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I am driving myself crazy trying to choose between Croatia or Italy!

I am driving myself crazy trying to choose between Croatia or Italy!

Nov 23rd, 2005, 10:55 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,190
Barb - do you mean a nonstop flight from DC to Dubrovnik? I don't think there are any nonstops with those cities, a change of plane is required (on some airlines, it's a change in Brussels, on some it's Frankfurt, on some it's London).
dorkforcemom is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Oh, I thought you said you were flying from DC to Dubrovnik, in which case, it might have been easier for me to just fly to DC. I was pretty sure there were no direct flights from the US to Croatia, but I thought maybe you knew something I didn't. I'm thinking of maybe just taking the train from Rome to Bari and taking the ferry to Dub.
Barb is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I share the sentiment of many others that the time to go to Croatia is now, before things change and you know the inevitable. It is what prompted me to go last year and I'm really glad I did.

Flying directly into Dubrovnik is more expensive than via Zagreb or Split and there are fewer airlines that do it. Most are foreign charters, which means that you have to connect to/from a local airport that services charters.

Anyhow, heres an excerpt from my as yet unfinished (hopefully soon) and unpublished trip report. The full version covers flights, Croatian hotels and things to enjoy in Split, Dubrovnik, Brac and Hvar. Hope this might help you to decide one way or the other.

"....The hotel Vis is an older property and somewhat drab. However it is set hillside on a beautiful bay and has it’s own beach. More to my style and liking was the Hotel Uvalla, directly across the street (and next door to, I think, the Adriatic). The Uvalla is a modern establishment with a hip, minimalist, zen-like décor. Lots of brushed steel, whites, creams and greens - especially greens in reference to the kind of money you can expect to spend there.

The #8 bus took me from the Hotel Vis to the Old Town. We passed some breath-taking scenery, framed by bright pink Oleander and purple Bougainvillea, which contrasted beautifully against the turquoise sea. Since the drive from this area to the Old Town is mainly along the side of a mountain, the vistas are stunning.

Once there, I entered through the Pile Gate and was immediately struck by the magic of Dubrovnik. Through the gate, down some steps and in through an archway - you’re left facing a large round spouting fountain where many choose to douse their heads and fill their water bottles while resting on the wide ledge. Turning left, I proceeded down the long main promenade of polished white stone in search of the church of St. Blaise and the Atlas office located beside it. The scene was awesome. Throngs of people bustled in the sunshine or sat at café chairs alongside the ‘street’, which itself was dazzling and shiny as if wet or highly polished. Along the left side, narrow alleyways stretched steeply upwards with restaurant signs and clothing on washlines high above, fluttering like buntings in the breeze.

Reaching the end of the promenade I found myself in the middle of a square with 2 churches at adjacent corners. Suddenly the church bells struck noon and I witnessed an extraordinary sight. The square was suddenly filled by hundreds of pigeons and swallows, flying en mass in large circles around the square while slowing spiraling upwards and out of it, like water draining out of a bathtub, but upwards. It was the oddest thing. I rushed to get out of the way of the flying birds (no easy task with my wheeled suitcase on the cobbled stones) and grappled for my camera to capture this unexpected sight but it was over as suddenly as it had begun.
I later learned that this phenomenon was a daily occurrence, and is a spectacle some come specially to see. The birds are accustomed to being fed at noon and as the minutes near feeding time, they grow increasingly restless; finally barely waiting for the peeling of the noon bells, their anticipation of a feed overtakes any avian attempt at self control, resulting in a sort of frantic Pavlovian havoc. How cool is that ?...."

Mathieu is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:35 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Sicily this year, Croatia next. I'm planning on flying to Trieste (RyanAir from London), getting down the coast by bus/ferry, then ferry from Dubrovnik to Bari/Ancona and RyanAir back to London. It doesn't get much cheaper than that.
gertie3751 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Mathieu, thank you so much for posting! It was a joy reading your report! It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Can I ask how you got to Croatia from the U.S.? Transportation issues hav made it really difficult to plan a trip there! As mentioned above, I have found a few cheaper flights from the West Coast to Dubrovnik which shocked me.

