05:20 PM
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kja.....could you tell me a bit more as to exactly where it was a hassle? Also, appreciate the heads up on things being closed....hadn't thought about that.
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Feb 10th, 2014, 06:14 PM
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kja
 
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On some back roads in hilly or mountainous terrain, local drivers (at least I assume they were local) shot around blind corners in the center of narrow roads, or even in the lane for oncoming traffic. There were all too many moments when a combination of my braking and their realignment just barely sufficed to allow us to pass one another. Cars came up behind me way too fast, too, and if there was no place for me to pull over -- and their often was not -- they then passed me in no-passing zones, forcing oncoming traffic into my lane. The major roadways were fine -- very spacious and well graded. Just watch out if you end up on back roads!
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Feb 10th, 2014, 06:40 PM
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Yeah, the Croatian drivers are CRAZY! They'll pass on a two-lane road seemingly without a safe margin between cars, but you soon realize that that's just how they drive there. The first hour, I was a little unnerved; after another hour, I found myself driving like them. In some ways it's SAFER to drive like the locals, because they expect it, and if you are extra cautious it could actually throw them off and make it less safe for everyone.

If you aren't on a 2-lane road and are driving on one of the modern multi-lane freeways in Croatia, such as the one between Zagreb and Split (and most of the way from Split down to Dubrovnik), it's not much different than driving in the US on an interstate highway. I've driven in Israel; by comparison, driving in Croatia was a piece of cake.
Overall I found it fun, and I was nervous about it ahead of time.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 01:42 AM
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We picked up a hire car with Hertz at Trieste and drove it into Slovenia and Croatia and back to Trieste. All worked fine but we had to tell Hertz beforehand that we were taking the car into those other countries, I think it was to do with insurance.

You need to buy a vignette (a sticker that goes on the windscreen) when you enter Slovenia to allow you to drive on the highways. We found a tiny shop immediately over the Slovenian border. Best to read up on options as in our case, they didn't speak English but I knew what to ask for.

We found driving fine but just toured around the Istrian region. Rovinj is really lovely, if you have time I'd recommend staying there. The ferry to Venice comes into Rovinj so that may work with your plans. Here is the website for the company we rented an apartment through, check out the photos, it's such a pretty place.

http://www.portaantica.com/

Kay
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Feb 11th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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I drove on major highways and backroads. I didn't have a problem. Of course, I'm used to driving in California, so I'm used to crazy drivers (including me).

maitaitom is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 05:04 PM
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We did a similar trip last September. Flew into Dubrovnik, rented a car in town and drove to Kotor, Mostar, Plitvice, Motovun, Groznjan, Porec and Rovinj. We dropped the car off in Rovinj and took the Pula-Trieste bus to Trieste then the train to Venice. Here are some observations.
-The roads in Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia are as good as in the US and are very easy to drive.
-We rented from Orex, very efficient and the cheapest, but you can't drop the car off out of the country.
-The Pula bus stops at Rovinj at 7:30 AM and arrives in Trieste about 10:30 AM. The Trieste bus station is next to the train station so it is very convenient to take an afternoon train to Venice.
-If you opt, as we did, to overnight in Trieste there are some decent hotels within easy walking distance of the station.
-Visit Groznjan, you will be glad you did.
rlgann is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 06:22 PM
  #18  
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Thank you all for all the great information!!
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Feb 12th, 2014, 11:27 PM
  #19  
kja
 
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I must admit that I find it difficult to believe that it could be SAFER to drive well over the speed limit on the wrong side of a narrow, shoulderless road while on a blind curve in the mountains than it would be to drive within the constraints imposed by a country’s driving laws – BUT I have no data that speak to that issue. I chose to drive as defensively as possible.

As I noted before, and as others seem to agree, the main roads were very good and driving them posed no problems.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 11:50 AM
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The roads in Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia are as good as in the US and are very easy to drive.

That depends on where you are. I certainly would not call the roads north out of Sarajevo "as good as in the US and … very easy to drive"—especially at night.
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