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Help with itinerary and making choices: What to cut? Which are your favorite islands? Krka or Plitvice Park? Drive from Dubrovnik to Split or ferry?

Help with itinerary and making choices: What to cut? Which are your favorite islands? Krka or Plitvice Park? Drive from Dubrovnik to Split or ferry?

May 31st, 2008, 07:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 64
Help with itinerary and making choices: What to cut? Which are your favorite islands? Krka or Plitvice Park? Drive from Dubrovnik to Split or ferry?

I'm still trying to refine our Croatia/Slovenia itinerary and need your help. It needs thinning out and refinement:

June 22 -26 Dubrovnik with day trip to Mostar

June 26 ferry to Korcula from Zaostrog. (has anyone taken this ferry?) overnight on Korcula.

June 27 ferry to Brac (Vis instead?)

June 28 ferry to Split. overnight in Split.

June 29 Split to Zadar with stop in Trogir. Overnight in Zadar (Skip Zadar? Another island instead?)

June 30 Zadar to Zagreb via Plitvice

June 30 overnight in Zagreb (skip Zagreb?

July 1-2 Ljublljana

July 3 Ljublijana to Istria; overnight in Pula

July 4 ferry Pula to Venice.

Please help with the following:

1) What should be cut to allow us to spend more time in other places?

We are especially interested in seeing natural beauty and places of historical/architectural significance, but also need to build in beach time for our 10-year old son.

2) Should we choose Plitvice or Krka park, and why?

3) What are your favorite islands and why? If we cut out Zadar or Zagreb (or both), should we spend more time on Istria, or find another island to visit?

Your suggestions would be appreciated!
baloney is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 07:09 AM
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I forgot to ask about the drive from Dubrovnik to Split. Is there still construction on the road? I had planned to island hop our way from Zaostrog (north of Dubrovnik) to Split, instead of driving up the coast, in part to avoid the chance of interminable construction delays. But if the drive up the coast is not to be missed, we could drive to Split from Dubrovnik and take the ferry from there to Korcula and Brac (or maybe Vis instead). Any suggestions?
baloney is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 05:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 185
Hi Baloney: We're doing a similar trip and after much research settled upon the following itinerary...hope this helps.

June 21-25 DBV with day trip to Montenegro

June 25 drive to Orebic,( after checking out Ston and Mali Ston), leave car there and ferry to Korcula for a few hours, return and then drive to Trpanj, midway on the peninsula and ferry to Ploce (mainland, thus bypassing Bosnia-Herzegovina and some coastal traffic). We chose this route because it cut out some driving for my husband while affording us most of the beautiful coastal experience that people recommend. We then go up the coast and overnight in Makarska Riviera.

June 26 drive up to Split, leave the car there and ferry to Hvar. (This gives dh a break with no driving for a couple of days without the hassle of returning the car and then picking up another car).
June 26 and 27 overnight Hvar.

June 28 and 29 Split. We'll return in the afternoon, relax after check-in and checkout the Riva and part of the palace. On the 29th do a palace tour and then go to Trogir. I'd like to stop at Kastela either enroute to Trogir or to Split, time permitting.

June 30 early departure from Split to Plitvice.

July 1-4 Plitvice to Rovinj and explore the Istrian hilltowns and Pula. July 3 we'll drop our car off in Pula and bus back to Rovinj.

July 4 Venezia ferry from Rovinj to Venice

July 5 fly to London Gatwick and enjoy a dinner at Ye Olde Six Bells Pub.

July 6 Heathrow to home.

We had a difficult time scheduling this trip because so many wonderful places had to be eliminated and ferry travel incorporated into our plans.

Yea! less than 3 weeks before our trip.
sha is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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If you have a car, you should just drive to Orebic and ferry to Korcula. You should spend more than one night there. There is a sandy beach at Lumbarda--good for children. Also, when driving from Dbv to Korcula, you pass some nice mainland beaches. See Croatia-beaches website for list of kid-friendly beaches.
No direct ferry from Korcula to Brac or Vis. There is one to Hvar (Stari Grad), or go to Split. Vis is too far for only one night.
I'd eliminate Zadar and stay longer on Korcula or another island.
I haven't ridden all the way from Dbv to Split, but the Dbv-Orebic stretch is very nice.
Zagreb and Ljub. seem out of the way for this itinerary, in fact, all of the northern part of your plan seems to be all driving. Since you need to end up in Venice, why not ferry up the coast from Split to Rijeka and then explore Istria (don't go all the way there for one night in Pula--the interior is the good part).
If you drive up the coast, then I'd say choose Krka, if you drive to Zagreb, I'd choose Plitvice.
Hope that helps. Most important: stay in most places 3 nights and cut down on the driving.
yorkshire is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 05:58 AM
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baloney - We were in Croatia in March, and we ferried from Dubrovnik (2 nights) to Korcula (2 nights) to Split and then drove from Split to Plitvice (with a lunch detour in Trogir). Is there a particular reason you are interested in Zadar? I have not been so cannot speak to it, but Plitvice was absolutely amazing, and I would recommend making the most of your time there as opposed to just a pass thru. We spent 2 nights there and had a wonderful time. You can read my trip report for more information.

