First Visit to Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia

Old Mar 2nd, 2018, 01:12 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 19,223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First Visit to Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia

and probably my only trip there, so I'd like to see and do as much as possible.

I've put together a tentative itinerary and would appreciate any comments/advice/critiques. Time is not an issue so I can add or subtract days as feasible.
I'd also like opinions on whether a car is desirable/necessary for the first half of the trip, up to Split - or can I get around easily by public transportation, including day trips from some of the cities/towns?
I'm a leisurely traveler and like to linger at places I like. I enjoy exploring old towns on foot, easy to moderate hiking, photography, painting (I travel with a mini watercolor kit), nature, architecture, off the beaten path places, historical sights and occasional museums. I love the water and would like to swim occasionally but this is not a beach vacation s that's not a priority. I'm planning to go in May of this year.

Arrive Ljubljana - 4 nights, including jet lag night. Day trips to Lake Bled and Opatija.
Plitivice Lakes - 2 nights
Zagreb - 3-4 nights.
Sarajevo 3-4 nights. Day trips to Mostar, old cities of Herzegovena, Kravice Waterfalls
Split 2-3 nights. Day trip to islands
Dubrovnik 4 nights. Day trips to islands, Montenegro.
Corfu 4-5 nights

Has anyone been to Karanac village? Is that worth a detour for one night between Zagreb and Sarajevo?

TIA for any suggestions.
panecott is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2018, 02:35 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Should be nice, and May is a delightful time to be in that area! Some comments:

Lake Bled is an easy day trip from Ljubljana, but I wanted more time there than would have been possible with a day trip. I visited the castle, walked the Vintgar Gorge and then the ridge walk above it, walked around the lake, and took a pletna to the island; I donít think you could do all of that on a single day trip.

The order of your trip makes no sense to me. For example, the Plitvice Lakes are SOUTH of Zagreb, while Ljubljana is NORTH of it; Mostar is a convenient stop between Sarajevo and Split or even DubrovnikÖ. I think you would benefit from further study of maps of the region, in conjunction with information about transportation between the places you wish to visit, which you can get on rome2rio.com or in a better guidebook (such as the Rough Guide).

Is your reason for visiting Opatija to walk the Lungomare? If so, I can understand. If not, Iíll note that Opatija is essentially the only place I have ever visited to which I wouldnít return if you paid me.

Rather than a day trip to Mostar, consider an overnight Ė it is magical after day trippers leave. I strongly recommend either dining or having a drink (your choice!) with a view of Stari Most as the sun sets. Wonderful!!!

Split itself easily merits 2 or more days Ė not counting day trips to islands or any of the other delightful places within day-trip distance of Split. But of course, that depends on your interests....

For Dubrovnik, 4 nights COULD work if you spend 1 day traveling to Kotor and 1 day at Mljet or some other island. A day or day and a half is generally sufficient for Dubrovnik itself, even at a leisurely pace. Again, YMMV.

I havenít been to Karanac or Corfu and so cannot comment on those parts of your plan.

For what you have described, I donít think a car would be necessary, though it could be an advantage to get from Zagreb to the Plitvice Lakes and then on to Split, and Ė depending on whether you keep Opatija in your plans and where it fits within your itinerary, perhaps for that part of your trip. As already noted, you can check rome2rio.com for your transportation options.

Iím sure you realize that you are skipping huge parts of the region, which could easily reflect your interests. If time on the islands is a priority, I would think you would need to add some time, including some nights on one or more of them. YMMV.

If you donít already have it, I strongly urge you to get the Rough Guide.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2018, 03:45 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 19,223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you very much, kja. This is very helpful, especially about staying overnight in Lake Bled and Motar, and the websites.

This itinerary was very hastily put together and no, I don't yet have a guide book. I was planning to walk over to B&N this morning, but we are in the midst of a Nor'easter and it is definitely stay indoors weather. Maybe tomorrow.

When you said I was skipping huge parts of the region were you referring to the islands, or some inland places? Please elaborate. Thx.

Ideally, I would love a mini cruise - 3-5 days or so, preferably on a sailboat - around the islands but I haven't yet come across anything like that. I thought of doing day trips so I wouldn't have to switch hotels so often.
panecott is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2018, 03:55 PM
  #4  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The regions -- northern Croatia (castles, etc.); Istria (part of Italy until WWII); the islands of the Kvarnar Gulf and -- excepting any you would see from Split or Dubrovnik -- the islands of the Dalmatian coast; etc. -- just look at a map and see what isn't on your plan.

