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Ljubljana, Slovenia to Croatia - Help wih itinerary please!

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Nov 17th, 2012, 11:09 AM
  #1
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Ljubljana, Slovenia to Croatia - Help wih itinerary please!

Hello

For my travels in March/April 2013, I’m working on leaving Canada and landing in Ljubljana, Slovenia then traveling by train to Zagreb, Croatia and taking the bus within Croatia to possibly Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik staying 4 nights in each city then flying back home from Dubrovnik.

Is this a reasonable itinerary? What changes should I make? Is the train, plane or ferry better at any point? I’m still considering stops suggested by others but I also don’t want to run around too much and jump from one city to the next. My interests include history, culture, architecture, museums....and a little R&R.

Also, from what I’ve been reading, Plitvice is a must-see. Should I include one night there? Travelers have written that an overnighter is not necessary but what about my luggage?

I’m not adventurous enough to drive in a foreign country on my own so I will have to depend on public transportation.

1. How much in advance must I/can I buy bus or tickets? Is it safe to book my flights and hotels without an advance bus or train reservation? Is it best to buy in person or online? Are there days when the train or bus does not run?

How is the bus service? I read that even with reservations, passengers can end up standing!

2. Any suggestions for a vegetarian in Slovenia and Croatia?

4. Any hotel suggestions?

All help is much appreciated.

Thank you!
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Nov 17th, 2012, 01:45 PM
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Here is my trip report with photos from our 2008 trip. Chapters Eleven through Twenty Three cover Croatia and Slovenia. We liked very much where we stayed in Ljubljana, Rovinj and Dubrovnik. Yes, I highly recommend you go to Plitvice. Breathtaking! We traveled by car. Have a great trip.

http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/Tom_...nice_2008.html

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Nov 17th, 2012, 07:20 PM
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Fantastic report maitaitom! Beautifully written! Thank you
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Nov 17th, 2012, 08:30 PM
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I suggest you reconsider driving, at least in Croatia. While Croatia does have a good bus system, it does add flexibility to be able to drive. In 2009, I rented a car in Zagreb and dropped it in Dubrovnik. (Click on my name to find my trip reports: 2009 for Croatia, 2011 for Slovenia.)

Driving was very easy in Croatia. (Believe me, I was nervous about it until I got there, too.) The only thing that might throw you is not being able to drive a standard transmission. Most rental cars in Croatia (and most of Europe) are manual. Automatic transmissions are a premium item and cost more.

If you drive you can leave your bags in the car at Plitvice if you do just a day there and not need to spend a night. You can see a good part of the park in 4-5 hours. However, note that Plitvice (which is amazing) gets crowded with tour groups after about 10am in season. Not sure about March-April, maybe not as crowded. I spent a night and saw the park both days. It was much nicer the second morning without the crowds! Consider: if you train in to Zagreb from Ljubljana, by the time you get down to Plitvice (2 hours even if you drive), you probably won't get there til mid-afternoon. It might make more sense not to spend a night in Zagreb but spend it in Plitvice instead, see the park first thing the following morning, then move on.

Hotels: in Ljublana, I can recommend the the B&B Slamic. Hotels are not cheap in Ljubljana, but the Slamic is a great value, walkable from the bus/train station and to the center (which is very compact and easy to walk to almost anything). Ljubljana is a lovely town.

Try to sneak in at least a day trip out to Lake Bled in Slovenia if you can! You don't need much time there though - a few hours to walk around the lake and that's about it.
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Nov 17th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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> I’m working on ... landing in Ljubljana, Slovenia then traveling by train to Zagreb, Croatia and taking the bus within Croatia to possibly Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik staying 4 nights in each city then flying back home from Dubrovnik. ... Is this a reasonable itinerary? ... I also don’t want to run around too much and jump from one city to the next. My interests include history, culture, architecture, museums....and a little R&R.

In general, I think this plan is reasonable given your interests.
- 4 days in Slovenia will give you time to see Ljubljana, Lake Bled, and maybe even have time for a day trip somewhere else in the area.
- 4 days in Zagreb will give you time to visit some of its interesting museums and neighborhoods. Given your interests, you might want to check into a tour of the National Archives. And note that many museums in Zagreb will be closed on Sunday afternoon and Monday all day.
- 4 days in Zadar might be a bit much, but if you are willing to do some longish day trips, you could include Sibenik and some other interesting places in the vicinity.
- 4 days in Split will give you time to visit Split and its museums, markets, and interesting nooks and cranies, as well as Trogir and maybe (depending on ferry schedules) a bit of one or more of the islands.
- 4 days in Dubrovnik will give you plenty of time to see that magnificent city, and maybe take a day trip to Montenegro or somewhere else.

If you are willing to tweak your times a bit, you might want to subtract a day from some of these locations to free up a few days to spend on one of the islands, perhaps Hvar.

> from what I’ve been reading, Plitvice is a must-see. Should I include one night there?

