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Croatia Itinerary May 2019

We are a couple in our early 60's traveling with our 24 year old daughter.
We plan to visit Greece for 7 days prior to traveling to Croatia from May 11 to May 18, 2019.
We enjoy visiting the highlights of an area, walking cities, towns, and villages. We like to explore scenic areas, low impact hiking and biking. We do not need beach time, multiple museum visits, or a bar/partying environment. We enjoy viewing and experiencing the uniqueness of an area, its people, food, and culture.

Our tentative itinerary is the following (an additional day may be added) but no transportation is booked yet:

5/11 Fly from Athens to Dubrovnik Overnight: Dubrovnik
Aegean Airlines arrives 3:25pm
or Croatia Airlines arrives 8:15pm

5/12 Explore Dubrovnik Overnight: Dubrovnik
5/13 Dubrovnik; Krilo catamaran to Korcula (4:30pm-6:20pm) Overnight: Korcula
5/14 Explore Korcula Overnight: Korcula
5/15 Korcula; Krilo catamaran to Split (6:20pm-8:45pm) Overnight: Split
5/16 Explore Split Overnight: Split
5/17 Day trip to Hvar Overnight: Split
5/18 Fly back to San Francisco
Questions:

  1. Any recommendations on modifying the itinerary? other side trips? Is it possible to fit in an overnight stay to see Plitvice Lakes by eliminating Hvar. Did not plan to rent a car, but would do so if add Plitvice Lakes visit.
  2. Limited boat service impacts the time of departure/arrival between locations. Is it correct that the only available boat service on these May dates for travel between Dubrovnik, Korcula, and Split is the Krilo catamarans. What is the possibility that they will be cancelled? How do we continue our travels if there is a cancellation? bus?
  3. I usually like to avoid 1 night stays when possible. However, would it be better to have one night stays at Korcula and Hvar as an alternative plan?
  4. When should airfare from Athens to Dubrovnik be purchased?
  5. When should Krilo tickets be purchased?

Thank you for your comments,suggestions, and recommendations.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3217 posts

If you want to do an overnight in Plitvice, rent a car in Split and drop it in Zagreb/fly out of there. Stop in Plitvice on the way up. You're really going to want to get into the park when it opens by 7am to avoid the crowds. You COULD do this as a long day stop (don't spend the night in Plitvice) to squeeze in one more night, if you don't mind more crowds. You can see Plitvice in 5-7 hours - doesn't really take that long to see the highlights. Depends what kind of flight you can get out of Zagreb vs. say Split.

There is also at least one outfit (never used them) that does transfers from Split to Zagreb and vice versa (google them) - they keep your bags. So you could use that to avoid renting a car. Zagreb is closer to Plitvice than Split, the reason you might want to end in Zagreb instead of Split.

An alternative to Plitvice is Krka National Park which is closer to Split. Some people actually prefer Krka to Plitvice...but not me. Krka is still nice, though. There's a magnificent cascading waterfall (dwarfing any single one waterfall at Plitvice) called Skradinski Buk - the park highlight, the only thing most tourists see in the park I am guessing. You can take a boat trip from the town of Skradin up to the falls and back.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3217 posts

There is bus service between Dubrovnik and Korcula (takes a short ferry from Orebic to Korcula Town) - I took it a few years ago in October when the catamaran wasn't yet an option. I took the catamaran up to Split from Korcula Town - bought my tickets the day before without issue. Not sure about these days, but May probably isn't high season in Korcula, so I suspect you'll be fine buying them last minute. There were storms that October when I visited. My catamaran to Split went on schedule the day I traveled but was canceled the day after due to storms. I'm not sure how easily you could get up to Split (probably via the ferry back to Orebic and then up by land to Split) by public transportation. I'm sure there's a roundabout way, how ever inconvenient. At worst you spend another night in Korcula and go the next day to Split and lose a night there. Things happen.

Posted by Lee OP
San Francisco, Ca
7 posts

Thank you Andrew for the information. I will consider Krka N.P. as an alternative to Plitvice Lakes, possibly as a day trip from Split.
Flying out of Zagreb was a good suggestion to consider. However, the preference to keep the last days of our trip relaxed and less complicated may keep our base in Split till our flight back home.

Posted by Jennifer
Tunbridge Wells
2315 posts
  1. Instead of Hvar on your final day, you could consider going to Trogir, a stunning place. Unless you want to rush, you should consider covering Dubrovnik-Korcula-Split OR Dubrovnik-Split-Plitvice. Ideally Plitvice needs the night before there and it’s easier with a car.

  2. Dubrovnik to Korcula is just the daily catamaran, although there are also buses as has already been stated. Korcula to Split is the same daily catamaran or you can sail from Vela Luke on Korcula to Split (1 ferry a day). I was there early September a couple of years ago and the catamaran was cancelled for two consecutive days due to high winds and therefore lumpy seas. The ferries run in almost all seas, but not catamarans.

  3. Even off season, many places have a three night minimum booking, so personally, I would stick to your original plan.

  4. If you know what dates you are travelling, then purchase airfares now. Prices are only likely to rise.

  5. At that time of year, Krilo tickets can be bought online just a few days before travel. I doubt they are available much before March/April when the timetable is confirmed.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3217 posts

I've never had an issue with three night minimum bookings in Croatia. If you can book a place for one or two nights using Booking.com, nothing to worry about. Easy to check.