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Croatia Flight and Itinerary Advice

Need advice/recommendations for 2017 Summer Trip. Thinking of doing one month in Croatia/Northern Italy with family of 4 next year. Haven't done northern Italy yet, so was very roughly thinking 2 weeks for Milan/Lakes Region/Dolomites/Venice in Italy, then head to Croatia (not sure best ways to get there from Venice--maybe boat across?) and 2 weeks in Croatia (mainly sticking to the coast, just to have enough time to explore it more in depth vs. rushing through it). At this point, trying to figure out best way to fly (will be leaving from Dallas). Based on some initial research online, through Expedia and other search engines, flights to Milan are somewhere around $1500 to $1700, and into Croatia are around $1900. But explored a bit WOW Airlines and IcelandAir (so could maybe squeeze in a stopover there a few days?), and prices that way (with various connections) come down on flight to around $1200. Also played around with Norweigan Airlines and Croatia Air, and looks like maybe some lower prices that way. Anyone have any advice on (a) whether to fly into Milan and work towards Croatia, or start in Croatia (somewhere) and work towards Milan, in terms of airline pricing and/or generally pros/cons on either route? Other airlines maybe to consider with lower prices? Thanks.

Posted by
2080 posts

Of course there are no guarantees, but into Milan out of Zagreb is most likely going to be the most economical. But, flying out of Zagreb has some snags if you were hoping to get all the way south to Dubrovnik (Istria-Dalmatian coast-Zagreb can be done in two weeks, but a bit rushed). If northern Croatia will work for you, then certainly Zagreb is always cheapest with the fewest plane changes.
Shoot for June if you can--August crowds. I'd want June for beach weather in Croatia, so Italy first.
If northern Italy is a given, then it makes sense to take a boat from Venice to Rovinj in Istria. If you rent a car in Italy, drop it and get a new car in Croatia to avoid drop-off fees.
Keep checking ALL of the airports, all open-jaw combos, for the next several months. I generally pull the trigger for May travel in winter. Croatia Airlines is great, but I would choose whichever gave me the most bang for my buck (i.e., not just cheapest but minimal layovers, etc.). I have used http://www.croatiatravel.com/ but it did not save majorly on the airfare.

Posted by
334 posts

Here's just some things to consider:

  • The prices that you see for next summer are prone to fluctuation because it is so far out. I'm tracking some potential itineraries for next summer on Google and I'll get alerts that the price has dropped by $400 and then a few days later, another alert that it has gone back up by $400. So, keep in mind that the numbers you're seeing right now will continue to fluctuate and bounce around for another few months.

  • The direction of your trip shouldn't matter unless you are in shoulder season. If in the summer, whether Milan -> Croatia or Croatia -> Milan won't make much of a difference.

  • Another way you could potentially save some money is by including a domestic flight within Croatia on Croatia Air. Those flights are short (Zagreb to Dubrovnik is under an hour), and cheap. For example, you could fly into Zagreb, spend a little time there, and then fly to Dubrovnik and work your way north along the coast and then over to Italy. Sometimes doing this can be cheaper than working out an itinerary where you fly from Dallas to Dubrovnik to start your trip.

Posted by
85 posts

Good thoughts. How do you get Google notices on flights? Is that something you can set up using Google Flights to send notices of specific routes?

Posted by
1078 posts

Last year we flew JFK to Milan on Emerites for $499 each RT in July. We met friends in Zagreb and flew back to Milan on Easyjet for about €120 each and then back to JFK.
Don't know where you are, however, check the website for terrific sales all through the year. Presently, we are doing Spain and Portugual with friends and flew BWI to BOS on SW, then connected to Norweigian for $770 each open jaw BOS-MAD, connecting in Gatwick, and returning Barcelona-BOS for the return. Hope this helps.