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Help with family trip- Croatia, Bosnia, Italy and Spain this August

Help with family trip- Croatia, Bosnia, Italy and Spain this August

Old Mar 5th, 2022, 07:43 AM
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Help with family trip- Croatia, Bosnia, Italy and Spain this August

My Husband and 6 of our children, from 24 to 12 yrs, will be travelling to Europe. Most of the holiday will be in August as our 18yr old son is starting University in Madrid August 29th, so that's our end point.I have been going through trip reports and various threads and so far I have the itinerary below, I'd appreciate any suggestions. We live in Barbados and the best airfare option is doing a return trip to London, and then booking flights from there.

Barbados -London July 26th, arrive Jul 27th- 2 days in London
30th July- fly London to Dubrovnik - stay 2 nights -rent 2 cars on August 1st to drive to Bosnia-Herzegovina
1st -5th August- Medjugorje- from here visit Mostar and the Kravica waterfalls
August 6th Travnik: - August 5th drive to Travnik and overnight there @montypython2000 I was inspired by your trip report
August 7-10 Bihac- visit Una national park and Piltivice Lakes
August 10-12 Sarajevo
August 12 -15 Split
August 15-18 Rovinji - visit Porec, Pula, Motovun
August 18-22 Italy, 4 days in Italy, Venice 2 days- have not figured out the other 2 days, would love suggestions in iIaly, or if to visit Slovenia . I am thinking we drive to Italy and return the cars there. If we drive it will be possible to stop somewhere before returning the car in Venice. I know there is a fee to return in a different country but the ferry from Rovinji to Venice for 8 people is 460 Euro, think it would be cheaper to drive.
August 22st- 25th fly to Seville spend 3 nights
August 25th overnight in Cordoba
August 26th- overnight in Toledo
August 27-August 30th Madrid
August 30- Fly to London, overnight
August 31st -return to Barbados

I realise Seville and Cordoba are very hot at this time but we have to travel in August. We have also been debating if the trip is a good idea given Russia's invasion of Ukraine. I have been reading the thread on that...and hoping for the best.

I'd appreciate your feedback, we did a trip France and Spain 9 years ago and the wisdom gained from this forum was invaluable in the planning.
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Old Mar 5th, 2022, 08:41 AM
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The bus - train solution from Rovinj via Trieste to Venice is much cheaper
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Old Mar 5th, 2022, 09:13 AM
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This will be complicated by the size of your group and having two cars plus you are counting two places on the same days which doesn't account for travel times.

You really have:
Aug 7-8 Bihac
Aug 9 drive to Sarajevo (takes more the 5 hours)

August 10-11 Sarajevo
Aug 12 drive to Split (4+ hour drive)

Aug 13 -14 Split
Aug 15 drive to Rovinji (close to a 6 hour drive)

Aug 16-17 Rovinji
Aug 18 drive to Venice - Maybe 3.5 hrs drive so half a day on arrival in Venice
Aug 18- 21in Italy Leaving you 2.5 days free in Italy
Aug 22 fly to Seville
Aug 23 -24 Seville


Do you really have the time to see all the places/sites on your wish list? Especially considering 8 people along for the ride and two different cars which complicates things a fair bit. With a group that size, things may take longer (or a lot longer) than two people dashing around Europe.
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Old Mar 5th, 2022, 09:31 AM
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[QUOTE=dmarquez;17339831]

August 7-10 Bihac- visit Una national park and Piltivice Lakes
August 10-12 Sarajevo
August 12 -15 Split
August 15-18 Rovinji - visit Porec, Pula, Motovun
August 18-22 Italy, 4 days in Italy, Venice 2 days- have not figured out the other 2 days, would love suggestions in iIaly, or if to visit Slovenia . I am thinking we drive to Italy and return the cars there. If we drive it will be possible to stop somewhere before returning the car in Venice. I know there is a fee to return in a different country but the ferry from Rovinji to Venice for 8 people is 460 Euro, think it would be cheaper to drive.
August 22st- 25th fly to Seville spend 3 nights

August 25th overnight in Cordoba
August 26th- overnight in Toledo
August 27-August 30th Madrid

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧-
It is very easy to overestimate the time in each place when you do not separate travel days from sightseeing days, and confusing when a day is counted in two places. It is also easy to underestimate how much time you will spend traveling, and you need to include time getting from hotel to hotel if you are using public transport.

If August 10 is in Plitivce Lakes, it cannot also be in Sarajevo.
If August 18 is in Rovinji, it cannot also be in Italy. If it is a travel day from Rovinji to Italy, and you are flying to Spain on August 22, then you do not have four days in Italy, only 3.

