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Montenegro, BiH, Croatia, Italy: Final Itinerary -- Booking Flights soon!

Montenegro, BiH, Croatia, Italy: Final Itinerary -- Booking Flights soon!

May 19th, 2019, 07:26 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 57
Montenegro, BiH, Croatia, Italy: Final Itinerary -- Booking Flights soon!

Hi Fodorites,

First, thanks for all the feedback these past few weeks. I've gotten lots of great feedback and our itinerary has evolved A LOT in this time. We've settled on an itinerary that feels pretty good and I think we (with your help) have managed to make it pretty efficient. It also feels (I think) like a nice balance between hotspots with lots of tourists and some quieter/off the beaten path spots and a nice, not super rushed pace. Throwing this "final" itinerary out here before we book our flights in the next day or two. Any glaring issues that I have missed? Anything major you would do differently?

High Level Summary
Kotor - 2 nights
Trebinje - 2 nights
Mostar - 3 nights
Dubrovnic - 3 nights
Hvar - 3 nights
Split - 2 nights
Rome - 4 nights
Amalfi - 4 nights
Sorrento - 3 nights
Ischia - 4 nights

Day-by-Day Detail
8/30 - Depart ORD
8/31 - Arrive Dubrovnik ~12pm. Pick up rental car. Drive to Kotor (with perhaps a stop in Perast depending on how good/bad the border crossing is). Arrive Kotor mid/late afternoon.
9/1 - Full day in Kotor
9/2 - Drive Kotor to Trebinje. Perhaps stop in Njegusi Village and/or Perast (if we didn't do this on the first day).
9/3 - Full day in Trebinje. Interested in hiking, wine tours.
9/4 - Drive to Mostar. Arrive Mostar mid/late afternoon.
9/5 - Full day in Mostar
9/6 - Full day in Mostar
9/7 - Drive Mostar to Dubrovnik Airport. Return Car. Taxi into Dubrovnik. Arrive Dubrovnik mid/late afternoon.
9/8-9/9 - 2 full days in Dubrovnik
9/10 - Ferry to Hvar
9/11-9/12 - 2 full days in Hvar
9/13 - Ferry to Split
9/14 - Full day Split
9/15 - Fly Split to Rome
9/16-9/18 - 3 full days in Rome (3rd visit. Focus on less traveled sites. Possible cooking class)
9/19 - High-speed train to Salerno. Ferry to Amalfi.
9/20-9/22 - 3 full day Amalfi
9/23 - Ferry to Sorrento
9/24-9/25 - 2 full days Sorrento (NOT planning to do Capri day trip)
9/26 - Ferry to Ischia
9/27-9/29 3 full days Ischia w/ car or scooter.
9/30 - Ferry to Naples. Flight Naples - ORD

How does this look to everyone? Thank you!

Last edited by tera_denten; May 19th, 2019 at 07:30 AM.
tera_denten is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 11:41 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,977
Cut Mostar to one overnight.
Find time to go to Sarajevo for a couple of nights.
The train ride from Mostar is well worth it, only 2.5 hours and like a dream.
Split.....also consider a short ferry trip to Brac for the day. Don't be tempted by Trogir, packed with tour groups between 1000-1600.

Last edited by LancasterLad; May 19th, 2019 at 11:45 AM.
LancasterLad is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 07:58 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 16,183
One note of caution and a suggestion for the Trebinje to Mostar drive: there are a large number of unexploded land mines on this route up to Stolac so be sure to stick to the road and villages. It is a beautiful drive.
In Stolac, the medieval necropolis in Radimlja is very interesting.

During your time in Mostar I'd recommend going to the dervish house at Blagaj
Vttraveler is online now  
May 20th, 2019, 09:54 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,269
Originally Posted by tera_denten View Post
Hi Fodorites,

First, thanks for all the feedback these past few weeks. I've gotten lots of great feedback and our itinerary has evolved A LOT in this time. We've settled on an itinerary that feels pretty good and I think we (with your help) have managed to make it pretty efficient. It also feels (I think) like a nice balance between hotspots with lots of tourists and some quieter/off the beaten path spots and a nice, not super rushed pace. Throwing this "final" itinerary out here before we book our flights in the next day or two. Any glaring issues that I have missed? Anything major you would do differently?

