Help- Travelling Within Italy to Croatia

Old May 3rd, 2014, 06:28 AM
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Help- Travelling Within Italy to Croatia

Hi there- My husband and I are planning a month long trip, from May 26-June 28. We are spending one week in France before heading to Italy for 10-12 days. The places we want to visit are:
- Cinqre Terre (Staying in Levanto)- travelling from Monaco by Train
- Venice: Train from Levanto to Venice
- Rome: High Speed Rail from Venice to Rome

(Somewhere between Venice and Rome we want to rent a car and travel throughout Tuscany/Wine- again, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated). We are thinking that a day would be enough?

From Rome, we were thinking of flying to Sicily.

Now, as Sicily is our last stop on our beautiful Italian vacation, we have to end up in Zagreb, Croatia. From there, we are renting a car, driving straight to Dubrovnik and driving up the coast ending, again, in Zagreb before flying home.

This is where I need your help.
- Does the above methods of travel make sense?
- What is the best way to go from Sicily to Zagreb, OR should we change the order of our
destinations OR is there another location we can 'swap out/add' that might make it more
do-able'?

My husband and I are mostly interested in enjoying some wine, relaxing on the beaches in Sicily, enjoying the countryside, trying to stay away from major Tourist destinations (with the exemption of Venice and Rome) and exploring some very unique experiences that Italy has to offer.

Might I add, we will be travelling with our 8 months year old son (Fingers crossed it all goes well)

I know this post is very complex but, as the trip is soon approaching, I am looking to you for a little guidance.

Thank you,
DanielleK88 is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2014, 06:50 AM
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Zagreb is a lot closer to Venice than it is to Sicily.... But if you fly it may not matter. For flights use whichbudget.com and skyscanner.net. For train timetables use bahn.de.
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 09:54 AM
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What about:
Nice - Monaco - 5Terre - Genova by train.
Genova - Palermo by comfortable overnight ferry.
http://www.gnv.it/en.html
Travel around Sicily.
Overnight train or plane from Sicily to Rome.
http://www.airitaly.it
http://www.easyjet.com/EN/Book/
http://www.Meridiana.it
http://www.flyairone.it
http://www.blu-express.com/
http://www.ryanair.com
Tuscany.
Train to Venice.
Flight to Split.
http://www.volotea.com/en
Car trip around Croatia up to Zagreb.
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 10:02 AM
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Sicily - Croatia:
http://www.ryanair.com Trapani - Ancona
http://www.jadrolinija.hr/en/home or
http://www.blueline-ferries.com/
Ancona - Split
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 10:21 AM
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I'm sorry - but trying to see in 10 days CT, Venice, Rome, Tuscany and Sicily - esp with an infant - is just way too much territory in too little time. You will be spending a very large amount of time just getting from one place to another.

Please lay this out day by day - figure out what trains or flights you would be taking - and see how little time you would have in each place to actually see/do anything. And do realize that traveling with an infant will be slower - at least partly due to all the "stuff" you need to haul around (diaper bag, baby food, toys, stroller and lots of changes of clothes - unless you have the tidiest baby in existence).
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Old May 3rd, 2014, 11:42 AM
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I hope you are kidding. I would not try that itinerary with a private helicopter, especially with a baby.

I would drop either Sicily or Croatia---maybe both.
You must under estimate the time and hassle of those logistics. Why not stay in Italy?
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Old May 4th, 2014, 05:03 AM
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Maybe if you could travel by magic carpet, it would work.
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Old May 4th, 2014, 06:47 AM
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You need about 2 weeks for your mainland Italy list. Another week for Sicily. Since you only have a month and you are spending your first week in France, you need to drop Croatia entirely as you simply don't have time. Especially traveling with a small child.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:15 AM
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Thank you so much for all your replies.

I realize now that I was being very 'non-realistic'. I suppose I secretly wish we had more time to travel.

This is what I was thinking: (we are travelling May 28-June 26)

2 NIGHTS IN LEVANTO (Travel by Train from Nice- though, if I read this correctly, it will take 6 hours by train and 3 hours by car?). Here, we would check out Cinqre Terre

2-3 NIGHTS IN PIEDMONT (Travel by Train) and stay at the Winery Estate

4 NIGHTS IN VENICE (do a day tour to the Dolomite Mountains)
- rent a car and drive through Tuscany/Bologna for a day

4 NIGHTS IN ROME

Does this itinerary sound better? Or is it still a little over-packed?

