we are planning a trip to croatia in april-may 2018. we are thinking of 10 - 12 days total. would like to see Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split (?), Plitvice. I was in Yugoslavia in 1972 and absolutely loved it (Split, Dubrovnik and coast road to Greece) and have not been back since. I'd love any help with planning a trip (where to fly in and out etc) and itinerary. We are not tied strictly to the above places although in Zagreb we will have a free place to stay. Any well thought out advice is welcome and any info about the islands or even a possible side trip to Italy (within this time frame) will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
The tourist season ie open resorts, flights, more regular ferries and catamarans etc doesn't really start until the second week of May, which hopefully ties into the better weather. The cities and Plitvice will be busier prior to this date - the first 2/3 weeks of April are school holidays.
Do you have 10 or 12 days on the ground in Croatia or does this include a day each end getting to/from there?
Fly open jaw into Dubrovnik and out of Zagreb. I would suggest 3 days in Dubrovnik, assuming that your first day maybe compromised with jetlag. Dubrovnik to Split is c 6 hours door to door via bus or catamaran, so most of a day. See krilo.hr for catamaran timetables. Split itself merits at least a full day, as does nearby Trogir. That's 6 days accounted for so far.....
Visit Plitvice en route to Zagreb. Ideally stay the night before close to the park so that you can get in before the crowds. There is enough in Zagreb to keep you occupied for at least a couple of days. That's 9 days accounted for to date.
If you have 12 days, you have time to visit say Korcula between Dubrovnik and Split. A side trip to Italy is more difficult to accomplish unless you rent a car and drive it back to Zagreb, as communications between the two are not that straight forward.
You are going to struggle more to fit everything in with only a 10 day timetable.
thank you so much...this is a good starting point for us
I'd probably rent a car. Fly open jaw into Dubrovnik out of Zagreb or vice versa - may not greatly matter which order you go, so if flights work a lot better in one direction than the other I'd go with that. You can also do a round trip to/from Zagreb if that works better and book your own direct flight between Zagreb and Dubrovnik same day if that works a lot better. Croatia Airlines usually has affordable, frequent one-way flights.
You don't want a car in Dubrovnik most likely - rent it as you leave or drop it when you arrive. Maybe you won't need one in Zagreb either assuming you have a place to stay and maybe someone with transportation. The car will mostly be useful getting between Split, Plitvice, and Zagreb. Driving is easy.
I'll bet these places have changed a lot since 1972!
I wouldn't even try to visit Italy with this short amount of time. There are plenty of worth places to add between Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb if you have more time. Islands are probably pretty dead in April-early May. Many people would do a side trip to Mostar, Bosnia on the way between Dubrovnik and Split. Some like to stop going north in Zadar, but I'd recommend a few hour stop in Sibenik, a lovely town north of Split. There's another nice national park near SIbenik called Krka. I'm not saying you should try to cram ALL of these things into the time you have - more that you might consider adding one of them depending on your interests if you wanted to.
thanks.....i'm pretty sure we'll drop the Italy side trip and try to add another day or two on the ground.....thanks again