High Level Summary
Kotor - 2 nights
Trebinje - 2 nights
Mostar - 3 nights
Dubrovnic - 3 nights
Hvar - 3 nights
Split - 2 nights
Rome - 4 nights
Amalfi - 4 nights
Sorrento - 3 nights
Ischia - 4 nights

Day-by-Day Detail
8/30 - Depart ORD
8/31 - Arrive Dubrovnik ~12pm. Pick up rental car. Drive to Kotor (with perhaps a stop in Perast depending on how good/bad the border crossing is). Arrive Kotor mid/late afternoon.
9/1 - Full day in Kotor
9/2 - Drive Kotor to Trebinje. Perhaps stop in Njegusi Village and/or Perast (if we didn't do this on the first day).
9/3 - Full day in Trebinje. Interested in hiking, wine tours.
9/4 - Drive to Mostar. Arrive Mostar mid/late afternoon.
9/5 - Full day in Mostar
9/6 - Full day in Mostar
9/7 - Drive Mostar to Dubrovnik Airport. Return Car. Taxi into Dubrovnik. Arrive Dubrovnik mid/late afternoon.
9/8-9/9 - 2 full days in Dubrovnik
9/10 - Ferry to Hvar
9/11-9/12 - 2 full days in Hvar
9/13 - Ferry to Split
9/14 - Full day Split
9/15 - Fly Split to Rome
9/16-9/18 - 3 full days in Rome (3rd visit. Focus on less traveled sites. Possible cooking class)
9/19 - High-speed train to Salerno. Ferry to Amalfi.
9/20-9/22 - 3 full day Amalfi
9/23 - Ferry to Sorrento
9/24-9/25 - 2 full days Sorrento (NOT planning to do Capri day trip)
9/26 - Ferry to Ischia
9/27-9/29 3 full days Ischia w/ car or scooter.
9/30 - Ferry to Naples. Flight Naples - ORD

How does this look to everyone? Thank you!
I can't personally imagine getting off a transatlantic flight and getting in a rental car in a foreign country. So, I'd probably spend the first two nights in Dubrovnik. Then continue your itinerary from there: Kotor, Trebinje, Mostar, yes, I would add Sarajevo too. I'd cut a night from Mostar, a night from Dubrovnik maybe.)

Then drive to Split and return the car and ferry to Hvar, then ferry back and fly to Rome.
Andrew is online now  
May 20th, 2019, 05:40 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,035
>>>9/19 - High-speed train to Salerno. Ferry to Amalfi.<<<

You might consider the bus from Salerno to Amalfi as it departs from the train station so you wouldn't have to transport to the port to catch a ferry. Buses run more often and you don't have as much crowds Salerno/Amalfi as you do Amalfi/Positano/Sorrento.

I would change most of your itinerary as I think backtracking wastes time (Dubrovnik twice).
kybourbon is online now  
May 20th, 2019, 05:50 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 12
I highly recommend Sarajevo. Mostar is wonderful, but 3 nights might be overkill. Also, the scenery on the way to Sarajevo from Mostar is stunning. That alone is worth a trip.
bgs08 is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 06:20 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 57
Originally Posted by Vttraveler View Post
One note of caution and a suggestion for the Trebinje to Mostar drive: there are a large number of unexploded land mines on this route up to Stolac so be sure to stick to the road and villages. It is a beautiful drive.
In Stolac, the medieval necropolis in Radimlja is very interesting.

During your time in Mostar I'd recommend going to the dervish house at Blagaj
Vttraveler, I'm just learning about these unexploded landmines and I must admit it scares me! Like you suggested, we will stick to the main roads and villages.

Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
I can't personally imagine getting off a transatlantic flight and getting in a rental car in a foreign country. So, I'd probably spend the first two nights in Dubrovnik. Then continue your itinerary from there: Kotor, Trebinje, Mostar, yes, I would add Sarajevo too. I'd cut a night from Mostar, a night from Dubrovnik maybe.)

Then drive to Split and return the car and ferry to Hvar, then ferry back and fly to Rome.
Hi Andrew - I couldn't agree with you more about not wanting to drive after an international flight! Luckily, I'm not the driver on this trip! My husband is driving and he's great (and enjoys) this stuff. We just did this in Ireland last fall (landed in Dublin, got car, scenic long drive to Belfast) and rocked it. What a weirdo! However, I do like your edits and it sounds like its a pretty universal opinion that we should find a way to add Sarajevo. Any issues having the rental car in Sarajevo?

