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Need a more manageable itinerary for Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia

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Oct 13th, 2018, 03:01 PM
  #1
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Need a more manageable itinerary for Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia

We can't seem to get this trip to around 14-16 nights. We are going in August (don't mind crowds or heat), and we can't afford to go back so we want to make sure we see the highlights. We enjoy nature, hiking, walking, food, history (including Roman remains) and architecture. Not into museums, clubbing/night life or laying in the sun (but love exploring islands, but don't care to see nakedness in the summer, lol). We will be 6 active females, rent a car and stay in apartments.

Here's what we are looking at (depending on airline tickets we may choose to do this backwards). Need help eliminating 3, 4 or 5 nights but Bosnia portion is a must. My sister wanted to go to Turkey so this was our compromise. I know it's not Turkey (no need for the comments) but at least she'll get a "taste".:

Night 1: Fly into Zagreb and recover from Jet Lag (Zagreb)
Night 2: Explore the capitol (Zagreb)
Night 3: Pick up rental car and drive to Ljubljana (Ljubljana)
Night 4: Day trip to Lake Bled/Lake Bohinj (Ljubljana)
Night 5: Drive to Plitvice Lakes (stay near Plitvice Lakes)
Night 6: Drive to Pula, Istria (Pula)
Night 7: Pula (Pula)
Night 8: Drive to Zadar (Zadar)
Night 9: Zadar
Night 10: Drive to Krka National Park on way to Split (Split)
Night 11: Split
Night 12: Take ferry to Hvar/Brac/Korcula - which island? (Split)
Night 13: Take ferry to second island ? Is this possible? (Split)
Night 14: Drive to Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik)
Night 15: Day trip to Kotor, Montenegro (Dubrovnik)
Night 16: Drive to Mostar (Mostar)
Night 17: Explore Mostar countryside (Mostar)
Night 18: Drive to Sarajevo (Sarajevo)
Night 19: Explore Sarajevo (Sarajevo)
Day 20: Fly out of Sarajevo back home

Wow, a total of 9 accommodation changes. I usually avoid that. So, any advice there is highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Oct 13th, 2018, 04:27 PM
  #2
kja
 
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It’s really a matter of preference, but here are my thoughts:

You might skip Zadar, or just visit for part of a day. Yes, it has Roman ruins, but they are minimal. The Sea Organ and Sun Salutation are unusual and worth seeing – but you really need to be there at / just after sunset for the Sun Salutation. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Zadar, but unless you are interested in museums or pre-Romanesque Croatian church architecture, it doesn’t seem to me to have the same interest value as the other places on your itinerary. JMO.

If you visit Korcula, you might find Kotor a bit duplicative, particularly as you will also be seeing Dubrovnik. They are both delightful, IMO, and the scenery is different enough for me to have found great satisfaction in seeing both, but you are looking for things to cut….

I’m a fan of Zagreb, but not everyone is and again, if your interest in museums is limited, you might not enjoy it as much as other places on your itinerary. BUT if you keep your itinerary as is, then you will need a day in Zagreb to be sure you are able to drive safely. On the other hand, if you reverse your trip, starting in Sarajevo, you can wait until you are ready to leave Sarajevo to pick up a rental car and skip Zagreb.

BTW, I trust you’re willing to pay the drop off fee for renting in one country and dropping off in another country? If not, then start in Sarajevo, take the train (or bus) to Mostar, bus to Dubrovnik, and only rent a car when you are ready to leave Dubrovnik. That would free up one day – your day for driving in / around Mostar, but maybe that’s not a negotiable change? If that’s something you have all agreed to include, consider just a one-day rental.

And again, because you are looking for things to cut, you might consider skipping Pula. I haven’t been there, and so probably shouldn’t comment, but I don’t hear a lot of praise for it. I assume you are including it because of the Roman ruins there?

Even with these changes, I must admit that you are planning a trip that will involve what I would consider an unpleasantly disproportionate amount of time in transit relative to the time you will have on the ground. I loved Slovenia, but I’d skip it with the time you have for this particular trip. You are trying to fit a trip that would easily take a month into a 2-week visit.

Hope that helps!
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Oct 13th, 2018, 07:56 PM
  #3
 
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It's not a trip I would choose to do - too much and too much dodging around.

I only stopped briefly in Zagreb and it was pleasant but if you want to cut places, then I'd either cut Zagreb or Slovenia. Your time in Slovenia is really too short to be truly enjoyable and it's in the wrong direction for the rest of your plans so I'd plan for a visit another time. But if you keep Slovenia, then I'd hop on a train to Ljubljana on arrival in Zagreb (or fly directly in Ljubljana), then if you have to have a car, then pick one up in Zagreb or maybe Karlovac enroute to Plitvice.

Pula is also in the wrong direction so that's an obvious one to cut.

Lastly, I'd question the value of a car for some of it as they are a handicap in most towns.
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Oct 13th, 2018, 08:22 PM
  #4
kja
 
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Originally Posted by dreamon View Post
I'd question the value of a car for some of it as they are a handicap in most towns.
Particularly a car large enough for 6 adults and their luggage!
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Oct 13th, 2018, 10:45 PM
  #5
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How about this? I managed to cut 2 days. I'm thinking we could end the trip on day 15th or whomever from our group has more time then they can continue. Thoughts? What about islands? I wanted to do a day trip to one from Split. Does Brac make the most sense? We aren't looking for partying. Just relaxing, beautiful beach.:

Night 1: Fly into Sarajevo (Sarajevo)

Night 2: Sarajevo (Sarajevo)

Night 3: Train (or bus) to Mostar (Mostar)

Night 4: Mostar (Mostar)

Night 5: Dubrovnik (bus) (Dubrovnik)

