Itinerary help - Slovenia/Croatia

Old Aug 12th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Itinerary help - Slovenia/Croatia

Hi Everyone,

I think we have our itinerary fairly flushed out, but would love any feedback. We will be traveling the last few days of august and into mid-september. We have a total of about 14 days, flying into Dubrovnik and out of Venice. We are an active married couple in our late 30s/early 40s.

A few questions:
- Anywhere we missed that is fantastic/anywhere disappointing we have included that could be skipped? OR would allot time differently (too long or too short in some place)?
- we have a 5 hour layover (mid day) in Zagreb before arriving in Dubrovnik. It seems it costs 50 euro or so to get into the city and not sure how much time we would have if we rushed in and back. Is there ANYTHING close to the airport for us to do to waste time? Also, since there is no bag check at the airport, we would have our luggage since we are switching airlines in Zagreb (unless Croatia airlines will let us check in our bags 5 hours early).
-about to book my rental car (either through sixt or autoeurope who are both cheapest right now) -- i know i need to look out for one way fees and get a toll pass for croatia once we arrive. any other fees i should be aware of? is there any extra insurance i need to purchase? I also have already obtained an IDL.
- we have about a half day to spend in the Julian alps driving around, any suggestions of which way to head?

-of note: we split our time in Ljubljana to visit Lake Bled/Alps over Sunday & Monday since I have read Ljubjana is closed up on sunday. is this true? I would prefer to do Lake Bled first, then Ljubjana (less driving, and i could return the rental car 2 days earlier).

thanks in advance for any advice, it is all very much appreciated!


Itinerary #2

DAY 1:
layover in Zagreb
Fly into Dubrovnik -- arrive late in evening
Spend night in Dubrovnik

DAY 2:
Dubrovnik
Spend night in Dubrovnik

DAY 3: 
RENT CAR
Dubrovnik - morning/early afternoon
Late afternoon travel to Mostar
Sleep in Mostar

DAY 4:
Spend day in Mostar,
Sleep in Mostar

DAY 5:
Early AM - drive to Split (~3 hour drive),
Afternoon in Split
Sleep in Split

DAY 6:
Morning in Split, 
Drive to Trogir. Afternoon in Trogir
Drive to Plitvice in early evening (~3 hour drive)
Spend night in Plitvice

DAY 7:
Spend day at Plitvice Lakes
Mid-afternoon drive to Opatija (3.5 hours)
Dinner in Opatija
Drive to Pula (1.5 hr) 
Sleep in Pula

DAY 8:
Pula in morning
Drive to Rovinj in afternoon (45 min)

Sleep in Rovinj

DAY 9:
Rovinj
Sleep in Rovinj

DAY 10:
In morning, drive (2 hr) to Skocjan Caves (tours every hour until 5pm - tour is 2 hours)
Late afternoon drive to Ljubljana (1 hr)
Sleep in Ljubljana

DAY 11:
Ljubljana
Sleep in Ljubliana

DAY 12:
Drive to Lake Bled, early morning (~45 min drive)
Lake Bled
Sleep in Bled

DAY 13:
Morning/Early Afternoon driving through Julian Alps (4 hrs)
Drive back to Ljubliana (45 min)
Return Rental Car
Sleep in Ljubliana

DAY 14:
Travel from Ljubliana to Venice by Bus (3.5 hrs)
Sleep in Venice

DAY 14:
Venice
Sleep in Venice

DAY 15:

FLY HOME
rblcali is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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You have planned a trip similar to the one I will be going on Sept. 7th, so please do a trip report when you return and maybe I will get a few tips.(I am still debating on the car rental in Croatia from Zagreb to Plitvice vs. the bus)

I am sure most people will feel your trip is fast paced. This may work perfectly for you. My husband and I normally travel at a fast pace for 3 or 4 days then rest somewhere 4 or 5. (I call those faster days scouting.) I really love Dubrovnik. We stayed there last trip for 3 days and am staying 6 days this time. Anyway, I don't have much advice but hope your trip is fantastic.
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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We did a different approach in 2011 for two weeks in Croatia but I think what you have sounds great. We took a ferry and spent a couple of days on Korcula but you're seeing other wonderful places we missed (like Plitvice). But we loved, loved, loved Split, Dubrovnik, Mostar. Took a day trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro which was gorgeous but, again, nothing wrong that I can see with what you've planned. Makes me want to go back and do the things we missed. It's a fabulous part of the world. We planned our trip after stopping in Dubrovnik on a cruise.
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 03:55 PM
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> about to book my rental car ... any other fees i should be aware of?

Make sure your rental car has a vignette for driving in Slovenia.

> we split our time in Ljubljana to visit Lake Bled/Alps over Sunday & Monday since I have read Ljubjana is closed up on sunday. is this true?

I don't know, as I visited it later in the week. My out-dated information indicates that most museums in Ljubljana are open on Sunday, and my experience was that a major delight of visiting Ljubljana is just walking around and enjoying the architecture and scenery. The time of year might make a difference - when are you planning to go?


