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Going to Croatia for 2 weeks in October

We will be staying 5 nights in Dubrovnik , 3 nites in Split, and 5 nites in Zagreb. Any recommendations that do not require a lot of walking? Sites, attractions and best transportation from Dibrovnik to Split and Split yo Zagreb. Stopping in Frankfurt for 2 days on way over from LA

Thank you

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2651 posts

Some people really love Zagreb, but five nights there seems like a lot. Same for Dubrovnik, but there are more obvious day trip possibilities from Dubrovnik, at least. How did you pick this number of nights in each city? I generally do it the other way around: figure out what interests me in each place, then base the number of nights on that.

From Dubrovnik, you could day trip to Montenegro, to towns like Mostar and Trebinje in Bosnia, to islands - what interests you? Dubrovnik gets extremely busy with cruise ship tourists during the day, so it can be unpleasant in the daytime (great time for day trips!) but much nicer at night.

From Zagreb: assuming you don't stop at Plitvice Lakes National Park on the way from Split, that would be my top day trip (though I would prefer to spend a night at the park to enter it early in the morning, to avoid the big tour group crowds that invade Plitvice by mid-morning - maybe not as bad in October). You could day trip to Slovenia - Ljubljana is an easy trip by train or bus, though personally I'd prefer a night or two there.

There are direct buses between Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb. There's also a direct train between Split and Zagreb. Take your pick. Renting a car and driving is pretty easy and affordable, too. You don't need a car just to get from place to place, but if you wish to stop along the way - and there are some very worthy stops - having a car gives you a whole lot more flexibility.

Posted by Lane
Seattle, WA, USA
976 posts

I haven't been to Zagreb, but here's what I would say about Dubrovnik and Split: neither of them warrants as many days as you have allotted. Five days, in fact, would be a generous amount of time to spend in any European city, with the possible exception of places like London, Paris, or Rome, so I suspect it's more than you should be spending in Zagreb too.

And if you want places that don't require a lot of walking, Dubrovnik and Split don't qualify. Both of them have car-free zones that are where the main sites are that you'll want to see.

You could make use of five nights in Dubrovnik if you plan some day trips. Mostar and Kotor are the most popular. You could also take the bus or boat to Cavtat for part of a day. But once you get to these places, there's going to be a lot of walking. There's just not really any way to avoid it.

From Split you could take a day trip to Trogir, and you could also head to Hvar. Only thing is in October ferry schedules will be greatly reduced.

From Zagreb you could take a day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park. But that's also a lot of walking.

I'm sorry I'm not being a lot of help. It's just that it's really hard to imagine how you will fill your time in these places if walking is limited.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2651 posts

Oh, right - I'd probably take Plitvice Lakes off the list if you don't want to do much walking. Dubrovnik is a city built on the side of the hill with steep steps going up the "streets" in the old town. It's not a big old town, but it does require some walking to explore properly.

I guess if you wanted to chill and relax, I might look for a cozy beach somewhere, maybe an island like Korcula, though by October the season is kind of ending so the islands really slow down - at least they did back when I visited Korcula in October 2009. Maybe with increased tourism they are busier now.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
8770 posts

I like Zagreb a lot, but five days would be good only for a serious museum junkie. The historic district is bi-level. There's a funicular, but I believe there are steps at the top of it.

Zadar is pretty and flat, but I think the historic area is mostly pedestrianized.

Definitely skip Plitvice. Not only is a day-trip there a bad idea because of excessive crowding on the walkways during day-trip hours, but you can't really appreciate the park without walking a lot.

Edited to add:

Monday, October 8, is Croatian Independence Day. Check websites of any museums you might plan to visit that day to see whether they'll be open. That holiday fell on a Thursday and was turned into part of a 4-day weekend when I visited Zagreb in 2015. I remember that the following Sunday was exceptionally quiet in the city and not too many restaurants were open in the evening. However, it was pouring buckets that day, which may have had something to do with it.