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Last Minute Birthday Trip to Croatia and Bosnia and H! Need Help!

Last Minute Birthday Trip to Croatia and Bosnia and H! Need Help!

Old Apr 20th, 2021, 11:32 AM
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Last Minute Birthday Trip to Croatia and Bosnia and H! Need Help!

Hi all,

Hope everyone is well. Been reading trip reports like crazy, which has been extraordinarily helpful to put together the first version of a plan! Looking for feedback, ideas and suggestions as it pertains to our route, planned stops, and things to do that we should be thinking of but are not right now. Also interested in good drivers and private tour guides as well.

We are active and well traveled. Love history, museums and monuments. Love the water, beaches, good food and wine, people watching, hiking and wandering without a plan. We want to self drive for most of it, but will also hire drivers when it makes sense and makes a day trip easier and less stressful. We like to do self guided tours, but also love hiring a great guide when it will add value to what we are seeking to see or learn. Food and wine are a huge part of our experiences and we are not afraid to splurge for fabulous meals. But we also love street food and off the beaten path local cheap eats as well.

Below is what we are thinking about. The dates may shift by a few days, but we basically have 11, 12 days max. I would normally have a few more days in some of the cities but we are limited. Based on the wonderful descriptions of the beautiful drives, great places to stop and dramatic scenery, we are actually excited to move from place to place. With that said, very, very open to feedback.

Lastly, COVID! We are fully vaccinated and will have our cards. We are also prepared to take the PCR test as it seems as will need prior 48 hours before entering Bosnia. We have 3 days planned for Bosnia currently. Will we need another PCR test to cross into Croatia or will our vaccination card be enough? Any feedback on this from those who know will be much appreciated.

June 24
Lufthansa to Sarajevo

June 25
Land at 11:45 am
1 night Sarajevo
Tour around. Maybe Rick Stevens “Welcome to Sarajevo” walk
Memorial to the Children of Sarajevo
Nice dinner

June 26
Rent car
Drive to Mostar for 2 nights
Stop at Tunnel of Hope on the way to Mostar

June 26
Drive to Dubrovnik for 3 nights
**Possible stops at Kravice Waterfall, Ston to climb walls Mali Ston for oysters on the way to Dubrovnik
** Day Trip to Montenegro, Bay of Kotor. Possible stops Kotor, Perast, Herceg Novi

July 1
Drive to Split For 3 nights
** Possible day trip to Trojir
What else?

July 3
Ferry to Hvar
2 nights
**Beach day
**Charter a boat

July 5
Early Ferry back to Split
Depart Split for US on Delta at 12:45 pm.

Thoughts everyone??? And thanks in advance!
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Old Apr 20th, 2021, 12:03 PM
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Sounds great, well thought out. The only thing I would change is to drop the car after your Kotor day trip (or make that optional--The bay is pretty, but I would not spend the day in the car when I could be on the water), take a catamaran to Hvar after Dubrovnik, and put your Split stay last, shifting one night to Hvar. Split is a cool place, but I would not go to an island for less than three nights, giving you two full days on the island for total bliss.
That also avoids the unlikely but still possible delay that could keep you from getting to the airport in time. In my four trips to Croatia, there were boat delays a few times.
I think it's a great idea to have the car in the Bosnia-Hercegovina area, but you don't need it otherwise.
There is a Fodorite in Croatia now, so I hope you get some good info on the testing protocols and such.
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Old Apr 20th, 2021, 04:15 PM
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Yorkshire, such good advice!
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Old Apr 20th, 2021, 06:39 PM
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I think you have the time for Sarajevo and Mostar backwards. I loved Sarajevo, see:

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...ting-sarajevo/
https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...rajevo-reborn/

Normally I would recommend against so much time in Dubrovnik, but maybe the tourist hordes will be diminished this year. If you haven't already been there I would highly recommend Plitvice.
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Old Apr 20th, 2021, 08:40 PM
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You will most likely incur a drop off fee for picking up the car in Sarajevo and dropping it in Split. It could be a substantial amount.