Re: your itinerary:

Dubrovnik - Sounds like you have about 1.5 days in Dubrovnik. That strikes me as a bare minimum. Will you be experiencing jet lag that first day? If so, you might wish you had more time there.

Split - Given that many people skip it, I like that you are giving Split an afternoon and a morning. But it isn't much time for Split, so you might want to think through your priorities in advance.

Plitvice Lakes - To leave Plitvice Lakes in time for to arrive in Opatija for dinner could mean that you might have to curtail your time at the lakes, especially since you apparently plan to drive on to Pula after dinner. Although there are routes through the lakes that one can take that require only a few hours, I was glad to have more than 6 hours there and can imagine enjoying an 8 hour visit. (The question is in how much of the park you see, not the pace at which you see it. I thought the various lakes not only lovely, but also sufficiently different from one another to merit the extra time it took to see them.)

Opatija - I must admit that Opatija left me cold. I thought the Villa Angelina pleasant, but otherwise it just seemed a mass of tourists, tourist hotels/resorts, loud clubs, and overpriced restaurants. But I only spent an hour or two there, so maybe my impressions were not representative.

Lake Bled - Bear in mind that if you want to visit the castle and the island and hike the Vintgar Gorge, and you also want to leave Bled early the next day, you would probably need to arrive in Bled quite early in the day.

Venice - So you have only a bit more than a day in Venice? I think most people would prefer more.


The good news is that you will see some beautiful places. You will, however, probably have time to just skim their surfaces.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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Pula left me lukewarm, more luke than warm. The Roman amphitheater is nice, but that's about it. I'd skip Pula, spend 2 nights in Rovinj, and maybe take it easy for a day. You're doing a lot of driving, a lot of moving around. That kind of misses the point in Croatia, where the pace of life is easier, enjoying the moment rather than rushing around.

Also you're not seeing any of the islands. That's a big omission in Croatia.
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 08:58 PM
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Such great feedback!
@Dreamgoddess -- will we be overlapping trips since we do not get back until mid september, so I'm afraid my info will be too late to help you.

@kja :: thank you for all the info! I agree, we feel like we are trying to pack in too much, but just don't know where to cut. I have revised (see below) and tried to streamline more (took out trogir, opatija, pula). if you were to cut another city, where would you cut?

we have both been to venice before so a day and half there will be fine with us.
thank you for your continued advice!


Itinerary :: REVISED

DAY 1:
arrive @ 1:45 pm in Zagreb, CR
6 hour layover
Fly to Dubrovnik -- arrive at 10pm
Spend night in Dubrovnik

DAY 2:
Dubrovnik
Spend night in Dubrovnik

DAY 3:

Dubrovnik
Spend night in Dubrovnik

DAY 4:
RENT CAR
morning travel to Mostar (~2.5 hours)
Sleep in Mostar (pansion-nur)


DAY 5:
morning travel to Split (~3 hour drive),
Sleep in Split


DAY 6:
Split
Drive to Plitvice in early evening (~3.25 hour drive)
Spend night in Plitvice

DAY 7:
Spend day at Plitvice Lakes
Drive to Rovinj in early evening (~3.5 hour drive)


DAY 8:
Rovinj
Sleep in Rovinj

DAY 9:
Rovinj
Sleep in Rovinj

DAY 10:
In morning, drive (2 hr) to Skocjan Caves (tours every hour until 5pm - tour is 2 hours)
maybe prejadma castle
Late afternoon drive to Lake Bled (1.5 hr)
Sleep in Bled

DAY 11:
Bled (Walk lake & visit island)
Sleep in Bled

DAY 12:
Hike Vintgar Gorge OR Hike at Lake Bohinj
Mid-day Drive to Ljublijana ( 1.5 hrs)
Return rental car
Sleep in Ljublijana

DAY 13:
Day in Ljublijana
Sleep in Ljublijana

DAY 14:
Early morning Travel from Ljubljiana to Venice by Bus (3.5 hrs)
Afternoon in Venice
Sleep in Venice

DAY 15:
Venice
Sleep in Venice

DAY 16:

FLY HOME
rblcali is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2012, 11:20 AM
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Ljubljana is much more lively on a Monday than on a Sunday, especially since most people are back from their holidays by September. But you may want to check opening times of the things you want to see, especially museums, they could be closed on Mondays.
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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We are contemplating a similar itinerary for an Oct. trip. After flying into Dubrovnik, we will be traveling by car. After we visit Split does it makes sense to go from Split to Plitvice Lakes to Rovinj and then to Zagreb (and fly home )or Split to Rovinj to Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb. Does anyone have any knowledge of the better logistics?


Thanks.
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 07:01 PM
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Much better!

