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First time trip to south of Europe, Italy or Croatia?

Hi. We're working on a trip to Europe for next May. We haven't been to Italy although it's definitely on my bucket list. I'm a lover of coastlines, so Croatia and the coastlines of Italy and Montenegro particularly appeal to me as part of our trip. We will be coming from Prague or Vienna after a week in Czech Republic. I had decided on Croatia, because of its beauty and also its off the beaten path status. But after reading Ricks book ion Croatia, I'm rethinking that and wondering if for our first time in that region o ft he world, if Italy wouldn't be a better choice. were not exactly luxury travelers, but we do like our creature comforts. Will Croatia be a delight or a shock?

Posted by
4700 posts

Croatia may not be as touristy as Italy but isn't really "off the beaten path" anymore. Parts of it are extremely touristy, especially Dubrovnik which gets mobs of cruise ship tourists now.

I'm not sure what impression you have of traveling in Croatia, but you can get the same "creature comforts" you can get in Italy or Czech Republic. There are fewer conventional hotels, perhaps, than in western Europe, but there are plenty of nice places to stay. You wouldn't exactly have to rough it in any major town. Enough people speak English in the tourist industry to get by. It is true that you can't get around by train in many parts of Croatia like you can in Italy or Czech Republic, but the buses work pretty well. You can also rent a car - driving there is pretty easy. Croatia's tourist industry is well developed.

I suggest you watch Rick's videos on Croatia on YouTube and see how much these places appeal to you. I've been to Croatia twice and wind it wonderful.

Only you can decide what you really want to see on this trip.

Posted by
6746 posts

were not exactly luxury travelers, but we do like our creature comforts

I think you need to be more specific here...what exactly did you read in Steve's book and what comforts are you seeking? Generally speaking, Croatia is less intense and developed than Italy (and has much less residents), which I found to be the draw. People are also less "volatile" (no offense intended to Italians) and demonstrative but really nice. Everything was very calm and laid back - not as many blockbuster attractions as far art and museums go, but beautiful nature and coastline. You can find simple accommodations to the very upscale - there is a wide range, especially in touristy spots like Hvar and Dubrovnik. I don't think anything will be shocking except perhaps remnants of the Balkan wars of the 90s in many places (you'll see signs about land mines and see damage done to buildings from shellings). There is a somber history in Croatia, but it is well balanced by the beauty of the place.

Posted by
12550 posts

I like hotels that are more than a place to sleep. Hotels that add to the character of the trip. Nice, very nice hotels. I just finished booking most of a September trip US to Dubrovnik to Kotor to Budva to Podgorica to Belgrade to Budapest to US. No shortage of wonderful hotels.

Oh, unless you have a deep burning desire to see Prague, Budapest fits the route much better. Check Air Serbia for cheap flights.

Posted by
567 posts

Having been to Italy several times and twice to Croatia (three after this September), your decision might be a little tough. If you want to do any Italian coastal areas, I suggest you stick to the western part of the country (ie Amalfi and the Cinque Terra area). For Croatia, you'll want to stick to the Dalmatia coast. In my opinion Italy has much more charm and food. It's also a bit more crowded and you have to decide if you want to deal with that. However, since you'll be going in May it shouldn't be too bad. Also, Italy might be slightly more expensive. But that depends on where you stay. As far as Croatia, the waters are definitely more beautiful. However, there aren't really any sandy beaches if that's what you want. Well, the same goes for Italy, but Italy's beaches are not covered in rocks like in Croatia. It's a tough call. Italy is more charming for sure and is easier to navigate via public transportation. Croatia simply has great beaches more easily reached by buses or rental car.

Posted by
9832 posts

Just back to Rome after a week in Croatia. It depends on what you want to do. To me Croatia was good for beaches, sailing and long car tours, none of which are our favourite things to do . The food was great, though, and the waters are clear . Italy offers better transportation, more must see sites, great walking, intense art and history to explore.