Maybe consider dropping Sarajevo from the itinerary and fly into Dubrovnik. Pick up a car there and visit Mostar, Kotor, etc. from there. Continue on with your itinerary and drop the car in Split so there is no drop fee.
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 12:23 AM
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At the present time you do not need a PCR test to enter Croatia provided you have been vaccinated for two weeks, which you have. It does not matter where you enter from, but fill out the Enter Croatia form and bring proof of prepaid accommodation. This is the rule now, but see how it is when you get closer. The accommodation must be paid for. Some have reported they only had to show the first hotel as prepaid. Personally I would not risk that.
https://mup.gov.hr/uzg-covid/english/286212

I also think Sarajevo is the outlier here. One day is not enough. There is enough to do around Mostar in two, but to be honest I am not sure I would want to deal with a lot of borders, even in June. Bosnia is having a tough time, so is Croatia, it might just be easier to stay inside one country. I would book into Dubrovnik and out of Split, and with conditions permitting visit Mostar and surrounds on the way from Dubrovnik to Split, or one of the many excursions from Dubrovnik. If you book into and out of Croatia you can work on the Bosnia~Herzegovina part when things are more clear. Or save it for another trip that includes Plitvice and the north of Croatia, because I assure you, you will want to come back.

Family-owned Perla Adriatica in Dubrovnik does daily tours to Mostar and to Kotor in season. They are long days, but not expensive and get great reviews. https://www.perla-adriatica.com you should write to Silvija for more details if you want them.

With your interests I think three days in Dubrovnik is good, one day for Banje beach or sunbathing and swimming off the rocks outside the walls. It’s pretty fantastic. Definitely take the advice to spend the night before your flight in Split. It will just be easier. Unless it’s like a hurricane, the car ferry always runs from Hvar to Split, but it’s a 20 minute drive to the ferry from Hvar Town, two hours on the ferry, then another thirty to forty minutes to the airport. Likely the catamaran will run and shave an hour off that, but why not make it easy on yourself.

There is a lot to do in Hvar, I am assuming you will stay in Hvar town? Three nights would be good, one full day to relax in town, another to pick up a car and visit other places on the island. You can get one from Dino. https://www.dinorenthvar.com
There is the ferry, and the catamaran - they are different. Catamaran is faster and goes to Hvar town, but no cars. There is also a catamaran from Dubrovnik, this is the one Yorkshire mentions. If you take it, you could do an excursion to Ston and Pelješac from Dubrovnik, and would not need to drive, therefore you can drink.. wine.. lots of it. D’Vino wine bar does a wine tour that is great fun. They just stop for Ston oysters though, not climbing the walls.
https://dvino.net/dubrovnik-wine-tours.html


Lots to ponder I suppose. I know a fab guides in Split/Trogir, Dubrovnik and Hvar but I don’t like putting email addresses on this site, you can send me a PM if you want the details. I also have good private transfer guys in Dubrovnik and Split, and the one in Split is also a guide. He takes a lot of people to Plitvice for the day.

(One last thing, if you end up driving from Dubrovnik to Split, do not worry about the Neum corridor through Herzegovina, you do not need any special paperwork but you have only one hour to pass, so no stopping for lunch.)
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 02:19 AM
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Hi Yorkshire,

I had the same thought as you did in leaving Split for last but was trying to get a slightly shorter ferry ride to Hvar. In the end, as you noted it would be more of a headache if we missed out flight. So duly noted and I will make the change. Will also try to add one more day to Hvar without taking one away from Split. I want to have one full day for Split and one day trip.

Thirsdaysd, I read your blogs. Excellent and interesting reads. I have read some of your travel blogs before. Initially, we were only doing Mostar in BiH, as I was charmed from tales from very recent trip reports. I added the one night in Sarajevo because to your point, I have also read wonderful things about the city and wanted a small taste. Your blog does want me to have a bigger taste but not sure if it’s possible this trip. I’m considering your same Mostar Hotel. Any other thoughts on it?

joannyc, thanks for the heads up on the rental. Will begin to look into it.

Appreciate the responses so far!
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 02:21 AM
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Back again, would love more feedback on day trips, places to stop while driving, restaurants in the cities we are thinking about so far, museums etc.

And of course, any up to date COVID info is also appreciated though I know it changes almost daily!