Would we be better off renting a car anywhere to minimize the train commute?

Looking at the train schedules, would you be able to tell me the central train station at each: Levanto, Piedmont, Venice, Rome? I am having a hard time finding the train from Nice to Levanto.

Would you recommend flying or taking a train to Zagreb?

Thanks again and I am really trying to be more realistic. We will just have to come back and visit southern Italy
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:30 AM
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Just off the top of my head, I would recommend flying to Zagreb, not taking a train, but if you are not staying there, just driving right away to Dubrovnik, why not just fly right to Dubrovnik?

The train station in Venice is Venezia Santa Lucia, the main one in Rome is Termini.

It is so tempting to want to cram in as much as possible when you are planning a trip and it all sounds so wonderful but you also have a baby with you which is going to slow things down a bit. I still think your trip looks a little busy, for example during your four nights in Venice (which is three days), you plan to do two day trips, which I would not do. Just enjoy three magical days in Venice itself.

Is this trip happening in a few weeks? I have just looked at your dates again.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:41 AM
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Well, the train will be "only" five hours from Nice to Levanto if you leave at 10:59.... And what makes you think Levanto has more than one station? Any special reason not to stay IN the Cinque Terra?

Not sure what you mean by a train station in Piedmont - its a region. You want Santa Lucia in Venice.

It will take you three hours by train from Venice to Bolzano. Not a day trip. I would drop Rome, add some time to Piedmont and do a couple of nights in the Dolomites, but I'm not a big fan of Rome.

You need to spend some time with the train schedules here: http://www.bahn.de/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:55 AM
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2 NIGHTS IN LEVANTO (Travel by Train from Nice- though, if I read this correctly, it will take 6 hours by train and 3 hours by car?). Here, we would check out Cinqre Terre

2-3 NIGHTS IN PIEDMONT (Travel by Train) and stay at the Winery Estate

4 NIGHTS IN VENICE (do a day tour to the Dolomite Mountains)
- rent a car and drive through Tuscany/Bologna for a day

4 NIGHTS IN ROME

Does this itinerary sound better? Or is it still a little over-packed?>>

Danielle, you say yourself that you will be travelling on a train [or trains] for 6 hours to spend one day in the CT. you then say that with 3 days in Venice, you want to spend a day in the Dolomites, at least 90 mins each way] and then spend a day driving all the way from Venice to Rome, which is at least 5 hours, without any diversions to look at Tuscany.

Does this sound a little over-packed to YOU?

Honestly, you need to slow down, work out what your real priorities are, and give yourselves time to smell the roses.

personally, I would fly from Nice to Venice, spend at least 3 nights there, then rent a car and drive up into the mountains, staying 2-3 nights, then drive to a winery/ agriturismo in Tuscany, stay 3 nights to allow for day trips, and finally drive to Orvieto, dump the car, and train to Rome. That way your travelling days will be relatively relaxed and your stays at your destinations will give some time for exploration and relaxation.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 03:33 AM
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Piedmont:
the region goes from Limone (close to Nice) up to Domodossola (Swiss border). So, tell me which of the more than 200 railway stations in Piedmont you mean.

Dolomites:
There are many access itineraries from Venice to the Domomites area. The most easy one goes to Calazo (2 3/4 hrs by train/OW). From Calalzo you can continue by bus and cableways into the heart of the Dolomites. That will take another few hrs.
Another very popular starting point for day trips into the Dolomites is Ponte Gardena, 4 1/2 hrs by train from Venice.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 04:46 AM
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Thank you everyone,

We are looking at staying in Levanto vs. Cinqre Terre because, I have heard that rooms there are more pricey, then if we stayed just outside.

From Venice or Rome we will fly to Zagreb and rent a car there before driving to Dubrovnik and working our way up the coast-- I have heard of many people who got 'ripped off' because they returned the rental car at another location. Thoughts?

