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Help with 16-night Sept-Oct Itinerary for Croatia

Help with 16-night Sept-Oct Itinerary for Croatia

Old Aug 9th, 2015, 12:09 PM
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Help with 16-night Sept-Oct Itinerary for Croatia

Hello, We (5 people,, ages 26-57) are arriving Dubrovnik, Croatia at 5pm Sept 22 and have allotted 16-nights to enjoy the country. We have left our departure flight open for now, until we've firmed up the itinerary, but thought we might fly out from Zagreb, as another posted had suggested it.

Our interests are: mild to moderate hiking, seeing beautiful waterfalls, wandering quaint, winding streets, architecture, ruins, sitting and idly watching passerby (or otherwise interesting sights), sipping wine, pleasure boating, beautiful sandy beaches, oddities, cliffs or picturesque towns built into cliffs (originally we planned to go to Cinque Terre and end in Venice, but think we're better off saving this for another time)...

Ideally, to avoid the stress of packing/unpacking and moving from destination to destination, it would be ideal to stay in only 3 or 4 places, and do our sightseeing as day trips from these places.

Never having been to Croatia, we are not familiar with travel within the country, or to to the islands. I am trying to solidify an itinerary. Below is the itinerary I came up with. It is based pretty much from in depth research using the Rough Guide to Croatia as well as Fodor's threads. We put together a list of the things we thought would be the most interesting for us as a group, and put them in an order we thought made sense, but we aren't sure on some things… such as

1) are there places or day trips we should omit, based on time or reward value
2) from which destination should the day trips originate from?
3) car or no car?
4) number of nights in each destination?

I didn't know how many nights to allow for each destination, and realize I may have too many destinations for a 16-night trip, but this is the purpose of this post..

Here is the rough Itinerary we have so far. Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions.

September 22 arrive Dubrovnik

DUBROVNIK “Amazing”
- Accommodations?
Things to Do:
War Memorial
Tour Old Town
Possible Day Trips from Dubrovnik:
- Kupari, Kupa Dubroacka (beautiful beach against abandoned buildings)
- Korcula* (need a car? Should this be a day trip, a pass-through, or an overnight?)
- Ston and Mali Stone (climb the stairs on the wall in Ston. Drive farther to the vineyard towns?)
- Bay of Kotor – “Just Amazing” Montnegro (Cetinje) – day trip or overnight?

KORCULA “Precious, Lovely”
- Accommodations? Or just a day trip or pass-through?
-
- Need a car here?

HVAR
- Accommodations? Rent an apartment with gorgeous ocean views?
Things to Do:
People watch the rich and famous/yachts on the Riva
Possible Day trips from Hvar:
- (?) Bus to Stari Grad for fish fest
- Brac – Supetar for cemetery
- Bol and Zlatni Rat – take a boat ride through all the beautiful grottos, cool caves and private beaches

TROGIR “Spectacular”
- Accommodations?
Things to do in Trogir
- wander the medieval streets in the cool of the evening
- see D. Castle
Possible day trips from Trogir:
- Krka National Park; Skradinski Buk (a 500mm sequence of seventeen mini cascades spilling over barriers of travertine…several tiers of waterfalls) and Roski Slap: (carpet weaving and beside-the-riverbank activities are demonstrated by staff in local costume – worth it, or dullsville?)
- Day trip to Makarska
- Day trip to Sibenek
- SPLIT (spend a whole day or what?)

PLITVICE NATIONAL PARK
- Accommodations
Things to Do in Plitvice:
- 6-hour loop around the lakes (kja, thank you for this suggestion!)

ROVINJ “Lovely” (Istria and Inland Istria)
Accommodations?
Things to do:
- artists, old town
- aquarium oldest in Europe
Possible day trips from Rovinj:
- Rent a car and drive the coast west of Lovran (thank you, Yorkshire, for this suggestion!) for the scenery (to appease and please us, since we are thinking of not going to Cinque Terre, after all, during this trip)
- Day trip to Buzet, Mirna Valley – Trail of the Seven Waterfalls
- Day trip to Porec – Basilica of Euphrasius (mosaics)
- Motovun – worth going to?
- Oprtalj – Parenza Hiking and Cycling Trail and/or “simply to wander”

ZAGREB “Quite Odd”
Accommodations – one night?
Things to do
- Museum of Broken Relationships (an oddity)
- Britanski Trg Market Ionly on Sunday mornings)
- Enjoy “normal” food
- Fly out from Zagreb





-
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Old Aug 9th, 2015, 01:41 PM
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I haven't been following your earlier threads, but because you mentioned "watefalls" let me throw out a few more you may not be aware of in Bosnia (requiring a car though)

Kravice Waterfalls: near the town of Ljubuški. Beautiful falls, a detour on your drive from Dubrovnik up to Trogir, fairly easy to get to by car (get to Ljubuški then follow signs to Kravice). There is a paid parking lot - they accept Croatian Kuna for payment if you don't have any Bosnian marks.

