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nolinenowait Nov 16th, 2011 07:25 AM

Planing a trip to Croatia/slovenia
My Wife and I are planning a trip to Croatia and Slovenia and can't decide on where to go. We plan to go in April or May for 9-11 days. So far we want to see ljubljana/lake bled, plitvice lakes, hvar ( maybe split and brela). Or would you recommend going to Istria instead of southern Croatia. For all that have been what do you recommend visiting?

Mimar Nov 16th, 2011 08:52 AM

First of all are you renting a car? I found s steep dropoff charge (about $500) renting in Croatia and dropping in Slovenia.

If you're renting a car, do you plan to take it to Hvar? Many people do without a car on Hvar and there are more people ferries, especially in the off-season. Look here:

And you're going to Brela and skipping Dubrovnik, which is what I consider southern Dalmatia. Any special reason?

When relying on Croatian ferries, most especially in the off-season, you must read the schedules very carefully -- when they finally come out.

Are you flying into Ljubljana and out of Zagreb? Or possibly Dubrovnik? Some such open-jaws ticket would save you time and money backtracking.

nolinenowait Nov 16th, 2011 09:26 AM

I may do Dubrovnik as well. I think I may have too many places for my trip though. What would you take out. I wasn't originally going to do Slovenia but the pictures look amazing. I think I'll fly into Zagreb and then see plitvice. I was thinking of staying there and taking a bus back to Zagreb and and then a train to Ljubljana. From there I was thinking of taking a train or possible plane to split and going to Hvar and making other day trips to Brela and possibly Dubrovnik. I may fly out of Dubrovnik, or Split. I'm not sure yet. I wasn't planning to rent a car.

Andrew Nov 16th, 2011 11:15 AM

How about:
- fly into Ljubljana
- see Ljlubjana, Lake Bled (easy to do by bus/train; you can do Lake Bled as a day trip from Ljubljana in my opinion)
- train to Zagreb
- bus to Plitvice
- bus to Split, catamaran to Hvar
- various day trips to wherever
- fly out of Split or Dubrovnik

I've been to most of these places (not Istria, stayed over in Korcula not Hvar). In 2009 I did a trip to Croatia and just in September this year I did mostly Slovenia. Both are unique, beautiful places but different yet I would recommend parts of both countries depending on your interests. For me, both Ljubljana and Plitvice have been the big highlights of my trips. (Dubrovnik too though it's so mobbed with cruise ship tourists now that it can be unpleasantly crowded during the days.)

I've rented cars in both Slovenia and Croatia for small portions of my trips (buses/trains everywhere else) and found driving in both countries very easy; . But both countries have excellent, reliable public transportation though mostly those are buses. The train network is limited especially in Croatia, where there is no train service along the Dalmatian coast.

maitaitom Nov 16th, 2011 11:30 AM

Click on the link below and then click on "Central Europe/Venice 2008." Chapters Six through 11 of my trip report detail our time in Croatia (Dubrovnik, Trogir, Split, Plitvice, Rovinj) and Slovenia (Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge) in words and photos. It should give you some good ideas. Have a great trip. We loved both countries.


yorkshire Nov 16th, 2011 11:47 AM

I suggest getting the tickets first, then letting that--and the actual number of days you end up with--dictate the plan.

Grassshopper Nov 16th, 2011 12:38 PM

My similar trip was Rovinj (on Istria) with day trip to Pula, bus to Reika and ferry to Dubrovnik (overnight), day trips to Montenegro and wine region, fly to Zagreb, train to Lake Bled, day trip to Ljubljana. The entire trip was 2 weeks.

nolinenowait Nov 16th, 2011 03:27 PM

Great ideas everyone. Thank you. Do you think a rental car is needed. Are there any vacation companies or airlines you recommend?

nolinenowait Nov 16th, 2011 03:29 PM

Is Dubrovnik worth visiting? I've heard ones that were disappointed with it.

Grassshopper Nov 16th, 2011 03:53 PM

I thought Dubrovnik was very special.

frankaboutcro Nov 16th, 2011 11:24 PM

It all really depends on what would you like to see and do. If you are into sightseeing, than I highly recommend South Croatia (Dubrovnik Region) or Istria.

In Southern Croatia, you can check village Komarna or anywhere close to it and from there, within 60 km, you can visit Dubrovnik, Peljesac Peninsula, island Mljet and Korcula, and Mostar in Bosnia. Plitvice Lakes are also worth visiting and you can plan to stop over on your way from Slovenia to South Croatia.

In Istria, you should not miss Rovinj, Motovun, Groznjan. Istria offers also great gastronomy (tavern Stari podrum near Momjan is excellent, also fine dining restaurants like Valsabbion in Pula and Kukuriku in Kastav are very good choice).

Brela on the other hand is very nice village with beautiful beach, but I wouldn't go there in May.

Car is needed.

Mimar Nov 17th, 2011 06:58 AM

There's no train south of Split. So you'd have to get to Brela or Dubrovnik by boat and/or bus. The rest of your planned itinerary can be done easily by public transportation.

Besides its beauty (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) the attraction of Dubrovnik is the day trips to nearby islands and to Montenegro (Bay of Kotor) and Mostar.

Dubrovnik has a airport so you could fly out of there. Ditto Split.

nolinenowait Nov 18th, 2011 09:23 PM

Would you say that Dalmatia and the surrounding islands are more impressive than Istria with Krk and Cres. I can probably do one or the other. Istria would probably be easier, but if the Islands down south are much more impressive I can travel more.

