Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Initial draft of month trip to Croatia for fall 2021

Initial draft of month trip to Croatia for fall 2021

Old May 3rd, 2021, 07:04 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,559
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Initial draft of month trip to Croatia for fall 2021

Yes, I've got tickets to Croatia for mid-September to mid-October! Our tickets are changeable without fees, should it become necessary to cancel the trip, but keeping fingers crossed we will be able to go. Now I would appreciate any feedback on the draft itinerary - all suggestions welcome!

About us: we are in our low-70s, late 60s, interested in history both past and present (Roman, medieval as well as current), culture and traditions, scenic vistas, and walking locations (but not serious hiking!). We love cities as well as smaller towns, and are also interested in visiting locations that are less well-known as we will have time. However, I'd prefer to keep the driving between locations to under 3 hours (if possible) and minimizing the number of changes. I'd prefer a slower style of traveling, as much as possible. We like diverse experiences so while much of the trip may be coastal, I don't want SO much coastal experience that it starts looking all alike. We aren't hanging out at the beach folks, either, though a pretty beach or lake is welcome for a good walk or to appreciate the beauty.

Current travel situation (which may, of course, change by mid-September): We are fully vaccinated which Croatia is accepting as criteria for admission to the country. Slovenia remains closed to tourism (at least from the US and other 3rd countries), Bosnia & Herzogovina is open but requires a covid test (but not vaccinations) prior to entering, and Montenegro is open for tourists with vaccinations. I don't want the hassle of taking a test while traveling as we will need to do it prior to returning home to the US. At least, that's how I feel right now. I'm inclined to stick only to Croatia, though if Slovenia opens up, I will definitely include it in my plans.

The very popular hire-a-driver for a day trip to Kotor Bay just doesn't appeal to me somehow but that is still an option, and I really don't want to drive right after our stay in Ston or Korcula since that sounds like a very long day. If you see a way to make this an easier possibility, feel free. I'm open to visiting Montenegro but don't feel that we have to see it, either. Unless you tell me that it's an absolute must.

So, here's my very tentative plan:

We arrive in Zagreb in mid-September and fly out of Dubrovnik mid-October (the latter at the ungodly hour of 7:30am). We have 29 nights to play with.
We will pick up a car when we leave Zagreb.

# nights
Zagreb -3 (4) - We like cities and if we stayed for 4 nights, would it make sense to do a day trip to Varazdin or vicinity for the castle(s)?
Rovinj - 6 (Istria interests us a lot and I don't mind staying in one place for an extended period of time - explore inland/hilltowns as well as coastal towns)
Plitvice - 2 (that's enough for us)
Sibenik - 3 (looks interesting and a good place to visit Krka National Park, Trogir, Zadar).
Split - 4 (Drop car? It seems logical to drop it here)
Hvar/Stari Grad - 2(3) - (It isn't a "must" for me but we have the time)
Korcula - 3 (this is more of a "must". Plus, I'm considering renting a car on the second day, leave via the Peljesac peninsula and make the stop in Ston
Ston - 1? ( I really like the look of Ston and of course, want to go to Mali Soon for oysters!)
Dubrovnik - 3
Cavtat - 1 (for very very early flight!!)

Questions & other points:
1) Any serious goofs ?
2) Car - 2 rentals, as follows: Zagreb to Split, then again from Korcula to Dubrovnik? The first rental is easy, the second has limited options. Should we rent a car in Korcula?
3) Balance of coast vs non coast
4) Other comments!!

Thank you to the many people who've posted trip reports and planning threads over the last few years; I've been reading them intensely! And the photos are fab! And my thanks in advance to rialtogirl, who has given much great advice to everyone and I know will have lots to say after reading this!!

Last edited by progol; May 3rd, 2021 at 07:28 AM.
progol is online now  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 07:46 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,128
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think it looks great, an excellent balance. I would not change the hotel for the last night in Cavtat--and I am the most non-early-riser you will ever come across. It is about 20 minutes by taxi from Dubrovnik old town to the airport. I'd sooner just stay the four nights in Cavtat, but that's a minor quibble.
I hope to get back one day and see Varazdin and other inland areas, but if you don't feel like venturing that far outside of Zagreb, Samobor always sounded interesting to me also.
I'd do a full comparison of keeping the car versus picking up a second one in Korcula (not sure if that is an option for one-way or not). You are on the islands long enough to warrant having a car. You would not need it, but if you are up for the ferry rides, then I'd consider it.
yorkshire is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 08:13 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 19,630
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It looks good, not the direction of the main roads which is mainly forced by mini mountains that run roughly northwest to southeast does force you to travel certain ways. I prefer the coast so I might do more in that area but this looks fine. Split is especially interesting and I never seem to get enough time there as the whole Hvar, Trogir, Brac attractions drag me away. I love the ferries and the whole tripping to small harbours thing.
bilboburgler is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 08:33 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,559
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, yorkshire and bilboburgler!

yorkshire, you're not the first to recommend staying in one place at the end! I'd prefer to stay in Dubrovnik for the bulk of the stay, so will ask the apartment manager how easy it is to have a car or taxi arranged for that (ughh) early morning ride. My concerns in Dubrovnik are that 1) we are in an apartment and 2) getting to transportation at an hour when I'm not at my best will be challenging. We're in a hotel in Cavtat, which I think would be easier to access. I'll mull this over, though.

