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Dalmatian Coast Itinerary

We are taking our 30 year anniversary trip in Slovenia / Croatia 9/1-9/16. First part of Itinerary as follows:

9/2 Zagreb to Jublajana (via train)
9/3-9/4 Lake Bled & Julian Alps (Rent Car)
9/5 Jublajan to Zagreb (via train)
9/6 Drive to Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plan on touring afternoon & staying near in case want to go back in the morning).

From there drive to Split. We want to spend the remaining week on the Dalmatian Coast & have more of a chill out beach vacation with some touring. With rest & relaxation in mind we were considering the following but would appreciate input:

  • Split two nights
  • Stay on one of the islands for two-three nights (i.e. Hvar, Vis, Korcula)
  • Dubrovnik the remaining nights & build in day trip to Montenegro.

Questions:
- Which is best location for beach / relaxation?
- Do you recommend dumping car in Split & taking Ferry to get to Dubrovnik?
- Thoughts on adding Zadar or Makarska in to the itinerary.

Any recommendations greatly appreciated

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We drove from Zagreb to Ljubljana the scenic route that Rick suggests. Then we headed to The Istria peninsula. What fun! We stayed in Rovinj and visited Pula.. after that we did Plitvace and Split. Next we did a car ferry to Korcula which was fun and laid back. Then we drove the peninsula back to Dubrovnik. Two nights were plenty for us in Dubrovnik. It seemed very congested. We drove to Montenegro, Mostar and Sarajevo as well. We had 21 nights to enjoy and it was not enough. We were very disappointed in plitvace. It was pretty, but the water level was lower than photos capture. Maybe we were spoiled by waterfalls in Iceland. We went there last September.