Hi, My husband and I are planning to visit the Balkans in early September for about 9 days and I am completely at a loss for setting up an itinerary. Neither one of us has ever been to any Balkan country, nor have we ever driven in a foreign country. We like historical cities, but also love quiet, relaxing nature-filled areas with good hiking - we are hoping for a mix of these on the trip. I have been considering the below options for possible stops on our trip, but am not sure which are worth visiting and for how long. Also, is it best/easiest to just rent a car where we start and drive to all of these places and drop it off wherever we finish (not sure how difficult border crossings are)?
These were places we were considering - any advice on what's worth seeing and for how long is appreciated!!
1. Dubrovnik (we'd like to avoid crowded places - we live in New York City and get enough of that - so not sure we'd want to stop here)
2. Kotor, Montenegro & Lovcen National Park
3. Mostar, Bosnia (maybe just a stop along a longer drive?)
4. Sarajevo, Bosnia (2 days?)
5. Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia
6. Ljubljana, Slovenia (2 days? - the drive from Sarajevo is about 6 hours... is it a bad drive? should we fly?)
7. Lake Bled, Slovenia & Triglav National Park (1 full day for the park?)
8. Trieste, Italy
9. Anything else/better?