Thanks!
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 02:47 AM
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Lolazahra, I wrote another post (long one) but it is stuck in moderation, hopefully not for too long. But here is a note about a shorter ferry, you can take one from Drvenik (just south of Makarska) to Sućuraj and drive across Hvar island. This would work if you drive the car from Dubrovnik but want to spend the time driving instead of sitting on a ferry. It is a very beautiful drive but the first part on the island has a narrow road, it freaks some people out, but I have driven it many times. It would be a nice way to see part of the island that not many people do. Glad to give you some tips for places to explore on your way across should you decide to go this route. There is a good car rental place called MACK that has an office just outside Ploče gate in Dubrovnik and another in the Park Hotel in Split, both easy locations to get in and out of and convenient. I am hesitant to post their website because I think that is what got me into moderation but I can do it later if you want.
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 09:34 AM
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Rialtogrl, thank you! You gave me so much to ponder in the two posts that I need to really think to come back with questions, which I definitely will! So back soon!
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 11:45 AM
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Do not miss the Eighth Wonder of the World ... The Buza Bar in Dubrovnik. Here is my first encounter with it (link) back in 2008. Hope you get to Plitvice, too. Spent a wonderful day there, as well. Gorgeous lakes and waterfalls.

https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/cha...-the-buza-bar/
https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/cha...d-in-plitvice/


BUZA BAR 1


BUZA BAR 1


PLITVICE LAKES


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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 02:05 PM
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Rialto, the ferry from Drvenik sounds intriguing. How long will it take to drive there from Dubrovnik and how long will this ferry take? Additionally, how long will the drive be to Hvar town once we get on island? And in terms of the first part of the drive, what are we talking about, LOL! Skinny lanes with hair pin turns with no rails or just a skinny road? Knowing this will help me to make a decision. But I like the idea as it would allow us to see the island prior to getting to Hvar town.

On the way back, would we do the same thing? Remember we will go to Split for our last stop. If not, advice?

Lastly, have not researched buying ferry tickets yet. Can this be done in advance or is it done when in country?

Thanks for all in advance!
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by maitaitom View Post
Do not miss the Eighth Wonder of the World ... The Buza Bar in Dubrovnik. Here is my first encounter with it (link) back in 2008. Hope you get to Plitvice, too. Spent a wonderful day there, as well. Gorgeous lakes and waterfalls.

https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/cha...-the-buza-bar/
https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/cha...d-in-plitvice/


BUZA BAR 1


BUZA BAR 1


PLITVICE LAKES

Your photos are stunning and you got me! Buza Bar1 it is! Thanks. I dont think we can fit in the lakes though I really wanted to...But as Rialto says, we will be back!
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 06:04 PM
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Lolazahra - glad you like the blogs! As best I remember, the hotel in Mostar was OK, nothing to get excited about, but it was ten years ago. (Wow, hadn't realized it was that long...) I checked my journal, seems I had a "double" room with two twins, very clean, lots of towels, no real view. If I felt like splurging the Bristol is a better location for someone on foot, but perhaps not for someone needing to park a car. (Quick check online suggests that it would not actually be a splurge right now.)

If you go here and use the password "bosnia" photos of my Mostar hotel room are at the beginning of the gallery. (It's password protected because I have done zero editing on the photos.)

Last edited by thursdaysd; Apr 21st, 2021 at 06:08 PM.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2021, 03:39 AM
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Lolazahra, the ferry from Drvenik to Sućuraj does not really save on time, in the end its about the same to drive to Split and catch the car ferry there. But it is a bit more interesting, especially if you will do the Hvar (Stari Grad) -Split ferry back to Split when you leave, then you can do the stay on deck look at the pretty islands thing. I guess it is about two hours to Drvenik, you should arrive 45 minutes before the ferry departs. They are small ferries, they only hold 35 cars. That time of year, they run boats all day, if you do not get on one, you get on the next one. I am going to post the website schedule in a different post. I will do the one for MACK there too.

The road out of Sućuraj is definitely narrow and there are places where there are sometimes no rails, but you are not going to plunge off into the sea. It is a raised road but for the most part the distance to the ground is a few feet. You pass through many olive trees and the typical island terrain. You will get some local on your butt here and there, what I do is let all those dudes go past me when I get off the ferry. You can always tell when the ferry has let out even an hour away because there will be ten cars tailgating each other. Take it slow, it is no problem.

After an hour the road widens and then it is a more normal road, with a lot of opportunities for the locals who see your Dubrovnik plates to pass you. It takes just over an hour and a half in total to drive to Hvar town if you do not make any stops. But you should make stops. In the village of Bogomolje is a fabulous olive oil producer, Radojković. I highly recommend stopping there. They have a beautiful tasting room, and the oils - including some flavored ones - are excellent. You can continue on to Humac, an abandoned village just east of the town of Jelsa. In the season they have a restaurant there. Then maybe a stop in Jelsa to have lunch or an ice cream.

