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jkheigle Jun 13th, 2006 03:14 AM

Dubrovnik 1st or last? of 16 days in July?
Help me please. I am trying to plan 1st time visit to Croatia. We arrive in Venice late on July 5, and want to spend 2 full days there, departing on the 8th for Croatia. We return to the US from Venice on the 27th at noon. Any suggestions for BEST TRIP of lifetime at the last minute?

How to "start" from Venice on the 8th? Ferry to Porec? Spend the night where? Make our way (how?) to Rijeck for July 10th "Monday only" ferry to Dubrovnik? 4 or 5 nites in Dubrovnik, lots of day trip possibilities. Then make our way slowly back up the coast ending with some time in Istria before hopping back over to Venice.

Any suggestions also when renting a car would be a good idea? Should we perhaps rent a car for the entire trip? It seems like it would be a headache in the southmost region, but a benefit perhaps from Split on up...

And finally, about accomodation reservations. Do we need them, or should we "wing it"?
This is making me anxious because "everything" seems to be taken/unavailable or require longer stays-- I want pockets of 4-5 day stays, sprinkled with a few overnighters, but certainly not a different bed every night. I suppose our budget is about 130 euros a day for accomodation for the three of us. (The American Dollar sure doesn't go very far...OUCH!)

We are in our late 40's. My brother, his wife, and myself. We enjoy the scenery of the beach but will not spend a day lounging/sunning. We love exploring towns, architecture, people / culture, and occasional hike. I am a photographer, my brother has an upscale interior architecture business.

Thanks to any of you who might make my day today with suggestions.

I will continue sifting through the previous posts.

carylspall Jun 13th, 2006 03:56 AM

Make sure you book accomodation in Dubrovnik!!! We have just returned from Croatia. We booked 1 night in the Excelsior and had a car from Alamo booked for the next day . We saw everything we wanted to see in Dubrovnik in the day and a half we were there.We picked up the car and drove up the coast _and struggled to find a hotel with a room in Trogir.Thankfully we got one as Trogir was a lovely place for an overnight stop.After this we headed inland and joined the wonderful new motorway which saved us a lot of time. We were in Ljubljana for the next night. The scenery there was out of this world -what a beautiful drive.Off to Zagreb and headed for Bosnia where we saw scenery even more amazing. Eventually when we arrived back in Dubrovnik it was a Friday night and teeming with tourists.Tried so many hotels but nothing doing. We were offered a 330 euro room in one of the big hotels and a suite in the Hilton for 550 euros! I just wouldnt pay that amount! We eventually found a nice hotel for 80 euros for room and breakfast, but it was a bit out of town.
The next day we went into town and couldnt move for tourists - then it rained and rained. After the peace and quiet of the countryside we just wished we hadnt come back to Dubrovnik,but our flight was on the Saturday afternoon and we didnt want to risk missing it.
I would highly recommend hiring a car as it gives you so much freedom.

Carta_Pisana Jun 13th, 2006 05:50 AM

my first visit to Croatia was Dubrovnik. I stayed at the Hotel Excelsior - a couple in the next room/terrace had driven down the coast from Slovenia. They felt that everythig they saw built up to Dubrovnik. Haveing seen parts of the central coast and islands - I would agree - Dubrovnik is the big payoff. What about flying to Zagreb from Dubrovnik to cut down on transport time near the end of your trip - you just how to figure how to get from Zagreb to Venice.

"...BEST TRIP of lifetime at the last minute..." love that.

jkheigle Jun 13th, 2006 07:15 AM

Ok, now I feel like a double idiot. This will not bode well for me I am sure. Could not find my post, so I posted it again. Ya'll please forgive me, because I did that twice.

You both have brought up some questions:
1st to Carta_Pisana: you make many replies that help people out. Thank you.
You have pointed out what I felt might be true, that Dubrovnik is the big pay off. Is it a bad idea to "start there" for exploring Croatia? In the picture books, all of Croatia looks fantastic.

To Carylspall:
Driving does give freedom. Did you visit by ferry any of the islands? One of my reasons for longer stay in Dubrovnik is to minimize the amount of schlepping from one place to another, and yet have a home base for daytrips. Comments?

Thanks to you both!

Carta_Pisana Jun 13th, 2006 07:26 AM

When i arrived in Dubrovnik the hotel car service picked me up and on the way to the hotel pulled over at an observation point. We walk to the edge and there was the Old Town, perched between the Adriatic and the mountains - it was a beautiful sight - magical.

I suppose you could make your way from Venice to Zagreb and then fly down to Dubrovnik and then work your way back to Venice.

July is a peak month - winging will make it an adventure to say the least.

Beside Dubrovnik - any other must sees / places to visit?

Catbert Jun 13th, 2006 07:40 AM

I agree with Carta Pisana, as usual, that Dubrovnik is great to work up to. I started in Istria, staying in Rovinj. Then I took the ferry from Reijka (don't stay there) to Dubrovnik and flew to Zagreb and headed up to Slovenia by train.

I don't think 4 or 5 nights is at all too much for Dubrovnik, and as you correctly said there are lots of day trip opportunities.

callalilli Jun 13th, 2006 08:26 AM

hi.. I was in Croatia May 21-29 and did not venture too many areas. We stayed in Dubrovnik (day trip to Mljet)and Trogir, so I cannot comment on the other areas you spoke of. But I do want to say that I would recommend going from north to south and staying in Dubrovnik last.. for the beauty of it. We went north and I remember thinking that the scenery would have gotten more and more beautiful had we gone south. Also, we 'winged it' as far as accommodations, but i think we got there JUST before the tourist season. Have a Wonderful trip! (p.s. the US dollar will get you much further than you think in Croatia)

carylspall Jun 14th, 2006 03:47 AM

I wouldnt use Dubrovnik as a homebase -just because of the roads and traffic. We took 45 mins to get out of the town (it was a Saturday) because of the volume of the traffic.
I dont know what your budget is, but accomodation is so much cheaper outside Dub as well. Just my opinion!
We didnt have time to go to any of the islands as we chose to go to Slovenia instead.
You say you are a photographer.I reckon your camera will be well used on your trip!

jkheigle Jun 14th, 2006 06:56 AM

Yeah, Slovenia looks really beautiful. I am just so excited to "discover" a new place.