Night 6: Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik)

Night 7: Day trip to Kotor, Montenegro (Dubrovnik)

Night 8: Bus from Dubrovnik to Split (scenic route) (Split)

Night 9: Split (Split)

Night 10: Take ferry to island and explore island (Brac? Which?) (Split)

Night 11: Day trip to Krka National Park (Split)

Night 12: Pick up rental car in Split and drive to Plitvice Lakes (Plitvice Lakes)

Night 13: Wake up early and explore the park (Plitvice Lakes)

Night 14: Drive car and return to Zagreb (Zagreb)

Night 15: Fly out of Zagreb for those who need to leave or train/bus for those staying (Ljubljana)

Night 16: Explore the city (Ljubljana)

Night 17: Day trip to Lake Bled/Lake Bohinj (Ljubljana)

Night 18: Fly out of Ljubljana (for those of us having more time)
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Oct 13th, 2018, 11:02 PM
  #6
kja
 
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Better. Still very fast paced and a lot of time in travel, but better.

That’s very little time for Sarajevo, particularly as you will be recovering from jet lag while there. Consider adding at least one day there, perhaps shifting it from Mostar – as a rule, a half day is enough to see the sites of Mostar.
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Oct 13th, 2018, 11:39 PM
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Looks good. I've never been to Sarajevo or Mostar so can't comment on that bit. I'd check flights home from Ljubljana as they may be limited. And if you can store your luggage and you think you wouldn't be too tired, you could perhaps drive to Zagreb after your day's walking at Plitvice, allowing a little more time to explore Zagreb. Depends on how much walking you want to do. You probably won't be able to check into your Zagreb accommodation until the afternoon.

If you could decide when you get to Split whether you want to visit Krka or spend more time in Split that would be good but not sure how easily that can be done if you want to do a tour. As far as I know, if you do it independently of a tour, you might need to change buses in Sibenik. I'd check this route. We visited Krka from Sibenik so not certain.

Buses to Bled and onwards to Lake Bohinj depart Ljubljana roughly hourly. I've read that there can be delays at the Croatia/Slovenian border in the summer holidays so for that reason I'd consider the train as they don't stop the trains like they do the buses. getbybus is a useful website for buses in Croatia (and other places) but be aware that it doesn't have all services. ap-ljubljana.si has bus timetables for services in/out of Ljubljana. With six people and peak season, I'd book bus tickets rather than just turn up, at least on some routes. Bled/Bohinj might be busier on the weekends.

Have fun!
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Oct 14th, 2018, 03:02 AM
  #8
 
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Agree with kja about Sarajevo and Mostar.

If your dates are flexible, check the cruise ship arrivals in Dubrovnik on the port's website.
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Oct 14th, 2018, 03:19 AM
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You may visit the Islands (Korcula, Hvar) and sleep there on your way from Dubrovnik to Split (by catamaran or ferry).
You may sleep in the small medieval city of Trogir instead of Split.
If you start from Split by car somewhat early in the morning, you can easily visit Sibenik and Krka Falls Park and arrive at Plitvice in the early evening.
A full day is quite a lot for the visit of Ljubljana (as you are not interested in museums, etc.).
Don't return to Ljubljana, but spend your last night at Bled; Ljubljana airport is midway between Bled and Ljubljana.
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Oct 14th, 2018, 04:26 AM
  #10
 
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I've been to half the places on your list and am in the process of planning another trip to many of the others for next summer. Your second itinerary is much better. On our first trip we took a ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula, spent 2 nights, took another ferry to Split. One night would work though. You might consider that instead of the bus. Havn't been to Brac or Hvar - those on this year's itinerary but from what I've found they are very easy as day trips from Split. I also second the idea of cutting a night from Mostar. We did it as a day trip from Dubrovnik and I think an overnight would be better but don't think you need two. Especially as your time is limited. I see you completely cut the Istrian peninsula, maybe with a little tweaking you could add that back in.



I have a question about Krka Falls Park and Plitvice. Is it worth going to both? They both look amazing but if time is limited is it somewhat redundant.
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Oct 14th, 2018, 09:48 AM
  #11
kja
 
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Originally Posted by isabel View Post
I have a question about Krka Falls Park and Plitvice. Is it worth going to both? They both look amazing but if time is limited is it somewhat redundant.
Always a matter of personal choice; I didn't suggest skipping the Krka National Park because the OP said she and her companions enjoy nature and hiking.

Despite the similarities, I was surprised by the differences between these two parks: The Plitvice Lakes are, indeed, lakes, connected by gorgeous waterfalls, and part of the beauty of the park is that not only are there many, many waterfalls, but also, the lakes are different colors because of their unique microbiota. In contrast, Krka's most famous falls are along a river and the main set of falls are broader and contain more cascades (of varying heights and widths) than those of the Plitvice Lakes. You might do a google image search to see the differing images.

One other difference that is worth noting -- swimming is permitted in part of the pool at the base of the major waterfall at Krka NP; to the best of my knowledge, no swimming is permitted anywhere within the Plitvice Lakes NP.

Some people who visit the Krka National Park go just to that pool, but there's a lovely walk around the lower falls and one can easily spend a full day taking boats upon the upper lakes, visiting a monastery there, etc. And the town nearest the base -- Skradin -- is worth roaming, too, IMO.
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Oct 14th, 2018, 01:04 PM
  #12
 
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Plitvice and Krka - we visited both and loved both but I think that if you have limited time it would not be at all unreasonable to choose just one of them. They have enough similarities to make you feel that you wouldn't be missing out too much.

For the OP, I personally wouldn't add more hotel stops despite the temptation to add more places. Checking the cruise timetable for Dubrovnik is a good idea.
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