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Croatia in July

Hello, I need some advice if this itinerary sound reasonable or too much? We are planning a trip to Croatia for July.

We fly to Budapest July 7, 3 nights there, then train to Zagreb on July 10. Pick up a rental car on the 11th, then drive to Plitvice park, see what we can that day, overnight then maybe more park in the morning.

Drive to Split (via Zadar maybe?) Looking at Maps and Distance calculator, I know it will take longer in real life than what the mileage is. 2 nights in Split, July 12 and 13.

At this point, we can either drive South to Dubrovnik or take a car ferry to Korcula or Hvar, 1 night or 2 nights, then on to Dubrovnik, fly back to Seattle on July 18.

It seems like it might be too ambitious. We’d like some time to relax also. Is 2 nights in Dubrovnik enough, if we do 2 on an island? Thanks for any advice. We have lodging already in Budapest, Plitvice and Split.

Posted by
16826 posts

I have no experience driving in Europe, so my reaction to nearly everyone's driving itineraries is, "You're moving too fast." I realize my perspective is skewed, and my appreciate for Zagreb is not shared by everyone who has visited that city. Let's see what others think.

I will address the issue of the possible stop-over in Zadar, though. Rome2Rio indicates that a stop in Zadar would add about 35 minutes to the travel time between Plitvice and Split (probably even less if you'd want to take the coastal route anyway). I'm fond of Zadar. The historic district is all pedestrian, so it will take a bit of time to park the car and walk in. I'd say that stop isn't worth it unless you have an absolute minimum of 2 hours (and I don't mean 2 hours including a meal), and that's very borderline. Three hours would be much, much better, and the city really deserves longer than that.

Edited to add: You might take a look at one of the cruise-tracking websites to see what will be docking in Dubrovnik during the last 4 days of your trip. If there's a big variation in the number of cruise passengers due to be in port, that might influence the timing of your Dubrovnik/island plans. Once you're on one of the islands, your car will allow you to escape the hordes if you want to, but in Dubrovnik, it will probably be harder to find your own space.

Posted by
3986 posts

Sorry, this itinerary is far too rushed for peak season. Two nights somewhere is only one day there. Most people take 2 weeks to cover this ground.

Zadar deserves a full day. You don't need a car in Split, but you need 2 days to see Split plus another for Trogir. Taking a car out to the islands is expensive and limiting as there aren't many route options. The main problem you will find is that most decent accommodation on the islands has a 3/4 night minimum booking (plus many of the best places will be booked by now). Dubrovnik needs 2 full days minimum plus whatever side trips you want to do.

If you already have accommodation booked as far as Split, you don't have many options. I would add a night to Split then go to Dubrovnik. Ensure your car hire permits you to take the car into Bosnia.