Guidebooks for Croatia differ substantially in the coverage, much more than for many places I've visited. That's why I specifically mentioned the Rough Guide. Options for sailing would most likely be covered either there or in the Lonely Planet.

I understand the desire to use base cities, but warn you that Croatia doesn't lend itself easily to them.
kja is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2018, 07:15 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 19,223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks again, kja. I generally do like Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. I'll check out the ones on Croatia.
panecott is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 03:16 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 195
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are a leisurely traveller and enjoy lingering in places, then you will need to add more time to your trip. Slovenia in 4 nights will be a very brief encounter and very much on the beaten path. I suggest picking up a guidebook on Slovenia as well, such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.

Last edited by rtt0921; Mar 3rd, 2018 at 03:19 AM.
rtt0921 is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 06:37 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,273
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I agree with an overnight in Mostar on the way to or from Sarajevo.

Definitely think Plitvice rates two nights. I did it by bus, but that is one place where a car would be a help.

Check on cruise ship arrivals for Dubrovnik. I think one full day is plenty. Walk the walls as early or late as possible.

As noted on another thread, continuing south by bus from Dubrovnik would let you take the ferry to Corfu from Sarande in Albania, and get you plenty to see on the way. I haven't been to Corfu in decades, wonder what it is like now.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 06:57 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,807
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
We have traveled to some of the destinations on your itinerary, so I will offer my observations.


Zagreb. 2 nights (1.5 days) was more than enough for us to see the highlights of the Old City.
Sarajevo. I think 3 or 4 nights is fine for what you want to see and do.
Dubrovnik. 4 nights might be one night too many, and island day trips may seem too similar to what you have planned for your time in Split. A guidebook might help you better define this part of your holiday.
Corfu. We spent 3 nights and almost a full fourth day, and felt that we had seen and done everything of interest (including beach afternoons). We had a rental vehicle, however, and so were less constrained by schedules.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 05:06 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 19,223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all these responses. I bought two guidebooks and a map today so I will be perusing them and revising my plans.

I found a couple of small ship cruise possibilities for the Split/Dubrovnik route and might decide to take one. I think it will be much easier and more relaxing than island hopping on my own, and the itineraries are pretty inclusive.

If anyone has done a cruise in this area I'd be interested in your impressions.
panecott is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2018, 08:21 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 147
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Panecott we were in Slovenia and Croatia last May and loved both. I agree with the others that it may be a good idea to review your itinerary after doing more research on the area.
I'll just share with you a few details of our itinerary which may be helpful to you.
We spent 2 days/ nights in lovely Ljubljana and it was just enough for us to enjoy it. We opted to rent a car and drive to Lake Bled and spent one night there which gave us plenty of time to walk around the lake and visit the church and have a nice dinner. Our next stop was Kobarid via the Vrsic Pass through the Julian Alps with a stop and walk through the Vintgar gorge. The scenery is beautiful and there are some interesting sites ( WWI) along the way you can stop to visit if you have the time.
We spent 4 nights in a beautiful Airbnb right in the village of Kobarid. We used this as a base and on two separate days we hired a driver to visit several wineries in Italy with a dinner at La Subida ( highly recommend) in Cormons. On another day we visited Cividale de Friuli, a beautiful ancient village and Unesco site.

We drove back to Ljubljana via the highway this time ( 2 hrs). We returned our car just outside the city center and were picked up by a driver who took drove us to our hotel in Zagreb. We booked this service through OnDayTrip.com. If you haven't heard of this site it is worth checking out.
We weren't expecting to like Zagreb as much as we did and were happy we had 3 full days but would have easily spent another day there.
If your'e into wine I recommend visiting Wine Bar Bornstein which is just off the main square past the cathedral. It is a cozy tavern where you can sample Croatian wines with very helpful and knowledgable staff. Were I to return to Zagreb I would stay at Hotel Jagerhorn again. Fantastic location in the city center but located on a quiet pedestrian street with a nice view of the park from the terrace where they serve a generous breakfast. The rooms are small but are clean, comfortable and modern.

We also wanted to visit Plivitce Lakes and Split but because of the logistics of getting there and our time constraints we opted not to include them on this trip. Instead we flew from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. We had contemplated staying inside the city but choose an airbnb home just outside the gates and we are so happy we did. The crowds are unbelievable and it is best to save your visit for early morning or later in the evening/ late at night when all the crowds have gone. Strolling through the old city at night was magical.

