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12 day Croatia and Slovenia

We are planning a 12 day trip to Croatia/Slovenia in late July : really want to do Krka instead of Plitvice suggestions?
I know this is a lot so I am planing on slimming down and will take any suggestions! I also would like to only rent a car for second portion of trip.. is this possible?
1. Sunday 10 a.m., arrive Zagreb, pick up car, lunch in Zagreb, drive to Lake Bled (3 hours). Afternoon and all of Monday doing Lake Bled/Julian Alps area. (Has anyone taken the car train back to Lake Bled that Rick writes about in his book? Was thinking of doing that driving tour.)
2. Tuesday: Drive to Motovun (2 or 3 hrs?), do a little sightseeing, proceed to Rovinj and make home base for 2 nights - day trips to Pula, etc. (Q: Is this long enough in Istria?)
3. Thursday: Drive from Rovinj to Plitvice (Google Maps says 3-4 hours from Rovinj but I don't believe it. True?) Hike, one overnight.
4. Friday: Drive to Split (3-4 hours from Plitvice?). Thoughts welcomed here: Make Split home base and day trip to Hvar and Korcula, or do Split, car ferry to Korcula and make that home base instead. 3 nights - less / more?
5. Monday: Drive to Dubrovnik (3 hours?). Dubrovnik and day trip to Montenegro through Wednesday, drop car, fly to Zagreb Thursday afternoon, home Friday.

Posted by
1486 posts

This strikes me as a very aggressive itinerary. I did three weeks last May, flying into Zagreb and out of Dubrovnik. Trying to do it with public transportation would be even worse.

By the time you get to Bled on Sunday you will be exhausted after your flight, and it will be much later than you may be thinking, especially if you drive from the airport into Zagreb first. I don't know why you would do that just for lunch. How much time are you allowing for clearing customs and picking up your rental car and getting out of the airport? I think you're better off just hitting the road, stopping en route for a snack and waiting to get to Bled for a real meal.

You could do the Julian Alps loop as Rick suggests and go back to Bled, but that doesn't really make sense on this itinerary. Better stay Monday in Bled, and on Tuesday drive to Kobarid via Vrsik Pass. You could stay one night in Kobarid or make your way a little further, maybe spending Tuesday in a small town along the way.

I think you have to cut something out of this itinerary to make the most of what you do see, so I would suggest (regretfully) skipping Istria. and making your way directly to Plitvice on Wednesday. (Or, if you want to skip Plitvice in favor of Krka, go directly there. I didn't go to Krka, but I cannot understand why anyone wouldn't want to see Plitvice; it's spectacular.)

So Wednesday night you spend near whichever of those parks you decide to see, then Thursday, after visiting the park, make your way to Split. You could drop off your car in Split (which is what I did), and then spend the rest of the time traveling by ferry to Hvar, then Korcula, then Dubrovnik. You could spend Thursday and Friday night in Split (or Trogir, nearby, which is lovely), then on Saturday (I don't know the ferry schedules, but I think you can do this), take an early ferry to Hvar, spend the day there, and a later afternoon ferry to Korcula. Spend Saturday and Sunday there, then on Monday take the ferry to Dubrovnik.

Alternatively, if you really don't want to skip Istria, cut back on your time on the islands.

You don't need a car to day trip to Montenegro. There are a lot of tours that go there.

I've offered some alternative ideas, but go with your gut and do what you think you really want to do. There really is no bad itinerary, other than the one where you are rushing from one place to another. Everywhere you go will be wonderful.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
1306 posts

Have to agree with Lane - you have too much for the number of days. I hate to say cut out Istria but 2 nights is just not long enough. On Tuesday you plan to drive to Motovun. According to Google maps that is a 3+ hour drive. Add a couple of hours to visit Motovun and you will arrive in Rovinj in time for dinner. Your 2 nights in Rovinj amounts to 1 full day to see Rovinj and do your day trips to Pula, etc. Although we have not been to Kobarid agree that if you want to drive through the Julian Alps and continue onward, stopping in Kobarid makes sense. We drove from Rovinj to Plitvice and yes, it took that long. You will be running through Plitvice to spend your 1 night there. We also visited Krka National Park and enjoyed it. Plitvice and Krka are similar but different and since we loved them both I can't really recommend one over the other. That's a call you'll have to make. Look at the pictures on google and just pick the one that appeals most to you, but you can still spend 5 hours walking through either park. Can't comment on your time in Split or Dubrovnik as we spent more time in that area and did not visit any islands. You did say you are planning on cutting down on some locations but as we all know, it's really hard to do. Lane has some good suggestions. And to second him - there really is no bad itinerary except for the one that has you rushing from one place to another without the time to experience any of them.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks so much guys! This is really just a sketch more than a set in stone plan ! :) we want to do krka bc I heard it was less crowded. Everything you guys are suggesting sounds great! Keep it coming ! Let me know if anybody has done this trip and what you have done! We wi rent a car the entire time!

Posted by
1486 posts

Thanks, Carol, for your endorsement.

I just want to mention that I drove from Rovinj to Plitvice and explored the park all in one day with no problem and no feeling of being rushed. Alternatively, you could get a later start from wherever you are the previous day, go to your hotel and get checked in, and start the next day with your visit to the park before you move on.

Either way, I think it's best to spend the night there.

Posted by
1306 posts

Forgot to say we're in our late 60s/early 70s, hence 5 hours to walk through Plitvice even though the lower paths were closed off due to high water. :)