I suppose we wil cut the region of Piedmont out (again,a I secretly wish we had more time--- we have to make it to Croatia to see family)

Just wondering if the Levanto -> Venice --> Tuscany Region (still not sure where, suggestions) --> Rome-->Zagreb makes sense
OR
Levanto (2nights) --> Rome (3/4 nights) --> Florence (Rent Car to see Tuscany for 2/3 nights) -->Venice (4 nights) --> Zagreb

Thanks again,
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Old May 6th, 2014, 06:15 AM
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Monaco to Levanto: local train to Ventimiglia; tickets purchased from there to Levanto, 5 hours with a change in Genoa.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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1. I would check actual prices for the Cinque Terre rather than relying on rumors. It also depends on what kind of place you're looking for. And if you can afford Monaco, I can't imagine you would have trouble with the Cinque Terre!

2. If you're flying to Zagreb I don't know that it makes much difference whether you fly from Rome or Venice.

3. The drop-off fee is NOT a "rip-off". It is standard for rental companies to charge a fee if you return a car to distant location, especially if it is in a different country. Have you considered flying to Dubrovnik and then using ferries and/or buses?

4. You are having trouble with the train trip from Monaco to Levanto for two reasons. First, the French and Italian rail systems don't connect well in that area, so you have to change trains in Ventimiglia. Second, Levanto is not on the main line, so you have to change again to a local train.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 06:50 AM
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What RonZ said. Your trip from the French Riviera to Levanto will require 2 changes of train. I should think that awkward carrying the baby and all his/her equipment as well as your own bags.

I gather you don't want to visit Florence, just pick up a rental car there. Florence is infamous for its ZTLs (locals-only driving zones, found in most Italian cities and towns). Driving out of Florence, it's all too easy to get a ticket, though you won't know it until months later. Better to pick up a rental car in some smaller place like Siena or Chiusi or Arezzo, depending on where you're coming from and where you're staying.

So you've eliminated all of Croatia except for Zagreb. I hope so even though I love Croatia. You've just got too much going on, too many stops, too many transfers, for travel with a baby.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 09:39 AM
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Picking up a car in Nice and dropping off in Italy would incur big fees. When you drop a car in another country it can cost several hundred euro.

>>>Levanto (2nights) --> Rome (3/4 nights) --> Florence (Rent Car to see Tuscany for 2/3 nights) -->Venice (4 nights) --> Zagreb
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Old May 6th, 2014, 09:52 AM
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So this trip starts in three weeks? And you don't have flights, trains or car rentals reserved yet? And it sounds like budget is at least something of a concern for you. If this is true then I'd immediately try to nail down a few things.

For example, easyjet flies Rome to Split (they don't fly to Zagreb) but they don't even start that route till June 4th so you can't do it before then. They don't fly every day and the fare ranges from 35 to 75 euro depending on the date. They fly from Rome to Dubrovnik but not till after June 28th. They don't seem to fly at all from Venice to Croatia. What I'm saying here is don't plan this whole trip out assuming you'll be ABLE to fly when and where you want. First figure out IF it's even possible.

First decide where you absolutely HAVE to go (you said Croatia to see family) and how and when you can get there. THEN work backwards. If you were planning this six months ahead you'd have more options, but unless you have unlimited funds, if you are planning a trip within the next 30 days you are going to be spending a lot and have limited options.

There are other airlines besides easyjet, but just as an example, if you go on their site and put in a city in Croatia (Zagreb, Split or Dubrovnik) then you can see what other cities they fly to/from. For example Zagreb is only to London. On skyscanner you'll see what airlines fly the routes you want. But Croatia is difficult to get to - sometimes taking two or three changes and many, many hours (like 23) and costing hundreds.

Unfortunately all the good advice you are getting about how long to spend in each place is useless if you logistically just can't 'get there from here'. And very few car rentals will allow you to rent a car in Italy and take it to Croatia. And trains in that area are NOT good (from Italy to Croatia). And most of the ferries don't start their summer schedules till later in June. I don't mean to be discouraging but I hope you figure out some of this stuff before you spend any more time dreaming about places you want to see. Good luck.

Hopefully you'll be able to make it work to combine Italy and Croatia, and if you can, then take the advice above and limit the number of places in Italy to 3 if you only have about 10 days.
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