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12 night itinerary for mid-September guidance needed

We are looking for "easy" flights from the DC/Baltimore area that would work for a 12-night itinerary departing Sept. 17th. Right now here is where I am with it all. I'd love any insights and suggestions! Side note - flying into Venice non-stop from IAD and taking a ferry to Pula is also being tossed around in my head. Thank you for reading this.

Day 1 Sept 17th overnight flight to Ljubljana
Day 2 Sept 18th arrive Ljubljana
Day 3 Sept 19th Ljubljana - day trip to Lake Bled/Vintgar Gorge
Day 4 Sept 20th Ljubljana - day trip to the Julian Alps
Day 5 Sept 21 Rovinj
Day 6 Sept 22 Rovinj (explore Istria)
Day 7 Sept 23 Plitvice Lakes
Day 8 Sept 24 Split
Day 9 Sept 25 Split - day trip to Hvar
Day 10 Sept 26 Split - 1/2 day trip to Trogir
Day 11 Sept 27 Dubrovnik - stop in Mostar en-route
Day 12 Sept 28 Dubrovnik
Day 13 Sept 29 Dubrovnik
Day 14 Sept 30 FLY HOME

Posted by
41 posts


Plitvice to Split is around 4 hours, and Mostar is 2-3 hours more after Split. Sound a bit too much for a day trip. And 3 hours back to Split.

Posted by
41 posts

Yes, maybe stop to Šibenik on the drive from Plitvice to Split. You can make it a day tour.
Consider also maybe coming to Istria (or Venice) and startin` from Istria to south.
Where do xou plan to sleep in Dubrovnik...?

Posted by
3811 posts

Just an FYI, the catamaran from Venice to Pula is over 3 hours. Also, how are you getting to Rovinj from Ljubljana. And I am guessing you will be renting a car from Rovinj onward.

Posted by
32 posts

We will be a group of 6 during the early part of the trip and 12 people from Split to Dubrovnik. I am looking at Airbnbs but am open to alternative accommodations.

Posted by
869 posts

It’s doable in 12 nights, but I can’t help feeling like it’s a bit rushed/tight. I’m not sure how I’d necessarily improve this either, but the travel time between destinations is significant. You’re losing about a half day between each. It’s a bit more radical of a change, but you might consider axing Ljubljana and Rovinj in favor of a few nights in Hvar/Korckula and flying into Zagreb or Solit itself. Those places are fairly similar, and might fit together better.

You’re also kind of burying the lede, because your group starts big with six people and then doubles! That’s a massive consideration imo, I think when you have a big group, you should have big targets. Who’s putting together all these day trips and transportation? You’re not ever going to get these things dialed in enough. So, just focus on getting people to a few key places and work from there. I feel like on the coast, the ferry helps simplify arrangements, and would use that as a reason to keep the focus on the coast between Split and Dubrovnik. The simpler you can make this itinerary the better.

Airfare here is tough. If you see something you’re ok with I would book it now and not look back. This is especially true if you see something favorable for Ljubljana, there’s not many flights and they are generally expensive. Still, I’d rather overpay for something like that than flying into Venice and immediately driving five hours to Slovenia. Also, consider reversing the order. I loved Dubrovnik, but it was also my first stop. By the end of my trip, I really wondered if I would have loved it as much if it was the last stop.

Posted by
41 posts

I would also consider making 3-4 bases.
sometimes when you have an afternoon free and no packing day after day is sooo great....
Something great on paper - lot of hurrying
Let me try something and let you know back....

Posted by
1593 posts

The itinerary is doable except for the fact that you have a large group, especially when your group expands to 12 people. Why is this a big deal? It takes longer for all those people to get ready in the morning so unfortunately you might start your sightseeing much later in the day than expected. And how are you traveling from place to place? Rental car? You will need several rental cars. Relying on public transportation makes you less flexible.

