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Croatia 7 days in early April best itinerary

We are planning a trip with our adult daughter from London to Croatia Mar 30-April 6. We would like to visit Plitvice Lakes , Dubrovnik, Motar, Mljet and Kotor.
We have a flight from Dubrovnik to London on the 6th. I am trying to decide where to fly in.
Currently the plan is;
Day 1 am Fly to Zagreb , lunch, rent car drive to Plitvice Lakes (2 hrs).
Stay Plitvice
Day 2 Plitvice lakes all day/ drive to Split (2.5 hrs)
Stay Split or Makarska or other small town
Day 3 Drive or return car and take a bus to Dubrovnik Which is a better option? Do we need a car after Split?
Day 4 Dubrovnik
Day 5 Bay of Kotor
Day 6 Motar
Day 7 (Easter) Mljet (or Korcula?)
Day 8 am in Dubrovnik fly to London

  1. What is open on Easter Sunday? Will we be able to get a ferry to Mljet or plan a tour to Motar?
  2. The weather will still be chilly, what are the best places to vitsit?
  3. Should I just fly round trip to Dubrovnik and give up on Plitvice or is there a better way? I really don't want to miss it...
  4. Is it too much to start in the north?

I am looking for suggestions, so I can book airline tickets and hotels....please let me know
Thank you!

Posted by
16893 posts

I have not seem most places on your list, but I do think I would stay a night or two in Zagreb, if flying in there. Rick's guidebook gives it 35 pages of coverage and mentions several interesting sites. It probably won't cost any more for you to keep the car all the way to Dubrovnik, instead of switching to bus. You could also just keep on driving to Montenegro, and stay in Dubrovnik at the end of the trip, not in the middle.

Posted by
5295 posts

First, I think you are doing too much and you underestimate distances. Next, If Laura had been to all these places, she would definitely tell you to skip Zagreb altogether. Then, you should/must rent a car if you even want to dream about going to all these places. You must, however, make sure it is allowable to take the car to Bosnia and Montenegro. If not, you'll have to take an organized trip.

So, for your itinerary, I think you either do Zagreb, Plitvice, Brac and Split (visit Trogir and Sibenik, too; heck, I'd stay in Trogir) or you do Dubrovnik, Korcula, Mljet, Mostar and Kotor. You cannot do both of these options in your timeframe.

Posted by
3 posts

Hi. My husband and I spent two weeks in the summer of 2013 using the following itinerary: (1) Seattle to Ljubliana, Slovenia (via Frankfurt). Spent two nights in Ljubliana. Rented a car and drove to Lake Bled and over the Julian Alps to Kobarid (the lake is beautiful and the Alps are quite impressive). (2) Spent one night in Kobarid (impressive WWI museum in Kobarid as well as a mountain top memorial to thousands of Italians killed during fighting up on the cliffs during WWI). (3) Drove to Motovun, Croatia, a quaint, but tourist discovered hill town (birthplace of Mario Andretti). Spent two nights. Mostly one main skinny road up the hill. Rick's tour generally follows this itinerary and he describes the above cities very well. (4) Drove to Plitvice Lakes National Park (so we by passed the towns on the Istrian Peninsula). Stayed in a pension in Plitvice (there are LOTS of them). Spent one full day at the park, a beautiful place I'd highly recommend. In April, it likely won't be as crowded as August. We found many tourists (and they weren't Americans, yay!) to be lacking basic courtesy. On a 3 ft. wide walkway across long stretches of water 3 would walk abreast, looking down and poking away on cell phones. It would be easy to land in the water (swimming isn't allowed and cameras wouldn't fair well). Most people skip the park. We loved the natural beauty. Headlights in rental cars don't necessarily turn themselves off. it costs about $100 to get the park people to come jump your car. We know. (5) Continued on by car to Split (don't miss the exit!). Stayed 1 night in an apartment found via E. through the BDoor. Okay. Tour boats come in during the day and people swarm the waterfront. Go one or two blocks away, and you're among winding little streets in Diocletian's Palace area. Rick recommends The Sperun restaurant. We ate there 3 or 4 times. Sidewalk tables are great. The only time we didn't like it as well was when there was a college aged crowd of about 15 loud Americans nearby. Fantastic food! (6) Planned to go to an island but (NOTE): the ferry schedule didn't make this work unless we wanted to stay at least 3 days. Bagged that idea and found a fantastic place to stay and hung around Split for 2 more days. Good decision. Found a palace on Trivago at half price as there'd been a cancellation. Wow! Spent $116/night to stay in Grisognono Palace. World heritage site! Hand painted ceiling from the 13th century. Murano class windows open to the plaza area of Diocletian's Palace. We watched opera from the window. (7) Boated to Dubrovnik via stops at several islands. Be in good shape in Dubrovnik if you stay in some of the rooms Rick recommends (as we did). Lots of stairs to get to them. Manageable w/o suitcases. Some people have complained about the tram ride to the top of the mountain, but we enjoyed it. There was a very impressive museum at the top, explaining and showing pictures of the Serbian-Croatian war ending in 1995. Though Dubrovnik was a World Heritage site (and thought to be a safe play to go), people died and there was some significant damage as the town was shot (all repaired now). It costs to walk the wall around Dubrovnik, but you get a perspective you otherwise wouldn't, especially if you are a photographer. We didn't go further south on our trip, so I can't make recommendations on that. I will say, it takes much longer to get places than you'd think. Allow more time than you'd imagine, expect to get lost, be ready to pay fees for the toll roads (and, as we experienced, maybe have a toll taker give us a thank you wave after we paid our toll---thinking we wouldn't notice he owed us significant change). That kind of stuff happens many places if the traveler isn't on his or her toes. The Croatians we encountered were very nice and helpful. We try to be pretty low key, and really had no problems. Obviously, we missed lots of Croatia, but absolutely loved what we did see and experience!