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Help with Travel itinerary for Croatia

I need a little help with a 7 day travel itinerary, the end of May. I couldn't find anything in the recent forums that would help me.
We are a group of 4 fit 70 year olds. I have come up with this itinerary and would like any thoughts that anyone may have:
2 days in Dubrovnik
Ferry to Korcula ( not sure whether to stay there a day or night)
Ferry to Hvar ( again not sure whether to stay there a day or two)
Ferry to Split (stay there at least 1 night)
Private driver for a day to Plitvice Lakes
Back to Dubrovnik for flight out
I know this is alot of overnights and was wondering any thoughts on just staying in Split and doing day tours?

Also is Korcula possible for a day and then continue to Split?
Two of us will be going to Zagreb to continue to Slovenia, while 2 will return to Dubrovnik, via Split for a return flight.
I'm thinking that it would be better for the 2 that are going to Zagreb to stay overnight near Plitvice and then go to Zagreb.

Any help would be great and I would appreciate it.
Thanks
Cindy

Posted by
4535 posts

As special as Plitvice is, I just don't think I would try to fit it into such a short trip when having to return to Dubrovnik--it would work for the ones flying out of Zagreb if you don't mind splitting up.
Krka is much closer, and there is also a waterfall in Bosnia called Kravica that might work.

For the island stopover, choose between Korcula and Hvar and stay on either for two nights. See schedules on the Krilo website for catamarans, but note you can also get to Korcula form Dubrovnik by bus. Or, you could have a private driver take you to Kravica and drop you in Orebic and take the ferry over to Korcula.

Posted by
626 posts

Hi Cindy,
I won't respond with direct answers, coz its been too long since our last visit. But, Rick Steves' right-hand man has just published a memoir called *The Temporary European. Cameron Hewitt is the travel writer in question and he takes readers across Europe, going beyond his original area of specialty, Eastern Europe. His description of the 'mixed blessing' of tourism is as good as it gets, in this case using Dubrovnik plus Split as his examples.

You'd def get some useful info from his Croatian discussions.
Good luck.
I am done. The end.

Posted by
5687 posts

Hi Cindy. Is it just not possible for the two who are leaving early to fly out of Split or Zagreb instead of having to go back to Dubrovnik? Round-trip flights in Europe are not a requirement and are sometimes more expensive than "open jaw" flights e.g. fly into Dubrovnik out of Split. It all depends on the cities, dates, airlines, etc.

What might be easiest for you is to base in Dubrovnik and Split and just day trip from Split to the islands. Hvar is an easy day trip from Split, an hour by catamaran. Korcula Town would be easier for a stop overnight on the way north - a longer day trip from Split, maybe not worth it for you. The islands will probably be pretty quiet in May - I have been to them only in October when it was also pretty quiet on the other side of the season. They are still worth visiting, but expect things to be pretty quiet especially at night.

FYI, sometimes scheduling of the bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula is easier vs. ferry/catamaran schedules. While the catamaran sounds appealing, the scenery is often not great from inside (some catamarans have an outdoor deck, some don't). Personally, I would choose the transportation from Dubrovnik to Korcula Town by catamaran or bus based on convenience. The bus ride is pretty too actually.

Posted by
1675 posts

Do day trips from Split. We were in Hvar earlier in May, and it was nice, but my understanding is that, by the end of May, Hvar becomes party central, once universities in Europe let out. So, if you really, really want to stay on an island, skip Hvar and focus on Korcula. However, with 7 days, trying to stay on an island will really eat into your time.

I agree that Plitvice is out of the way if you need to go back to Dubrovnik. Either fly out of Zagreb or Split, or go to Krka instead.

We used Octopus transfers as our private driver to get from Split to Zadar, from Zadar to Plitvice, and from Plitvice to Zagreb, and they were punctual and pleasant each time (different driver each time). https://www.octopustransferscroatia.com

Posted by
8496 posts

I liked Korcula and can't imagine trying to do it as just a day trip. There are so many things to do there and so many interesting nearby islands by water taxi.

Posted by
6788 posts

We loved Korcula, spent one night there, and wished we had at least one or two more. We could not get out of Hvar fast enough.