Barb, sorry I didn't make myself clearer on that. I wish there was a direct flight. We are thinking about doing what you are doing to get back to Italy, except we would go via Split to Ancona. The ferries look decent and they really aren't too expensive.

tcreath is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Tracy - is it easier/cheaper to go from Split to Anacona than from Dub. to Bari? Are you going to get a cabin? What did you decide for your flight going to Croatia?
Barb is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 12:10 PM
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Barb, according to the website I have been using, it seems to be the same price from Bari to Dubrovnik as it is from Ancona to Split. Here is the sight: http://www.jadrolinija.hr/default.aspx?dpid=1427. Prices vary more by what kind of cabin you want. For just a basic 2-berth cabin with running water, it 65.60 euro, which I don't think is too bad. We'll probably get that smaller cabin and try to get some rest.

I haven't figured out the flight situation yet. I forgot why I don't like Orbitz until I actually tried to choose one of the flights I mentioned above. When I tried to choose it, it was "no longer available" and the next flight cheapest flight was about $200 more.

We are really thinking of either flying into Rome and out of Venice, driving up the Croatian coast, or just flying into and out of Rome and just doing southern Dalmatia. Decision decision!

What about you? Have you looked into anything or found anything of interest? I would love to go to Croatia and I love planning trips, but this one honestly stumps me. I can't come up with a decent itinerary that doesn't involve lots of moving around or backtracking.

tcreath is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 12:35 PM
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I know what you mean Tracy, I had the same problem with flights. In fact just getting to Dubrovnik comprises the first adventurous part of my report and it isn't something I'd volunteer to do again !

I live in Ontario, Canada and so my departure was from Toronto. I considered all the options via major European gateway cities but direct service from any of those to Dubrovnik were either prohibitively expensive or very limited service. While in London earlier that year, the Times had a big article on Croatia and within that article, British Airways launched service from Gatwick to Dubrovnik. In the end, the best routing I could get was Toronto - Budapest - Zagreb - Dubrovnik.

Heres the section on flights from the as yet unfinished epic trip report. (at this rate, it might end up being posted in full on your thread alone !). Try looking up some of the European discount airlines contained herein.

"...Malev Hungarian was the major carrier on my itinerary (great prices, great airline) with British Airways covering the Budapest/London route, and Croatia Airlines within Croatia.
Malev exceeded my expectations. Their long haul service between Toronto and Budapest were on 767 aircraft with a 2-3-2 seat configuration in Economy for a 9.5 hour flight. Great on-board service, a full and a light meal, 2 movies (with sweet and savoury snacks between screenings), and meal menu cards for every passenger (nice touch).

Malev uses partner airlines (Royal Moldavian Airlines and Carpatair) with smaller Saab prop. aircraft for the short hauls between Zagreb and Budapest. If I'd worn my fedora, I could have passed for Indiana Jones ! More impressive was that these small airlines offered a beverage service for the 1 hour flight, as well as candy, praline chocolates and large wrapped sandwiches. Croatia airlines offers sharp service on spanking new Airbus A320 aircraft, but for the 1 hour trip between Zagreb and Split/Dubrovnik, you'll do no better than a cup of water (but you can choose between sparkling or flat !) and a cough drop. Yes, a cough drop. So leave your Vicks pastilles at home.

My journey from Toronto to Dubrovnik was punctuated with a 3 hour layover and flight change in each of Budapest and Zagreb making for an extremely long and tiring 17 hours. After the first 9.5 hours, we arrived in Budapest just before 2.00pm and I was immediately impressed with the modernity and Duty Free shopping choices at Ferihegy airport. I had ample time to note from the large windows of the departure lounge, some of the many European discount airlines that I’d never heard of before: Germanwings, Whizz, Air Berlin, Volareweb, Sterling airlines, Sky Europe, Smartwings, Europebyair, and others. Made mental note to research these for better European connections on future travels.