Originally Posted by kybourbon View Post
>>>9/19 - High-speed train to Salerno. Ferry to Amalfi.<<<

You might consider the bus from Salerno to Amalfi as it departs from the train station so you wouldn't have to transport to the port to catch a ferry. Buses run more often and you don't have as much crowds Salerno/Amalfi as you do Amalfi/Positano/Sorrento.

I would change most of your itinerary as I think backtracking wastes time (Dubrovnik twice).
I'll look into the Salerno - Amalfi bus, great point about not having to transfer to the port. Re: Dubrovnik, I'm going to play with the suggestions Andrew made above. But it would still require a backtrack to Split. Do you have a suggestion that requires no backtracking? We aren't big fans either - which is why we always fly openjaw!

Originally Posted by bgs08 View Post
I highly recommend Sarajevo. Mostar is wonderful, but 3 nights might be overkill. Also, the scenery on the way to Sarajevo from Mostar is stunning. That alone is worth a trip.
Noted! Looking into adding Sarajevo!


Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions and edits! Getting back to work!

Tera
tera_denten is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 06:53 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 16,183
Re driving the rental car to Sarajevo, I don't think you should have any problem since you are already getting a car that you can drive from Croatia to BiH.
Sarajevo is a fascinating city and I don't think you will be disappointed if you rearrange the trip to spend some time there. If you like lamb, you should be sure to stop on the way between Mostar and Sarajevo at one of the restaurants in Jablanica that specializes in roast lamb cooked on a spit
Vttraveler is online now  
May 21st, 2019, 08:38 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,269
I was well aware of the unexploded landmines when I drove across Bosnia (not just from Mostar to Sarajevo). I did wind up in some off-off road areas, though I didn't venture far from my car. I looked for signs and didn't see any. I don't think it's really that big of a worry if you are not going off-road or something, into territory that isn't frequented by locals.
Andrew is online now  
May 21st, 2019, 08:53 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 16,183
I have a good friend who lived in Sarajevo for about six years. She and her husband took the Stolac to Dubrovnik road fairly often but they never go off road. She insisted that we take a pit stop before going on that stretch of road. There are maps showing areas with landmines and that is one. I feel it is something to be aware of and cautious about. You are not going to see any warning "signs" about this.
Vttraveler is online now  
May 21st, 2019, 10:02 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 57
Reading more about this. Looks like the goal of clearing all landmines by 2019 was missed and 80k landmines remain uncleared. They have a new goal of 2025 now.

Here is a (low quality) map from June 2016: Montenegro, BiH, Croatia, Italy: Final Itinerary -- Booking Flights soon!-mapa.jpg
Interactive map from Feb 2019: European Union Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina - BiH Minefield Maps
tera_denten is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 10:45 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,042
Here is one way of adding Sarajevo:

High Level Summary
Dubrovnik - 3 nights
Trebinje – 1 or 0* nights
Kotor - 2 nights
Sarajevo – 3 nights
Mostar – 1 or 2* nights
Hvar - 3 nights
Split - 2 nights

Day-by-Day Detail
8/30 - Depart ORD
8/31 - Arrive Dubrovnik ~12pm. Taxi into Dubrovnik.
9/1-9/2 - 2 full days in Dubrovnik
9/3 - Pick up rental car. Drive to Trebinje for 1 night
9/4 - Drive to Kotor (stop in Perast in route). Arrive Kotor in am.
9/5 - Full day in Kotor
9/6 – Drive to Sarajevo. Arrive Sarajevo mid/late afternoon.
9/7-9/8 – 2 full days in Sarajevo
9/9 - Drive to Mostar for 1 night. Arrive Mostar mid morning.
9/10 – Drive to Split. Return car. Arrive Split to catch 4pm KL cat. (ferry) to Hvar.
9/11-9/12 - 2 full days in Hvar
9/13 - Ferry to Split
9/14 - Full day Split
9/15 - Fly Split to Rome

plovidbeni_red_HVAR.pdf

https://goo.gl/maps/LwSQ2Ds8m4FfGDP9A
dugi_otok is online now  
May 21st, 2019, 11:20 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 57
Hey guys,

For the Balkans portion of the trip... how does this revision look. We would fly into Sarajevo instead of Dubrovnik. Flights are more expensive (not to mention returning car in another country...) but this seems like the most efficient thing to do... agree?