If possible, I would encourage you to spend a night there. It will give you much more freedom to see and enjoy the magnificent Plitvice Lakes at a leisurely pace, and will give you some latitude if the weather is not overly cooperative.

> I’m not adventurous enough to drive in a foreign country on my own so I will have to depend on public transportation.

I can understand that position. For my trip in 2009, I used a rental car when it substantially enhanced my ability to see what I wanted to see, and otherwise used public transport. I found public transportation in Croatia to be quite good, and I also found driving there quite easy. That mix worked well for me.

You will see some wonderful places. Enjoy!
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Nov 18th, 2012, 08:31 AM
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Thank you Andrew! Nicey detailed report; very helpful. Thank you kja! I can definitely tweak my itinerary to make some changes
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Nov 28th, 2012, 05:00 PM
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Hi,

I would modify your trip.
- 4 days in Slovenia: Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Postojnska jama.
- 4 days in Rovinj and Istra peninsula.
- 4 days in Split, Brac, Hvar island.
- 4 days in Dubrovnik and Montenegro ( Kotor).

Lily
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Nov 29th, 2012, 08:17 AM
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As a vegetarian, you will be fine if a bit bored. Pizza is plentiful. I imagine things have come a long way since I last visited as vegetarian, when blitva (swiss chard) and potatoes were a frequent meal for me. I eat fish now, and Dalmatia is a pescetarian's paradise.

While there are hotels, room or apartment rental is the norm and quite affordable. I recommend it for many reasons, but especially if you want a kitchen to cook some of your own meals.

At that time of year no advance booking of ferries or buses will be necessary. You can find most of the schedules online.

I suggest reading more about Zagreb to see if it would hold your interest more versus Istria. Also, given your interests you may want to hop over to Bosnia or Montenegro (both would require overnights due to the bus schedule). I'd leave options open for day trips to the islands, but it may still be quite cool in March/April.
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Nov 30th, 2012, 04:42 AM
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The most logical place to visit in Bosnia & Herzegovina is Mostar. There is public transit from/to the Croatian coast. If you do go I would recommend staying overnight.
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Dec 1st, 2012, 06:34 PM
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Great info and suggestions! thank you ilid2851, yorkshire and Vttraveler
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Dec 4th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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Hi Lily

I like that you added Istria to the itinerary; I’m looking into that. Just wondering if you removed Zagreb and Zadar based on time limits, practicality, my interests….?

Thanks again!
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Dec 4th, 2012, 04:41 PM
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With your interests, I would think you would enjoy Zagreb.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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You got some great advice already, you are in for a treat. I like Lily’s itinerary (which includes Istria) and I agree about trying to spend some time in Bled and visit Postojna cave while in Slovenia. If you want to visit an island in Croatia (Hvar or Korkula, both beautiful), check the ferry schedule, March/April is not high season yet and there might not be boats every day.

Both Croatia and Slovenia are beautiful countries, with wonderful people. We drove in both countries (yes, we paid the premium that Andrew talks about for automatic cars, but it was worth it) and found driving very easy. If you change your mind and consider this option at least for a few days, it will give you more flexibility.

Here are pictures from both countries, to give you an idea – Slovenia is the last part of the 2012 set.
http://ioana-mark.smugmug.com/Travel...0488&k=v4BDthB
http://ioana-mark.smugmug.com/Travel...5900&k=gpSHqrq

You mentioned you are vegetarian – we had our best pasta dish in Croatia, in the middle of nowhere, in a very small restaurant (2 tables inside, 2 outside), where the host did not speak any English, and there was no written menu. Istria is very close to Italy, and food is very similar.

Generally, food in both Croatia and Slovenia was very good, and I think every restaurant we ate in had some vegetarian option. Do you eat fish? If so, do not worry…plenty of options in both countries. Have a great trip!
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Dec 6th, 2012, 03:39 PM
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Thanks kja!
xyz99, great pictures! Thank you for sharing
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Dec 6th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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Check out what ferries run at that time of year. If you can find a ferry schedule that works consider taking a ferry at least part of the way between Slovenia and Dubrovnik and stop at one of the islands (we really loved Korcula). I've done two separate trips to include both countries. Here are my trip reports with links to my photos:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-slovenia.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rful-weeks.cfm
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Dec 6th, 2012, 05:56 PM
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Lovely pictures isabel! Good idea to look into the ferries. Thank you
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Dec 25th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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Hello. Firstly, thank you to those who have been most helpful with my travel itinerary.
I’d like to now add a 2-3 night stay at a wellness/spa hotel in Austria in mid-April 2013 before I head back home to Canada, just to re-coop; I also have a soft spot for Austria.

The initial plan was to start in Ljubljana, Slovenia and end in Dubrovnik, Croatia but I can switch that around to end in Austria. I've done a bit of research and I find that unless it’s summer or winter, the time is not ideal to stay at a spa hotel in the mountains. Any ideas, suggestions?

I will also post on the Austria forum.
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