I am only familiar with the distances in Italy and Spain, so some others may be really short, but these are not, and this is how it really looks for part of the trip.
August 18: Travel Rovinji to Venice
August 19, 20, 21, Venice with day trip (or to the departure city)
August 22, Fly to Seville, (at least 1/2 to 3/4 day, hotel to hotel)
August 23 & 24, Seville, 2 full days
August 25, Train to Cordoba (train an hour; getting from and to next hotel, another hour), overnight.
August 26, train to Toledo (at least 1/2 a day or more, hotel to hotel). Overnight
August 27, Madrid, short train or bus from Toledo, but you might want the morning in Toledo.
August 28 & 29, Madrid, 2 full days
August 30, Fly to London, from hotel in Madrid to hotel in London (3/4 day)

I like cities at night, and Toledo and Cordoba are both lovely at night, but with eight (8) of you, I would try to eliminate some hotel moves. You could stay another night in Seville and just do an easy day trip by train to Cordoba. You could do Toledo or Segovia as a nice day trip from Madrid.

Certainly, with only three days in Italy, I would choose one place and do day trips. From Venice, it could be Padova or Vicenza or the islands in the lagoon.

I also love Italy, especially Venice, but for this trip, I would drop Italy and use that travel time and sightseeing time for more in Spain, three nights in Granada, Spain, and time for two nights in Cordoba, or perhaps Barcelona instead of Italy.


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Old Mar 5th, 2022, 10:37 AM
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The places you would like to visit are all worthwhile but I believe you are underestimating the difficulty of such a large group traveling together in a timely fashion. Which places would you consider your 5 star "must do" destinations?

Currently, I believe you have 14 different lodging locations. I agree with trying to minimize your number of hotel locations and trying to add day trips. Also consider that hotels may not be ready for you to check in when you first arrive and it may be hard to store luggage for a family of 8. Your family may occasionally even want to split up with some doing a day trip and others spending more time in your base locations.

I love Italy but that seems like the outlier. You may want more time in London, particularly if you have not visited there before, as you will be tired after your long flight and there are many worthwhile places to visit.
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Old Mar 5th, 2022, 12:24 PM
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Janisj’s advice is spot on.

KTtravel’s idea of more time in London is great! Wish I had thought of that. The weather is good then. You will already be there, so rather than eating up so much time and money in travel for eight people to Italy for only three days, you could actually be seeing/doing more.
You could spend all the extra time in England and do a couple of day trips or overnights from London, or you could add two or three days to London and still do two nights in Cordoba.

Dropping Italy opens up so many options for maximizing sightseeing.

Rent hotels with pools in Spain. Most things close in the afternoon, so you can all enjoy a respite from the heat.
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Old Mar 5th, 2022, 12:37 PM
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Thank you Sassfrass, KTravel and Janisj, you are right I have not planned in enough travel time. We would like to go both to Sarajevo and Bihac, but they are in opposite directions from Travnik, so increase the travel time from one o the other, need to think what we can leave out.
Neckervd I will need to look at the bus/ train option.

Being so close to Venice many in our family would like to see it, so that's why we have included it. We will have to see it we can keep it.

We like to stay in a place when the day trippers have left, so that is why I have the overnights in Cordoba and Toledo. I do see the constant moving can be difficult. We are thinking of renting a car/cars when leaving Seville to travel to Madrid, and return in Madrid. I thought with a car doing the overnights would be easier. I will look at Granada again, DH and I am very interested in the Alhambra, not as sure with the younger teens, I need to do some more research on that end. what if we cut out Toledo, and send 2 nights in Cordoba? Lots to consider.

We will definitely have some time in London, either at the beginning or end of Europe portion or the trip.

I am sure i'll have more questions as I adjust the itinerary, thanks for the help so far
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Old Mar 5th, 2022, 02:04 PM
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From Seville to Cordoba is super easy by train. Madrid to Toledo is only about 25 minutes by train (or bus). Parking and driving was horrible in Toledo. Though it depended somewhat on your hotel, driving and parking was not easy in Seville and was difficult in Cordoba. It was not fun in Madrid. A car between Seville and Madrid does not make things easier, IMHO. However, it has been awhile since we drove there, so perhaps it has changed. We enjoyed the car along the coast and for slow travel in the countryside, but definitely not city to city.

BTW, I think this will be an incredible trip and a great memory for the whole family, no matter what you decide or how you do it. Bravo!

Last edited by Sassafrass; Mar 5th, 2022 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Another comment
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Old Mar 5th, 2022, 09:55 PM
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The borders will be very busy in August. Maybe just drop Italy completely and fly from Croatia to Spain direct. Iberia has a flight Split to Madrid. Limit your border crossings from Bosnia into Croatia too, a lot of people from Bosnia go to the beach.. maybe visit Plitvice on the way from Sarajevo to Split rather than as a day trip from Bihać (and spend the night.)

If you take Italy out, you could also go from Plitvice to Rovinj, then down to Split.

The borders between Croatia and Slovenia were insane last August. If you do go, I would find a driver to take you, they know what border crossings are busy and when. That would probably be just as cheap or cheaper than taking two cars to Italy.
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 08:37 AM
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I'd drop Italy.