Again we used Dubrovnik as a base to explore the area. We rented a boat for a day to take us to the nearby islands, this was expensive but well worth it for us.
Close to our "house" was a car rental company where we picked up our cars for our two day drive through the Peljsac peninsula and an overnight in Korcula. The drive is very pleasant with views of the coast, wineries and the famous Ston oyster farms. We had heard of the famous oysters and wondered if they were a good as they claimed and they were! We had them at a restaurant but you can stop at one of the small stands off the road. I believe there are tours that will take you to one of the oyster farms.

After lunch we drove to the seaside town of Orebic where we took the ferry across to Korcula. ( 15-20 mins). Unfortunately we decided on a whim to visit this island and could only spend one night here but would have stayed a week just ambling through the Venetian village and alleged birth place of Marco Polo. The island is also known for its Posip and Grk grapes. If you are lucky enough to find GRK in any of the restaurants on the island or perhaps Croatia you must try it, truly one of the most delightful white wines I've ever tasted.
We ended our trip driving back to Dubrovnik and flying to Zagreb the next morning before catching our flight home the following day. We realize that two weeks was only enough to scratch the surface of this incredible part of the world and left knowing we would be back to explore more of it.
I am sure you will be impressed with the Croatian and Slovenian hospitality amongst many other things. Enjoy!

Last edited by kikiv; Mar 24th, 2018 at 08:54 AM.
kikiv is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2018, 09:08 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 147
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Forgot to mention the Lesar Hotel Angel in Ljubljana. It is a lovely and charming boutique hotel in the center of the old city. Beautifully appointed with excellent service. We stayed in one of the suites with a large terrace but my adult children stayed in double rooms and they are equally as nice although smaller of course.
kikiv is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2018, 12:45 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 104
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Panecott,

We did a very similar trip last year. Similar to you, we wanted to cover as much as we could, given our short vacation window. It would have been nice to have some extra time in Split to explore the islands but apart from that, I think we spent the correct amount of time everywhere.

From Ljubljana we used the shuttle service "GoOpti" to get us to Zagreb where we rented a car again for Croatia. I can't remember how much the shuttle was but it was not expensive and it picked us from our hotel and dropped us to the rental company. Very convenient and comfortable.

Itinerary is posted separately (sorry, didn't post correctly the first time). Enjoy your trip lots!

Last edited by Traveler_2012; Apr 19th, 2018 at 12:47 PM.
Traveler_2012 is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2018, 12:46 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 104
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
  • Day 1
  • Ljubljana / Lake Bled
  • Flew into Ljubljana and drove to Bled
  • Day 2
  • Lake Bled
  • Enjoyed Vintgar Gorge and Bled Island
  • Day 3
  • Julian Alps
  • Drove the Julian Alps and reached Ljubljana at night
  • Day 4
  • Ljubljana
  • Explored Ljubljana. Took a shuttle bus to Zagreb and rented a different car there.
  • Day 5
  • Zagreb
  • Enjoyed Zagreb and reached Plitvice at night
  • Day 6
  • Plitvice Lakes
  • Enjoyed Plitvice during day and reached Split at night
  • Day 7
  • Split
  • Explored Split. Car was parked in a garage all the time.
  • Day 8
  • Split
  • Explored Split
  • Day 9
  • Mostar
  • Overnight in Mostar. Drove to Dubrovnik the next day and returned car there.
  • Day 10
  • Dubrovnik
  • Sight seeing
  • Day 11
  • Dubrovnik
  • Sight seeing
  • Day 12
  • Dubrovnik
  • Sight Seeing
Traveler_2012 is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2018, 02:55 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 107
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Iím there now

I would spend max three days in Dubrovnik. Please take this advice. Do NOT take the bus to Kotor. Take a tour. Because of problems in both sides of the border, my bus journey took 11hours, of which only two were in Kotor. I would even consider staying there a few days and visiting some of the villages. The bay and countryside are beautiful and I loved the old town. Have a great trip!
TerryThor is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
yestravel
Europe
58
Oct 4th, 2018 03:59 PM
AtlTravelr
Europe
13
May 28th, 2016 11:13 PM
castlevisitor
Europe
26
Jan 6th, 2016 07:44 AM
Jenni_Grater
Europe
7
Apr 11th, 2013 05:53 PM
EPC
Europe
7
Jun 18th, 2008 05:53 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -