Lend me your expertise:Croatia

Mar 31st, 2007, 09:28 PM
  #1  
8
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Lend me your expertise:Croatia

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Croatia in September - I know it seems like it's the most popular destination right now. I have been reading many of the posts/threads here and have found them very helpful. I'm trying to decide a few things about our itinerary... days in each place...which islands etc...pls help if you can and hotel/restaurant recommendations would be GREAT!

We're in our mid thirities if that helps....and like B&B or even apartments 30-75 Euro range.

Looking at approx a three week trip...

Landing in Zagrab - 2 nights

FLY OR TRAIN? (what's the best transportation?)

Istra:Rovinj (3 nights) home base - day trips to Pula & Porec

Fly or Train (?)
Trojir (3 nights) day trip to Split

Ferry to
Hvar - 3 nights - day trips to Korcula

Ferry to
Dubrovnik - 4 nights

BUS/TRAIN? to...
Bosnia - Mostar 2 nights

FLY back to Zagrab - one night

also has anyone heard of/been to Cavtat? Is that place worth going to - by train/bus from Dubrovnik? for a couple of nights - instead of Mostar? or is Mostar great too?

Looking for feedback - and ideas on places to stay.
thanks for your help.


8 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 10:36 PM
  #2  
nbujic
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You can fly to Pula from Zagreb but not to Rovinj
You can fly to Split but not Trogir.
Cavtat is a small place, you can reach it by bus from Dubrovnik - not much there.
You might think about a trip to Montenegro from Dubrovnik.
One day in Mostar is enough.
Trogir is charming but very small. I would find 3 day there too long .
 
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:29 AM
  #3  
 
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I was in Croatia last September. It was wonderful! I visited Split. I agree with previous poster that 3 nights Trojir is too much. I would add a couple nights to Dubrovnik. It and the surrounding area is wonderful. So much to do. I was there 6 nights & it wasn't nearly enough. I rented an apartment with a terrace and a fabulous view of the city. How wonderful to enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace at night! From Dubrovnik I took 2 Atlas day tours to Mostar & Montenegro. Mostar was fascinating & a real eye opener. The effects of the 90's war are still so evident. The Bay of Kotor in Montenegro is beautiful. I also spent 4 nights on Hvar. 3 would have been plenty. I can't wait to go back to the area. The next time I will go directly to Dubrovnik spend a week there then rent a car & drive into Bosnia & then down the coast of Montenegro. I was intimidated to do it on my own last year but next time will be different. The people of the area are lovely, kind, & happy to see tourists as their economy has so suffered since the war. I had the best calamari ever in Dubrovik.

Go & have a wonderful time. You won't regret it!
Dee_Dee is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:41 AM
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I pulled out my notes from last September to give you some recommendations. I rented my apartment in Dubrovnik from www.dubrovnik-online.com. Best restaurant in Mostar is Bella Vista. It's located by the bridge. Hvar restaurants - Paladini, Konoba Macondo. Go to the club Carpe Diem at night. In Dubrovnik try restaurants - Locanda Peskarija, Proto, Nautika 2. Don't miss kicking back & having a beverage at Buzza clinging on the cliffs!
Dee_Dee is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 09:25 PM
  #5  
8
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Thanks so much for all the ideas!! I'll post a "revised" itinerary in the next few weeks for your input. My boyfriend is a "last minute" kind of guy when it comes to trips...but I'm a planer! So keep the info coming! It really helps.

Also at the end of our trip...can we fly from Dubrovnik back to Zagrab? Or is it best to finish our trip in Bosnia (Mostar) and fly back to Zagrab and head home from there?????
8 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 11:32 PM
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You might consider a couple days on the island of Brac, in-between Split and Hvar, or Korcula, in-between Hvar and Dubrovnik. We loved both islands. Bol on Brac offers more beach time; Korcula is just charming.

In Cavtat it's easier to find a place to swim. It was great for our small family, but I wouldn't suggest it for your trip.

Have you already bought your tickets? Or can you fly home from Dubrovnik?

We were in Croatia last September. It was fine to just book Dubrovnik but play everything else by ear. The tourist info places were very helpful with finding us nice, cheap private apartments.
christycruz is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:35 AM
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We've never been, but I've been looking into it. Here is another completely different possibility that looks intriguing to us. Whether or not it would appeal to you is a completely different story. It
s a combo boat trip and biking. You stay on the same boat every night as it moves around the islands.

http://www.bikeandhike.co.za/info/croatia-cycle.htm
julies is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:53 AM
  #8  
 
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You can fly cheaply between Zagreb and Dubrovnik on Croatia Airlines. I think our flight from Zagreb back to Dubrovnik was about $50 for two tickets. The planes are very modern and clean and the whole experience was very easy. Both Zagreb and Dubrovnik's airports are tiny.

