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Visiting Italy & Slovenia, which 3rd stop would U pick Croatia or Poland or Turkey?

Visiting Italy & Slovenia, which 3rd stop would U pick Croatia or Poland or Turkey?

Jun 24th, 2019, 10:02 PM
  #1  
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Visiting Italy & Slovenia, which 3rd stop would U pick Croatia or Poland or Turkey?

Hi Everyone,

So I am planning my coming trip to Europe, I will be travelling for total of 46 days from end of August till beginning of October. I am settled on Slovenia for one week were I will visit Ljubljana, lake Bled and Bohinj, then the last 22 days will be in south Italy were I will go to the Matera, Pompei, Amalfi Coast and then head south to Sicily.

I need help to choose where to spend the middle 17 days, I am between Croatia, Poland or Turkey.

Regarding my interests, well I am into pretty much everything, history, hiking, great scenery and a nice beach, though beaches are not on top of the list since I will have beach time in Italy anyway. Based on the areas I will already visit, which of these countries you think will add the most versatile vacation? Any new suggestions are welcomed of course!

Thanks everyone for your input
giicko is offline  
Jun 24th, 2019, 10:15 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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Should be a nice trip!

While Poland and Turkey are each wonderful destinations, I think it would make most sense to visit Croatia. Certainly, that's the logical choice in terms of geography, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the contrasts to Slovenia and Italy, particularly if you visit parts of Croatia outside of Istria (which was part of Italy until WWII). Croatia includes regions that differ dramatically in their cultural and architectural heritages -- Venetian and Ottoman in Dalmatia; Roman in Split and Zadar; Austro-Hungarian in much of the northeast; Italian in Istria; etc. Too, it has some absolutely stunning natural scenery. And you can venture into other parts of what was once Yugoslavia, too -- Montenegro or Bosnia i Herzegovina. The only problem: Fitting Croatia into 17 days will be difficult -- you'll have to be selective.

And BTW, I think your plan for Italy is ambittious. Sicily alone can take 2 or 3 weeks, just for the highlights. Before you commit to anything, make sure you know what you want to see and can fit it into the time you have. A month and a half is a great luxury, but it will go very quickly.

Hope that helps!
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Jun 24th, 2019, 10:39 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Should be a nice trip!

While Poland and Turkey are each wonderful destinations, I think it would make most sense to visit Croatia. Certainly, that's the logical choice in terms of geography, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the contrasts to Slovenia and Italy, particularly if you visit parts of Croatia outside of Istria (which was part of Italy until WWII). Croatia includes regions that differ dramatically in their cultural and architectural heritages -- Venetian and Ottoman in Dalmatia; Roman in Split and Zadar; Austro-Hungarian in much of the northeast; Italian in Istria; etc. Too, it has some absolutely stunning natural scenery. And you can venture into other parts of what was once Yugoslavia, too -- Montenegro or Bosnia i Herzegovina. The only problem: Fitting Croatia into 17 days will be difficult -- you'll have to be selective.

And BTW, I think your plan for Italy is ambittious. Sicily alone can take 2 or 3 weeks, just for the highlights. Before you commit to anything, make sure you know what you want to see and can fit it into the time you have. A month and a half is a great luxury, but it will go very quickly.

Hope that helps!
Hi Kja, thanks a lot for the quick reply! I must say that I actually follow your posts as I really like how detailed your reports are and I was hoping you would see my post and give your input!

I wish I had the entire year to just wander the world but as you know that's probably not gonna happen

So first regarding Sicily, I didn't plan my time in Sicily yet, I will have 12 full days and although I like history, I don't need to see all the ruins and historical sites, so it would be great if you can advice on the must sees and what can be skipped in terms of uniqueness. At the first glance I think I am really interested in checking Palermo, Taomina and Agrigento but will know more when I start the actual plan.

As for Croatia, I was thinking to rent a car to save time and try to see as much as possible. From your comment, you think I should skip Istria since I will head to Italy after anyway?
Also, I was thinking if there is time I will try to check Mostar for a day if possible, most of Croatia itineraries that I came across are recommending Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Hvar & Dubrovnik, any of these are skippable?

Thanks a lot for your help
giicko is offline  
Jun 24th, 2019, 10:40 PM
  #4  
 
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Depends on how you rank your interests.
History? A lot of it to experience in all three destinations.
Hiking? In September? I don't think I'd want to do that in Croatia or Turkey. But the higher elevations of Poland (on its Southern border) would be perfect.
Nice beaches? Turkey has some of the best in all of Europe, Poland has stunning sandy beaches and dunes. Croatia mostly pebble, I think.
Finally the question why just these three possible candidates, and not, for example, Ireland, Norway or Switzerland?
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Jun 24th, 2019, 11:00 PM
  #5  
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Hi Cowboy1968,

I visited Switzerland briefly before along with other western European countries but never been to central or eastern Europe, so I wanted to see a different part this trip.

I do realize that probably every country has it's own experience but I was wondering which one would be he most different!
giicko is offline  
Jun 24th, 2019, 11:25 PM
  #6  
 
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The most different will probably be Turkey - but it's also one big country, so to experience its diversity you will need to travel around over quite long distances.

