Slovenia, Croatia Advice!

Old Feb 9th, 2024, 05:40 AM
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Slovenia, Croatia Advice!

We are taking a Rick Steves tour of Slovenia and Croatia in September. Starts around Sept. 10th. We would like to spend a month in the area. Our tour is:
2 days Ljublana
1 day Lake Bled
1 day Istrian Town, don't know the town yet
2 days Opatija and Plitvice
1 day Split
1 day Mostar
1 Korcula
3 days Dubrovnik. - this will include a travel day and the final morning of the tour

So, we don't have any plans yet after the tour. One is to rent a car and travel back up the coast to Zagreb and take a bus/ train back to Ljublana.

Another is to fly into Ljublana and out of Dubrovnik, but not sure we need to do that.

Any ideas? I've been reading threads here and will continue to do so, but we always get our best travel ideas on Fodors.
Thanks
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 05:43 AM
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You don't have to fly. A car and a bus are enough. I would suggest that you visit Lake Bohinj instead of Bled. 1 day is enough for Ljubljana, you can take a car the next day and drive to Koper.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 05:59 AM
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If you've booked the overpriced Rick Steves tour, you can't change anything anyway.
So I don't understand your question.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 06:21 AM
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I don’t understand the question either. Are you asking how to get in and out, or do you have a few days after the tour? Zagreb is not on the coast, and though it is worth a visit, you do not need to go back to Ljubljana, they have an airport.

if you are just looking for some things to see for a few days, the Dalmatian coast is beautiful and there is also Montenegro close to Dubrovnik.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 06:43 AM
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Why would you go to an area on a tour only to spend time and money going back, especially to Ljubljana? Have you researched any areas your RS tour is not going that might be an interest to you? You have not mentioned what those might be.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 06:55 AM
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If I understand correctly you are looking for additional locations to visit after the end of the 14 day RS tour and looking to extend for an additional 2 weeks on your own. The possibilities are endless, if you are concluding the RS tour in Dubrovnik. But where are you flying home from after your additional 2 weeks, that will help you decide your extended itinerary.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 07:36 AM
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Why not just cancel the tour and do it at a sensible speed without the guide but with a Rough Guide for each country. These are very civilised places.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 08:28 AM
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Thanks Mike1728, Yes we are looking for additional places to go AFTER the tour. We will fly into Ljublana and end in Dubrovnik, would like to visit Zabreb, and then fly out of Ljublana. I know there is a ton of places to go. Yes, I could look them up, but Fodorites are usually very knowledgeable. Sorry my question confused so many people, but if it was you, and you ended up in Dubrovnik and wanted to fly out Ljublana, and take approximately two weeks to get there what are your suggestions.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 08:32 AM
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Rialtogrl, sorry I guess the part where I said, we have a month and are looking for things after the tour wasn't clear. Would probably rent a car from Dubrovnik to Zagreb and thought someone might have ideas of cool things to see along the Dalmatian coast. Is there a small town or somewhere you would recommend?
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Tdiddy12
Thanks Mike1728, Yes we are looking for additional places to go AFTER the tour. We will fly into Ljublana and end in Dubrovnik, would like to visit Zabreb, and then fly out of Ljublana. I know there is a ton of places to go. Yes, I could look them up, but Fodorites are usually very knowledgeable. Sorry my question confused so many people, but if it was you, and you ended up in Dubrovnik and wanted to fly out Ljublana, and take approximately two weeks to get there what are your suggestions.
What research have you done? What are your interests? We can't give suggestions without that baseline. So, if there is something not included on the RS tour your interested in, that's where you want to start.

Do you actually want to visit Zagreb? If you do, great. You can easily spend 4 or 5 nights there.

Have you booked your flights? Can you also fly into Zagreb maybe instead early, do some touring around there and parts of Slovenia for a week or so and then join your tour, and then spend your final week around Dubrovnik and/or fly home from Dubrovnik, (or Montenegro or even Sarajevo if that is an interest.

We need more info to help you.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 08:43 AM
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bilboburgler, thanks for the advice but we are two privileged white people with too much discretionary income and have decided on a tour. Yes, the first 14 days are a fast paced overview of the area, THATS WHY I had asked for suggestions for the second 14 days. Sorry if it wasn't clear.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 09:00 AM
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Travel_Nerd - We honestly haven't done much research yet. We are in Mexico for three months and planned on doing more research once we got home. Our interests are museums, beaches, cities, food etc. I think we would like to visit Zagreb, hadn't thought about flying out of there but rialtogrl made a good suggestion. Most likely we would fly into Ljublana because that is where the tour starts. Your idea of flying into Zagreb could work because we do plan on going in a few days earlier. I mentioned Zagreb because if we rent a car in Dubrovnik and returned it to Zagreb it would still be in Croatia. I don't know if there is an advantage for a one way car rental in the same country.

Is there much difference in your opinion in flying in/ out of Zagreb vs. Ljublana? Size of airport, price etc. I thought we could take a train from Zagreb to Ljublana but I've read it's easier to take a bus. It seems like the options are fly into Ljublana, where the tour starts and out of Dubrovnik. Or based on your suggestion, going into Zagreb first and then fly out of Dubrovnik. If we rented a car, did the Dalmation coast, I could then return it to Dubrovnik. I've rented cars in France, Ireland, Greece, Italy but haven't rented a car in Croatia.