I hate 1-night stays (Trebinje) but this little town looks interesting and I feel like if we drive Mostar to Kotor in one go, we are going to feel too rushed to stop at Kravica Waterfalls and Perast. If we get to Trebinje in the afternoon, I'm hoping we still have time for a wine tasting, exploring the town. Is this a waste of time? If we skip it... where would you put the extra night?

High Level Summary
Sarajevo - 3 nights
Mostar - 2 nights
Trebinje - 1 nights
Kotor - 2 nights
Dubrovnic - 2 nights
Hvar - 3 nights
Split - 2 nights

Day-by-Day Detail
8/30 - Depart ORD
8/31 - Arrive Sarajevo ~12pm.
9/1-9/2 2 full days Sarajevo
9/3 - Rent car AM, drive to Mostar via Blagaj
9/4 - Full day Mostar
9/5 - Drive to Trebinje via Kravica Waterfalls. Evening in Trebinje.
9/6 - Drive to Kotor via Perast
9/7 - Full day Kotor
9/8 - Drive to Dubrovnic. Return car.
9/9 - Full day Dubrovnic
9/10 - Ferry to Hvar.
9/11-9/12 2 full days Hvar
9/13 - Ferry to Split
9/14 - Full day Split
9/15 - Fly to Rome

eh? How am I doing? getting close?
tera_denten is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 11:22 AM
  #14  
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 57
[QUOTE=dugi_otok;16923156]Here is one way of adding Sarajevo:

High Level Summary
Dubrovnik - 3 nights
Trebinje – 1 or 0* nights
Kotor - 2 nights
Sarajevo – 3 nights
Mostar – 1 or 2* nights
Hvar - 3 nights
Split - 2 nights

Day-by-Day Detail
8/30 - Depart ORD
8/31 - Arrive Dubrovnik ~12pm. Taxi into Dubrovnik.
9/1-9/2 - 2 full days in Dubrovnik
9/3 - Pick up rental car. Drive to Trebinje for 1 night
9/4 - Drive to Kotor (stop in Perast in route). Arrive Kotor in am.
9/5 - Full day in Kotor
9/6 – Drive to Sarajevo. Arrive Sarajevo mid/late afternoon.
9/7-9/8 – 2 full days in Sarajevo
9/9 - Drive to Mostar for 1 night. Arrive Mostar mid morning.
9/10 – Drive to Split. Return car. Arrive Split to catch 4pm KL cat. (ferry) to Hvar.
9/11-9/12 - 2 full days in Hvar
9/13 - Ferry to Split
9/14 - Full day Split
9/15 - Fly Split to Rome

*** Didn't see this response before posting my revised itinerary! Sorry! I'll look at this now. Thank you! ***
tera_denten is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 11:39 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,042
You cannot rent a car in Bosnia and return it in Croatia. $$$

Last edited by dugi_otok; May 21st, 2019 at 11:44 AM.
dugi_otok is online now  
May 25th, 2019, 02:53 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 57
Thought I would pop back on here and share what we decided to do with the Balkans portion of the trip! We are super, super happy that we added Sarajevo. Big thank you to everyone for the suggestion/edit. We booked our flight yesterday. 97 days! Can't wait!

High-Level Summary
Kotor - 2 nights
*Sarajevo – 3 nights
*Mostar – 2 nights
Dubrovnik - 3 nights
Hvar - 3 nights
Split - 2 nights

Day-by-Day Detail
8/30 - Depart ORD
8/31 - Arrive Dubrovnik ~12pm. Pick up rental car. Drive to Kotor (with perhaps a stop in Perast depending on how good/bad the border crossing is). Arrive Kotor mid/late afternoon.
9/1 - Full day in Kotor
*9/2 - Drive Kotor to Sarajevo, with a possible stop for lunch in Trebinje.
*9/3-9/4 - Full day Sarajevo
9/5 - Drive to Mostar, stopping in Blagaj first.
9/6 - Full day in Mostar
9/7 - Drive Mostar to Dubrovnik, with stops at Kravice Waterfall and Pocitelj
9/8-9/9 - 2 full days in Dubrovnik
9/10 - Ferry to Hvar
9/11-9/12 - 2 full days in Hvar
9/13 - Ferry to Split
9/14 - Full day Split
9/15 - Fly Split to Rome
tera_denten is offline  
May 29th, 2019, 11:25 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 42
Trebinje is really nice, we loved it. Not sure a night is a must, but definitely spend a few hours imo. There are wineries that you can visit and also an excellent restaurant that serves their own wines, Podrumi Vukoje. Not cheap by Bosnian standards, but nice experience overall. This may be a good place for lunch.