Three hours later, off to Zagreb on Royal Moldavian where my pre-booked-by-telephone tickets to Dubrovnik were waiting for me at the Croatian Airlines desk. Zagreb airport, in contrast, is dull and drab but there are renovations in the works. I noticed few eating choices in the domestic flight area.

Finally at 9.15pm we were airborne to Dubrovnik and the combination of little sleep, jet-lag and exhaustion made me slightly delirious at the prospect of finally putting down my bags, resting my tired feet and slugging down the nearest ice cold beer..."
Mathieu is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 01:31 PM
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This is becoming rather daunting trying to figure out how to get there. I'm really thinking I will probably just fly into Rome and then either fly to Split and bus down to Dub., or ferry to Split or Dub. from either Anacona or Bari. I'm just not sure I want to do this coming back too. Maybe I can fly one way and ferry the other. Initially I thought I could just fly somewhere in Europe and catch a cheap flight to Dubrovnik and then fly back to Rome before going home. But that is proving to be rather expensive. I really didn't want to fly into Zagreb and then have to fly/train all the way to Dub. Because of time constraints, I would just be staying in Dubrovnik this time. So, I guess I'll just keep working on this and hopefully come up with something. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears. Good luck with your plans Tracy and let me know what you decide to do.
Barb is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 01:38 PM
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We are going to Croatia in 2006. I have noticed that with Croatian Air the flights within Croatia are very inexpensive, but the flights between Croatia and other European countries is very high. If you can get to Zagreb, you may want to look into the one way fares to Dubrovnik. There are several flights a day, and as I said, inexpensive. There is no train service to speak of in Croatia. The bus and ferry would be the only other option for you once you are in Croatia.

Incidentally, we are flying on British Air which flies to both Split and Dubrovnik. This requires changing from Heathrow to Gatwick unfortunately.
issy is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 03:05 PM
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We will visit Croatia next year in Sept – so we’re over the debate Croatia or Italy. Trust me, we had the same dilemma, too and finally decided to pick Croatia for the same reason as so many others here: Italy will not change too much in the next 10 years, Croatia will. Plus, we went to Italy last year
However I feel (and live) everybody’s pain about getting there. We are not planning on spending any time in any other place, so all we want is a fast way (cheap would be a plus) to get in and out of Croatia.
My intention is to fly (direct from NYC) to Venice, then ferry to Rovinj – I emailed Venezia Lines, the 2006 ferry is not published yet, they said to wait for mid-Jan.
Does anyone know which airline flies into Pula? Or a website where this kind of info (which airline flies where) is available?
No idea how to get back from Dubrovnik (with 1 layover only) yet, that’s the next challenge.
issy, if BA flies Dubrovnik-London, then that would be great. Thanks for that info.
xyz99 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Yes, BA flies direct from Dubrovnik to London (Gatwick). They also fly direct from Split. However, it's not as perfect as it sounds. Nothing is, for that matter, when it comes to getting to Croatia.

Getting to Croatia on BA through London requires a transfer from Heathrow to Gatwick. A little time consuming, but it is only one connection then.

On the way back, unfortunately, the flight times are usually such that getting back to the states requires you to leave Croatia the evening before and then spend the night at an airport hotel in London. The good thing is that because the flights leaving Dub. and Split are later in the day, you can at least enjoy a good portion of the day in Croatia.

Good luck!

issy is offline  
Dec 19th, 2005, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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I just noticed this thread. Does anybody still need help with various ways to get to Croatia (quickly and cheaply) from the US?

I am an expat in Dubrovnik who has navigated this tricky process about 5-6 times now, so I'm happy to help.

You might also take a look at my previous post on a very similar subject:
minceta is offline  
Dec 30th, 2005, 08:04 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,478
I will be going to Croatia in September 2005 and bookmarking this thread to refer back to since it has such great information!
LowCountryIslander is offline  

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