I thought I had hit the jackpot with Prague in 2001. And I can't wait to get back there (mala strana side!). But I think this visit to Croatia will put me on a new and different road. I'm just trying hard not to fret and panic over the necessary details. I am close to booking a place. Any city such as Dubrovnik will keep me busy and satisfied for 5 days. I'll be shooting mostly with a pinhole camera, though digital is now my regular "backup". For this trip, I will not be working with wet-plate collodion process (a real pain in the rear even in "studio" conditions...)

carylspall Jun 14th, 2006 12:00 PM

Have you read nancy9393's trip report?
She is saying how many days you need in Dubrovnik.

jkheigle Jun 14th, 2006 08:20 PM

Yes, a fantastic perfect TR to print for reference. I've made notes and am exploring options, now considering different route from Venice (see last remark at end of this post).

About so many nites in Dub, I still feel like we'll be making daytrips, but I am now very very concerned about the nuttiness of being so close to beach in Apartment Rhapsodie ( "Luxury Apt". Nonetheless, my brother is begging a terrace with view (water, city, all that we don't sea here in Tennessee) I'm just a bit overwhelmed --

re Venice to somewhere in Southern Dalmatia : I need to read posts as I'm sure others have had the same questions: Ferry to Pula? then how to get to Rivjek...? Or fly direct from Venice to Split? Or train to Zagreb, fly to Split or Dub?

oh goodness gracious.

carylspall Jun 15th, 2006 05:52 AM

Its all so difficult - until you get there and you realise what you should have done! The flight from Venice to Split would save a lot of time though.
I looked on the website and your apartment is in a great location. We stayed in the Excelsior just a few steps farther along. Its an easy walk into town! Let me tell you about a very good CHEAP (especially for Dubrovnik)restaurant. Its located very near to where youre situated -on the sea front. They serve the BEST grilled calamari We have ever tasted -so tender.They tend to bring it all at one time -like tapas dishes so tell them when you arder to hold back your seafood risotta or whatever. No fries or veg on the menu and its not a fancy place but the service is quick and friendly. As I write this I am trying to remember the name........Locanda Pescarya?We had dinner and lunch there and tried to have lunch when when we came back to Dub before going to airport. Disappointingly, they were booked up for a group booking -thanks to the 3 or 4 cruise ships in that day.That is the downside -all the tourists(I know we're all tourists but ...)Anyway I am rambling on! The thing is ,all the othere places we ate in Croatia and Slovenia -NOTHING was cooked so good as that restarant did it! I will check the name and get back to you if I've written the wrong thing.

jkheigle Jun 15th, 2006 06:03 AM

Thanks Carylspal!

My agent at dubrovnik-holiday has recommended driving as well. Though where to rent car...? Croatia Air to Split from Venice is 350 euros per person. Can that be right? OUCH! Suggestions?

Also, I'm torn between the two choices for Dubrovnik thru dub-holiday: Aparment Rhapsody in the more energetic (noisy?) area or Apartment Duvarka a bit higher up Ploce hill, still 10 minute walk to gate via stairs. (we have till 6 pm C.S.T. today (8 am Friday Croatia) Will you take a glance and give opinion?

carylspall Jun 15th, 2006 06:23 AM

You must be chartering the plane for that money!!! I cant believe its so expensive. Have you looked at flights to Ljubljana from Venice? Yes! I know I keep going on about Slovenia, but you said you loved Prague and this place is really quite Pragueish!!!
We rented from holiday Autos as we have used them in the past and they were easy to deal with (especially when some toerag scraped and bashed it when we were parked in France). It turned out to be Alamo in Croatia and we got an upgrade to an 1800cc when we'd booked a 1400cc. My husband did say jokingly that maybe a tiny car would be best as some of the roads were very narrow. I often held in my breath!
OK! Accomodation! Do NOT go up the hill any further! It will be a killer for you. Just think of the suitcases!And the heat! We stayed at the hotel Neptune for our last night which had great views of the sea and cheap but so far away from everything.That Rapsody place LOOKS good on the website. I didnt think that was a noisy area,but ask other Fodorites! Good luck!

jkheigle Jun 15th, 2006 06:49 AM

Ok, I wonder if that was total for 4 people (cost of flight from Venice). I'll check momentarily.

The "noise" scare of Rhapsody comes from looking at a website for East West Beach Club below. I would dread house music drowning out the "real music" during Summer Festival. Thanks so much for info about hill. I guess we could always take a bottle of wine upwards one evening... sit, sip and savor. I did that all the time in Prague, many many nights. Loved walking the more quiet streets late into the night under a full brilliant moon.

Yes, Slovenia. I think that after Dub, I might convince my brother that Slovenia (instead of Umbria) could round out our experience. Expect many questions once I've conducted some research.

I love this forum.

Catbert Jun 15th, 2006 07:45 AM

Rhapsody looks great! It's not so high up that the stairs will be horrible but it has the best view. It almost looks like the view I had from Villa Argentina but maybe not quite so high (unless they're using a big zoom lens!). And my room was easily walkable with it's 53 stairs.

carylspall Jun 15th, 2006 09:25 AM

I like the bottle of wine idea. Better make it two bottles,there are 3 of you!

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