Una National Park - a rugged park near the town of Bihać, Bosnia, very close to Plitvice Lakes National Park (but a car is required to get there). Whereas Plitvice (an amazing park) is very tame and user-friendly, Una is much more rugged and harder to access (but also far fewer people). There a couple of big waterfalls in the park; I saw the amazing Štrbački buk, one of several big waterfalls I saw in Bosnia and the one that really took my breath away. There is also a park entrance fee - I had Bosnia marks so I paid with them, not sure if they'd take Kuna (probably). It is a bit time consuming to get to Štrbački buk (you can drive to it but over unpaved roads) but worth it for me.

In Zagreb, I'd highly recommend the Croatian Museum of Naive Art (and I'm not much of a museum person). It's a small museum of paintings from Croatian peasant painters.

I did a night in Kotor. I didn't fall in love with the town of Kotor itself but the Bay of Kotor is amazing - fantastic scenery. A scenic drive from Kotor to Cetinje up through the mountains via Njeguši offers breathtaking views down on the Bay but many narrow hairpin turns (I had no trouble with the drive myself). You could do all of this as a long day trip...but the night in Kotor makes it much more relaxed and easier.
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Old Aug 9th, 2015, 02:38 PM
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From the Dalmatian coast you might want to consider an overnight trip to Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Very different from the Dalmatian coast and very interesting. It is crowded with day trippers and much quieter and more beautiful in the evening and morning.

I think that Ston/Mali Ston and the vineyards on the Peljesac Penninsula are well worth visiting. See my trip report from 2010 (day 5)
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...tober-2010.cfm
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Old Aug 9th, 2015, 04:20 PM
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Thanks Andrew for your thoughts on the waterfalls, museum in Zagreb and Kotor. We will try to incorporate them into our trip. And thanks Vttraveler for your thoughts. We have seen Mostar mentioned in other posts but we are not sure how much Croatia time we can give up for Bosnia & Herzegovina. But with your recommendation, we shall give a try. And thanks for confirming Ston/Mali Ston and vineyards as worthwhile destinations (I'll take a look at your trip report). Your inputs are very much appreciated.
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Old Aug 9th, 2015, 04:38 PM
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I think this plan is MUCH improved over your earlier one! And thanks, teadrinker, for providing the link on your prior thread. ☺ And thanks, too, for providing a summary of your interests – that is incredibly helpful information! I trust you know that you probably won’t find sandy beaches or cliff-side towns with this itineary, but you should find much to satisfy your other interests. Some thoughts and comments to specific questions:

Dubrovnic – I thoroughly enjoyed staying at the Villa Adriatica, which still gets good reviews. It’s a bit quirky, but the views are stunning and the location hard to beat:
http://www.villa-adriatica.net

I was satisfied with a day trip to Kotor; YMMV. I used a one-day car rental.

Don’t miss the Buza Bar!

Korcula – much better as an overnight, IMO, especially if you can do it on a night when the morisca is performed. You do NOT need a car for Korcula. Don’t miss the cathedral. Given your interests, consider a short hike into the hills above town for some gorgeous views.

Hvar – If you take a day trip to Stari Grad, don’t miss Tvrdalj. It may lack a few vowels, but makes up for it in lots of other ways. ;-)

Trogir – you might look into staying at the Palace Stafileo Apartments. I was very well pleased with my stay there, and it still gets excellent reviews.

While in Trogir, don’t miss the Cathedral, which has some of the most exquisite stonework imaginable.

Given your interest in waterfalls, making time for a day trip to the Krka National Park makes good sense.

Sibenik is also worthy.

And I found WAY more to do in Split than I could possibly have managed in a single day. YMMV.

I don’t think you’ll regret your time in the Plitvice Lakes. My recommendation is to start at the lower end, so you are facing the falls as you walk. I thought the park rangers at each entrance very helpful, so don’t hesitate to ask them before you start out – they have some “standard” recommendations, but were happy to work with people to tailor their walks to specific interests. Many people say to start very early, before the day trippers arrive, but I was glad to start at about 10 a.m., which put me -- for most of the way -- behind the faster moving day trippers. ;-)

In Rovinj, I thought the Casa Garzotta commendable, and it still gets good reviews.

I enjoyed the aquarium, but keep in mind that it is small (or at least it was when I was there) and not in any way on a par with the great aquariums in the world. But you can visit it without investing a chunk of time and it is certainly pleasant enough, IMO.