As for trains, Croatia doesn't have a real rail system yet, with the exception of a train that goes, I believe, between Zagreb and Split. I would probably look into either taking a bus or renting a car. Driving in Croatia was very easy, by the way.

Trogir is lovely but I agree that 3 nights is too long. Its a tiny town. I too would add a few nights onto Dubrovnik. While small, its so beautiful and charming. From Dubrovnik I too would suggest a daytrip to Montenegro. The Bay of Kotor was one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen. We loved Kotor so much that we are planning a trip back to Croatia that includes a few nights there.

We stayed in Villa Adriatica in Dubrovnik (http://www.dubrovnik-online.com/villa_adriatica/) and culdn't have been happier. The location is superb, right outside of the city walls, and the price falls in your price category.

Good luck!
Tracy
tcreath is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:29 PM
  #9  
8
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Thanks everyone!
Some great help here.

So you really don't think we need to book places to stay in advance ...except maybe for Dubrovnik? I just want to make sure we get a place to stay that is clean and reasonably priced. By the way.... I looked up Villa Adriatica - Looks perfect!

Thanks for the info about the trains. It makes sense now why most people are talking about buses or ferry travel.

Speaking of Ferry Travel. If we go from Split to say Brac for 2 nights - then ferry to Hvar for 2 nights - then maybe Korcula for 2 nights - I know that's a lot of Island hopping ...but I think taking the ferry all the way from Hvar to Dubrovnik would be a long journey? Does anyone know how long? Is it better to break it up by spending a few nights on the island then having a shorter trip from Korcula to Dubronik?

Thanks
8 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:37 PM
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I definitely liked breaking up the ferry trips. The scenery is gorgeous, but it can get chilly on the deck, and the cafe can be smoky. I definitely got bored and fidgety after 4 hours. Plus, the islands are terrific.
Note that you cannot always hop directly from island to island--take a look at a map and at the "search by map" page on the jadrolinija website to get an idea of ferry routes.

You often get better prices by picking accomodations as you go--the ones with websites and such cost more, and the booking agencies apply a surcharge.
yorkshire is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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Hello 8!
Just a note about Villa Adriatica -- I finally was able to book for June, but it wasn't easy. They were not responsive to my emails, so I finally called them.

Language was a bit of a problem, but they were very nice. Required a 20% deposit to confirm the reservation -- that's not bad, I think, for Dubrovnik.

I'm totally excited about that terrace!

Your itinerary looks alot like mine, though now I'm thinking that I might squeeze in a night on Brac, so that we can enjoy a day biking there, and then only 2 nights in Trogir, before Ferrying to Hvar....

Thanks to Julies regarding the bike tours
-- my BF and I are thinking about doing a cycling tour somewhere this summer -- he's very experienced, but I'm a novice. I'd love some suggestions of best places to cycle on our own in Croatia.... I'll make another post regarding that.
4everywhere is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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8,

Others have given you good info. Let me just add/confirm what some others have said...

1) Dubrovnik is a great base for many day trips. Montenegro is great, but you can also do Sarajevo.

2) If you like nature at all, go to Plitvice lakes...very, very, pretty there.

3) Check the ferry schedules for when you will be there. Make sure you can do Hvar-Korcula when you want to

4) I would suggest a single night in Zagreb, and driving to Ljubljana and then seeing the caves in southern Slovenia. This will tie nicely into your Istria stay.

5) If you click on my name, you'll find a detailed trip report (although about 2yrs old).

Enjoy Croatia. It is the most beautiful country I've ever seen.
alyssamma is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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Hi 8...

I took the ferry from Hvar to Dubrovnik last September and it was about a 7 hour boat ride. We left Hvar around 8am (maybe 8:30am) and docked in Dubrovnik at 4:15pm. The scenery was breathtaking and luckily I found a spot inside to sit that was not smoky and I had a good book to read!

The ferry did stop at Korcula shortly after noon, so making Korcula a stop off point to break the length of time in half is a good option.