The car at the end of the trip becomes a bit of headache if we don't drop it off. There is a car ferry to Hvar but I don't believe there are any from Hvar to Korcula, hence the need for a second rental. Unless we ferry back to Split from Hvar and then drive down the coast Korcula, but that seems like extra work, too. That's why dropping the car in Split seems to make the most sense, but it would be nice to keep it if I want to be able to explore the islands. That's why I end up with a second rental on Korcula. Any recommendations here would be most appreciated!
progol is online now  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 09:02 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,861
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yorkshire nailed two points for me already.. donít bother to move the final day (it will not save you that much time) and it may be cheaper to keep the car rather than drop off in Split and rent again in Korčula. You just need to find lodgings with parking. Also picking up a car in Korčula might be tricky, for sure they have island rentals but Iím not sure about island offices that allow going to Dubrovnik.

There are some nice day trips out of Split, like half day that would be a good reason to keep the car.

I think Slovenia will be open by then to vaccinated travelers. If they are you can pop up from Istria, or go between your days in Zagreb and Istria. I think if you want to make day trips from Zagreb it might be better to add one day there and take one from Istria. And I love Istria. maybe wait a bit and see if the borders open... though there is a lot to see and do in Slovenia, enough for another trip!

Driving in Zagreb can be a little confusing (damned tram tracks!) I know a really nice central Airbnb with parking there. Also, hotels will have, of course but maybe you gotta pay for it.

it takes four hours to get to Plitvice from Rovinj The last two hours seems to go on forever. Your other connections are easier to keep in the 3 hour range.

äibenik is fab, you can also visit Zadar from there. There are a lot of steps and not a lot of railings in that town! Look for accommodation carefully.

It is a start, you have plenty of time to get it all sorted. I think you are going to love Croatia!




rialtogrl is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 09:14 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,861
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Progol just saw your last post.

Most apartment owners in Dubrovnik know reliable drivers. Getting to the airport should not be an issue. I know a driver there, if you cannot get one through your apartment owner send me a PM.

‘It is true keeping the car between Hvar and Korčula might require some additional driving but you do not have to go back to Split. It is convenience factor.. but see if you can find some place in Korčula to rent. Or, use a driver to get from Orebić on the mainland to Dubrovnik stopping in Ston for oysters. You definitely do not need the car in Dubrovnik. You can get to Orebić by ferry or some private boat, they are around.

rialtogrl is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 09:18 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,128
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Once you sort out if it is even possible to rent at Korcula and drop at Dubrovnik you can decide, but you don't have to backtrack to Split. You can drive across Hvar, hop over to the mainland at Sucuraj, then proceed down the coast and access Korcula after crossing at Ploce. That's three ferry rides in a day though! Another option would be to skip Hvar, as ferries to Korcula via Split are frequent. Or, drop the car a few days, enjoy Split and backtrack from Hvar (just a quick catamaran ride). That's the only problem with Croatia--too many options!
You may find that your apartment owner can book a driver for you (knowing Croatia, they might offer to drive you themselves), but if you don't mind the one night thing, don't sweat it. It's a long trip, and people seem to adore Cavtat.
yorkshire is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 10:35 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,559
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you all so much! So much to mull over but I feel pleased and relieved that I have a good initial itinerary as a framework.,

I will definitely check with the apartment owner in Dubrovnik to find out about getting to the airport for the early flight. In general, I don’t like changing locations, either, so will look into it more.

I will do more research into keeping the car vs. dropping it off in Split and playing out the different options with the islands. I really want to go to Korcula as well as Ston, so will work on it some more.

So many options!

And I’m hoping that Slovenia will open up and would add Llubjana and Lake Bled as stops.
progol is online now  
Old May 4th, 2021, 11:55 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 973
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your trip is more than twice as long as my 13 nights this past September so I can only comment on commonalities. I think it overall looks very good. Youíre going north to south and I went south to north. I like the idea of 2 nights in Plitvice as I only had one. It was enough to feel like I saw the highlights and I thought Plitvice was stunningly gorgeous. I did the route that was 5-6 hours. I found Korcula much more interesting than Hvar. I did a walking wine tour with a British gal who has a company based there. I also found the old town prettier than Hvar. Dubrovnik for me was the co-highlight along with Plitvice. To your point about the coastal towns all looking the same, thatís what I felt about Trogir by the time I got there, which is why I really enjoyed the Hapsburg look and feel of Zagreb. I did a Yogoslav War walking tour while there. For me, 13 nights felt right and so if I had 29 like you, I personally would be working in nearby countries, most likely Slovenia and BiH.
MinnBeef is offline  
Old May 4th, 2021, 01:26 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 256
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
From Zagreb, check out the wonderful village of Samobor (40 min by car) for a nice day trip. Very quaint, great restaurants, beautiful river which runs thru the village and a ten minute easy walk from the village center brings you to a 13th century castle ruins which is great to explore. Above the town abound numerous hiking trails.
mike1728 is offline  
Old May 4th, 2021, 10:55 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,292
Likes: 0
Received 12 Likes on 1 Post
following
joannyc is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 01:19 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,216
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I stayed a night in Skradin, which you might pass on your way to Sibinek. It's a lovely hidden village tucked away on a bay. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and beauty of the village while I was there. It's a starting point for some who want to cruise Croatia.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 02:32 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,861
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by kleeblatt View Post
I stayed a night in Skradin, which you might pass on your way to Sibinek. It's a lovely hidden village tucked away on a bay. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and beauty of the village while I was there. It's a starting point for some who want to cruise Croatia.
you can take a boat into Krka National Park from Skradin! It is a lovely place. I went to a wine bar there.. in a beautiful garden. Called Wine Garden 😀 I would like to go back.
rialtogrl is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 02:43 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,559
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, everyone!
MinnBeef, I’ve read your report and planning thread many times and have made some of my decisions based on your experiences. I’m hoping that Slovenia will open up and we will definitely include it. If it doesn’t, perhaps an additional day in Zagreb. I’ll review our itinerary by early September and see what else we might do. I want to make all my reservations now but with everything changing so rapidly, it doesn’t make sense.

