We are a group of 4 60+ fairly experienced travelers looking at an approximately 2 week visit to Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast in early May 2020. Our only consistent requirement is that we only like to relocate no more than 3 times. We also like to sleep in the smaller Mom and Pop type “hotels” Rick commonly recommends. Probably looking at open jaw international travel to give opportunity to see more of the country and experience. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
You had me in a panic for you, might want to change your title. :) Croatia FOR 2 weeks.
My two cents, having spent a week there.
Dubrovnik is a madhouse within the walls. Stay outside the wall. Best restaurants are outside the walls. We were two couples and had an apartment and walked or took taxis within the city. Left the car parked and used it for daytrips only. In retrospect, we wish we had not rented a car and had used a private driver for day trips. Dubrovnik Riviera Tours is terrific and could have taken us to Montenegro and Mostar, for example. LMK if you want some restaurant recommendations. Quality was amazing and prices were low. The wine is excellent!
Split deserved more time than we gave it. We ended up with one night there after arrival and one night before departure. Would that we had time to base there 3 consecutive nights. Heard too late that Troger would have been a good stop.
Islands. We chose Korčula and were happy we did, but only for 2 nights. Had a private tour with a service recommended in Rick’s book and that was insightful. From there, Dubrovnik Riviera Tours picked us up at Orebić and we spent a day with them touring the Pelješac Peninsula wine region. Glorious day! The driver then dropped us in Dubrovnik where we rented the unnecessary car.
We did not make it further north with only 8 nights.
I like the suggestions above. In Dubrovnik, I stayed outside the Pile Gate and thought that was a great location - short walk and less hectic. I used a bus day tour to Montenegro and thought it was quite good, but a private tour might be a good value for a group of 4. There are also some good bus day tours to Mostar should you decide on that option.
With 2 weeks you could venture further north than Split, but it would mean skipping one of the stops mentioned above since you want only 3 base destinations. One good alternative to consider would be Istria, in which case I would highly recommend renting a car when you leave Split (whether staying or passing through). You might stop to visit Plitvice, although it can be very busy midday. Breaking your 3-stop guideline and staying 1 night would be better. No matter what you decide, in early May I would fly into your southern most destination and out of your northern most.
I would have 5-7 nights in Istria, with somewhere such as Rovinj as a base, then head to Split, from where you could also visit nearby Trogir and a day trip to Omis or Makarska. Then head to Korcula for at least 3 nights.
Just got back from a two week trip also in May. The weather was pleasant: jeans and a t shirt were fine. But we had a decent amount of rain so pack accordingly.
Split was a wonderful city to start in. There’s lots to do in that city and it’s a great launching point for many great day trips. We went to Krka National Park for a day on a guided tour and had the best time. https://www.croatia-dream.com/tour-item/unique-krka/ You could day trip on a tour to Plivice from Split but it’s quite a long trip at over 3 hours. We rented a car and spent two nights in Slunj (near Plivice) to give us an entire day for Plivice. Trust me, it is well worth the time and effort. I truly felt like I connected with the country on that part of the trip.
We did go to Hvar for three nights, but looking back I would maybe have tried Korčula instead. I’m not interested in the party scene. But Hvar would be a fun day trip from Split as the ferry ride is only 1 hour 40 minutes or so (if I remember correctly). It’s still a gorgeous island and the fortress and town itself are fun to explore.
Dubrovnik was a dream!! I felt like we could have spent 5-7 days there and wouldn’t have been bored! We stayed within the walls near Buža gate. We stayed at Villa Ragusa, the sobe in Rick’s video. It was absolutely the best. You’re within the walls but it’s tucked away down a cute alley that is quiet and away from the crowds on Stradun. Dubrovnik has so much to offer. You could spend a whole day wandering Old Town and looking in the shops or walking the city walls. We did a day wine tasting in Plejesač which is a must do. We did the tour with D’Vino wine bar, just inquire directly from their website. We also did a cooking class/food experience which was magical. https://www.dubrovnikfoodstory.com/tour/pickcookeat The Elephite Islands looked amazing too. Plus there are so many other fun day trips available to Mostar and Montenegro. We wished we had time for those but only had three days.
You mentioned wanting to do mom and pop style hotels and I couldn’t agree more. We did all AirBnB’s and had the best experience. Just browse around on the site and you will find many great spots. Our hosts were outstanding and lavished us with wine, grappa, fruit, and many other treats. I felt like a queen!
You will have the best time. Croatia is a beautiful and magical place. I wish you the best travels :)
We were in Croatia otherwise know as Hrvaška for 3 weeks a few years ago. It would be awfully difficult to pick just three places to stay. Plitvice Lakes National Park is awesome but I wouldn't stay there more than 1 night since there isn't much else around there (at least that I could see). First off, to help with names of towns in Croatia the "j" typical have roughly an "i" or "y" sound. I would start out staying in Opatija (O pot i ya) for 3 or 4 nights. It's gorgeous and central. If you rent a car you can easily visit a number of places like Rovinj (Rovine), Pula, and even places in Slovenia like Lake Bled, caves of Postojna (Po stoin ia) and Ljubljana (Lu bli yana). Then I would head south and stay in Korcula (Kor chu la) for 3-5 nights. From there you can take the ferry to visit other islands if you want, like Hvar and Brac (Brach) or take the ferry all the way to Diocletian's Palace in Split or Trogir (pronounce Tro-gee). After that even though its really touristy I would go to Dubrovnik. The best thing about staying overnight in Dubrovnik is that you can avoid some of the crowds from the cruise ships by going to the town at night or early in the morning and you can easily visit places like Mostar, Bosnia and Kotor, Montenegro. Don't worry about the language because most Croatians are fluent in English and a number of other languages because their economy is very tied to tourism. Also, unlike many European countries they have good roads that are very wide. Regardless what you decide you will love the place. My wife and I have traveled many places and Croatia is still at the top of my list. We have this rule that we never go to the same place twice but I know we will break that rule with Croatia.
When picking a place in Dubrovnik for 60+ travelers, the big question is "How are your knees?" We stayed in a charming sobe in 2014 at the very top of the hillside, and literally, there were 460 steps to the Strada (main street). At that time, we had no problem. This year, my knee was bunged (I am 67) and my wife's ankle is bothering her (she is 70). So check that when making reservations.
What a great thread. I’m looking at 10 days in Croatia next June and these suggestions are excellent. Thank you.