Have a great time...Croatia is beautiful and I second the recommendation to spend some time at Plitvice National Park!
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 11:13 AM
  #14  
8
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I love love LOVE logging in to Fodors and reading about everyone's ideas & thoughts. THANK YOU!

4Everywhere - thanks for the info about Villa Adriatica - I'll remember to be persistent. The balcony does look amazing!

Alyssamma -I will look into a day trip to Sarajevo. I think that would be very cool. And exploring caves sounds pretty fun too.

Lowcounryislander - thx for the info on ferry travel...and YIKES!! 7 hours...I think I will plan on breaking our trip up a bit with some stops on the islands.

We had been considering flying into Ljubljana...instead of Zagrab.....renting a car I'm sure would be an adventure...and I've seen several posts from people who say it's not difficult...but driving in a foreign country is a little daunting. I've always taken the train everywhere in Europe...but since there doesn't seem to be a good system in this region...my boyfriend & I were just thinking about flying between the main cities then bussing it to the smaller cities or taking the ferry.

Is renting a car there easy? and how about insurance? Als, If we were to rent a car does anyone know if we can pick one up in, say, Zagrab...and then drop it off somewhere down in Dubrovnik - at the end of our trip - so we can just fly home from there?

thx & keep the ideas coming !!
8 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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I know most people here have rented a car while in Croatia, but I thought I'd chime in to let you know this is far from a necessity to have an amazing experience. I have visited twice and only used buses and ferries, supplemented with scooters occasionally.
If I am only in a town for 2-3 days, I lean toward seeing all of the town and what I can reach on foot, bus, bike, or scooter.
Here's how I would decide:
Are you going to venture into the surrounding region every day, taking long drives--or explore the place you are in by walking around, sitting in cafes, and finding secluded beaches?
I'm not making a value judgement, just pointing out a difference.
In Istria, I agree a car is best to explore the interior, but the bus routes between coastal towns are frequent.
Most importantly, look into driving times, 6 hours in a day is too much to call something a "day trip" to me--but it might not be for you.
good luck!
yorkshire is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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8,

The "long" ferry ride to Dubrovnik can be done overnight. Check the ferry schedules for when you are going, though. This saves you a hotel and it is a fun way to travel w/o really missing time.

Also, when we went, we rented a car in Zagreb, drove to Slovenia, and ended up returning the car in Split (actually at the Split airport which is right next to Trogir). Everything went well and the driving was very easy (as opposed to other places in Europe )

Insurance is covered from your credit card.

You may not want to drive from Split down to Dubrovnik...that is a more difficult drive. We took the bus and enjoyed the amazing view. Note also you'll pass through Bosnia (?) for about 100yds on that drive.

Lastly, as someone else said, we got cheap tickets on Air Croatia to fly from Dubrovnik to Zagreb for our flight home.

Kevin
alyssamma is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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Hi 8...

About driving in Croatia. We rented a car in downtown Zagreb (from Avis at the Sheraton Zagreb) it was a very easy process and we had no trouble getting from the center of the city to the A-1 highway that is a "straight shot" to Split where we dropped of the car. You can make Plitvice a stop along the way.

One recommendation, when I was doing my trip planning last year I was starting in Slovenia and ending in Dubrovnik. I needed to rent a car, to get from Bled, Slovenia to Split. The price of renting a car in Slovenia and dropping off in Croatia were very high, well, for my budget anyway. The drop off fee was somewhere between $300 and $400...a little to rich for my travel budget.

We ultimately took the train from Bled to Zagreb and picked up our car there and it worked out to be much less expensive then picking up in one country and dropping off in another. If you do decided to go to Slovenia (which I highly recommend) I suggest getting your rental car in Croatia and dropping it off in Croatia...but that's just my 2 cents worth.
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 02:28 PM
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I too thought the drive from Split to Dubrovnik was quite easy. The scenery was amazing and the roads were in good condition. Driving in Croatia was much easier than we anticipated, especially when compared to Italy!

We had no problems at all getting our reservations via e-mail through Villa Adriatica. I do know that they get pretty busy during certain times of the year though.

Tracy
tcreath is online now  
Apr 5th, 2007, 12:12 PM
  #19  
8
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Thx everyone for all the advice!! Yorkshire you make some good points about "not" having a car. We shall see...I'll do some more research and fine-tune my itinerary. When I think I have definitely chosen cities, days in each, and transportation (A month or so....) I'll repost...look forward to all your feedback then.
thx
8 is offline  

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