mike1728, Samobar looks like a wonderful stop! I will add that in as a likely stop. Thank you!

kleepblatt, I’ll look into Skradin- that sounds like a good possible stop, too.

I changed my tickets to leave a week earlier and return a week earlier so we now have 28 nights, so mid-September to mid-October. Still quite a lot of nights to play with.
progol is online now  
Old May 5th, 2021, 04:29 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 639
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just chiming in to say that this trip is taking shape so nicely. Havenít yet gone on my first trip but will base my second trip off of this one! Happy planning!
Lolazahra is online now  
Old May 5th, 2021, 07:41 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,207
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We did Istria in spring 2019. Stayed in Rovinj. We loved it. Best day trip out was Pula. The Roman colosseum there. And also a delightful little museum very close MEMO - Muzej dobrih uspomena, Pula of what ordinary life was like in the former Yugoslavia in the 1950's to 1980's.
laurie_ann is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 12:34 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,657
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Progol, your itinerary looks fabulous! We spent 2 weeks in Croatia, Montenegro (for a day), and Slovenia. So to have a month is wonderful, and so relaxing. You mention that you have read many trip reports, so perhaps you have read mine, too, from September 2019. I really don't have any changes to suggest as you 've obviously done a thorough job. I would like to say that we loved Hvar Town. The day we spent in Hvar was one of the highlights of our trip. We didn't go to Korcula so I can't compare the two. And September/October is a good time to visit Hvar Town because it will not be party central as some people describe it during the summer months.

Our day with a private driver driving along the Bay of Kotor and making stops was one of our favorite days. The Bay is beautiful, and we enjoyed the small towns we visited, especially Perast. I know you are on the fence about visiting Montenegro, but if you decide to go, I think hiring a private driver is the least stressful way to do it. It is very difficult to find parking in the small towns, so it was so nice for my husband not to have to deal with the driving and looking for parking spaces.

And I agree with everyone else that if tourism to Slovenia opens up, you should definitely add that to your itinerary. Ljubljana is such a pretty city. We loved it! I would love to return just to walk around, enjoy its beauty and wonderful restaurants. If you go to Lake Bled for a day from Ljubljana, I recommend following the route I described in my trip report. Andrew who posts on Fodors a lot recommended that route. It takes you over the mountains through gorgeous scenery and awesome views.
KarenWoo is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 12:55 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,559
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lolazahra, You’re too funny, but I’m glad you’re liking the trip I’m planning! As I wrote on your thread, it’s thanks to your trip that I decided to go for it now!

laurie Ann, both my husband and I are really taken by Istria and are excited about visiting there. Thanks for the link to the museum - it looks charming and I love small museums like thst.

KarenWoo, of course I’ve read your TR! It’s definitely one of my inspirations! If Slovenia does open up (and I hope it does) we will definitely include it. In fact, I’ve already reserved places in Llubjana and Lake Bled (cancellable of course) with the belief that it will open up by the time we go. If it does, we probably won’t stay in both Korcula and Hvar, but I would probably do what you did, and do a day trip to the island. As far as the day trip to Montenegro, I guess we’ll see how we feel. I don’t want to feel like we have to cover a lot, especially at the end of a trip. It sounds lovely though I know fatigue starts to set in toward the end of a trip so I need to be mindful of that.
progol is online now  
Old May 5th, 2021, 01:17 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 256
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Try to get to Ston, beautiful little village the whole village can be seen in 3 hours (Oysters!) including a great workout on the walls. Tougher than Dubrovnik. Not very well known amongst tourists. We stayed in Komarna, Croatia on the border with Nuen, Bosnia.
mike1728 is offline  
Old May 5th, 2021, 02:36 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,559
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
mike,
thanks! I actually have Ston on my initial itinerary and hope to visit! But I think in early October, it might be a bit quiet and I’m not sure I could hack the hike on the walls. I know my husband would love it and I’d like to get there.
progol is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:42 AM.