Feedback on 7-night Croatia itinerary

Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:01 AM
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Feedback on 7-night Croatia itinerary

I'm thinking of making my first-ever visit to Croatia in early October, after a seminar I'm flying into Europe from Asia to attend. I'll be travelling solo. I would appreciate some feedback on the following itinerary:

Day 1 - arrive Zagreb Airport at 1:30pm. Bus to Plitvice, arrival 4:30pm
Day 2 - Plitvice full day
Day 3 - Depart Plitvice (9:30am), arrive Split (1:50pm)
Day 4 - Depart Split (10:55am), arrive Mostar (3:10pm)
Day 5 to 7 - Dubrovnik
Day 8 - fly out of Dubrovnik in early morning

I don't intend to drive. At Plitvice, the closest accommodation I managed to get is at the Resort Turist Grabovac, apparently 8km from the Park. Is it possible to get transport to and from the Park? Once in the Park, I gather it's a mixture of walking/hiking and boat trips?

I'd actually appreciate ideas for Days 4 to 7, to be honest, as I'm not sure where I should be going and in what order. I hear Split isn't *that* wonderful, so perhaps I could skip it altogether? But if so, where should I go from Plitvice which makes sense transport-wise? I do know I want to spend at least two full days in Dubrovnik, but besides that, I'm open to reasonable, not-too-hectic suggestions for a first-timer - Hvar? Korcula? Orebic? Ston? I'm not much of a wine connoisseur and can do without visits to wine country. Island visits sound attractive to me, and while I'm not looking for raucous nightlife (which I hear Hvar offers), the idea of being in a place overly secluded and remote also makes me slightly nervous, especially since I've never been to the country before and I'm not particularly keen to take long walks with a heavy suitcase in tow to get from place to place and possibly get a little bit lost while doing so!

Thanks very much in advance for any suggestions.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:19 AM
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It is an aggressive schedule but understandable given the limited time you have.

Do I understand right that you have two nights planned for Plitvice? I'd do only one. Get up early the first morning, get into the park, and get the last bus to Split (which won't give you a lot of time - but you can see the gist of Plitvice in 5-6 hours.

There are hotels right in the park at Plitvice. They are completely booked for October? Seems quite surprising. That's almost certainly where I would choose to stay if traveling by bus. You can get off the bus at entrance #2, walk to the hotel, then walk right into the park.

Some people love Split, some people don't. It depends you who you ask. I didn't care for it that much, but it its certainly worth a visit, at least for half a day or something. And traveling from Plitvice, it makes a practical stop anyway.

The islands will be slowing down by October - I visited Korcula in October. It was pretty dead at night, but there were restaurants open. However, trying to combine Korcula or another island with Mostar without a car is very difficult.

I'm not sure why you have decided not to rent a car, but driving in Croatia is pretty easy, and there shouldn't be much traffic in October. On such a tight schedule, having a car would let you fit more in and not have to be so much at the mercy of bus schedules.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 02:36 PM
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Could be a very nice first trip to Croatia!

I must admit that I would want more time in Split, which is my FAVORITE city in Croatia, and would probaly add one night there and subtract one from Dubrovnik, but it depends on what you want to see and experience. One thing I think worth considering: From Split, you have an amazing range of day-trip options, so if you get there, and aren’t enamored, you can just hop on a bus to visit Trogir or Sibenik or the Krka National Park or Zadar… I think it would give you more options than just about any other location.

For the Plitvice Lakes, have you contacted the Resort turist Grabovac to ask them about getting to the park?

There are lots of other places you COULD visit, but with so little time, at that time of year, I’m not sure you have a lot of reasonable options. You are trying to cover a LOT of territory in a short amount of time. As Andrew notes, the islands will be slowing down by October. If you want to visit Hvar, the worst of the party-hearty crowd will likely have left, and Korcula can be pleasant, but I’m not sure it would be my choice for that late in the season.

Wherever you go, you should be able to manage without long treks with suitcase in hand. All you need to do is select your lodging with attention to the location of bus stops.

While I understand Andrew’s logic about the Plitvice Lakes, I think it depends on your preferences. I, for one, want nothing to do with early morning awakenings when on a vacation, and would FAR prefer the plan you have to the one you offer. To each his/her own! I would certainly not plan on LESS than 6 hours in the Plitvice Lakes National Park.

And unlike Andrew, I think working with public ttransportation makes a LOT of sense for this trip. Parking can be a pain, the ability to see the scenery rather than the road can be a delight, the chance to do a bit of people-watching on buses can be a source of lasting memories. Don’t let anyone convince you to rent a car if that isn’t your preference.
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 09:01 AM
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Thank you for the thoughtful responses - very useful indeed!

I'm a nervous driver in a foreign country, what's more on a different side of the road from what I'm normally accustomed to. I'll end up looking at the road and hardly at the views, so I'll stick to public transport.

Without a car, though, and short of staying at one of the three hotels right by Entrance 2 of the Plitvice National Park (Andrew, they are indeed full on all my possible dates, to my surprise!), I've gotten no assurance whatsoever - whether from hours of online research or from actually calling up the resorts/apartments - that I don't have to drag a big suitcase across long distances to get to and from my accommodation, and that, if I stayed at the nearest apartments in, say, Mukinja, I will be permitted to leave my suitcase there for a late afternoon departure. So I'm not taking any chances, as, knowing me, something like that would actually make me quite miserable. I tried switching the entire itinerary around to start with Dubrovnik instead, ending with Zagreb, and everything seemed to fall in place quite well. I'll be leaving my suitcase in the hotel at Zagreb, and waking up early to catch an early bus to Plitvice for a day trip. I'm in agreement with kja that I don't do early morning excursions on account of this being a vacation, but looking at how I've worked things out, I console myself that this will be the only day in a rather relaxed week when I've to wake up at an unearthly hour, and I'll be amply rewarded with spectacular Plitvice lake and waterfall views, so I guess it's worth it?

Thanks again for all the tips.
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 10:29 AM
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Yes, I can understand not wanting to drive on the opposite side of the road.

You might consider the option of a Zagreb to Split transfer which stops in Plitvice for a few hours. That avoids backtracking to Zagreb and also the problem of finding lodging at the park. I haven't used such a service but have heard of time - find info by googling. If you don't want to get up early anyway to avoid the crowds at mid-day, I don't see a big benefit to staying at the park.
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 04:11 PM
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Sounds like you've made a good choice!
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