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15 nights in Croatia and Slovenia with 2 young kids

We are headed to Europe for 6 weeks this summer, part of that time we will spend in Croatia and Slovenia (after Italy, and before Amsterdam). We are travelling with our two young boys, ages 5 & 7. I've tried to cut down on travel days, and make sure we are staying longer in places since moving around every other day would be exhausting for us all.
Here's our itinerary, and I wanted to see if it sounds like too much, and should cut something else out (possibly even part of our trip after Slovenia), or if it sounds doable?
Also, I'd love to have a day trip to Bosnia or Montenegro, but I realize that might be too much.
Secondly, wondering if we should rent a car in Slovenia or if the train is just as easy?

TIA!
Arrive Dubrovnik from Naples
4 nights/3 days in Dubrovnik
Ferry to Korcula
3 nights in Korcula
Ferry to Split
1 night in split, pick up car, drive to P. Lakes
2 nights in P. Lakes
Drive to Zagreb, drop off car, spend night in Zagreb
Train to Ljubljana
4 nights/ 3 days in Ljubljana
Fly out to Amsterdam

Posted by
4744 posts

OK, except I would take one night off Ljubljana (which is compact) and add it to Split to enable you to see Split and Trogir.

Posted by
18876 posts

You probably don't need the second night at Plitvice unless you're thinking that the youngsters may be a bit tired after the walking and won't want to pile into the car for the drive to Zagreb.

Where are you planning to go in Slovenia? You don't need a car to get from Zagreb to Ljubljana or while in Ljubljana.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you. My thought with Plitvice Lakes is to stay two nights because I just didn't want to do one night, a full day of hiking, then drive to Zagreb, one night, then travel to Ljubljana the next day. It was too much travel and "go go go" for the kids. I would like to see Trogir though so I'll rethink that a bit.
PLanning on doing the caves in Slovenia, and also would like to do Lake Bled possibly-hence why I thought about getting a car.

Posted by
18876 posts

No harm in staying 2 nights at Plitvice, but I think the longest posted loop might take you only 4 or 5 hours. I took the second-longest one and found it much faster than the posted time estimate despite the massive mid-day crowding. There are additional paths you can take if you want to fill the time.

I hate one-night stops, too, but in this case, I'd rather have the night in Split or Zagreb. However, I don't know how appealimg those destinations will be to children.

Posted by
470 posts

The caves and Lake Bled can easily be visited by public transport from Ljubljana. That said, with young kids a car may not be such a bad idea for the couple of days you will be in Slovenia - just don't have it for the one day you'll be sightseeing in Ljubljana. With your plans I would not cut down on the number of nights there or it will all become too rushed.

I would reconsider the two-night stay in Plitvice. It's a lovely place but most people are done with the park in one day. You could do two nights in Zagreb instead. Arrive there in the late afternoon, have a full day in Zagreb and then leave on the morning of the final day. You wouldn't really be changing the itinerary much, you'd just be driving to Zagreb in the afternoon instead of the following morning.

I wouldn't do four nights in Dubrovnik if you won't be doing any day trips. I think three nights (two full days) are a good amount of time to see the city. Perhaps you could reshuffle one of these nights to Split to include Trogir?

Posted by
2132 posts

Agree about the 2 nights in PL. It's an easy drive from PL to Zagreb, and Zagreb is a fun town with a lot going on, even for young kids. 2 nights in Zagreb is better than 1. There's a zoo, there's a cemetary, there's a museum of Croatian Naive Art (pictures of old ladies with pigs). Ljubljana has a dragon - each child needs a dragon of their own. 4 days in Ljubljana may be a bit much.

Posted by
1173 posts

Just an FYI for logistics. When I was in Split 2 years ago the was a full service laundry on Sperun just up the street from the church. Google maps still shows it's there but who knows. Reasonably priced but required an overnight wait. I'm not sure if you can get same day service.

Posted by
3 posts

Last summer my husband, son (10 y.o.) and I traveled in Croatia, Germany, Austria and Slovenia. We rented a car and drove from Split, Dramalj, P. Lakes, Zagreb, Salzburg, Nurburgring, Lake Bled, Ljubljana and ended back in Zagreb. I would NOT cut out Slovenia. Lake Bled is a must for kids. We stayed at a family friendly resort for two nights with wonderful activities for kids and super friendly staff. We rented bikes and rode around the lake. There is a ski lift with an awesome "ropes course" and a slide down the mountain. Our son loved it there. Ljubljana is a great city too! We only spent a day there.

Posted by
2132 posts

One thought for kids is to stay in an "agro-tourism" house. These are farms which are also B&Bs. We did that with our older kids, and they just loved the chickens and sheep. You could easily stay in such a place. We found a nice place in Austria, but they are in many locales. Kids enjoy the country and farms.

Posted by
679 posts

Well, here is my 2 cents. Dubrovnik is hot, hot, hot and crowded. We stayed outside the city in a airbnb and the hostess took us into town. The cruise ships make it so crowded and the city wall was very hot. We went in the early morning and still was glad when we were done. Having said that we loved the area. We took a private car tour to Bosnia. We found the people and city fascinating. The stops along the way were amazing. Korcula was my FAVORITE place. The kids will love the town (very intimate and friendly). The Moreska Sword Dance is very enjoyable. Get there when the doors open so the kids will have a front row seat. Take the bus or taxi to the beach and spend the day. The gelatos will get you through the heat. Split was fine. We picked up our car there and it was an easy drive. The weather was hot and we stopped at the Roman Ruins of Manastririne. These ruins are right outside of Split. If you are seeing ruins somewhere else I would skip but we found them via google maps. It was not crowded and free. We stopped at Krka National Park on the way to P. Lakes. I really enjoyed this and wanted to spend more time. Our swimming suits were packed or I would have joined the locals. Because we stopped at Krka we arrived late in the afternoon. We hiked some that afternoon and then went back the next day for a little more. The waterfalls are beautiful but there is no swimming like in Krka so the kids might like Krka better for a longer stay. I would keep your car. The driving was easy throughout Croatia and Slovenia. We really enjoyed our stay in Ljubljana. Our airbnb had parking which helped but it was so convenient to use the car to go to Lake Bled and explore the surrounding area. We dropped our car off in Zagreb when we left so no extra charges for returning in different country. We spent 2 nights in Zagreb which was enough. Hope this helps. ENJOY! 6 weeks is a WOW!