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Italy/Croatia/Montenegro/Greece trip help!!

Italy/Croatia/Montenegro/Greece trip help!!

Old Nov 30th, 2022, 10:38 PM
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Italy/Croatia/Montenegro/Greece trip help!!

HI everyone!

A few friends and I are travelling to Europe from 23rd May - 16th Jun 2023, but we need some advice/help on how to best plan the trip. We don't mind a bit of fast travel (sometimes prefer it depending on the city) but also don't want to be too rushed. At the moment our itinerary includes Belgrade, Sarajevo, Rome (+ Tuscany), Dubrovnik, Montenegro & Santorini/Naxos/Mykonos/Athens. This is a lot, we know, but we wouldn't have been able to travel for 4.5 years at this point and are so ready to get going. Also we don't know when we'd get another chance to do so together at the same time.

We'll be flying from Sydney Australia, but given that flights to the Balkans isn't too easy, this is a rough idea/plan:
24 May - fly from Sydney -> Belgrade, landing 25 May afternoon.
25 May - 27 May: Belgrade
27 May: depart on a door to door transfer tour (around the different sites that arrives in Sarajevo at night)
27 May - 29 May: Sarajevo
29 May: Depart on a door to door transfer tour (around different sites that arrives in Dubrovnik at night)
29 May - 1 June: Dubrovnik
31 May: day trip to Montenegro
1 June: depart night ferry to Bari, Italy
2 June: arrive Bari in the morning and train to Rome at midday
2 June - 7 June: Rome
5 June: Day trip to Tuscany
7 June: depart for Santorini
7 June - 9 June: Santorini
9 June - 12 June: Naxos
12 June - 14 June: Mykonos
14 June - 16 June: Athens
16 June: fly back to Sydney

Any thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated!!

Thanks in advance
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 12:13 AM
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welcome to Fodors

when are you going to fit the holiday in?

more seriously, good time of year to come. Why only a day trip to Tuscany and so long in Belgrade and Sarajevo unless maybe you have family ties?

Last edited by bilboburgler; Dec 1st, 2022 at 12:15 AM.
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 01:15 AM
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Thank you!

We are thinking of spending 1 full day in Sarajevo and 1.5 days in Belgrade. Would be nice to explore the area since it also aligns with ease of transport.

Last edited by lc123; Dec 1st, 2022 at 01:42 AM.
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 01:57 AM
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What is a door to door transfer tour? Is it something you've already found, run by a local tour company? Also I'm not sure if you've travelled from Australia to Europe before but most people (me included) have jetlag which means you are not capable of doing very much the first day, or couple of days. A great website for information on trains is https://www.seat61.com/ I would book any longer train trips ahead to save money.
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 02:31 AM
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Door to door transfer is a small group full day tour that takes you from (for example) Belgrade to Sarajevo - and stopping at sites in between those 2 cities. We went to Europe a couple of years ago and we were so lucky to not really get jetlag, so hoping it wonít affect us too badly this time 🤞🏻
Also thank you for recommending seat61! It seems super handy
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 05:58 AM
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It doesn't look as though much of this trip will be on trains.

I'm also curious about the day trip to Tuscany. There are fast trains from Rome to Florence, but if you're travelling independently and want to see any other part of Tuscany, you need more than one day. Maybe you plan to take a tour to Tuscany?

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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 06:51 AM
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Why not stay in Montenegro until June 1st at noon and fly then directly to Rome? Wizzair flight 8326, Poidgorica dp 13.05 - Rome ar 14.35, Fares start at 25 EUR/pax, plus luggage.
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 07:09 AM
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Good idea, Bari, is interesting but not that interesting, hardly a Dubrovnik/Rome which are top sites. Florence, Siena are top sites IMHO
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 07:39 AM
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Haha! I was just looking up the same thing!
I would take one of the low cost airlines (you have already been given a great suggestion) or Easy Jet, Vueling, etc.
I think I would give Dubrovnik another day, pull a day from Rome and cut one of the Greek islands and give that time to Florence/Tuscany.
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 02:11 PM
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I spent a few days on Santorini and a week on Naxos. We could have spent less time on Santorini and more time on Naxos. We did a boat tour trip to the volcano on Santorini and hiked from Imerovigli (where we stayed) to Oia (then took a bus back) - we enjoyed both of those things. Visiting Ancient Akrotiri was fascinating too but doesn't take too long. We stayed near Moni in Naxos (in the middle of the island, essentially). There are copious hiking trails all over Naxos. Our highlights were - We hiked to Mount Zas (Mount Zeus) for amazing views; explored Filoti, Chalki, and Apiranthos villages; drove down to Panermos beach (beautiful drive! but there are hairpin turns over the mountain) where there is almost no one and such a quiet cove, then took a small boat ride along the coast to a cave where we swam into a bioluminescent cave, then as we were leaving stopped quick at the ruins of Ancient Panermos Acropolis. These were our highlights in Naxos but we saw more than this. To see/do all of these things, having a rental car was really necessary. I have not been to Mykonos but I think it is more well known for its night life. Maybe drop one of the islands so you can spend more time at Naxos (I'm bias) or elsewhere.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 09:01 AM
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"I have not been to Mykonos but I think it is more well known for its night life"
Myconos was a charming Greek Island some 30 years ago.
In the meantime, it became a Hell, at least during the season:
crowds and queues everywhere, everything is overpriced, indigenous people are a small miniority....
But Maconos cannot be avoided, if you
plan to visit Delos, one of the most stunning archeological sites of the Aegean;
arrive at Myconos airport from abroad in order to proceed by ferry to more "Greek" Islands like Ikaria, Fourni, Samos, Syros, Tinos.......
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 02:14 PM
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I think 3 nights on Santorini is perfect. Spend one day around the caldera, visit Oia, Fira and firastefani. Then rent a car for a day and visit the Akrotiri archaeological site, Akrotiri lighthouse, red sand beach and black sand beach.