I'd skip Hvar entirely, and give yourself at least a night and two days on Korcula. Korcula was one of the highlights of our trip to Croatia, give it more than just a day-trip.

Posted by
18498 posts

Maybe TexasTravelMom will chime in. She spent something like a lifetime there last year. I think she even learned to speak Targaryen.

Posted by
3930 posts

Before deciding on the islands, I would check the ferry schedules at croatiaferries.com. It will give you and idea about the departure times, duration of trip, and return times. We have done Korčula as a day trip by ferry from Orebić which is only 15 minutes, but getting to Orebić without a car would take too long. If the ferry timing is right, you could get the earliest ferry to Hvar, spend the day, then continue onto korčula for the night. If it helps, Korčula is similar to Dubrovnik’s old town. Instead of walking the wall around the city, you walk along a street adjacent to the water And it’s less crowded.
Your other option is to stay in Split and do a day trip to Hvar which is very easy. We like Split and have been there a few times. It’s history is very interesting. We always stay at the Hotel Peristil which is within the palace and a short walk to the ferry port. I can also recommend a tour guide, Pero Ugarković. His email is [email protected]. We have him give us a tour every time we are in Split.
Most of the cities on the coast are very small and can easily be seen in one day, such as Šibenik, Trogir, Zadar, Split, etc. if that is all the time you have, go for it. Luckily Croatia is not known for his museums or landmarks, more for its natural beauty so that is a plus. We are of the philosophy whatever you see is more then you you’ve seen and whatever you miss, you miss. Does that make sense?

Posted by
4283 posts

Just thoughts…. I am seeing 7nights.
2 nights Dubrovnik (one full day)
1 night Korcula
1 night Hvar
1 night Split
1 night Plitvice (or a second night Split)
1 night Dubrovnik before flight (for the couple returning)

I agree it is a fast trip through some of the highlights and a lot of changes. It sounds like you don’t plan on having a car for any portion of this week. So ferry or bus or private driver are your options.
If you decide you want the islands, then yes, ferry - so check schedules to see how long you would have.
Korcula is my favorite and would be my choice for an overnight with the time you have - but Hvar does make a fairly easy day trip from Split. I would not try to stay overnight at both.
And yes, having a driver would probably enable you to take a day for Plitvice - and show you a different side of Croatia that the returning couple would otherwise miss.

For Plitvice, these are logistical and economical questions. Could you all travel on to Zagreb after Plitvice (would depend on your driver)? Could the returning couple either fly home from Zagreb instead of Dubrovnik, as Andrew mentioned? Or could they travel on with you and then catch a flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik the day before their return flight home? Otherwise 2 of you would return to Split by driver and 2 by bus on to Zagreb? Or all to return to Split and then go your ways?

Any arrangement of nights before Plitvice just depends on your own choice (and ferry schedules). As Barbara said, the beauty of Croatia is its scenery, so fortunately the only bad choice is one that makes you too tired to enjoy it.

Posted by
27337 posts

Don't try to see Plitvice on a day trip from Split (or from Zagreb). The park is utterly swamped during day-tripping hours. It makes a huge difference. Spend the night before the park visit in or near the park so you can see it late in the afternoon and/or very early the next morning.

Posted by
169 posts

I’d spend at least a night or 2 on one of the islands.

In my trip report I have a detailed write up about my 3+ weeks in Croatia this past October/November.

Imo your best bet is to do a loop. Either from Dubrovnik or split, wherever you will initially fly into.

Somthing like Split - Hvar - Korcula - Dubrovnik- split

Of course if you want to fly back out of a different airport that’s a little easier but it will cost $$$ to drop the car off in a different location.

Imo Plitvice is not worth the trip, especially with a trip of your timeline. Frankly I wouldn’t even recommend pltvice if you had another 4-5 days. We drove directly from Split to Plitvice in our own rental car and it’s a fairly substantial drive (by European standards lol) as well, if your hiring a private driver I’m assuming either A) you’ll only be there for the day, which is going to be a VERY long day or B) you’re staying overnight. If you’re staying overnight you will need that private driver to take you to and from the park entrances because virtually anywhere you stay that isn’t along the main road which snakes through plitvice is a huge pain in the butt to get to a park entrance.

