My husband and I will be traveling to Croatia in mid September and spending 10 nights. We planned to start in Dubrovnik and end up on the Istrian Peninsula. We will rent a car. I am finding that it is very difficult to find decent flights out of Pula. I guess I'm wondering if heading all the way to the Istra area is something we should plan. I wanted to stay in Rovinj for 2 nights and explore the small hill towns. Plus my husband wants to visit Plitvice Lakes which are up that way also.
Flights from Pula are limited, but by reviewing flight departures from the airport, you can identify ones that might work for you. Check Croatia Air and Ryanair schedules. The Istrian Penninsula is a delightful area...make the trip happen.
It's about a 3 hour drive from Rovinj to Zagreb, so it might be worth considering flights out of there instead of Pula.
Rovinj and Istria are lovely, but there are many other stunning places to see in Croatia, and with 10 nights I don't think it's necessarily obligatory to get there on this trip. You might also consider spending a night in Mostar.
I also support the idea of leaving from Zagreb. Even with the drive to Zagreb, you'll make up for it by having a flight at a better time/price. If you do drive to Zagreb, you could go directly there in about 3 hours (from Rovinj) or you could drive the long way up into Slovenia and back down into Croatia in about 3.5 hours or so.
I think that Plitvice is just 2 hours from Zagreb. If so, it might make sense to visit there last. You could then fly out of Zagreb. Croatia Air has flights to Frankfurt; and from there, there are many direct flights to the U.S. There are probably lots of othere options, too.
Thanks for all the great information. I do think it will be easier to fly out of Zagreb and not worry about all the connections from Pula. That still leaves our options open as to whether we visit istra or not.