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Croatia in December

Hi

I need help and advice in regards to my itinerary so that i could start to book for the accommodation and transport.
We are a group of 7pax, two families with three sons (age 20 - 23), and will be our first time to visit Croatia from 18/12-30/12. We can only travel in December and are quite used to travel in Europe around this period and trying to land ourselves in some places where activities still can be done on Christmas and the day after such as visiting the Lake Bled or Postoja cave.

We do not mind missing the swimming, ferrying around island etc like what others do during summer in Croatia. We like visiting the old town, unesco site, historical sites, eat, etc.

Our tentatively itinerary:

18/12 - lon/ Dubrovnik
19-20 - Dubrovnik
21/12 - Split
22/12 - Trogir/Split
23/12 - Split/Plitivice Lake
24/12 - Rovinji
25/12 - Ljubljana
26/12 - Postojna cave
27/12 - lake bled
28/12 - Zagreb
29/12 - Zagreb
30/12 - Zagreb/Lon
31/12 - Lon/Sin

Advice needed:

1) Is 2 nights is Split too much or enough or too little?
2) From Split,
should we go to Plitvice Lake thereafter to Rovinji or from Split go direct to Rovinji and go to Plitivice lake as a day trip when we reached Zagreb?

3) Rovinji- based on my above itinerary, is it worth making a trip there? Should i drop it totally?

4) From Rovinji, should I go directly to Ljubljana or I should go to Postojna Cave first then to Ljubljana?

Please feel free to give suggestions on areas to cut and extend if any, I sincerely appreciate it.

Thank you.

Posted by
21067 posts

Will you be renting a car? I'm not sure about the availability of public buses between Rovinj and Plitvice Lakes or the Postojna Caves in December. I'd be extremely surprised if there are any tourist day-trips running from Istria at that time of year.

I took the bus from Ljubljana to Rovinj last August, but December? I just don't know.

If you end up eliminaging Rovinj and are interested in another Croatian stop, Zadar is very nice.

Posted by
470 posts

Given the difficult public transport links to Rovinj in December, consider going from Plitvice straight to Ljubljana via Zagreb and then substitute your visit to Rovinj with a day trip to Piran from Ljubljana instead. It's similar to Rovinj and will be easier to reach by public transport.

If you'll be renting a car for the trip, Rovinj becomes a realistic opion. However, consider that you will likely encounter snow in late December. The roads are generally cleared quite quickly but there is a possibility you will encounter snowy conditions. Make sure the car provided in Dubrovnik or Split is equipped with proper winter tyres - they are not necessary on the coast, but are a legal requirement in Slovenia and northern and interior parts of Croatia and are essential for safe driving in winter.

Posted by
351 posts

We spent two nights in Split and could have spent one more. We did a bike tour on one of the days with Red Adventures, and afterwards got ice cream and visited the archeology museum. The first evening we visited the basements under Diocletian's palace which, while not full of things, retain the floorplan of the original palace and you can see areas not yet excavated that are fully of practically fossilized trash from years and year. I thought it was interesting. We didn't get out to Trogir, but it was highly recommended to us. We also had some nice meals. I would say 2 nights is a minimum there. We drove from Rovinj to Plitvice then to Split. You could do the reverse.

We loved Rovinj, but I would check out what is open over the holidays. It feels very much like a summer place to visit. One of our favorite meals was sitting outside on the rocks, which might not be possible in Dec.

We also loved Ljubljana and stayed 2 nights, which was not too long for us. Again we did a bike tour and we hiked up to the castle and had great meals.

We only spent an afternoon at Lake Bled en route to Kobarid, but it would be worth staying over if things to do are available over the holidays.

Dubrovnik, definitely at least two nights. I don't know Zagreb, but I might take a night from there to slow down the pace in the middle of the trip with an extra night in Ljubljana.

Also, you can rent a car at the coast, return it to Rijeka and take the train to Ljubljana if you wish. You can rent a car in Ljubljana to drive to Lake Bled, return it and take the train to Zagreb. That might give you the recommended snow tires. We used Oryx renting in Rijeka and returning to Dubrovnik and they were great - you could do that in reverse.

Posted by
2 posts

Dear All

Thank you for responding to my post.

Initially, we have decided to take public transport. We are hesitating about renting a car is because firstly, we are unfamiliar with the car company, secondly the road condition in winter, thirdly, I read that Split is a old town and we could not drive in and lastly,we need to cross boarder to Ljubljana .

However, after my search for bus on the 24th December, I notice that there is no bus for me to connect to Ljubljana if we are to take a bus from Plitvice Lake to Zagreb on 24th December and we will be stuck in Zagreb till 27/12, which we prefer to be in Ljubljana around this time so we could do lake bled and Postojna cave when the shops are closed.

My new itinerary looks like this if I drop Rovinji
18/12 - lon/ Dubrovnik
19-20 - Dubrovnik
21/12 - Split
22/12 - Trogir/Split
23/12 - Split/Plitivice Lake
24/12 - Pltivive Lake/Ljubljana
25/12 - lake bled/Ljubljana
26/12 - Postojna cave/Ljubljana
27/12 - Ljubljana/Zagreb
28/12 - Zagreb
29/12 - Zagreb
30/12 - Zagreb/Lon
31/12 - Lon/Sin

I am now thinking should I only pick up a car from Split all to the way to end of my trip on 28/12 at Zagreb? Or I should also pick the car for one day from Dubrovnik to Split on 22/12?

All advice and suggestions are most welcomed.

Thank you very much.

Posted by
470 posts

I'd spend the evening of the 27th in Ljubljana and depart for Zagreb in the morning, it's an easy 90 minute drive and it's better to do it in daytime. Since you're skipping Rovinj, consider combining Piran with the day trip to the caves to experience some of Istria during your stay. You can easily visit both in one day, they're quite close to each other.

I wouldn't worry about driving in Split, it's a much bigger city than just the historical centre. But then again, as you noted correctly, you don't really need a car from Dubrovnik to Split, as there are good bus connections between the two cities. My suggestion regarding this is really simple: if you're not apprehensive about the drive (possible jetlag, etc.), opt for whatever is cheaper. If renting a car for the extra day (plus fuel and parking in Split) comes out cheaper than the 7 bus tickets, go for it, otherwise don't.

There are no special rules regarding the border crossing itself, just let the company know the car will be taken to Slovenia. Note that you will have to buy a toll sticker (vignette) before venturing on Slovenia's motorways - a 7-day sticker costs €15/€30 depending on the size of the vehicle, you can buy it at petrol stations on the way to or at the border itself. Apply it to the top left corner of the windscreen and make sure to have it on before driving on the motorways. If you don't have one, you're liable to be fined immediately.

Posted by
1 posts

You have chosen a great time of year to visit. I have been going to Croatia since 2010 and the later fall early winter months can be very rewarding. Most places are open until the 6/7th of January 'Little Christmas".
From Dubrovnik you can rent a car at the airport and drop it off in Zagreb, which is a delightful city. There will be, of course, a drop off charge but that cost will be offset by the total flexibility you will have. The best hire car place is the Puegeot dealership at the Dubrovnik airport. The guy there is great. His email is: Mihajlo Kolic kamen_mali@yahoo.com I have never used anyone else and have never been disappointed. He will also arrange the papers for you to travel to Montenegro, and other areas. If you are driving north you need to go through the Bosnian border which is straightforward but the car must have it's own papers. Plitivice is beautiful but so is Kirka. The Istrian Penninsula is pretty make sure you take in Pula.

If you need more information feel free to email me. I can send that to you base on your response.

Elizabeth