Also Tvrdos monastery is a great place to visit and they make excellent Vranac wine, highly recommended. Stopping there would take an hour or so max.

Don’t drink more than 1-2 before driving of course / one of you taste then bring a bottle when you like it
FlyDriveHike is offline  
May 29th, 2019, 12:48 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,036
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
I can't personally imagine getting off a transatlantic flight and getting in a rental car in a foreign country. So, I'd probably spend the first two nights in Dubrovnik. Then continue your itinerary from there: Kotor, Trebinje, Mostar, yes, I would add Sarajevo too. I'd cut a night from Mostar, a night from Dubrovnik maybe.)

Then drive to Split and return the car and ferry to Hvar, then ferry back and fly to Rome.
Hmmm...we've picked up a car upon arrival in Europe more times than I can count. Each of us is different, of course, but we've never had any problems whatsoever. The drive from Dubrovnik to Montenegro isn't too long or arduous. We had no problems with border crossings but the region has become much more popular since my visit in 06. We drove from Trebijne down to Kotor and there is a view point along the road that offers a stunning view of the bay.

Do try to see Perast. It's stunning. We weren't fans of Split but that's just personal preference. We loved Trogir...but we were there in a November when it was the opposite of crowded and super quiet.
tcreath is offline  
Jun 7th, 2019, 07:11 PM
  #19  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,027
Sorry for chiming in late -- I've been away.

Unfortunately, driving after crossing time zones is MUCH more problematic than most people realize. Although many people are not aware of it, there is mounting evidence that driving with jet lag is just as dangerous -- to yourself and others -- as driving drunk, and nothing you can do will prevent the microsleeps (which you might not even notice) that are the apparent culprit. Seriously -- NOT a good idea, no matter your other constraints and no matter your prior experience! And please be patient with me if you think I’m being overly adamant, but I know too many people who have died or been seriously injured in accidents to which jet lag was a contributing factor, and I know too many people who will spend the rest of their lives dealing with the knowledge that they were responsible for accidents that resulted in multiple deaths, including those of children, all because they were too confident in their ability to drive safely with jet lag. The issue has become a bit of cause cιlθbre for me.

You have lots of options to avoid the problem! Your itinerary of May 21 would be perfect, IMO!
OR, if you already booked your flights, move your time to Dubrovnik to the start of your trip. In terms of routing, it won't make a great difference.

Thanks for considering my input!
kja is offline  
Jun 8th, 2019, 07:19 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,253
We just returned for 5 weeks in the Balkans. Sarajevo is just incredible. Try to do a tour of the war. We did this one and were the only people, so essentially we had a private tour with a man who had fought in the war. It was fascinating and in general, I don't usually find war history particularly compelling. https://meetbosnia.com/tour/fall-yug...vo-siege-tour/

I found Perast not particularly interesting and it was packed with tourists. We were in Montenegro towards the end of our trip so we had seen much more charming and scenic towns. Dubrovnik, while pretty, was packed. We spent one of our days in Cavtat which you reach by ferry, about 45-60 minutes from Dubrovnik. It was a good way to escape the hordes. We also walked the walls late afternoon when the cruisers had departed, much less crowded. Loved Split, but also very crowded during prime hours. The first time we tried to go to the Palace, there were so many tour groups we could barely walk. We left and like Dubrovnik enjoyed the main sites off hours, early am or late afternoon. We did a TR, but unfortunately only got thru Montenegro, not the 8 days which included Dubrovnik, Mostar and Sarajevo. We did write up our time in Kotor area and in Split. Five Weeks in the Former Yugoslovia While its still fresh in my mind, be happy to provide any info or answer any questions. Have a wonderful trip -- its a beautiful area with friendly people.

I agree with kja on the driving after an overnight flight, unless you can sleep during the flight.
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