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Advice on itinerary Early April/Easter Weekend

My husband and I are going to Croatia for our one year anniversary trip.

We land in Zagreb on 4/6 in the am. and plan to spend one day touring there and crashing that night at a hotel.

Here is where I need advice... we'd like to see the following places:
Dubrovnik, Split (do day trips to islands, etc) and Plitvice Park.

  1. Is there a better order to do these locations in? One way we are thinking of a flight to Dubrovnik, stay for a few days, boat to Split, stay for a few days, then bus to Plitvice, stay one night, bus to Zagreb to leave. Is there any benefit to doing it the other way around? I'm thinking the park would be great last, so we won't be jet lagged.

  2. What is the difficulty of renting a car and driving it one way? Is it more expensive that way like in the US? Are automatics plentiful? I can't drive a manual shift.

  3. Any other great ideas for our anniversary (it falls on Easter Sunday but we don't really care)? Super romantic spots in Dubrovnik or Split? Or one of the Islands?

Thank you!

Posted by
4535 posts

Topping, hoping you’ll get some feedback who knows the area at Easter time.

But as for one-way rental, there should only be a minor fee, nothing notable. And you should be fine getting an automatic. I think either order of travel would be fine.

Posted by
3931 posts

Since you are flying into and out of Zagreb, can you book a flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik to avoid going into the city and back to the airport? You could rent your car in split for when you are leaving. It’s easy to drive in Croatia but the drop off fee from one city to another could be as high as $150. Just an FYI, Croatia is a Catholic country and most places close down for Easter and Easter Monday, they are public holidays. Check the ferry schedules (croatiaferries.com) and maybe do your city moves then.

While in Dubrovnik, stay within the walls. Many people will recommend Lapad or Cavtat, but for such a short stay the bus becomes a big PIA. In Split we always stay at the Hotel Peristil. It is an easy walk to the ferry pier, even with suitcases. They are located with the palace. Lovely family owners.

When you book in Zagreb, get a hotel with parking, such as the Hilton Canopy or Esplanade. They are one block apart. Easy drive to the airport then.

Posted by
795 posts

We too are going to Croatia in mid April and this is an FYI I found out too late because our fly in to Dubrovnik puts us there anyway. I looked up cruise ships schedules. On April 12 there are three huge ships disgorging 5,180 people into Dubrovnik for their day.
This is not the only date like that. So you may want to look up the ship schedules and see when you are considering going.
I am not happy.
Never been to Dubrovnik and it looks like a small enough place that 5180 extra people will mean that everything is mobbed.
I have never been on a cruise, don’t want to go on a cruise. But now I will have to deal with it on the land end. I am pessimistic for Dubrovnik whereas I was optimistic.

Posted by
4535 posts

Treemoss, I feel your pain! But take heart, as you can enjoy the town in early morning and evening and do day trips during the day. Lokrum island is an easy one, and there are boat excursions to other islands as well. Stop by a tourist office to see what’s on offer, as sometimes they are only certain days of the week, of course you can lay for a private excursion also. Perhaps a wine tour to the Peljesac area?

Posted by
3931 posts

Yes Treemoss, get outta town. If you look up the cruise itself it lists the time people get off and need to get back on the ship. You can coordinate that way. A bus ride down to Cavtat for the day or ferry over to Lokrum and bring a picnic lunch and go swimming as suggested above. There is a lovely cafe there also.

Posted by
4535 posts

Well, swimming unlikely in April, unless you like very cold water! But there are plenty of things to do.

Posted by
1652 posts

We picked up our rental car in Dubrovnik, and we dropped it off in Zagreb. I honestly don't remember having to pay a drop-off fee. If we did, it was an insignificant amount because I would definitely remember if the fee was huge. Driving in Croatia is very, very easy. We drove from Dubrovnik to Split to Plitvice and returned the car in Zagreb.

Posted by
3 posts

These tips are helping immensely! Thank you everyone!

We are now looking into renting a car since it has come so easy to everyone else.

Posted by
1652 posts

If you arrive in Zagreb first, then pick up your rental car when you leave Zagreb. You don't want or need a car in Zagreb. And if you depart from Dubrovnik, return your car when you arrive in Dubrovnik. You don't need a car while staying in Dubrovnik either. And the same advice if you are arriving in Dubrovnik and departing from Zagreb.