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Advice appreciated on itinerary: starting in Venice, ending in Dubrovnik

Four of us will be traveling mid September to Croatia for the first time. We fly into Venice (as a bonus destination) , spending 2 nights there since we arrive late at 7 p.m. We looked at taking the ferry over to Croatia but the schedule was restrictive. We are leaning towards taking GoOpti in the morning over to Rijeka to pick up a rental car. We fly out of Dubrovnik. We have 11 nights total and would appreciate advice on fine tuning our itinerary.

Once in Croatia, we know we want to see/do:
- Plitvice Lakes Park,
- Krka National Park,
- walled cities,
- Diocletian’s Palace,
- beach time/sea kayaking/gorgeous Adriatic water
- Wine tasting
- Local culture
- Great seafood

We are thinking we will only need the car for the first part of the trip, but welcome thoughts on this. We have read a car is not helpful once you get on the islands and certainly not in Dubrovnik.

We like water and the islands definitely are a draw. We want to make sure to allow time in the itinerary to relax and enjoy the culture and country. In addition to the 2 nights in Venice, were thinking of 1 night near Plitvice Lakes Park the night before visiting, 2 nights in Split, 2 nights on Hvar, 2 nights on Korkula and 2 nights in Dubrovnik. Recently we read that Hvar is expensive and more of a party destination. We want to be wise with our expenditures and are not into partying, so are considering dropping Hvar.

Thoughts on the best places to visit/stay? Did we miss an important island? What changes would you suggest to the itinerary?

Lastly, our flight out from Dubrovnik is at 9 a.m. Should we stay that last night somewhere closer to the airport or is it easy enough to get from the city center to the airport?

Thank you all for your input. I’m so grateful to have found this travel community. The various questions/replies are so very helpful.

Posted by
1591 posts

You have a one-night stay and then all 2-night stays. This is not a relaxing itinerary. You will spend too much time traveling from place to place.

We visited Hvar as a daytrip from Split in September 2019, and we didn't get the party vibe feel at all. I think the partygoers are on Hvar primarily in June, July, and August. By September, things are quieting down. We didn't go to Korcula so I can't compare Hvar to Korcula or other islands. I know Vis is popular but I think it takes longer to get there.

To make the trip more relaxing, perhaps spend 3 nights on one island and 3 nights in Dubrovnik.

Posted by
2122 posts

Drop off your car in Split. Spend 2 nights there. Then, instead of Hvar and Korcula, take a ferry to Vis for 3 nights. It is a little longer ferry ride but worth it. You may want to rent a car for one day to explore the island. Be sure to go across the island to the gorgeous little town of Komiza. From there, you can take an excursion boat to the blue cave at Bisevo — but be sure to do this on a sunny day for maximum “blueness”.

Then ferry back to Split in the early morning and catch a bus to Dubrovnik. The bus stop is just across the street from the ferry so check schedules when you’re in Split — we were able to catch a bus with only a few minutes waiting time.

In Dubrovnik, my advice is to take another bus south 15 minutes to the lovely, peaceful village of Cavtat, and stay there for 3 nights. You can easily get back to Dubrovnik one day (via bus or boat) to walk the walls & wander the city. Cavtat has great food, gorgeous views. A great place to end your trip.

From Cavtat you can rent a car & drive to Montenegro one day (or take an excursion via bus or driver). Cavtat is just a few minutes from the Dubrovnik airport so it will make your departure easier.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for the ideas. We had not looked at Vis. How would you compare it to Hvar or Korkula?

Posted by
4284 posts

Early September/late September?
Do you have 11 nights once you depart Rijeka or is that including the Venice stay?
I would choose Plitvice OR Krka, and make sure to have at least three nights somewhere. Otherwise plan based on how much driving you like to do per day.
Hvar has historically only been a party place in high summer, plus there are towns other than Hvar town, but I think I would choose one island with your timeline.
DBV is close to town, no need to stay closer.

Vis is smaller and the towns are also quite small. It is one of my favorites too though, but more for nature whereas I think with the smaller islands you get historic town and nature. It also takes longer to get to and every second counts on this itinerary.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for you thoughts. We have 11 nights total (2 in Venice and 9 in Croatia).