Travelwise, I would not care too much about countries and borders (unless you must because of visa/immigration issues).

Take hiking, for example:
In many of your possible destination, including the vast part of Poland, September will most likely be very warm to smoking hot. Not the terrain I'd have in mind for hiking. So you could travel to the mountains of Southern Poland.
But your stay in Bled/Slovenia will not only cover the beautiful lake but is also a good place for hiking in the adjacent Karawanks mountain, part of the Alps.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karawanks
So I'd get my dose of hiking in that part of Slovenia, possibly also include neighboring Carinthia/Austria.
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Jun 25th, 2019, 01:57 AM
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Good point Cowboy1968, I am actually planning to hike in Slovenia as it seems really scenic, not sure yet if 7 days will allow me enough time to hike there.
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Jun 25th, 2019, 04:27 PM
  #8  
kja
 
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Thanks for your compliments, giicko! Much appreciated, if perhaps ill-deserved.

I'm not the person to ask about uniqueness -- I love seeing the differences between places than some would say are similar. So, for example, some might say that the four main Greek archeological sites of Sicily are "redundant," but I would not -- the amphitheater at Segesta is magnificent; the scope of the ruins at Agrigento and the chance to see a Greek temple converted to Christian use are irreplaceable to my way of thinking; the chance to wonder around and among various temples and ruins at Selinunte is a delight; the combination of Greek ruins with unusual places like the Orecchio di Dionisio sets Siracusa apart, etc. And speaking of Sicily, IMO, you should give serious consideration to the Villa Romana del Casale, Monreale, and Ortigia.

And I wouldn't dare to say what YOU would find of interest or skipable -- each of us travels for different reasons and with different preferences! Instead, I would say that you should do some research to see what calls to you. I would discourage you from basing your choices solely on trip reports and travel itineraries -- your interests might well differ from the those of the writers. I think the Rough Guides are the best, or at least among the best, for the destinations you are considering and would strongly encourage you to consult them. If you find places that you think might be redundant, come back with specific questions.

Some comments on specific locations you mention:
  • I love Palermo! It's dynamic and vibrant; a bit too much (I think) for some. A stay of 3 or 4 nights would not be unreasonable.
  • Taormina is beautiful, but so jam packed with tourists during the day as to be unpleasant. Plan according.
  • I was not trying to suggest that you skip Istria -- I was simply noting that it is more similar to Italy than other parts of Croatia.
  • If you go to Mostar (certainly a worthy destination, IMO), try to include an overnight there -- it is so much more enjoyable after day trippers leave!
I'm not convinced that a car will allow you to save time in Croatia -- finding parking in some areas will be time consuming. In contrast, public transportation through much of the country is comfortable and convenient. You would benefit from having a car to see the Plitvice Lakes and if you decide to visit Istria. For the rest, do some research before deciding.

One last thing (for now) -- people differ in whether they want to skim or skip. Personally, I'd rather skip some places entirely than shortchange the places I do decide to visit. Other people would rather get a taste of places, even if it means skipping a lot in in location and spending a lot of time in transit. No right or wrong choices, just a difficult decision that each of us must make with each trip we take.

I hope that helps!
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Jun 25th, 2019, 07:55 PM
  #9  
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Kja, thanks a lot for the insight! I definitely relate to your point of view.

This was really helpful, I checked the sites you mentioned and they look really interesting, I guess with long vacations I don't always find time to plan each single stop using guide books, but it's definitely something to consider when there is a lot to see. Do you think the Rough guides website is enough or I need to get a guide book?

Thanks for the car tip in Croatia, I am still not decided and I would rather prefer to just take public transportation and relax, I guess I will know more when I decide on my stops and see how convenient are the timetables vs renting a car.

Would you say the same about Sicily? do I need to rent a car there? I am a bit worried about driving in Italy.

Totally agree about skipping a destination instead of just going there for few hours just to tick the box on a list.

thanks a lot for your help, I will go do my homework will probably get back with more questions.
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Jun 25th, 2019, 08:27 PM
  #10  
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I'm a great fan of guidebooks, as they cover things you won't know to ask. You'll have everything you need in one place -- info on sites, local foods, a bit of a English-whatever dictionary with translations of some helpful phrases, local norms and laws, etc. I always use them to plan my trips and find them invaluable, as internet searches can't tell you what you don't know to seek. For the actual trip, I only take one at most, with the pages I don't need torn out, or sometimes just one on Kindle.

There are a few places in Sicily that are hard to visit without a car, but it is possible to see them and there are several trip reports here on Fodor's that describe carless visits. You might want to read a few.