Naxos is wonderful and deserves at least 4 nights. Rent a car for a day and visit chalki, apeiranthos, Moutsounas fishing village and enjoy fresh seafood sitting a foot from the water. And appollonas fishing village!

I would drop Mykonos and add one night to Santorini and one night to Naxos. Take blue star ferry from Santorini to Naxos, a 2 hour trip.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 11:51 PM
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I would not suggest Wizz Air out of Podgorica, ever, they do not have a good record or reputation. But if you can be flexible, there are direct flights from Dubrovnik to Rome, on Vueling. You’d need to fly on June 2, tough.

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Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 08:11 PM
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Thanks everyone for your quick replies and suggestions!

bvlenci, coral22: We're planning on making a quick day trip to Tuscany to get a feel for it and then exploring further when we’ve got more time in another trip. Do you think it’s worth it still to only head there for a day trip?

neckervd: great suggestion but I think podgorica seems a bit out of the way from Kotor - which is probably where we want to spend most of the time

rialtogrl: I didn’t realise there was a flight from Dubrovnik to Rome, thank you! Our biggest concern is losing luggage on the flights (hence us looking into ferry transfers). Any insight on luggage issues with these flights?

Karenwoo, CaKnK & neckervd: Naxos seems like the place to be! Super excited. If we pull the one day off Rome and put it towards Greece, would you say it’s still worth to visit Mykonos?
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 12:02 AM
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I’ve never had any issues with luggage on that Vueling flight and I’ve taken it several times.

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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 06:30 AM
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bvlenci, coral22: We're planning on making a quick day trip to Tuscany to get a feel for it and then exploring further when weíve got more time in another trip. Do you think itís worth it still to only head there for a day trip?
There are day tours from Rome to Tuscany. They usually visit a few hill towns and include a farm lunch and a wine tasting. It's a very long day, and more than half the time will be spent on a bus (or in a van if it's a small group tour). However, you would indeed get a taste of Tuscany. Be sure to read the reviews before deciding on a tour company. Viator advertises tours, but they are a reseller, and don't tell you which company is actually conducting the tour. I think Walks of Italy also offers these tours.

Another possibility would be to travel independently by train, visiting just one town. You would usually have to change trains en route, and usually you have to take a taxi or bus into town from the train station. Montepulciano is fairly near a train station, and is a typical and popular hill town. Siena is a small Tuscan city, not a little town, but very beautiful.

Finally, Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is an easy day trip from Rome by train, but usually when people say they want to see Tuscany, they don't mean Florence.

Only you can decide if it's worth it.
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Old Dec 27th, 2022, 08:03 AM
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Great to see someone similar planning 7 months ahead.

Your itinerary is great, looking forward for the update and hope you will have an amazing time.
I can suggest just couple of things.
  • Consider taking Belgrade Card it’s cheap and a great tool for first time visitors.
  • Between Sarajevo and Dubrovnik stop by Medjugorje a Catholic pilgrimage, it’s on your way.
  • Montenegro: directly go to Kotor, it’s a must see place or if it’s too far then go to Herceg Novi.
  • Tuscany is huge and beautiful. Consider Pitigliano an old town aka little Jerusalem.
Enjoy the trip, take care.

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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by mikivojin7759 View Post
Great to see someone similar planning 7 months ahead.

Your itinerary is great, looking forward for the update and hope you will have an amazing time.
I can suggest just couple of things.
  • Consider taking Belgrade Card itís cheap and a great tool for first time visitors.
  • Between Sarajevo and Dubrovnik stop by Medjugorje a Catholic pilgrimage, itís on your way.
  • Montenegro: directly go to Kotor, itís a must see place or if itís too far then go to Herceg Novi.
  • Tuscany is huge and beautiful. Consider Pitigliano an old town aka little Jerusalem.
Enjoy the trip, take care.

Wow I appreciate all your suggestions! Belgrade card seems very useful, we probably would've never seen it so thank you for that.
Unfortunately I don't think the transfer tour passes by Medjugorje but maybe that's key for another trip back to Bosnia
We can't wait to go to Kotor! And Pitigliano also looks fantastic, will definitely look into it.
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