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Italy Slovenia Croatia by car

Old Jun 20th, 2017, 02:28 PM
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Italy Slovenia Croatia by car

Next March-April we will be traveling visiting friends in Italy, and want to rent a car to drive into Slovenia and visit family there for Easter. From Slovenia we have 3-4 nights to spent in Croatia before we are due back in Rome. We plan to take a ferry.

My understanding is we may rent a car in Venice, and return it back to Italy when we ferry back to end our trip in Rome. Since we will be visiting family we need a car for the Slovenia and Croatia legs of the trip, and really want to go at our own pace.

We will explore caves, castles, and take an all day trip through Triglav National Park from Bled while in Slovenia. With limited time in Croatia, would our time be better spent just finding an amazing beach town or island not too far south and settling in for a few days or is it worth it to drive south to Dubrovnik or over to Plitvice with such limited time?

Also, will our plan to rent a car cause us any problems, and which city would you take a ferry out of to get to Rome?

Any help is much appreciated. We are in the very early stages of planning.
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Old Jun 20th, 2017, 02:38 PM
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Rental car logistics: find a quote with a car company that lets you pick up the car in Venice and drop it off in Rome. Try Auto Europe, Kemwel, Kayak, etc.

Then, you need to check with the car company to make sure they allow you to drive the car through Slovenia, Croatia and (if you drive south as far as Dubrovnik) through Bosnia, given that you must drive through the "Neum corridor," a tiny slice of Bosnia along the coast, probably for an extra cross-border fee. You might be able to avoid the Bosnia drive with a ferry from Split to Dubrovnik, if that's even possible next spring (not sure).

And then you need to make sure they allow you to take the car on a ferry.

Alternate option would be to visit Slovenia without a car - or rent a car just in Slovenia for a few days (take a shuttle from Venice to Ljubljana...or a train to Treiste, bus to Ljubljana). You don't say where in Slovenia your friends live. If it's near a bus or train route, you may not need to rent a car. (Or can your friends pick you up and then drive you around while you are in town?)

And then get a train or bus to Croatia, rent the car there, and drop the Croatian car in Croatia. This would make more sense if you can find a direct flight from say Split back to Rome (perhaps only a few days a week; perhaps not off season, but worth a look!).
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Old Jun 20th, 2017, 02:43 PM
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I'm not sure I would drive all the way to Dubrovnik with just a few days in Croatia. Plitvice might be nice in March-April: not very crowded. Snow is a possibility - which might make the roads a challenge but also make Plitvice very pretty!

Besides Plitvice, there is plenty to see north of Split, such as Istria. I'd expect those nice Croatian beach towns to be pretty quiet in March-April, and you likely wouldn't be on the beach or swimming anyway. I visited Rovinj (in Istria) the very end of April a few years ago and it was just coming to life for the season. Lovely little town.

You can certainly drive south say to Split (or Trogir). There's a ferry from Split to Italy too if you are still thinking that way, maybe not every day, you have to check the winter schedules. But another option might be just staying in Istria and do that plus Plitvice, then drive back to Venice and fly to Rome or take the train down instead of driving all the way back.
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Old Jun 20th, 2017, 05:21 PM
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I’m not sure how much time you have in Croatia, or whether your time in Slovenia is sufficient for your needs, but FWIW, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is, IMO, the single most un-missable of Croatia's many splendors. Not only are the lakes connected by travertine waterfall formations, each lake has unique microbiota, and as a result, the lakes are different colors. The best way to see that is to make a single, long loop through the park -- something on the order of 6 hours or more (including time for the boat that connects the lower and upper lakes), and by all means, start at the lowest part of the park so you are facing the falls as you proceed. As Andrew notes, however, the weather might not be conducive to a visit.

I’m not sure what most of Istria would be like at that time of year, but agree that it would likely be quiet. Pula would be “open” and perhaps Porec.

Of course you could also visit Zagreb, which I thought underrated, or Varazdin or other interesting destinations in northern Croatia.

Personally, I would NOT drive all the way to Dubrovnik with just a few days and at that time of year. YMMV.

I’m not sure what your ferry options are, although I think there’s a car ferry from Split to Bari. You might try using rome2rio.com to identify your transportation options, but note that it is not sensitive to seasonal variation in schedules. Split is my favorite city in Croatia, so if you are intent on taking a car ferry to Italy, you might want to learn a bit more about Split to see if it is of interest to you.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jun 21st, 2017, 03:52 AM
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Don't forget to invest in a Slovenia vignette if you travel on the highways. Fines to not have one are expensive. However, the highways are wonderful to drive on. Don't believe Croatia requires one but does have highway tolls.
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