Hello, thank you so much for your detailed responses to date, it truly is helpful! We've tweaked our itinerary somewhat and have added 2 days for a total of 8. These are my thoughts on a loose itinerary. All suggestions welcomed! Fly in to Dubrovnik - stay 2 days then travel to Korkula on day 3 via ferry, explore, overnight stay then on to Split where we will home base and day trip Hvar, Krka National Park and Plitvice Lakes where we will overnight then travel to Zagreb on day 8 overnight, then train to Budapest on day 9. Thoughts? Many thanks
If you will be taking a passenger-only catamaran between Korcula and Split, it may stop in Hvar anyway, and it may leave Korcula early in the morning. (Mine did years ago - but that was off season, plus there may be more catamarans per day now.) But you could take advantage of that perhaps and just stop in Hvar on the way to Split for half the day and leave your bags somewhere. Not sure what the catamaran schedules might be or if that would work out, but if so, it would avoid backtracking from Split.
Same idea: I wouldn't day trip all the way to Plitvice from Split and back, then basically pass by it anyway on the way to Zagreb. Are you driving or planning to take buses or guided tours to these places?
Yeah, agree with Andrew that PL is an easy stop on the way to Zagreb from Split. However, it's important to know that getting there early in the day is a good idea. You might consider traveling to PL, staying overnight, doing the park 8:30-12:00, and then traveling on to Zagreb. This should be do-able by car (rental) or by bus.
Yes, there is a huge difference in the Plitvice experience if you stay nearby the previous night and get into the park at opening time. I did the late-morning-arrival bit in 2015, and believe me, you do not want to do it that way.