MRM49 Nov 19th, 2011 01:53 AM

My husband and I are planning a similar trip, 12 nights in toto. Draft itinerary:
Fly in to Dubrovnik - 3 n
Korcula (by bus from Dub) - 2n
Ferry to Split for am (Diocletian Palace)
Split - Trogir (30 mins by bus) - 2 n
Trogir to Plitvice (1n) via Zadar for a few hours hopefully
Plitvice to Bled (2n) via Ljubljana (also for a few hours)
Bled to Kranjska Gora (2n)
KG to Ljubljana airport - evening departure to Helsinki.
We want to see as much of the Dalmation coast as poss hence travelling to Plitvice via Zadar.
We could stay one night in Trogir, then one in Zadar rather than 2 in Trogir, but we're hoping to avoid "one night stands" wherever possible.
The main questions (the answers to which I hope will also assist nolinenowait):
1.Can this be done without hiring a car and also without spending twice as long on a bus as driving would take? I think this would apply mainly to the Zadar-Plitvice leg and esp to the Plitvice-Ljubljana leg? I am having great difficulty finding a satisfactory way of travelling for these two bits (other than hiring a car which we were hoping to avoid).
Our reservations about driving are based mainly on not knowing what the coast road from Trogir to Zadar, the road b/n Zadar and Plitvice and esp the road/s between Plitvice and Ljubljana are like. I've also been unable to find info re the route to take from Plitvice to Ljubljana (without going through Zagreb) and the time it would take either driving or travelling by public transport.
2. I'm unsure about whether we have sufficient time to see Zadar enroute to Plitvice and then have enough time left to do Plitvice justice and still make it to Bled (via Ljubljana)the next day.
3. Should we spend 1 night each in Trogir and Zadar rather than 2 nights in Trogir, so that we reach Plitvice earlier?

In summary - can we realistically do this trip using public transport, given our time contraints? If not, how long does it take by car for the various sections.

Apologies for the waffle, but that's how my head is at present!

isabel Nov 19th, 2011 04:19 AM

On the question - was Dubrovnik 'disappointing' - well I was surprised at how crowded it was (in July) and that made it slightly unpleasant. Even though I always travel in July, it was especially crowded here - BUT - it was still 'worth' it. I cannot imagine going to that part of the world and not seeing Dubrovnik. And as someone pointed out, you can also do easy day trips to Mostar and Montenegro from there.

The itinerary posted above does seem like you are trying to cram an awful lot in - you've got mostly one and two night stays - but if that doesn't bother you.

We did four nights Dubrovnik with one day trip to Mostar and another day trip to Montenegro (both by organized tour, which I hate but didn't want to bother with car for only a couple days). Then ferry to Korcula for two nights, ferry to Split for two nights (with a day trip to Trogir by ferry). We thought we had a good amount of time in each location.

Here's my trip report - scroll half way down to get to the Croatia part (clearly labeled):

Here are my photos:

Mimar Nov 19th, 2011 07:37 AM

MRM, why don't you start your own thread. I'm afraid you question will be missed buried in this thread.

I can only speak for myself, but I preferred the Dalmatian coast to Istria. Istria -- hilltowns, truffles, vinyards -- reminded me of Umbria. Whereas the coast and the islands are not only beautiful but a more unique experience. Krka and Zadar I would consider to be in Dalmatia. But I'm not sure where is the northern boundary of Dalmatia. Cres I'm not familiar with.

nolinenowait Nov 19th, 2011 05:32 PM

MRM this is very similar to what I want to do. I'm thinking June may be better than May to visit the beaches and Islands.

What do you think of doing

Slovenia for 3 nights- Ljubljana and Bled
Plitvice for 1 day
Hvar 2 nights
Brela 1 night- maybe Trogir
Dubrovnik 1 night

I found it's cheapest to fly in and our of Zagreb. Would this be possible with a vacation that's about 11 days.

kja Nov 19th, 2011 11:41 PM

> Slovenia for 3 nights- Ljubljana and Bled

Depending on your arrival and departure times and what you want to do and experience in each location, that could be possible, but it might be a bit rushed. You would definitely have to decide what to skip in order to meet this time line.

> Dubrovnik 1 night

My understanding is that many Dubrovnik lodgings require a minimum 3-night stay during high season, which I believe includes June. I know I had to take that into consideration for my trip, which was in May. True or not, I can't imagine trying to see Dubrovnik with a single overnight - and I travel HARD!

Honestly, I think you are trying to cover WAY too much ground in too little time. You will spend an incredible amount of time in transit in comparison to the time you spend enjoying time on the ground. I urge you to check via-michelin or mappy just to get some sense of the best possible travel times you'll face, even if you were to rent a car rather then rely on public transit.

The good news is that you can easily choose to visit just a small portion of this region in the time you have and can make it a wonderful trip!

nolinenowait Nov 20th, 2011 09:21 PM

For those that have visited Slovenia would you recommend it? Should I save it for another trip or should I save Dubrovnik for another trip? Also my wife and I are 25 if that makes a difference.

Andrew Nov 20th, 2011 10:58 PM

I highly recommend Slovenia. Great scenery, easy to get around, but far less touristy than, say, Italy or Austria (far fewer Americans, anyway). Does that mean you must see it on your (relatively short) eleven day trip? Not necessarily. You're 25, you can go back again, right?

I'd do what logistically makes sense as well as pick the places that that interest you the most. Flying to Zagreb and backtracking to Ljubljana and Bled then doubling back to Plitvice would waste valuable time. Then again, maybe there's a way you hadn't thought of to fly into Ljubljana directly? (Hint: easyJet flies between Paris and Ljubljana, if Paris as a transit point would work into your plans.)

Lots of people think Dubrovnik is amazing. I think it's a "must-see" for sure even though it wasn't my favorite place on my two trips to the Balkans. But again - is this your ONLY opportunity to visit the area? I will say that Ljubljana/Bled might work into a future trip to Austria and Italy better than Dubrovnik would, if you are thinking ahead a little.

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