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Croatia -Hvar & Korcula

Hi
We need to get from Budapest to Split to start a tour of Croatia & Slovenia.
I’ve looked at so many options !
Our current plan is:
Eurobusways shuttle to Zagreb 0700- 1050
Fly Zagreb to Split 1430 - 1520
Ferry Split to Havr
Will this work ?
Any other suggestions would be appreciated
I’ve read conflicting reviews about Eurobusways & am concerned
As we have 4 nights in between we are thinking about staying 2 on Hvar (? Stari Grad) & 2 on Korcula
Accommodation is already getting pretty booked
Any ideas on where to stay would be fantastic

Many thanks

Posted by
5687 posts

Hi Scott. Why not just fly from Budapest to Split? Probably no direct flights, but it might be simpler than trying to mix modes of transportation?

I recently visited Hvar Town. Didn't get to explore Stari Grad unfortunately. I also visited Vis which was really lovely - just over two hours by ferry (or less by catamaran) from Split. But it would make getting on to Korcula a little less direct.

Posted by
19 posts

Hi Andrew
No, no direct flights & my wife isn’t that keen on flying but you’re right I’ll compare the prices
At least I wouldn’t have to worry about the shuttle to Zagreb

Many thanks

Posted by
5687 posts

Scott, on the other hand, you could just bus all the way. It would take longer for sure, but it's only another 4.5-5 hours on to Split, and you'd skip a 45 min bus ride from Split airport into town. And your wife wouldn't have to fly.

You could break it up by spending a night in Zagreb.

Posted by
19 posts

That is an option
I just think it’s too far in one day
Only issue is if we stay overnight in Zagreb we will lose a night on one of the islands
Just looked at flights from Budapest to Zagreb, it doesn’t take much longer to drive !
Have also looked at overnight train option
I guess it’s all about compromise

Posted by
5687 posts

Yeah, it's too bad there's no quick/easy way to get between those two cities.

I love trains, but I recently took a horrible train ride between Split and Zagreb. The train was short and even in first class the seats were narrow and uncomfortable. If you have a sleeper option between Budapest and Zagreb and the daytime portion is between Zagreb and Split, I really wouldn't recommend that train at all. I really wish I had taken the bus - and I usually hate long bus rides!

I hope you can just find a decent flight option without a terrible layover or something.

Posted by
19 posts

There is no easy option unfortunately
We love trains too, but reviews on the overnight one aren’t great, very noisy so you’d probably arrive exhausted
Thanks for all your advice , we’ll need to make a decision soon

Posted by
3815 posts

Did you consider renting a car from zagreb to Split? The new roads in Croatia are excellent and you can pay the toll with a CC. You can return it at the Split airport and take a taxi into the city. We took the bus once from Budapest to Zagreb, it was fine. The trains in Croatia need a major overhaul, we avoid them. Are you staying in Split any nights? One of our favorite cities along the coast.

Posted by
19 posts

Hi Barbara
I thought driving might be too stressful, we haven’t driven in Europe for many years. It sounds like a reasonable option, I’ll look into it.
Yes, we are staying in Split on a tour
Really looking forward to it !

Posted by
5687 posts

Yes, driving from Zagreb to Split is super easy - like driving on a modern interstate highway. (With tolls.)

It would be REALLY a shame to drive right past Plitvice Lakes National Park (about two hours south of Zagreb) and not pop in if you drive south if you can. Google it - really stunning park with lots of waterfalls and two lakes. A bit crowded with tour groups, however, so busy mid-day. A true highlight of Croatia.

Posted by
19 posts

Hi Andrew
We will be going to the Lakes on a tour, they do look incredible

I’ve had a look at Vis, it looks lovely, perhaps instead of Havar ?
However it’s not as easy to get to
My plan was Split, Hvar, Korcula, Budapest

Posted by
5687 posts

Scott, Vis is easy to get to from Split. There are daily ferries from Split. But there are not nearly as many ferry options as for Hvar; there are several hour-long catamarans per day between Split and Hvar town plus one or two slower car ferries between Split and Stari Grad on Hvar - so the schedules are more convenient than for Vis.

But there's nothing wrong with going to Hvar Town or Stari Grad.

Posted by
19 posts

What about getting from Vis to Dubrovnik or do I have to go back to Split ?
Our tour starts in Dubrovnik, so was trying to avoid back tracking

Posted by
5687 posts

Oh, if you have to wind up in Dubrovnik, then yes, it will just be easier to work your way down from Hvar and Korcula. Didn't know you were planning to end in Dubrovnik.

Posted by
57 posts

Hi Scott, we are also travelling from Budapest to Split, so then we decided to travel to Plitvice NP first, about 7hours on the bus, arrive late afternoon, enjoying the park the next morning and afternoon bus to Split. Something to consider. Taking Flixbus.

Posted by
19 posts

Hi
We will be visiting Plitvice on a tour later on our trip (they sound impressive) so we just need to get from Budapest to Split
I’m not a bus fan but the trains don’t sound like a great option
Do the buses have luggage storage underneath?

