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A tour to visit Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia Herzegvina in 9 days or best to travel on our own?

I am torn between using a travel agency to help me arrange a tour to places where we want to see versus doing it on our own.
We plan to visit Slovenia Ljubljana, Bled, Croatia Zagreb, Plitvice, Split, Hvar, Dubrovnic, Sarajevo, Montenegro, Mostar.
Any feedback?

Posted by
4886 posts

Arranging travel yourself in this part of the world is easy. I always arrange travel myself so I see what I want to see, not what someone else thinks I want to see and at my pace.

You are, however trying to fit a 3 week trip into 9 days! You will spend more time en route than you will sightseeing. 9 days is just about enough time to see Split (3 nights, 2 days) to see Split and Trogir, then ferry/catamaran for 4 nights in Hvar (most decent accommodation has a minimum booking period of 3-4 nights on the islands) then onto Dubrovnik for 2 nights.

Posted by
6752 posts

Your itinerary of 3 countries and 10 cities in only 9 days is impossible. That is less than covering one city per day before moving on, and doesn't assume the great distances involved (Croatia itself is very long from north to south). Since most of the cities you named are in Croatia, I would stick just to seeing a region in Croatia without trying to cover the whole country (either that or cut down a lot in order to lasso in Mostar and Sarajevo, which would take up about 4 days of your 9 days). Look at some sample tours and see what they cover in 9 days - if you were to plan a trip yourself then you'd have to assume being at least less efficient than a tour (depending on how experienced a traveler you are).

Posted by
351 posts

We just spent 14 nights and stayed in Ljubljana, Kobarid (in the Soca River Valley), Rovinj, Plitvice, Split, Dubrovnik, Mostar, and Kotor. Only Plitvice and Mostar were 1 night stays. Generally, my minimum stay is 2 nights because I like to have at least one full day every where. This allows us to actually do things like take a hike, go biking or kayaking, or just have downtime to enjoy a leisurely meal. To do this, we eliminated the islands and will plan another trip some day for those. We had rental cars for all of the trip except Ljubljana at the beginning, which made transportation very flexible. I think this would be been a bit trickier to pull off if we had needed to work around public transportation schedules.

I planned the trip. For me, that is a big part of the fun. Our whole trip was 17 nights, so we arrived in Ljubljana from Austria, and had a late flight out of Dubrovnik at the end and spent a final night in Vienna.

Posted by
19203 posts

Arranging a trip is this area is not hard. English is widely spoken by the youngish folks in Slovenia and Croatia, especially. But as others have noted, you need to cut a lot of those destinations.

Posted by
470 posts

With 9 days, you will need to cut at least half of what you listed and the destinations you leave on your itinerary will have to make geographic sense - so no Bled to Dubrovnik, for example (a whopping 800km/500mi). I suggest you first of all decide whether to go north or south, and then plan from there.

If you go north, go to Slovenia, Zagreb and Plitvice, that's it. If south, there are different combinations you can make with the other destinations, but don't plan on less than two nights per destination, with the exception of Mostar and the Bay of Kotor (not the whole of Montenegro), which can be done as day trips. If you go to Hvar or any island for that matter, watch out, as Jennifer said, most decent accommodation will have 3-4 night minimum stays.

Otherwise there's no need to have an agency arrange a tour for you, most things are pretty straightforward in this region.

Posted by
334 posts

I felt rushed on my Croatia trip (8 days) with only about half of your list. Not only is the list overfull, but there is no accounting for travel time between locations either.

Posted by
2 posts

I am grateful for your reply and cut out 2 places and decide to fly whenever possible.
I plan to hire a driver and a guide for all the days in the itinerary where there is the word 'drive'. I checked with a travel agency and it seems rather expensive. For 5 people, anywhere from 250 euro to 450 euro per day depends on the destination?! Really? Wow!
Is it possible to rent a car easily the day I want to drive? Is buying ferry ticket the same day easy and will have seats? Is it ok to buy train tickets from Zagreb to Ljubljana w/o it being sold out?

2 days = Hvar (ferry from Split)
2 days = Dubrovnic (ferry from Hvar)
1 day = Montenegro Kotor (drive from Dubrovnic)
1 day Zagreb (fly from Dubrovnic) visit Naive museum
1 day Plitvice (drive from Zagreb)
1 day Ljubljana (drive from Zagreb)
1 day Bled (drive from Ljubljana)


Posted by
6752 posts

Is it possible to rent a car easily the day I want to drive? Is buying ferry ticket the same day easy and will have seats? Is it ok to buy train tickets from Zagreb to Ljubljana w/o it being sold out?

I would rent a car ahead of time - don't count on availability that day. Are you looking to fit 5 people? Check the train schedule to see if you need a reserved seat...if so, buy early. The prices will be lower with an advance booking. First check if you can get somewhere with public transport or a day tour. You don't need a private driver or guide, although there should be some (fairly) inexpensive day trip available that literally take a long day (e.g. Montanegro from Dubrovnik). Driving yourself should not be difficult but it will not be inexpensive either.

I don't know when you're going but make sure to check the ferry schedule to be sure if they are running between Dubrovnik and Hvar, for example, on the days you expect. Off season, the ferries are not as frequent. You can buy tickets once you're on the ground.

Posted by
19203 posts

Last year I had no problem buying walk-up bus tickets in Slovenia and Croatia, but there aren't many buses going across the borders, so it would be smart to try to get those tickets a little earlier if you travel by public transportation. I did not travel directly between Zagreb and Ljubljana, however.

I fear that your Plitvice experience is not going to be great if you drive in from Zagreb on the day of your visit. Try to spend the previous night in the park so you can start walking earmy to beat the crowds. There are public buses from Zagreb thst can get you there and back.

You don't need a private car and driver, or even a rental car, for your itinerary in Croatia and Slovenia, but I can see the advantage for the day-trip to Kotor, assuming a vehicle that accommodates your group is available, with or without a driver. I don't know that a bus tour would be much cheaper for 5 people, but tours from Dubrovnik are available, at least during peak season. When is your trip?

I suggest checking online cruise-docking schedules to see what the situation will be like in Dubrovnik and Kotor at the time of your visit. If both areas are due to be swamped, I'd skip the town of Kotor, which is much better with no monster ship in port. There's no sense spending two days among the cruise crowds. There are other nice places in Montenegro (including the drive around the bay), or you could go to Mostar.

Check the online schedule for the Naive Art Museum to be sure it will be open when you need it to be. One of the problems with a whirlwind trip like yours is that you have no recovery time if something you want to see is unexpectedly unavailable. Personally, I'd drop Ljubljana and Bled from this trip and hit them at a later opportunity. You are not going to get the best out of these destinations because you will be constantly rushing toward the next place.

Posted by
1118 posts

We did Tigerfan's trip in 14 days in May and rented a car from Sixt in Zagreb and returned in Dubrovnik for 250 US.

It was fabulous and simple to drive !