If you want to do a wine tasting, you could do one with Ivo Duboković in Jelsa (his wines are awesome and he is an interesting person to hang out with) or at the Carić tasting room in Vrboska (a good entry into the specific wines of the island.) That would be a pretty full day, but you could save the wine tasting for another day out, after you explore the west end of the island.. for the true hairy road experience, save the old road between Hvar town and Stari Grad, followed by a visit to Stari Grad and the Stari Grad plain, for another day. You will deserve some wine after that
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Old Apr 22nd, 2021, 04:02 AM
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The schedule for Drvenik to Sućuraj - https://tinyurl.com/hms87akj

They are not selling tickets for late June/early July yet.

You can buy tickets in advance but it does not secure a place on this line. If you do not get on one ferry you need to wait for the next one. However when you return Stari Grad to Split, your ticket does guarantee a reservation on the ship.

MACK car rental - https://mack-concord.hr/

If you want to get a sense of what it is like to drive from Sućuraj to Jelsa, here is a video
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Old Apr 23rd, 2021, 05:22 AM
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Rialtogrl,

Thank you for all of this new information and the video! I think we can do this and the stops along the way to Hvar Town sound wonderful. As I plan, I know I will have more questions. And taking the ferry back from Stari Grad to Split for our last stop is perfect.

For now I’m going to plan two itineraries—one with and without Bosnia H. If we drop the three days there, I will add a day to our other stops or maybe go to another island.

I will repost the Croatia only new itinerary for comments shortly.

And thanks for the ferry schedules. I definitely want to book in advance.

Thanks again!
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 06:49 AM
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Hi guys,

I have been over to the Bosnia Herzegovina forum page on TA and it looks like stuff is opening up, so we may do our first option, which was to start in Bosnia with a few days in Sarajevo and Mostar. But just in case we don’t, here is the revised itinerary for doing only Croatia.

Please tell me your thoughts.

June 24

Fly NYC to Dubrovnik

June 25

Land at noon. Explore Dubrovnik. Nice late lunch and dinner

June 26

Dubrovnik Walls, explore on our own.

June 27

Day trip to Montenegro, Bay of Kotor. Possible stops Kotor, Perast, Herceg Novi. Use driver/guide.

June 28

Beach day In Dubrovnik

Pick up rental car early evening ??? Can it be delivered to hotel as I saw in another trip report?

June 29

Early morning drive to Hvar. Stopping at Ston to climb walls and Mali Ston for oysters.

After lunch ferry from Drvenik (just south of Makarska) to Sućuraj and drive across Hvar island.

Enjoy the evening on Hvar

** need to make sure that this timing works as it pertains to the ferry

June 30

Beach Day on Hvar

July 1

Explore Hvar Town and Hvar Island with our car

July 2

Explore another island. Rent a boat.

July 3

Depart for Split from Stari Grad via car. Arrive Split and drop off car. Explore Split.

July 4

Explore Split including Diocletian's Palace and more with a guide.

July 5

Day trip to Trojir with driver and guide.

July 6

Depart Split for New York

How does this sound?

Thank you.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 09:38 AM
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Looks great to me. Nice balance of investigation and relaxation.. I sent a pm with some guide info. For the car: what hotel will you stay at? The MACK agency will deliver but their location is pretty convenient. Get it on the day you leave unless your hotel has free parking.
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Old Apr 25th, 2021, 06:45 PM
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All other passengers coming to the Republic of Croatia from EU / EEA member states/regions, who are not currently on the so-called green list of the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, must present one of the following :
  • negative PCR test or rapid antigen test – BAT on SARS-CoV-2 not older than 48 hours (counting from the time of swab to arrival at the border crossing) and, if it is a rapid antigen test and stay longer than 10 days in the Republic of Croatia, must retest the test by the tenth day from the date of issue of that test;
  • vaccination certificate for persons who, more than 14 days ago, received a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Exceptionally, in the case of a single-dose vaccine, an acknowledgment of receipt of a single dose if the dose was received more than 14 days before the date of crossing the state border;
  • present a certificate confirming that the certificate holder has recovered from SARS-COV-2 virus infection after having previously had a positive PCR or rapid antigen test, which certificate is valid no earlier than the eleventh day from the date of arrival of the positive test and no later than 180 -th day from the day of the first positive test;
  • or perform PCR testing or rapid antigen testing – BAT on SARS-CoV-2 immediately upon arrival in the Republic of Croatia (at its own expense), with the obligation of self-isolation until the arrival of a negative finding. In case of the impossibility of testing, a measure of self-isolation is determined for a period of ten (10) days.
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