I do appreciate your help. We will have done our research before we go, but thought someone might say, you have to visit this island near Dubrovnik for example.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Tdiddy12
Travel_Nerd - We honestly haven't done much research yet. We are in Mexico for three months and planned on doing more research once we got home. Our interests are museums, beaches, cities, food etc. I think we would like to visit Zagreb, hadn't thought about flying out of there but rialtogrl made a good suggestion. Most likely we would fly into Ljublana because that is where the tour starts. Your idea of flying into Zagreb could work because we do plan on going in a few days earlier. I mentioned Zagreb because if we rent a car in Dubrovnik and returned it to Zagreb it would still be in Croatia. I don't know if there is an advantage for a one way car rental in the same country.

Is there much difference in your opinion in flying in/ out of Zagreb vs. Ljublana? Size of airport, price etc. I thought we could take a train from Zagreb to Ljublana but I've read it's easier to take a bus. It seems like the options are fly into Ljublana, where the tour starts and out of Dubrovnik. Or based on your suggestion, going into Zagreb first and then fly out of Dubrovnik. If we rented a car, did the Dalmation coast, I could then return it to Dubrovnik. I've rented cars in France, Ireland, Greece, Italy but haven't rented a car in Croatia.

I do appreciate your help. We will have done our research before we go, but thought someone might say, you have to visit this island near Dubrovnik for example.
I have flown home from both. And I've flown into Dubrovnik as well. You need to play around what is best for you and your home airports.

Yes, you can rent a car from Dubrovnik and drop it off in Zagreb, but there may be a large drop off fee. Personally, I absolutely hate backtracking which is why I suggested flying n earlier to Zagreb because of its proximity to Ljublijana and environs for your tour, and using your final week to tour in/around Dubrovnik. Edit: this is from my personal experience from traveling in the region, and becuae of my distaste of backtracking, it may end up being better in the long run to fly into one city (say Zagreb or Ljubljana) and fly home from another (Dubrovnik/Podgorica/Sarajevo/Split) depending on your home airport options AND your final itinerary. You do not have to do a Round trip flight in most instances.

As to your last paragraph. In general, "must sees" need context to a person's interest. I do not suggest a place without knowing more about a person (and likewise to many here - which is why you got some pushback). What is a must see to you is not necessarily to someone else.

So my suggestion is, when you return from Mexico, spend time researching. If you can before you get back, perbaps start here. Read trip reports on the region, and even peruse the main Fodors sight under the "destinations" tabs. Many of my trips start with a map and see what is in/around a city and using Google images to see what's "there" and whether I'd be interested in learning more. Perhaps that's what you need to do as well. If you're interested in Zagreb and Sovenia, simply start there, see what is around that grabs you.

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Feb 9th, 2024 at 09:56 AM.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 12:56 PM
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We found Sarajevo to be fascinating and spent several days there. We weren't initially planning to travel there but reading Rick Steves's book convinced us to go and we were glad we did. Montenegro is supposed to be very nice but we haven't had the chance to visit there yet.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 01:00 PM
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Travel_Nerd - thanks for the advice on the idea of going to Zagreb first, I like that. Then I can fly home from Dubrovnik and do a week around that area, visiting the Dalmatian Coast etc. Do you have any input on getting from Zagreb to Ljublana? Bus or Train?
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tdiddy12
Travel_Nerd - thanks for the advice on the idea of going to Zagreb first, I like that. Then I can fly home from Dubrovnik and do a week around that area, visiting the Dalmatian Coast etc. Do you have any input on getting from Zagreb to Ljublana? Bus or Train?
I have not made the trip between the two by bus or train, so hopefully others can chime in on their experiences. At the time of my travel between the two cities, we (there was three of us) used GoOpti transfer because the time schedules of trains and busses did not fit our needs. I'd research Rome2Rio for general info on routes which may work best for you - but check against the links that service provides rather than the info R2R itself (its not always accurate but does give an overview of general routes and options).

GoOpti is a semi-private (or private) shuttle that is pretty affordable. So, something to also consider if you'd prefer.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 01:21 PM
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Let me know when you decide your finally destinations. I will be in Zagreb, Varazdin, Ptuj, Maribor, Graz, Ljubljana and Samobor in April
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 02:06 PM
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Wow! Lots of comments here.

Here are mine from a Zagreb , Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro trip September 2023 trip.

Zagreb…interesting but a big city
Slovenia….the best! Gorgeous scenery, less people.
Bled Rose Hotel our favorite of the trip and Lake Bled cruise to island was excellent.
Ljubljana….lovely, easy to navigate, great shops and sites.
Zadar….also lovely with shops and coastal scenery
Then you go south….to the madness!

Split…quite picturesque along the coast but in come the cruise ships.

Dubrovnik….Disneyland on steroids. 3 gigantic cruise ships in port, multi, multi tour buses with enormous amounts of people.
worst experience of our trip. Get me out of here!

Montenegro….same. A nice boat ride out to the island and then “bang” crowds extrodenare. The coast and scenery are fantastic but go ashore and you will want to come home.

Of course, this is our experience, others are quite different.
That said, way too crowded, except for Slovenia, for us to ever recommend it.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 07:27 PM
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We also found Split and especially Dubrovnik overwhelmingly touristy.

I take it your RS tour is by bus. In early September I think you could enjoy a boat tour of some of the coast and islands. That is where Croatia is especially beautiful. We really enjoyed Korcula fyi.

Just check flights out of Dubrovnik before you make permanent plans. You may be routed through Zagreb anyways. Zagreb has a very walkable center and feels different from the coast ie more authentic and less expensive.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 07:56 PM
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Mike I am looking at those cities to get an idea of your trip. Will probably have more questions.
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