On day 6, you might even be able to fit in a bit of time for lovely Trogir - its easy to reach from Split and doesn't take that long to see. It has some incredible stone carvings.
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 08:14 PM
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bchyatt: Try:

http://www.viamichelin.com/ and
http://en.mappy.com/
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 08:23 PM
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I know you have limited time with your busy schedule - but I would try to take a more leisurely, scenic drive back from Bled (or Lake Bohinj) to Ljubljana, via the cute town of Skofja Loka. Most of the places on your itinerary are bigger, more popular tourist attractions (and most of them are great), but when I visited Slovenia last fall, I really visited the small towns perhaps most of all. The windy drive from Bled to Skofja Loka (I did it the opposite way) was delightful but very doable, not scary at all despite the narrow roads (my car was small anyway).

This drive is easy to do if you have any sort of map and follow the road signs that point you in the direction of the next town. I had a crappy free Slovenia driving map and no GPS and I still never got lost.

You probably don't need an entire day at Lake Bled if you are spending two nights there, unless you simply want to slow down after several long days of driving. You might visit Lake Bohinj the same day - it's an easy drive from Bled. And personally, I would not be afraid to skip Vintgar Gorge if you've been to Plitvice Lakes (already know you disagree, kja!). Personal preference was that I found the scenic drive between Bled and Skofja Loka (and visiting the town itself) more rewarding than hiking Vintgar Gorge.
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Old Aug 17th, 2012, 04:07 AM
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I am planning a short trip to Mostar and Split in early October. We will be traveling from and back to Sarajevo. We are trying to fit in a side trip to Blagaj to see the Tekija (dervish house) and eat a trout lunch. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether this is a good use of time?

Also we were were also planning to spend about one full day in split, plus an afternoon in Trogir. I see kja does not think this is enough time, and I am sure we could easily spend more. Would you recommend skipping Trogir?
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Old Aug 17th, 2012, 05:54 AM
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Thought you might find this interesting.

The Vintgar gorge is lovely but not necessary after seeing Plivitce. You have a nice itinerary and the only thing I would say is more time! It is a shame that you will miss the Soca River Valley, esp as you are an active couple. The sports and hiking there are phenomenal!
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Old Aug 17th, 2012, 06:00 AM
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http://www.cntraveler.com/features/2...ref_map=%5B%5D

Forgot to add the link!
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Old Aug 17th, 2012, 09:05 AM
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You missed Trogir
Split, once you have diocletian's palace not much more to do.

If you have done it pop onto Trogir.

No often how often I have been to Bled never made it to the Island, after the castle and the cake stops at the places at the bottom (and the art deco (well not actually ad but close) church) the trip to the island looks dull. When you have been please tell us what it was like.
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Old Aug 17th, 2012, 07:31 PM
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> Also we were were also planning to spend about one full day in split, plus an afternoon in Trogir. I see kja does not think this is enough time, and I am sure we could easily spend more. Would you recommend skipping Trogir?

That really depends on your interests. Tiny Trogir is beautiful and has some of the most amazing medieval stone carvings anywhere. I'm very glad I had a few hours to walk around there.

I found Split dynamic and energetic and full of interesting corners. Diocletian's Palace and the amazing Cathedral and Baptistry are the highlights. It also had one of my favorite markets anywhere, a good archeological museum, a small and interesting museum of the city, the home and studio of Ivan Meštrović (reached by a lovely walk with glimpses out over the sea), an interesting medieval square, some wonderful contrasts in architectural styles.....

> The Vintgar gorge is lovely but not necessary after seeing Plivitce.

They are different. In the Vintgar Gorge, one walks on cliff-side paths beside a rushing stream, and then (if you want) you walk through fields and forests and alpine pastures to return to the start. In Plitvice Lakes, one walks along paths beside lakes of differing colors and by some stunning travertine-formation waterfalls.

> When you have been [to Bled Island} please tell us what it was like.

Part of the appeal is the chance to spend a bit of time not just on the water, but on the water in a traditional boat (a pletna) impressively powered by a single oar in a way that seems to require impossible strength. Once on the island, one has a limited amount of time to see a pretty little church, a small museum, or just walk around some tree-shrouded paths. There are, of course, lovely views of the Alps and castle, etc., from theh boat and island
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Old Aug 17th, 2012, 08:40 PM
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we recently visited Split, we were there from noon and left very early the next day. basically used it as a transfer point to catch our easyjet flight to milan. after exploring the nooks and crannies around diocletian's palace and enjoying a drink while peope watching along the riva in the evening, we felt that amount of time was adequate. we spent 4 days in dubrovnik prior to split and felt we were ready for italy, our next stop.
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Old Aug 18th, 2012, 04:24 AM
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kja--thanks for your insights on time needed for Split/Trogir. I think we will try to spend an afternoon in Trogir at least if the weather is good. We are interested in the Cathedral and just exploring the old town. Ideally we would also like to visit Salona but I am sure we don't have enough time for that.
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Old Sep 7th, 2012, 02:02 PM
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YOU are "packing it in"!!!!!

We are going to Slovenia and Croatia in Sept.2013 for at least 4 weeks and hitting the stops you are making.

The suggestion to skip Pula sounds wise. Glad you are staying in Mostar.

Can't wait to read your TRIP REPORT.
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Old Sep 7th, 2012, 02:15 PM
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You all know Pula has a roman ampitheatre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pula_Arena
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