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3 Weeks in Croatia

Hello Fellow Travellers,
I’m just starting to plan a 3 week trip to Croatia in May of 2020. Neither my friend or I have been there before. So far we’re thinking of flying into Dubrovnik and starting there. Then we’d take in a couple, of islands, then we’d head to Split. We’d work our way north, not sure if we should just stick to smaller places or go to Zadar. Still continuing north along the coast then heading inland to Plitvice Lakes Park. Then either come back to coast to Rijeka or smaller places around there or further inland to Zagreb.

We’ve been told it is more cost effective to rent a car rather then public bus and train. Does anyone have experience with this?
We’d rather spend longer in fewer places than see lots of places but so quickly it’s a blur.
Anybody have accommodation recommendations?

Thanks so much for your help.

Posted by
4686 posts

Driving is easy in Croatia and often cheap, especially off-season in May. Between Split and Dubrovnik, though, you don't necessarily need one. You can take ferries/catamarans and buses to get around. Some people like having a car on some of the islands to get away from the towns, but if you just want to stick to the bigger towns on the islands, you probably don't need a car there, either.

If you were going from Split (or even Zadar) to Plitvice to Zagreb, you could do all of that by bus.

But if you are comfortable driving, I'd just rent a car.

Many people add Istria to their itinerary, beyond Rijeka, which is a not-very-popular industrial city. Rovinj is an adorable little town in Istria; people enjoy visiting other nearby towns like Pula (Roman ruins), Porec, and inland hill towns.

But doing both that and Zagreb means a little backtracking. Zagreb has fans too - it's the country's capital and seems to have new museums every year. Personally, I was not a big fan, though.

Adorable Slovenia is nearby - you could add a few days there too. Either way, Venice might make a good ending city unless you can find decent flights out of say Zagreb. Depends where you are flying home to.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for your prompt reply Andrew. I like the idea of a car, I think it would make getting to smaller places more convenient. I agree with Dubrovnik to Split not needing a car. We’re actually thinking of 5 days in Paris at the end of our time in Croatia. Thanks for you other feedback as well.

Posted by
3978 posts

A car is hassle for island hopping between Dubrovnik and Split, so I would pick up the car once you have seen Split and Trogir.

Car hire in Croatia is more expensive than in say Portugal. Driving there is easy.

Posted by
69 posts

You might check the Croatia posting for some driving info: "Road trip thru Slovenia/Croatia feasible." The highway from Istria to Zagreb is very good and very fast. There is too much to see and enjoy in just 3 weeks. We intend to return soon to visit some new places and some previous places - by car. Each traveler has their own priorities, so do your research to make the trip match your desires as much as possible. Drive the back roads when you can to enjoy scenery and small towns . Have a great time.