I also noticed you have like 6 one-nighters in the itinerary. We, too, like to make the most of our vacations but that seems like an awful lot of moving around. Just a thought.

sessa is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 08:01 PM
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Sha, it does sound like we'll be taking a similar route, and at the same time. We arrive in Dubrovnik on June 22, and are also taking a ferry to Venice on July 4, only from Pula instead. You suggest leaving the car behind when ferrying to the islands. I've been puzzling over this issue and have found widely divergent opinions about it -- some say you'll want to have a car to be able to explore the islands (my 10 year old son won't be able to rent a motor scooter and it seems somewhat limiting to rely on public buses to explore); yet others say don't take a car. I'm thoroughly confused about this.

Everyone's helpful comments (thank you!) have reinforced my sense that I need to scale back this itinerary and spend more time in each place we visit. So, I think we'll skip Zagreb and possibly Zadar, too. Does anyone have any thoughts about Ljubljana, and the merits of going there on this trip, or skipping it? I've really liked everything I've read about Ljubljana, so I wanted to build it into the trip, but it's definitely a detour, and going there will mean less time in places like Istria, which I would like to have time to explore. If anyone has been to Ljubljana, please throw in your two cents.

Also, can anyone suggest one other island to visit besides Korcula? I like Yorkshire's suggestion about taking a ferry from Split to Rijeka. If we did that, I suppose one alternative for a second island would be one of the northern islands, though it's hard to know how to choose one over another.
baloney is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 01:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 156
Krka and Plitvice are both worth your while; I would choose the one that fits your itinerary best.

Ljubliana is an excellent though smallish city that is totally worth a visit too. Whether it's worth a detour is up to you.

As for Istria...you could backtrack less by visiting the Slovenian part of Istria; Piran in particular, then taking the train to Venice. Piran is a nice Istrian town, and I am somewhat reluctant to write this because of the responses I might get, but here goes

After seeing the coastal cities like Dubrovnik, Trogir, Split, Zadar, etc. I wasn't SO thrilled to be in Istria; I think I had simply seen enough marble and ocean by the time I got to Rovinj, Pula and Porec (which are beautiful to be fair). If you are like me and don't want to skip Istria altogether, Piran might satisfy your desires and offer an efficient alternative...I can't say I liked it any better or worse that Croatian Istria.

I've been to Croatia four times and I would not skip Plitvice or Zagreb to make time for Pula, but that's just me.
global_guy is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 07:32 AM
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Taking the car to the island boils down to these things to me:
1) How long will you be on the island? If only a couple of days, then you are likely to be checking out the town on foot and its immediate vicinity, plus boat excursions, etc., so you probably don't need one.
2) If you leave the car on the mainland, you have to figure out where to leave it. Plus, if you are not backtracking, then you'll need the car to continue on your route.
Finally, if you are the type to go-go-go, then walking around town and the nearest beaches only won't be enough for you. If on Hvar for example, you might want to drive to the lavendar fields and go find a secluded beach.

I think you should leave Ljubljana for a different trip when you will just explore Slovenia. As you see, there is a lot to see in Croatia and just planning 2 weeks is difficult. Plus it is so far out of your way since you are focusing on southern Dalmatia.
But, since you need to get to Venice, you could retool the trip to accommodate that.

The Split-Rijeka ferry does not make any stops on northern islands. I am not as familiar with the northern islands or Istria, and our resident Istria-phile seems to be away right now. They rave about the interior, but I agree that the coast probably cannot compare to the south.

Here's my itinerary suggestions:
1) Dubrovnik (3-4)--then you could overnight in Mostar (or do a day trip) before driving to Korcula (via Orebic).
2) Korcula (2?--depends on ferry schedule, or you could drive north to Split instead--and even catch a ferry to Hvar or Brac along the mainland before Split)
3) ferry to Hvar OR to Split, then ferry to Brac, as your 10 year old would probably like Zlatni Rat beach a lot. Either one, at least 2 days
4) Split/Trogir (2)
5) Plitvice (2)
6) head west to Istria
5) Krka
6) continue driving north (maybe stop in mountains in Kvarner region), west to Istria
end up in Pula for Venice ferry or find out best place to catch train or bus.

You can swim in parts of Krka but not at all at Plitvice, if that helps.
The beaches on Vis are excellent, but you would need the car for sure to get to them.
yorkshire is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 08:49 AM
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The OP asked if there was still construction on the coastal road from Dubrovnik to Split. There IS.

My husband and I drove on this road in early May. Just after the Bosnia checkpoint (the second one, so after Neum, heading north) we noticed that the road sign had what looked like a piece of tape through "Split." We wondered what it meant, but since there was no other indication of a problem, we drove on.