2 days in Venice is barely a taster and not really worthwhile, local to Venice are a bunch of lovely places like Padova but again you are at the height of the summer season. So either give it enough time or drop it.
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 09:03 AM
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Rialtogrl thanks for the reminder re boarder crossings. This is what we are thinking of now.

July 27th fly Barbados- London
28-29 London
July 30- fly London to Dubrovnik
July 31st Dubrovnik
August 1st rent cars and travel to Medjugorji
August 2-4 Medjugorji
August 5th- travel to Travnik,
August 6 overnight Travnik
August 7-10 Bihac
August 11 travel to Sarajavo
August 12- 14 Sarajavo
August 15 travel to Split
August 16 -17 Split
August 18 travel to Rovinji
August 19-21rd Roviniji _ return car
August 22nd- ferry from Rovinji to Venice
August 23rd - Venice
August 24- fly Venice to Seville
August 25-27 Seville
August 28th -train Seville to Madrid
August 29 to 31st Madrid
Sept 1st fly Madrid to London
September 2nd Fly London Barbados

There are more flight options from Venice to Seville than from Split or Rijeka, and with the boarder considerations the ferry seems the easiest way to get to Venice. We cut out the overnights in Cordoba and Toledo, if the family is up to it we will do day trips. Regarding Piltivice lakes we will be very close in Bihac, so we will either go from there, or will have to leave it out. No time for Granada this trip. Any feedback on this plan is appreciated!
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 09:14 AM
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IMHO, only one day in Venice in the heat and crowds of August will be enough to spoil it for everyone for ever.
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 09:19 AM
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You are going to have 1.5 days in Venice - in the middle of August. I really wouldn't bother. I'd take the ferry to Venice and fly straight on to Spain.
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 09:19 AM
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we were posting at the same time . . .
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 10:06 AM
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I hope you change your mind and skip Venice this time, but a few thoughts if you go ahead with it.

If there was just one of you or even two, and you were a bit familiar with Venice, you might be able to duck around people and get to places where you could see and enjoy an hour of two of Venice. DH and I grab each other’s hands and head in the direction we know can circle the crowds, but with eight people, if there are crowds, you will likely get separated. You will probably not all get on a vaporetto together. On Rialto Bridge and around the vaporetto stop at San Marco, you can be caught in a crowd crush. Make sure your credit cards, money, etc. is inside your clothing.
Each of you should have the name and phone number for the hotel with you.
For your group, arrange a guide ahead of time. That would help and help you navigate.

I have arrived in Venice by plane, train, car and bus, never ferry, so can’t advise on best way to do things on arrival. Perhaps someone else can. You do want to ride a vaporetto, but not on arrival with eight people and luggage, pulling or pushing through crowds. Either hire a boat to take you to your hotel (perhaps someplace on Dorsoduro near vaporetto stops) or get a hotel within a short walk from the Santa Lucia train station. There are quite a few within three or four blocks. If this is not good arriving by ferry, I am sure someone else can help.

To see San Marco, get up super early, before bus or cruise groups arrive.
Take a vaporetto ride in early evening, when lights are on.

Restaurants often plan food and will not have tables for eight at the last minute, so make dinner reservations for nights you are there.
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 11:54 AM
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Thank you all, Venice in August when none of us know the city sounds like a bad idea. Now to figure out the best way to get from Croatia to Seville ...
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 12:11 PM
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Janisj, KTtravel, Bilboburgler and others, please say if you think my advice about the OP’s possible short visit to Venice was too negative. I love Venice so much, but with their group of eight, it just seemed not a good choice for only a day in August.
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
Janisj, KTtravel, Bilboburgler and others, please say if you think my advice about the OP’s possible short visit to Venice was too negative. I love Venice so much, but with their group of eight, it just seemed not a good choice for only a day in August.

Not at all IMO -- between the heat, crowds, a group that size traveling together, and such a short visit . . . . if anything you may have even understated things just a bit. Don't get me wrong - I love Venice (but haven't been there nearly as many times as some of you) but I just think that would be a perfect storm of 'badness'.
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 02:10 PM
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Sassafrass I genuinely appreciate the advice, the thought of fighting through crowds and worrying about being separated- that doesn't sound like a holiday. There is a direct flight from Zagreb to Malaga August 24th which should work just fine for us.
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 02:29 PM
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One suggestion - you might want to research the transportation options between the various destinations. I just quickly looked into the possibility of flying from various Croatian locations to Sevilla and I couldn’t find any nonstop flights, so you’d have to fly to Madrid and then catch a flight. And not all airports have nonstop flights to Madrid, either.

And the more I think about it, the more it occurs to me that Seville will be very hot in August. I was there in May during a heat wave, and I couldn’t imagine being there in August.

Personally, I would look at distances between places, transportation options and weather carefully in order to plan this important family trip.
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