Posted by
3815 posts

Driving is easy since they built the new roads. And not too crowded as many locals don’t or can’t pay the tolls. Like I mentioned before, you can pay with a CC. You take a ticket when you enter. I’m sure there is a YouTube video with someone driving. You can find anything on there nowadays. Ulaz means exit.

Posted by
5687 posts

Scott, the long distance buses all have storage underneath the bus in a secure compartment. In Croatia, it's customary to charge a few kuna extra to store a bag that way, so expect that (pay in cash). Of course, in 2023 Croatia is moving to the Euro...

Speaking of which, a lot of places especially restaurants in Croatia are cash-only. And ATMs all charge a hefty service fee - about $4 USD per withdrawal. If you are used to using ATMs for cheap, convenient cash (I was until this year), keep that in mind. Some debit cards like the Scwab card offer no fee ATM use and reimbursement of all fees, so if you have a card like ATMs are still cheap to use, but many people aren't prepared for that and wind up paying the steep fees.

Posted by
1645 posts

We didn't want to drive, so we booked transfers through Octopus Transfers. We used them to get from Split to Zadar, from Zadar to Plitvice, and from Plitvice to Zagreb. Each time, it was a good experience, although not the least expensive option.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks everyone, really appreciate all your suggestions
I really like the look of Vis, thinking about staying there instead of Hvar
Any suggestions of areas/places to stay on Vis ?
Just looking at ferry options
Will then go to Korcula & then to Dubrovnik

Posted by
5687 posts

Scott, I spent only two nights on Vis. I stayed in Vis town close to the ferry port in an apartment I found on Booking.com.

I took a bus from Vis town to the old town of Komiza and spent a few hours there. Komiza is a much older town with neat old buildings. But somehow, I preferred Vis town itself - it just had a laid-back, peaceful vibe (granted, this was October when the tourist season was basically over). It's clear both towns get tourists, but Komiza just seemed to have more touristy waterfront cafes than Vis own, which seemed like a tourist town with more locals. Both are nice towns - I don't think it would be a mistake to stay in either one. (The buses from Vis to Komiza seemed to be timed to the arriving ferry from Split.)

The bus schedule to Komiza was limited in October. I would have taken the bus back to Vis a little earlier. Uber actually claims to have service on Vis. Glad I didn't rely on it. I tried to use it to get back from Komiza to Vis a few hours earlier. Uber gave me (cheap) options and kept saying it was contacting a drive for pick-up in a few minutes...but the app kept timing out and telling me no drivers were available (after first telling me I could get a pick-up in 5 minutes). After a few tries I gave up and just waited for the bus. I probably could have taken a regular taxi.

On another note: do you like cats? I do. There are a lot of stray cats in Croatia. In the larger towns, I've found (after several previous trips to Croatia) that most of the strays aren't that friendly. But in Vis town, the cats are well-cared for and extremely friendly (the town pays for spay/neuter, which probably makes a big difference). I had several cats jump right in my lap and cuddle, which was unusual (and delightful). It's clear the locals care for them and they get fed, but they still hunt for food (in Komiza, they are not as well fed, and I wound up buying a few bags of kibble for them). Anyway...if you go to Vis and love cats, be on the look out for them!! There's even a local group that cares for them and sells a calendar.

Posted by
19 posts

Hi Andrew
Thanks for the warning about the cats !
I would have been a bit startled to have one jump onto my lap
We have cats so that’s ok, our daughter loves to adopt stray cats, sounds like she’d love to go there
As it’s July & we only have 4 nights do you think 2 nights in Vis & 2 on Korcula is a good plan ? (That would mean eliminating Stari Grad)

Posted by
3815 posts

Scott, this is just an opinion since we haven’t been to either island, but my husband, a Croat, says to visit Vis over Hvar. It is more historical.

Posted by
3961 posts

We stayed in Hvar 2 nights and Korcula 2 nights on our tour. For us, Korcula was the winner. Historical and magical. We didn’t want to leave. If we were to return we would consider Vis! We have heard wonderful reviews. Enjoy!

Posted by
5687 posts

Scott, I haven't been to Croatia in July, but it sounds like any island will be very crowded and busy. Vis probably will be too, but I hear Hvar is just a mad house. On the upside, you should have a peak season ferry schedule, anyway. There may even be a way to get to Korcula from Vis without going back to Split - maybe you can change in Hvar Town or something.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks everyone
I just checked the ferry timetable again
We can catch a catamaran from Split to Vis & then from Vis to Hvar & 50 mins later another goes to Korcula
This could work !

Posted by
5687 posts

I don't think the timetables for summer 2023 have been released yet, have they? I wouldn't count on them being exactly as in 2022. But could be.

Posted by
19 posts

That’s a very valid point Andrew
Does anyone have any idea when they release the 2023 ferry timetable ?
If not I’ll email them or just keep checking I guess

Thanks again