If you’re set on seeing some waterfalls, while we didn’t go, Krka is much closer to split than Plitvice.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much for all of your great information, it was so helpful. I have decided on the following itinerary:
3 nights Dubrovnik (with a day trip to Montenegro)
1 night Korcula Town--Ferry from Orebic to Korcula (we will get there with a driver from Dubrovnik)
2 nights in Split--Ferry from Korcula to Split
Then we will split up as a group with 2 returning to Dubrovnik and flights, and 2 will train to Zagreb for 2 nights.
I am in contact with Octopus Tours and will use them for transportation

Just one quick question: Any recommendations for a day trip to Montenegro?

Again thank you for all of your help!
Cindy

Posted by
5687 posts

Cindy, just an FYI: I love trains, but the train I took (just recently in October) from Split to Zagreb was awful!! Surely the worst train trip of my life. The train was only two cars, and the seats were small and cramped, even the 1st class seats which as far as I could tell were exactly the same as the 2nd class seats. The train was pretty full. I got stuck next to a rather large person so spent more than half other journey standing between cars or sitting on the floor there. I also got sick (never happened to me on a train before) and that didn't help.

It is pretty scenic in spots, true. But this is a rare case where I would urge you to TAKE THE BUS! It's shorter too, and it's likely going to be mostly freeway so shouldn't be a bad ride.

You could even fly from Split to Zagreb, though it wouldn't save you a lot of time. Domestic flights on Croatia Airlines are not that expensive.

Posted by
18498 posts

`

Just one quick question: Any recommendations for a day trip to
Montenegro?

I enjoyed my trips to Montenegro much more than my trips to Croatia. Having said that, a day trip won't really do the trick as whoever ever you use will just drag you to Kotor and back. Do an overnight or use the time elsewhere. Just my humble opinion having been to Croatia twice and Montenegro four times.

Posted by
1652 posts

We hired a private driver to drive us around the Bay of Kotor. We stopped in Budva, Kotor, and Perast. This was one of our favorite days of our trip. Because the guide is Croatian, he couldn't take us into the villages/cities so we walked around on our own with a guidebook. That worked for us. Our guide was very knowledgeable and gave us the history about Montenegro and sightseeing recommendations while driving.

First I contacted Julija Antunovic who received excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. She was not available but she recommended her colleague, Stepjan, who was excellent. He is smart, warm and friendly, and we had an awesome day with him. This was in 2019. You could start by contacting Julija. I don't have her email address but I found it on TA.

While in Split, I recommend hiring Maya Benzon, recommend by Rick, for a private walking tour of Diocletian's Palace and Old Town. She grew up in Split and is very knowledgeable. She was worth every penny.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much for all of your help, it really was so helpful in planning this trip.

We are doing:
-- 3 days in Dubrovnik, with a day trip to Montenegro
--1 night in Korcula
--2 nights in Split
--2 nights in Zagreb
We are using drivers and ferries to get around the country. My questions is:
We are taking a ferry from Orebic to Korcula and Korcula to Split. Is there a better ferry company? I remember reading that there was but cannot find anything about it.
Again thanks for all your help
Cindy

Posted by
4535 posts

I believe catamaran operators Jadrolinija and Krilo are the providers on those routes. You can go direct from Dubrovnik without the stop at Orebic, unless you are driving there for some reason.

Posted by
5687 posts

Of course, you have to stop for the ferry at Orebic if you are driving (or taking the bus). There is only one company operating that short ferry run I think. You could take the catamaran from Dubrovnik. It was not an option for me years ago - not running at the time (October). I had to take the bus.

I would take whichever catamaran from Korcula Town to Split that has the best schedule.

Posted by
19 posts

My wife and I are another pair of 70+ year olds who will be making a similar trip in September. We'll be taking the (Krilo?) catamaran from Dubrovnik to Korcula and then the Catamaran from Korcula to Split. I've already bought the tickets and noticed that the catamaran from Korcula to Split doesn't get in until 8pm. If you accidentally book one of the earlier Jadrolinija ferries, you'll have to take a taxi to the other end of the island, since they don't come into Korcula town.