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8 Days in Croatia - I need help with the last 4!

Hi All,
My wife and I and 2 friends are holidaying to Czech Republic/Slovenia/Croatia in July/August this year - we are cycling for 5 days from Prague to Vienna, training to Ljubljana and spending 5 nights there (day tripping every day as we have a rental car and yes we will be dropping it Zagreb and am happy to pay the drop off fee).

Our friends then leave so my wife and I have 9 days on our own - we want to spend that time in Croatia and have decided on the following (bare in mind that I realise we might be trying to see too much but if we can get a taste we will come back again)

Drive from Ljubljana to Rovinj
2 nights in Rovinj (explore Istria - Porec, Groznjan, Motovun, Vrgar etc)
1 night at Plitvace Lakes (get there late afternoon and start early the next day) then drive to ......

Here is where I need help - we need to drive back to Zagreb to fly home and I think we will do that drive the day before we fly so that leaves us 4 nights. I think we would like 2 nights on an island to relax a bit (keeping in mind we will still have the car) so any recommendations on what island to choose would be much appreciated (not into partying but love walking, scenery, history etc)

The other 2 nights we want to spend on the mainland in the one place where we can do some day trips (would love to see Mostar) and then drive from there to Zagreb. Any ideas would be great - I think I have decided against Split (and I don't think we can reach Dubrovnik) but am happy to receive any advice. Sorry for the rambling question!

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9891 posts

You could use some time in Zagreb, and Zadar is also nice. Neither helps you get to Mostar, but it's probably at least a 10-hour round-trip from Plitvice Lakes National Park, a long way to go for such a quick visit. In any case, with only two nights available, if you really want to see Mostar, that's where you should go, not to some other city from which you can make a day-trip to Mostar. Two nights just gives you one day plus a few hours of sightseeing time.

I have no recent experience with Croatian islands, but it has been mentioned on this forum that a lot of island hotels have 3-night minimums, and you're traveling during peak season. The Rovinj lodging situation was really tight when I stayed there in 2015.

If you're contemplating taking the car on a ferry, be sure your rental agreement allows you to do so. Ditto for traveling into Bosnia.

I'm wondering whether you're allowing yourself any time to see Ljubljana, since you say you plan to take day-trips every day.

Posted by Adrian OP
Perth, Western Australia
13 posts

Thanks Acraven, you may be correct about Mostar - I think we have to decide between staying on an island (we can use airbnb) or giving that a miss and stay on the mainland for 4 nights and visit Mostar). I was hoping we could do a decent drive from the lakes to somewhere like Markarska, get to Korkula perhaps then the last 2 nights in Markaska. Any views on Markaska as a place to stay?
Going to Bosnia isn't an issue but the ferry ma be.

Posted by venotraci
59 posts

Look into Medjugorje. It is the most peaceful place in all the world and lots of history :)

Posted by valadelphia
588 posts

Given that you must return to Zagreb, I would stick north, and there are some fabulous islands in the north. Not as famous but just as ruggedly beautiful--look at Cres, Losinj, and Krk. They are also hardly undiscovered, and the towns will be lively in July/August.
Or I would more exhaustively explore Istria while you are there. I would not drive all the way to Mostar but instead keep that and southern Dalmatia for the future trip.

Posted by Adrian OP
Perth, Western Australia
13 posts

Thanks for those suggestions - Mostar is off the radar and now I guess we have to decide on either the islands (I suppose we could base ourselves on Krk and still see Losinj and Cres?) or stay on the mainland for 4 nights. If it was the latter, what would you prefer from the following:
Zadar, Sibenik, Primostenor Trogir?

Posted by valadelphia
588 posts

Thanks for those suggestions - Mostar is off the radar and now I guess
we have to decide on either the islands (I suppose we could base
ourselves on Krk and still see Losinj and Cres?) or stay on the
mainland for 4 nights. If it was the latter, what would you prefer
from the following: Zadar, Sibenik, Primostenor Trogir?

Look at drive times to see how much of an area you wish to cover.

See ferry schedules at https://www.jadrolinija.hr/ for Cres, Losinj (those two are connected by a bridge) and Krk (Krk also connected to mainland by a bridge).

Posted by Paul-of-the-Frozen-North
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
1025 posts

I would start in Rovinj 2 nights
Zadar 1 night
Split 3 nights - side trip to Trogir
Split is a wonderful town, with a gritty feel. It's a place where people actually work, which is not true for all towns.
Go to Plitvice on the way back from Split to Zagreb

If you do not want to go to Split (an odd decision - we've been there 2x - lots to see and do), go to Sibenik. It's small, but fun, and has the world's craziest fountain.

Posted by Adrian OP
Perth, Western Australia
13 posts

Thank you everyone, your suggestions have been very helpful. I think we will stay in the north and extend our stay in Rovinj then spend two nights on Krk with a visit to the lakes at the beginning or in the middle.

Posted by dd
49 posts

I will add at least one island on it. From Korcula, you can visit one more national park Mljet. Mljet and Plitvice are 2 things must see.