I second yorkshire’s recommendation to go to Lovran and walk the glorious Lungomare to Opatija. If you are driving, you can take a bus back to Lovran. I did not like Opatija itself; others have had different experiences.

I found the basilica in Porec awesome, and roaming the town should fit some of your other interests.

Of the (few) hill towns I visited, I enjoyed Motovun and Gračišće most.
And do consider Beram for its outstanding frescoes.

In Zagreb, I stayed at the Best Western Hotel Astoria, which still gets mostly positive reviews. Some of the rooms are VERY small, so if that matters, be sure to consider how to approach the issues.

Two of my favorite places in Zagreb were the national archive (consider arranging a tour, if you can) and the Mirogoj Cemetery. But I doubt you could see both if you have just one night there….
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Old Aug 10th, 2015, 02:32 AM
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If you do some or all of the Lungomare walk, note that it runs past Opatija to finish at Volosko fishing village. This part of the walk is the most impressive stretch for me and Volosko itself is beautifully quaint. The number 32 bus travels regularly alongside the entire walk if needed.
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Old Aug 16th, 2015, 06:35 PM
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Kja, your suggestions and advice have been invaluable, we will certainly be paying close attention �� to all of them!
Thank you PolSmit for the Lungomare tips and insight there.
We are about to make our return flights home (probably from Zagreb) tonight.
Sadly, my daughter and her boyfriend will be unable to stay with us for the entire 22 day itinerary; he is unable to get the entire time off from work, having only been allowed two-weeks, so either they're going to drop out entirely or they'll depart mid-trip. He hasn't traveled outside the U.S. (only once, to St John I think it was), and had hoped to see Croatia AND IT, so maybe they'll figure out how to do that with his total of 14 nights all told.
We will stick with the itinerary we came up with though, and shall miss our two fellow travelers whenever it is that they decide they must depart from this.
I'll try to take notes so as to post a trip report upon our return. It'd be my first trip report!
Thank you!
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Old Aug 16th, 2015, 06:54 PM
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Given your plan, a departure flight from Zagreb makes sense to me.

I hope the arrangements with your daughter and her friend work out to everyone's satisfaction, if not everyone's delight.

A trip report would be nice! But if that proves too much, at least let us know what you thought.

And if you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask!
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Old Aug 21st, 2015, 09:04 AM
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kja, I do have a question for you! What do you think of our itinerary given the fact that my daughter and her boyfriend feel like they want to do croatia AND Italy within 14 days which includes travel days?
Would you say that we should just stick with our original itinerary which means they'd only get to do Dubrovnik and the excursions from there, or should we try to switch things up to enhance their stay in Croatia somehow without making a mess of our own itinerary?
And then where to go in Italy and from what airport in Croatia?
Just wondering if you had any thoughts on this.
Also, we haven't made any accommodations for lodging yet. Should we get on that next?
Thank you very much.
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Old Aug 21st, 2015, 09:31 AM
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Please see my new post in regards to how to pack light for this trip:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-sept-oct.cfm
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Old Aug 21st, 2015, 05:44 PM
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We visited Motovun and Groznjan in Istria. Of the two, I liked Groznjan better. Loved Casa Garzotto in Rovinj!
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Old Aug 21st, 2015, 06:17 PM
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Well, first of all, there are no right or wrong answers here!

Personally, I hate hate HATE spending time traveling between destinations when there are places I want to see that I could see with much less transportation time. That means that I, personally, would never try to combine Italy and Croatia -- each has FAR to much to be seen in a single 2 week trip, and Croatia, in particular, is too time-consuming to reach for me to sacrifice any time to anything that isn't adjacent and easily reached. But that's just me! Too, I'm a solo traveler, which is very different than thinking about quality time with others about whom one cares.

Perhaps your daughter and her friend might consider flying into Dubrovnik to meet you there, and then travel on to Korcula with you, flying out of Split. I don't know how that would work with their plans, but it would give you a bit more time together than if they just tried to fly into/out of Dubrovnik. And FWIW, when I went, I found it easier to go from Korcula to Split and then "backtrack" to Hvar than to go from Korcula to Hvar to Split -- but I suspect that depends on a whole lot of things that might not apply in your case.

As for lodging, I can think of no reason NOT to begin looking -- as long as you book only places that you can cancel in advance. I recommend checking booking.com -- and do pay attention to the cancellation time frames! Actually, I would start looking for lodging as soon as you can -- some of the smaller, better situated, more affordable places book up months in advance.

