Sarajevo vs. Istria

Old Dec 30th, 2014, 05:54 PM
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Sarajevo vs. Istria

Hi Everyone,
My wife and I will be flying into Dubrovnik and then heading up to Ljubljana for a friend's wedding this summer. We know that we want to head inland from Dubrovnik to Mostar before proceeding to Split. The question is whether to continue into Sarajevo for a couple of days or to spend that time later in the trip in Rovinj and the surrounding areas in Istria. I understand that this likely depends on personal preference so just for background we both enjoy history immensely although my wife (as a language teacher) is equally as interested in the cultural nuances of each area. So I guess the 2 options are as follows:
1. Dubrovnik to Mostar to Split to Plitvice to Rovinj/Pula/Istria to Ljubljana OR
2. Dubrovnik to Sarajevo to Mostar(or vice versa) to Split to Plitvice to Ljubljana

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 06:29 PM
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It really does depend on your preferences! Here's my take:

I thought Sarajevo a beautiful, laid-back gem. When I was there (2009), there were still some scars from the war, but not many; since then, I believe that the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been restored, so I suspect that you can choose to visit some of the things that stand as memorials to the war, but will find much restored to its glory. If you are interested in history, I strongly recommend a visit to the Tunel Museum. IMO, Sarajevo easily merits a visit of several days.

Istria was also laid back, but in a very different way. As I understand it, much of Istria -- which had long ties to Italy and clearly shows that influence -- was abandoned after WWII, with some of the hill top villages recently re-awakened, generally by artists and / or those with an eye to attracting tourists. There are some very special sites -- the basilica in Porec, for example, and the frescos in Beram; Rovinj is charming, but small. (I saw everything I wanted to see there in one day.) If it makes a difference, a car would be an enormous advantage in Istria; it would not be necessary for (and would possibly be an encumbrance) in/around Sarajevo.

Two VERY different options.

One other thing to consider: Is one of these areas closer to a place you are likely to visit in the future? For example, if you think you might visit northern Italy at some point in the future, you might want to defer Istria to take advantage of your proximity to what I suspect is the harder-to-reach Sarajevo. Just a thought.

Hope that helps!
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 06:39 PM
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Absolutely agree with kja. These two places are both at the 'crossroads of Europe'... both have a real mixture of cultures. If that is what you are interested in, either will be great. Sarajevo is compact and easy to get around on foot though I think 2 or 3 days is a minimum. Istria would be better by car as there are some lovely little towns (Hum, Motovun) off the beaten track. If you just want to see Rovinj, it is easy to do in a few hours.
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Old Dec 31st, 2014, 02:08 AM
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Sarajevo belonged to the Turkish Empire during hundreds of years.
istria was influenced by Venice (later Austria and Italy) during hundreds of years.
If you like Turkish History anc architecture, you go to Sarajevo, if you are attracted by Venice, you go to Istria.

In July/August, the (very scenic) Istrian beach towns are usually overran by Austrian and German tourists.

BTW: Plitvice - Rovinj by bus is easiest via Zagreb. The itinerary via Karlobag - Rijeka necessitates 2-3 b us changes
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Old Dec 31st, 2014, 05:16 AM
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You have probably made your flight reservations already, but once reaching Dubrovnik it seems like you might be "back-tracking" your itinerary. Last September I visited the areas you mention and this was my itinerary:
We flew into Sarajevo and spent 3 interesting days. Then drove to Mostar through mountainous country. We reached Dubrovnik early evening. From Dubrovnik went to Split, Plitvice Lakes, Lake Bled and onto Ljubljana. We flew home from Zagreb. These are long drives but beautiful along the Adriatic coast with stops in delightful towns.
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Old Dec 31st, 2014, 07:48 AM
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I've driven from Split to Sarajevo, Mostar and Dubrovnik on several occasions.

If you drive from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo via Mostar, and then to Split via Travnik , perhaps Jajce, then Donji Vakuf, Bugojno, Livno crossing the border at Kamensko you will see some fabulous scenery, easy roads to drive, and avoid any backtracking.

You'd also pass by Visoko (Bosnian pyramids?) and within a few miles of Kraljeva Sutjeska, an enchanting small town which was the home of ancient Bosnian kings.

Anyway, here are the links to my trip reports, this first one being the one when I drove through the mountains from Split to Sarajevo - which you would do in reverse...

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...t-explores.cfm

This one has more about Sarajevo and Kraljeva Sutjeska...

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...eturn-trip.cfm

This is unfinished, from October 2014, but it was a road trip through NW Bosnia and I stayed overnight in Jajce which was wonderful...

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...t-explores.cfm

(Incidentally, the drive from Jajce to Bihac is pretty easy, and Plitvice is only a 40 minutes or so drive over the border from Bihac, so depending on how much you want to see Split, this could be another option for you.)

Finally, it is now more than 7 years since I first drove from Split to Mostar, on to Dubrovnik and back to Split, but I wrote about the roads and driving here...

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...llet-holes.cfm
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Old Dec 31st, 2014, 11:01 AM
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Excellent trip reports. They bring back wonderful memories.
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Old Dec 31st, 2014, 01:15 PM
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Sarajevo was not
only part of the Ottoman Empire but also of thr Austro - Hungarian Empire afterwards.
I visited before the war, the influence of both were visible through the city.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 07:55 AM
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You are right, Danon, of course: after more than 400 years under Turkish rule, Sarajevo got Austro-Hungarian for almost 10 years, before becoming part of the Yougoslav Kingdom.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 08:38 AM
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"....for almost 10 years..."
" Ottomans reign in duration of 400 years was finished by Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878, and one new period in its history started from than. Bosnia had a special status as a separated part in the Monarchy (corpus separatum)."

Not to be picky, but A-H rule was very much present before the formal annexation .
The beautiful National Library was build during that period, also the Cathedral and number of other
buildings in the center of the city.
Of course, the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo provoked the FirsT World War.
Although the Islamic influence and presence in Bosnia remains the strongest, the turbulent
history of the region had involved other players whose heritage in still evident ( and important).
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