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13 Day Croatia and Slovenia Trip - Itinerary Help

Hi -

My family and I are planning a trip to Croatia and Slovenia in August. We have not bought tickets yet but plan on flying into Ljubijana on August 12 and out of Zagreb on August 23. This is of course flexible, these connections just seem to be the most efficient at the moment. I am really looking for small towns that will be less busy than the main spots (realize everything's going to be crazy in August).

We have four kids under the age of 12 and have been traveling abroad with them about once a year since they were born. They have been all over and are generally ok with doing whatever (and their favorite part is always the plane ride).

I have done several rushed itinerary type trips and would like help balancing between not being rushed and making good use of time. I think we'd be most interested in scenario and small towns.

I have read through all the recent posts on these countries as well as Fodor's and Lonely Planet. I have mapped out a little itinerary but hoping to get some boots-on-the-ground feedback of maybe some smaller out of the way places to stay near the towns I mentioned. Any and all other advice is much appreciated!

The tentative plan is as follows:

Fly in to Ljubljana
then to Trieste
then make way down to Zadar area
then up through Plitice Lakes
then to Zagreb

I figured this would be a good swatch for 12-13 days-ish but not really sure practically. Thanks again for your help!

Posted by
4535 posts

We need to know how you intend to travel--van or bus?

If it was my trip, I would probably eliminate Trieste, not that it does not sound appealing, but it is out of the way and with your number of days, I think something like this would be reasonable, or course with adjustments according to what you want to do each day:
Ljubljana 4 nights
Zadar 4 nights
Plitvice 2 nights
Zagreb 2 nights

I'm sorry I don't know what to recommend in August--everywhere will certainly be crowded along the coast. I would look into some of the Istria towns, or one of the northern islands also.

Posted by
3926 posts

I would travel from Trieste to Istria. It’s closer and very family friendly during the summer. There are the cities of Rovinj, Poreč, and Pula, where you could stay or day trip. Istralandia waterpark or Dinopark Funtana could be of interest.

We’ve been to Trieste a few times, not much for children there. Zadar also. The beaches aren’t as nice as in Istria.

On the way from Ljubljana you could stop at either the Postonja or Škocjan caves. In Barač there are bat caves (not too far from Plitvice).

We will be taking our two grandsons (8 and 10) to Croatia next summer so I have been doing a little research. Rovinj would be my go to place. There is a reason it is so popular, they have much to offer during the summer.

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you for the help! Great suggestions! I am thinking about renting a car and driving.

I love the idea of the Istria pennisula thank you!

Posted by
4535 posts

I think a car would be the away to go, but be sure to check asap because there can be a large fee for renting in one country and dropping in another. Sometimes it is worth it. I'd try AutoEurope first.
Also you will need to inform the agency if you wish to take the car on a ferry, if interested in that. If the schedule aligns, you can cut across to Zadar by ferry. (see Jadrolinija website)
Krk island has a bridge, so that is an option to avoid ferry travel.

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you for the suggestion. I prefer cars if practical and it sounds likes its doable so thank you for that.

Posted by
1652 posts

We rented a car in Croatia and the driving was very, very easy. Of course, my husband did the driving :-) but he said it was very easy. I remember there was very little traffic on the road between Split and Plitvice Lakes NP.