Enjoy your research!
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Jun 26th, 2019, 12:49 AM
  #11  
 
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Croatia is close to both Italy and Slovenia so it might be the most hassle-free location of those three. Since you're traveling in the end of summer, you'll be able to enjoy the beaches and sunshine in Croatia, and it's the best time to visit Croatia as it no longer filled with a bunch of tourists but the weather is still great.
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Jun 26th, 2019, 04:14 AM
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I'd fit in Puglia and Croatia before I took on Poland or Turkey.
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Jun 27th, 2019, 11:18 AM
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I agree that Croatia works best and has a lot to offer a visitor.
. But you requested “versatile” so Turkey jumps out as it is totally different from the other locations.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jun 30th, 2019, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by monikaCro View Post
Croatia is close to both Italy and Slovenia so it might be the most hassle-free location of those three. Since you're traveling in the end of summer, you'll be able to enjoy the beaches and sunshine in Croatia, and it's the best time to visit Croatia as it no longer filled with a bunch of tourists but the weather is still great.
Thanks monikaCro, I am too leaning towards Croatia. Zagreb is very close to Slovenia and there are overnight ferries from Croatia to Italy, so it will work out better that Turkey!
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Jun 30th, 2019, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
I'd fit in Puglia and Croatia before I took on Poland or Turkey.
Hi bilboburgler,

I wish I had time to fit Puglia in my Italy trip but I will only visit the Amalfi coast and Sicily in this trip, will only do a day in Matera and one in Pompei. Italy is really vast and each area is different, I know that I wann go back one day to visit other areas.
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Jun 30th, 2019, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
I agree that Croatia works best and has a lot to offer a visitor.
. But you requested “versatile” so Turkey jumps out as it is totally different from the other locations.
Hi HappyTrvlr,

Thanks a lot for the suggestion but I have been checking Croatia and Turkey and I am leaning more towards Croatia, especially it's closer to Slovenia and Italy. The good thing is that I will have a long layover in Istanbul, which I know is not much but at least I will get few hours in the city.

Thanks

giicko is offline  
Jun 30th, 2019, 08:22 AM
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If you are flying Turkish Air, they provide a city tour for people with layovers. While Turkey is beautiful and very different from Italy and Slovenia, I agree to use your 17 days in Croatia.
I returned from Slovenia & Croatia at the beginning of June. There's a lot to see. Plitvice Lakes is spectacular and I would definitely include it on the itinerary. A visit to one of the islands would also be nice. We spent a few days on Korcula and loved the laid back, beautiful island. In Slovenia Lake Bled and Bohinj are very near each other We stayed in lake Bled and visited the other. They are very different, but both spectacular in terms of scenery. OUr TR covers Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia with photos. Have a look. Five Weeks in the Former Yugoslovia There is also a newer TR,ur 13 day trip to Croatia and Bosnia that has a different perspective than I had on Croatia, so that's worth reading too.
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Jul 1st, 2019, 10:58 PM
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WOW yestravel! what a trip report, I wish I had the talent to describe and document my travels like you! really enjoyed reading thru and the eastern part of Croatia seems really nice and different from the coastal towns!

it's very weird you had this kind of weather in May and June! but by all means you had a great time despite of that, good for you.

I doubt I will have enough time to join a city tour in Turkey, I have long layovers on both my flight to Europe and back but they are weird hours, so I will depend on waking up really early to explore the city before my flight.

I am still in the early stages of my planning, I will start my trip in Slovenia for 8 or 9 days, then head to Croatia for 15 days then Amalfi Coast and Sicily for 22 days.

I haven't gone deep into Croatia yet, but I am getting a feeling that there is some sort of repetition in the Coastal towns, I am planning to day trip to Mostar but was wondering if I should take another day out of Croatia and check Sarajevo, the history there seems really interesting
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Jul 2nd, 2019, 03:49 AM
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Regarding Sicily, do include a stay on Ortigia Island, the historic center of Siracusa. From there the Baroque towns of Noto, Ragusa and Monica are in reach. Agrigento has beautiful views including Mt. Etna but it is being ruined by huge cruise ship mobs.
We spent two nights and during the one day, we toured the Greek theater and then escaped down to the beach area by gondola.

Last edited by HappyTrvlr; Jul 2nd, 2019 at 03:57 AM.
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Jul 2nd, 2019, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by giicko View Post
WOW yestravel! what a trip report, I wish I had the talent to describe and document my travels like you! really enjoyed reading thru and the eastern part of Croatia seems really nice and different from the coastal towns!
Thank you! That's nice to hear. Hope it helps you in some way as you plan. The eastern part of Croatia was way less touristed and quite different from the other places we visited.I'm very glad we included it.

it's very weird you had this kind of weather in May and June! but by all means you had a great time despite of that, good for you.
Yes, we heard that from all the locals. The travel industry was suffering they said as a result of the lousy weather. Basically, we were told it was like April & May reversed weatherwise. But yes, we did still have a great time which is a tribute to the places we went.


I haven't gone deep into Croatia yet, but I am getting a feeling that there is some sort of repetition in the Coastal towns, I am planning to day trip to Mostar but was wondering if I should take another day out of Croatia and check Sarajevo, the history there seems really interesting
A lot of people say that and I put off visiting Croatia as a result. We found each town offered something unique. It's no different than Tuscany or even Sicily. There are similarities but differences too.

Last edited by yestravel; Jul 2nd, 2019 at 05:18 AM.
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