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Advice wanted on Ljubljana,Croatia and Bosnia trip

In April my husband and I are travelling with 2 of our adult children to Europe for 7 weeks. Our main aim is to spend time with our grandson in Austria, but we are also planning a little side trip for mid to late May.

Our thoughts are : Ljubljana 4 nights ( Day trip to Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled, and possibly white water rafting)
Plitvice Lakes 1 night
Split 4 nights ( Day trips to an island, kayaking tour and Zadar)
Mostar 3 nights (Day trip to Kravice Falls/ Blagaj or wine tasting or white water rafting on Neretva river)
Dubrovnik 3 nights ( Day trip to Kotor)

My husband and I spent a week in Slovenia last year using Ljubljana as a base and loved it. We want to return with our kids, so the nights here are not flexible. We all want to spend 3 nights in Mostar so aren't keen to change the number of nights there either. Split and Dubrovnik nights are flexible.
We are trying to decide if it is better to rent a car in Croatia ( I have heard that Sixt car rental allow you to drive to Bosnia).

1) Where would be the best place in Croatia,(probably coming from Ljubljana by bus) to get a car so that we could drive to Plitvice? ( We would like to drop off in Dubrovnik)
2) Would it be better to go by bus from Split to Mostar and Mostar to Dubrovnik?
3) Can anyone recommend a company that picks up in Ljubljana to do white water rafting in the Soca Valley?
4) Would it be better to stay overnight on one of the islands off Split?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
19214 posts

I've never been white-water rafting, but I wonder about conditions in April. I suggest checking on whether you are likely to want protective clothing and whether it would be supplied by the outfitter.

How to get to Plitvice from somewhere other than Zagreb or Split is a topic that comes up pretty frequently, I think as recently as November. A search here might turn up some useful info. I believe you'll find very limited options for moving from Ljubljana to Croatia via public transportation. There's bus service to some of the cities on the Istrian Coast (including Rovinj and probably Porec and Pula). There's both bus and train service to Zagreb (which has a lively, attractive historic district and a number of good museums). There are also buses and trains to Rijeka. There doesn't appear to be any direct service to Karlovac.

Posted by
470 posts

The best place by far is Zagreb, which is the easiest accessible Croatian location from Ljubljana. If you are returning to Austria using ground transport, you could also rent in Slovenia and then return the car in Slovenia on your way back.

The whitewater rafting season on the Soca lasts from April to October, so I would not worry about conditions in mid May. For transfers from Ljubljana, contact Soca Rafting or Top Extreme directly and see if they can provide you with a quote. If not, the Ljubljana tourist office will have a list of companies providing rafting in the Soca Valley from Ljubljana.

If you wish to combine the rafting with a tour of the Soca Valley, consider a guided day out by booking something like the Emerald River Adventure by 3glav Adventures. It includes a scenic drive over Vrsic Pass, a couple of scenic hikes in the Soca Valley, whitewater rafting on the Soca and a car train ride.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello Linda
I was in the Balkans in May 2015, seeing many of the sights you mention. I'd recommend hiring a car in Zagreb, one way rental is quite OK and cheap compared to Oz but you will need to pay for the green card or carnet to cross borders, including the little strip of Bosnia towards Dubrovnik. I wouldn't use the buses unless you want the experience, so much easier by car. I rafted on the Soca with my children (then 11 & 13) and had the best time ever with guide Betty J. from Sportmix in Bovec (they have a good website). She played all sorts of games with the girls during the quieter stretches of the river. I stayed 3 nights in Korcula (island) which was great but perhaps a closer island would be better. Certainly try the island experience, especially after the noise and lack of greenery in Split and Dubrovnik. I would also recommend considering staying in Trogir instead of Split, much more human scale and easy access to Split by road/bus/ferry. I also rafted on the Tara river in Montenegro which was spectacular, I think you can get transfers from Mostar.
I'm sure you'll have a great time

Posted by
61 posts

Thank you for the replies. The information about white water rafting and transport has been very helpful. Due to flight availability, we have decided to reverse our trip, starting in Dubrovnik. We now plan to return the car to Zagreb before catching the train to Ljubljana.

Posted by
4894 posts

Check your travel insurance - mine doesn't cover me for white water rafting. You may have to pay extra for this cover.

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks Jennifer. I hadn't actually thought of that.

Posted by
72 posts

You need a car. Maybe you can rent the car in Austria. It is cheaper when you take it for long period. On skyscanner, you have option hire car with good prices. Also pick up service.

About rafting. Near Plitvice you have 3 greatest spots for rafting: rastoke, Una and Gacka. Many rivers are there.. So you can stay few days at Plitvice. You can find cheap accommodation in Vrhovine, Otocac.. as you have car you can stay anywhere on the way.

Basically in Zagreb you are renting the car, taking highway: E65, E71, D52 to Plitvice. Same way for driving to Split and Mostar: D52, E71.. From Mostar you will drive to Opuzen and Dubrovnik. And if you have time from Dubrovnik you can do Island hopping. Mljet national park and Korcula.

Have a good time!