Hope that helps!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 02:09 PM
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@ kja - my daughter and her friend are sticking with us and have made flights to Rome from Split on Sept 29th.
Currently, we are looking for a hotel to stay at in DBV… she wanted a special hotel and suggested the Hotel Bellevue or the Princess one for the start of the trip, since we'll be together for such a short time.
We are thinking maybe of cutting down the # of nights in DBV from our original itinerary (from 5 nights to ???) and maybe cutting down the # of nights in Hvar (from 3 nights to ???) and traveling to Split with them so that at least we get to maybe walk the medieval streets in the evening with them before they go…
What do you all say about the short (7-nights) we have to spend with them, and modifying our itinerary so we all get the most punch from these 7 nights?
Any recommendations for some nice or special places to stay in DBV, Hvar Trogi or anywhere else further along on our itinerary?
That Villa Adriatica looks really GREAT, but it's so small and we need 3 separate rooms…. we emailed them but no response yet.
What parts of DBV would be the most suited to us?
We have the town of DBV, the monastery, Mount Srd, boat tour, Ston and Mali Ston - vineyards of Peljesac Peninsula and so much more as possible side trips while in DBV, including Montenegro and Kotor…
thank you!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 03:34 PM
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Here is yet another derivative of this post! (specifically on how to tailor our original itinerary to suit the members who are departing prematurely after 7-nights with us!)
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-be-missed.cfm
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 03:42 PM
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It really depends on what you want to see and experience!

Dubrovnik itself is small and doesn't take very long to see. I spent 3 nights there, about 2.5 days in all, and that included a full day in Montenegro, a half day at the Trsteno Arboretum, and a few hours on Lokrum. I didn't make it to most of the places you've mentioned.

I'm afraid I can't advise you about hotels in Dubrovnik other than the Villa Adriatica, which I enjoyed, but it is quirky! Personally, I would want to stay within the walls, or as near to them as possible; YMMV. Check the reviews on tripadvisor and booking.com and see what suits your interests.

I can't advise you on Hvar Town, either, as I didn't stay there -- I just spent a half day there, and stayed instead in Stari Grad. I thought Hvar Town very beautiful, but too upscale for my tastes. JMO!

I loved Split, especially walking around the Palace and medieval lanes in the evening, so yes, that is something you might want to consider. I think I mentioned above that you might look into options fro going from Korcula to Split and then to Hvar?

For tiny Trogir, I think I already mentioned the Palace Stafileo -- lovely place, IMO.

Sorry I can't answer your other questions!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 05:04 PM
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We can't get through to Villa Adriatica and are feeling pressured tonight to at least get three rooms secured for our first four nights in Croatia!
But... We are having such a time trying to book rooms at the Bellevue Hotel for four nights in DBV. We are at least starting this journey out on a "plush" slippered foot, as our time together as a party of five is limited and therefor special.
We found that the rates were less on Expedia than on booking.com for some reason, and there are not cancelable - we'd have had to pay tons of $$$ to get a room that was modifiable!
It was very difficult to find what size the rooms are that are listed, "classic" "deluxe" "superior"...
Question: is one double bed in a hotel room in Croatia pretty much standard? We could not find rooms with two doubles and the only room available with a King sized bed was the 'executive suite' which was not an option.
Plugging away here, one step at a time...
Thank you...
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:32 PM
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"is one double bed in a hotel room in Croatia pretty much standard?"

I would not think so, but I can't say for sure. You need to consult the sources already mentioned, and as necessary, web-sites for the hotels themselves.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 04:41 AM
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Our friends who lived in Bosnia and visited the Croatian coast frequently really liked the Marco Polo hotel part way between Dubrovnik and Split. We stopped by on one of our trips there but were not able to get a room, and it seemed very nice

Makarska is another town partway--very stunning location with mountains rising steeply close to the water

We also liked Split very much and would have liked more time there (had only one day)
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Old Aug 31st, 2015, 01:15 PM
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We are planning a trip to Croatia next Sept so would be interested in hearing about your trip when you return. We'd like to spend about 3 weeks there.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2015, 11:00 AM
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Hello, I just returned home from being away for awhile, and the internet there stopped working, so I was unable to return to this post!
Vttraveler, thank you for mentioning the Marco Polo hotel and the town of Makarska… I had not heard of those and will check both out. We are currently looking for accommodations in Trogir, but maybe the Marco Polo hotel would work out - not sure if Trogir or whatever town the Marco Polo in would be best for 5 nights?
And we will add Makarska to our list of day trips from… Trogir?
TravelerKaren, I hope to take notes and post upon our return. It'd be my first time trying to keep track of things for this purpose!!!
I need to pack now that I'm home and that is a pretty big concern of mine right now, starting with weather, suitcase selection (and size), etc. Big Job! Suggestions appreciated! I am going to try to PACK LIGHT. If I succeed, it will probably be the first time in my life I ever accomplished it. Suggestions on carry ons (backpack?) would be helpful too.
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