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Desperately Need Final Itinerary Advice

I would appreciate any insight those who have experienced Croatia can give! First part of itinerary is set. Fly into Budapest September 8th, stay 4 nights. Private transfer to Zagreb, pick up rental car and drive to Ljubljiana, stay 2 nights. Leaving Slovenia, we travel south for a one night R and R (non-refundable) stay in Opatija. Drive the next day to Plitvice, visit the National Park in late afternoon. Hopefully that will be enough time. Stay overnight at Plitvice Miric Inn. Next day drive south to Split to return car. THIS IS WHERE I NEED HELP. We need to make our way to Dubrovnik on September 18th, so we have 2 nights to fill. And I'm trying to avoid a 5 or 6 hour transport at any one time.

It is about a 4 hour drive from Plitvice to Split, I believe. Stay in Split for both nights and do a full day boat trip to see some islands? Or take a ferry from Split to Korcula and stay two nights in Korcula? That will break up the longish ferry ride from Split to Dubrovnik. Ferries seem to leave Split for Korcula at 3:30 pm or 10:00 am. Driving from Plitvice, could we realistically make the 3:30 ferry?

We are two couples in our 60s and we live in South Florida. We are interested in food, culture and just experiencing the people and atmosphere of different places. We won't be lounging on the beach or partying into the wee hours. We do, however, want to do a boat trip, either from Split or Korcula. Any advice would be so appreciated!

Posted by
3112 posts

A few thoughts:

A late afternoon visit to Plitvice might be a little rushed, but you'll at least be able to see the lower part with the wooden walkways and numerous small waterfalls.

Yes, you can realistically make the 3:30pm catamaran to Korcula provided you don't wait until late morning to depart Plitvice.

Going all the way from Plitvice to Korcula violates your desire to avoid 5-6 hours of travel. Boat excursion options from Korcula are likely limited, with a lot more options from Split.

Split is a pleasant place to spend 2 nights, and buses (nice comfortable Pullman coaches) get you from Split to Dubrovnik faster than the catamarans. They also depart much more frequently.

Posted by
4073 posts

I don’t understand why you are back tracking so much at the beginning of your trip. Budapest to Zagreb then back up to Ljubljiana then down to Opatija and then to Plitvice. Have you seen how this looks on a map because it is a lot of unnecessary traveling and lots of time wasted going over the very congested Slovenia/Croatia border. Skip Ljubljiana this trip. For two nights, not worth it. Too bad you’ve committed to Opatija as I don’t think it’s very special and it isn’t really logical. If I were you, I’d go from Budapest to Zagreb to Plitvice. If you insist on keeping these stops, then go Budapest to Ljubljiana to Opatija to Zagreb to Plitvice.

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you Frank and Emily. I appreciate the help! The reason we were going from Budapest to Zagreb was to rent a car in Croatia to avoid the fees to drop off a car in a different country. We like the flexibility of having a car. I do think staying in Split for two nights is the way to go, and maybe do a boat trip from Split. Hadn't thought of taking a bus to Dubrovnik. Thanks for that suggestion.

Posted by
13 posts

Not sure hoe this would impact your itinerary, but if you are going to only spend half a day, I would do it first thing in the morning when you wake up. We just got back and we did a two day ticket. Visited in the evening (lower lakes) and then first thing the next morning (upper lakes). It was still annoyingly busy in the evening, but first thing int he morning we had it to ourselves for a good 30 minutes.

We drove from Plitvice to Split and it is an amazing drive! I think you may want to stay in Split to give yourself a more leisurely drive.

Posted by
1418 posts

Stay in Split, there is plenty to see and do. You can do a boat trip from there or take a bus to Trogir for a pleasant afternoon. You can then bus or boat to Dubrovnik. In Dubrovnik they have a very pleasant dinner cruise on a replica ship which sails out of their port, not Gruz. It is a nice buffet and the scenery is beautiful. We had a very nice, relaxing evening.

Posted by
35 posts

Great suggestions, thank you. I think we will do the two day ticket at Plitvice, then take a leisurely drive to Split and stay two nights. Thank you for the boat trip idea!