A short while later, we were pulled over and my husband's passport and license were checked. We were then instructed to park the vehicle. (Meanwhile the officer was checking everyone's docs, but let them drive on) It turned out that the road was closed due to construction and you needed a special pass or permit to drive there. We were then issued a 300 KN fine, which we paid in cash on the spot.

We were later told that it was obvious that we were in a rental car due to the prefix on our plates (DA--a cheap place to insure) We're not sure if the "pass/permit" was bogus or not, or if we were specifically targeted because we were foreign. We did meet another American couple in Split, and the same thing happened to them the next day.

In fairness, it was clear the road was under construction (we drove on dirt for a time after we were pulled over), and the officer did write the fine on a sheet that contained his badge number.

I'm not sure what the best way to by-pass this would be. From looking at the map, we guessed that the detour through Bosnia to avoid this construction would take a good hour and a half on smaller roads. Could be wrong though.

I will try to look on a map tonight to report the exact location of this closue that we encountered about a month ago.

Be aware if you're driving on the coastal road from Dubrovnik to Split! That "tape" over the word means the road is closed
keg9857 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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If you drive to Orebic along the Peljesac Peninsula, you can get the foot ferry across to Korcula (or the car ferry if you want to see more of the island).

Returning to Orebic you drive across the peninsula to Trpanj (not far, but I found it a slightly scary road!) and get the ferry over to Ploce on the mainland. Thia will avoid the border crossings through BiH and Neum.

The ferry takes an hour, but do get there in good time especially if you are planning on getting the last one of the day as it can get quite full. In October I took this route and was the second last car on board - it was a really tight squeeze, and there were a good few vehicles left on the quayside. Had I not got in line 20 minutes before the sailing I would have had to backtrack all the way down the peninsula and then back up the mainland which would have taken a good 2-3 hours.

julia_t is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 75
Hi! I have trip envy. Returned from Croatia recently and long to go back asap! There are so many phenomenal things to see in Croatia that you can't possibly go wrong with your itinerary (unless you move around so much that you deprive yourself of the opportunity to soak it all in but I don't think you will end up doing that). We drove from Dubrovnik to Split on May 20 and there was minimal construction (we had to stop for about 10 minutes at one point but that was it) and no detour. We had met people that drove that route a week before we did and they were forced to detour. Fortunately that had wrapped up by the time we made the trip. You could probably check with the TI or car rental company in Dubrovnik and find out. Sha mentioned Makarska-- we only stopped there for lunch but it was lovely and the next time I'm in Croatia I'd like to spend more time there. Definitely a beautiful place. As for Slovenia, we didn't make it there but met other travellers who raved about the caves so you might want to consider them if you head up that way. Have a wonderful time whatever you decide to do!
CordeliaCH is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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We've scaled back our itinerary in a couple of ways: cut out Zagreb and Zadar, and also opened up an extra day by taking the ferry to Venice a day later. So, I'm hoping the pace will be a bit more relaxed, and that we'll also have time to see some of the natural wonders in Slovenia, including one cave visit. CordeliaCH: did the travelers you met tell you which caves they liked so much? There seem to be two that are most popular : Postogjna and Skocjan. I'd love some help in choosing between them. Also, was the drive from Dubrovnik to Split rewarding and not-to-be-missed? I've been leaning towards avoiding the drive and going to Split by ferry. Any thoughts on that score?
baloney is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 06:09 PM
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As an old "former Yugoslavia" traveler (latter day Croatia, Bosnia, Momtmeegro and Slovenia, too), I have one sentence for you:

"Whatever you decide to do, do not pass up Plitvice."

And that's no baloney, baloney!

stu T.
tower is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 06:11 PM
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teribly bad spelling (typing) error....Montenegro, of course.

tower is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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That's terrible, I typed "terribly" incorrectly...the eye sight is the second thing to go...

tower is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 01:58 AM
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Having been to both, I would go to the Skocjan caves. They are included on the Unesco list since they represent the best of the best...when it comes to Slovenian caves

More seriously, they are superior and in particular the caverns (including one of the biggest anywhere) and underground water system are memorable.
global_guy is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 02:18 AM
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I drove from Split to Dubrovnik last October (via Mostar but that did not omit much of the coast road, only the bit by Neum and through that part of BiH). Returning I drove the coast road from Ploce (having taken the ferry across from Trpanj after a day on Korcula).

The coast road is not a particularly difficult drive. It does have stunning views, but the driver cannot really appreciate them as the road is very winding, the speed limit changes often, other cars overtake fast on blind bends, there are cars coming the other way also overtaking on blind bends, so drivers need to keep alert and their wits about them, rather than admire the scenery.

I'm glad I've done it, and would happily do it again, but I wouldn't say it was a do-not-miss experience.
julia_t is offline  

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