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9 days in Croatia Slovenia Itinerary


We are a couple traveling with a 5 year old to Croatia and Slovenia early May. We plan to follow the RS itinerary (reverse order) listed here,

May 6 - Reach Dubrovnik (Fly in). Visit Old town and Lovrijenac castle. Sleep in Dubrovnik.
May 7 - City walls and Cable car. Sleep in Dubrovnik.
May 8 - Pick up rental car and leave for Split. Visit Trsteno Arboretum on the way. Sleep in Split.

Question - Are two nights (1.5 days) enough in Dubrovnik. Should we add another night. Is Lokrum island worth a visit?

May 9 - Visit one of the islands from Split and return. Hvar or Brac. Any suggestions?
May 10 - Split local sightseeing. Visit Klis Fortress. Sleep in Split.

Question - anything to add around Split?

May 11 - Leave for Plitvice NP. Visit KRKA on the way. Sleep near Plitvice.
May 12 - Visit Plitvice, spend an entire day here. Sleep near Plitvice.
May 13 - Leave for Ljubljana. Local sightseeing. Sleep in ljubljana town.
May 14 - Visit Bled lake and around. Sleep near ljubljana airport.
May 15 - Drop the rental car. Fly out from ljubljana.

Does this sound like a doable plan? We are confused if the time in Dubrovnik is less and if we should add another night there. That will mean less time in Split. Also, which Croatian Island should we visit.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
3400 posts

1.5 days in Dubrovnik may be enough, other than the fact that you are flying in the first day (which may slow you down - jetlagged?) Dubrovnik is lovely but not very big and can be seen pretty quickly. (Try to visit the Buza Bar at sunset - great place to view it!)

Unless you are planning to stop between Dubrovnik and Split, I would just take the bus to Split and rent the car when you leave Split, unless you were planning to take the car to an island. An option (if you really want an island) is to rent the car in Dubrovnik as planned but detour over to Korcula for a night (local ferry at Orebic; car ferry from Vela Luka on the opposite side of the island to Split).

I would spend only one night at Plitvice. If you stay close to or in the park, get in first thing in the morning (7am in season) to avoid the big crowds...but you can easily see the gist of the park in 6-8 hours. I'd leave Plitvice that afternoon and head on to Ljubljana or Zagreb (see below).

Are you prepared for a huge one-way drop fee to drop a car in Slovenia that you rented in Croatia? It could be hundreds of Euros. Just check it out. You could drop the car in Zagreb after Plitvice and head to Ljubljana by bus or train. (Drop the Croatian car near the train or bus station - no need to drop it at the airport in Zagreb.)

You could get by without a car for your brief visit to Slovenia - easy to get to Bled by bus (or even train but bus usually better). But you might still rent one for a day just to allow more flexibility and the ability to do scenic drives - for example, stop in the town of Skofja Loka then do the scenic drive through the mountains through Jamnik and Kropa down to Bled - really lovely.

I wouldn't sleep near Ljubljana airport unless you have a 6AM flight. Bled isn't far from the airport, though I might prefer a cute nearby little town like Radovljica to sleeping in Bled, personally. Even if you don't rent a car, it's not hard to get to Ljubljana airport from Ljubljana town center.

Posted by
3400 posts

Afterthought: with a five year old, personally I'd slow this down and skip Slovenia (even though I love it) or skip the Dalmatian coast and do one or the other, if that's all the time you have. You're covering a lot of ground quickly even without a child.

Posted by
4740 posts

Trogir is very close to Split and a good visiting choice (easy to get to by bus). Yes, 1.5 days in Dubrovnik is enough because it's so small. I went to Brac island (from Split) and really enjoyed it. It doesn't seem like having a car just to drive to Split and then have to let it sit there for a few days is the best idea (you can easily bus it to Split from Dubrovnik). You won't need a car once in Split, unless you're staying somewhere outside the city and you definitely won't need it going to an island.

Beware of the car drop off fees as the prior poster suggested, if you do end up renting the car in Croatia and turning it in Slovenia.

Posted by
50 posts

Thank you all for the comments.

  1. I read that Dubrovnik to Split is a nice drive and we also plan to visit the trsteno arboretum gardens (GOT fans) on our way. So, thought it will be nice to have a car. The cost of dropping the car once we reach split and renting it again on the day we leave for Plitvice is coming out to be more than keeping it for the entire duration.

I have read that it is possible to get a parking for EUR 10 per day. Is the public parking in Split safe?

  1. About cross country drop, we are being charged EUR 125 one time fees. Seems like a decent option for the convenience and the road trip.

  2. Looking at the replies, I do get a feel that 1.5 days should be okay for Dubrovnik. Won't be jetlagged (traveling from AMS) but yeah, do have a 5 year old so the first day might be a bit slow. I don't want to regret not spending enough time in Dubrovnik, hence asked the forum for advice :)

  3. If we are to visit an island from Split without the car, which one is recommended? I read it is difficult to go around Hvar without a car.

About covering a lot during the trip, that is the reason we are keeping it slow near Plitvice. We can do the park at our pace and just relax at the same place in the night (instead of traveling). This will give us some breather for the Slovenia part.

Posted by
73 posts

If you are looking for some place to stay in Ljubljana, we loved Apartment Emmi. It is right on the river in the heart of the old town. We stayed there with our son a few years ago, and it was wonderful. We absolutely loved Ljubljana!

Posted by
48 posts

komal.kas - what car rental are you using? We couldn’t find any with that low of a drop off fee.