Posted by
800 posts

IMO you are trying to cram in way too much for a 12 night trip. You have very little time to actually enjoy a place, other than Dubrovnik. (and even then you don't have much) I would suggest you do more research on your driving distances, as you will be spending a lot of your trip in a car. For example, Split to Dubrovnik via Mostar is 4+ hours and that does not factor in your border crossing time, which can be quite lengthy depending on the day. Perhaps you should prioritize the things you want to see and then revamp your plan. And as a previous poster commented, organizing 12 people presents additional challenges. Another word to the wise is that the Croatian police have speed cameras & cruisers everywhere, so always be cognizant of the limits that are posted.

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks! All good food for thought! I definitely would like less time on the road. We could rent a van for the earlier part of the trip and rely on private transfers (or ferries) for the latter part. Or, rely on private transfers for the entire trip. I'm sort of modeling the itinerary after the RS tour. I also agree with maybe starting in Dubrovnik vs. ending there. I'm usually "burned out" at the end of my trips and things start to blurrrrr. I want to enjoy and appreciate Dubrovnik. I'm open to shortening our trip to 10 nights and maybe focusing on the Dalmation Coast with day trips to key areas via Viator, etc.,

Posted by
27028 posts

You will have mere hours in Ljubljana, on the day you arrive after a lengthy overnight flight. The city is worth a lot more than that. I agree that this itinerary feels quite rushed, and that's without considering the difficulty of shepherding 6 or 12 people around. It's impractical to try to move as fast as an escorted tour.

As of 2015 there was bus service from Ljubljana to Rovinj, but there may have been only one bus a day. There was also a once-a-week (on Wednesdays) bus tour of inland Istria operating from Rovinj. We went to Groznjan, Motovun, Pazin (adminstrative center, which has a museum) and a winery. I bet you could find a company to put together a private tour like that for your group of 6 at a decent price.

Posted by
41 posts

Ok, I would suggest two options.

First, with Istria.

Coming to Istria, first day.
Second day tours in Poreč, Rovinj.
3rd day visit to countryside, winetastings etc.
$th day Istria to Plitvice - lakes - Accomodation Plitvice
5 day: Plitvice accomodation - drive to Šibenik, tour of Šibenik - arrival Trogir (Split)
6 day: Trogir (Split) half day tour
7 day : Boat around Split (maybe Šolta) or Hvar island
8 day drive to Mostar - Dubrovnik accomodation
9 day Dubrovnik (montenegro day tour?)
10 day in Dubrovnik (Island hopping)
11 day Dubrovnik (city tour, panorama on mountin above, chill...)
12 day: goodbye

I have sent you some details on private so please check it

The second option is to make it more easygoing...
This (I would actually prefer) is to do Split and Dubrovnik (actually not Split, maybe Trogir, kind of more relaxing ...). So 2 bases and then day tours around. Trogir would allow Plitvice (a bit too much maybe but still doable), Krka and Šibenik, boat, Hvar island, Mostar (on the way to Dubrovnik) and Dubrovnik would allow Montenegro, Peljesac, Korcula, Old town...

You can make a great tour even with 6,7 stops but usually this looks great on paper, in practice you want to relax a little bit.

PS by the way, definitly would leave Dubrovnik for last. It may be an idea to turn the schedule if you want to keep istria in but otherwise , leave it
If you have, do the running and moving first five, six days and then relax in Dubrovnik, try local food, drink wine etc.

Posted by
737 posts

I do not understand why you go to Ljubljana and then while there you do day trips to fill up the all days. I guess you see Ljubljana as a place to sleep. You repeat that theme with both Split and Rovinj.
And all that with 6-12 people. Herding cats.
Seems like you want to do everything, everywhere. Maybe grab a postcard passing through.
If it’s Tuesday, this must be…….?

Posted by
1593 posts

Stay with 12 nights but eliminate a destination. You have too many people in your group and you won’t be able to move quickly. You have 5 destinations for 12 nights. We had 5 destinations for 13 nights, and there were only 2 of us. The size of the group makes a huge difference in how early you start your sightseeing and in how much you can see and do in one day.

And eliminate one day trip from Ljubljana. Too many daytrips can be stressful. Also, Ljubljana is a beautiful city; you do it an injustice by only spending a couple hours there.

Posted by
32 posts

LOL - "if it's Tuesday....." so funny! and refreshing that someone else besides me uses that expression! Great movie!