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Itinerary for Croatia

We are flying via Hong Kong stopover, from New Zealand, to Amsterdam early on morning of 3 June. Unfortunately we have to wait until lunchtime until the only direct flight to Split, arriving mid afternoon. We will be exhausted, total of 26 hours flying by then. Were originally going to leave Split out and go to Dubrovnik but theres' no direct flight that day. (we are in mid 60's.) We were only staying 1 night but think well have to stay 2 and then go to Hvar, either 3-4 nights and do day trips, then Korcula for 2 or 3 nights. Don't know if that is round the right way or not, its just that Korcula seems smaller, and small trips also from there. Any suggestions on what islnds to visit, I saw someone said Vis is nice so will try to get there. Then onto Dubrovnik for 3 nights or do we need that long? Unfortunately we have no more time, so wont be going inland. Then we are flying to Prague, although the local airlines haven't got good reviews, for 3 or possibly 4 nights, if we don't go to Krakow or Salzburg .The problem is both places don't seem quick or easy to get to from Prague and we haven't got much time cause we have to be in Budapest by late afternooon/early evening of 19th. We are staying there until evening of 22nd, which is effectively 4 nights.
maybe we have to leave Salzburg or Krakow out altogetther?

Would really appreciate some help with length of time and days etc in Croatia, we know we are missing out going inland and seeing more, but are going with the islands option instead.

Also any help with the Prague/Krakow or Salzburg options, before Budapest would be greatly appreciated.
In hindsight more time would have been great but .we are already taking all the time we can and can reasonably afford to!

We are then meeting friends and going on a short cruise, more relaxing I hope, before flying home.

Posted by James E.
USA
8167 posts

You are pretty much all over the map. But sure, why not. I can only offer a few comments.

Dubrovnik: Loved the beauty of the place, but the crowds were unbearable. Would never regret the two nights we stayed there. With two nights, stay within the walls, PM me if you are interested and I will dig up the name of the 8 room hotel we stayed in. Pretty nice actually and being able to walk the streets at night after the tourist left made all the difference in the world. We moved on from Dubrovnik by getting a guide and driving down to Podgorica where we got a flight to Budapest. Budapest is a Wizzair hub so it presents all sorts of options.

Podgorica isn't good for anything but the airport, but the Bay of Kotor and the towns along the way are beautiful, tourism is light and the prices in Montenegro are somewhat lower than Croatia. Montenegro was so impressive that we spent a week there the next trip.

Your four nights in Budapest really amounts to 2.5 days which is about half the time the city deserves in my opinion.

Ryanair flies Prague to Krakow a few days a week if you can make that work. Otherwise its 6.5 hours on the train with a change someplace (pretty certain). I havent flown Ryanair, but it doesnt have a great reputation.
Krakow, most days of the week there are direct flights from Krakow to Budapest.

Okay, sorry, just a lot of bits and pieces.....

Posted by James E.
USA
8167 posts

The problem is Dubrovnik. I use Google Flights to find options. This link is Dubrovnik to Europe, non-stop and under $300. You can see there isnt much. Do the same search but change it to Podgorica and ideas appear. https://www.google.com/flights/#flt=DBV.r/m/02j9z.2018-11-22;c:USD;e:1;s:0;ls:1w;p:30000.2.USD;sd:1;t:e;tt:o

Or look at one stop from Dubrovnik to Prague and spend a day or two someplace new. LOT for instance flies from Dubrovnik to Warsaw to Prague. Warsaw would be an interesting night or two. I believe you can get from Podgorica to Prague through Belgrade and Belgrade is very interesting.

I also noticed that there were some pretty cheap flights from Prague to Kyiv. I love Kyiv, and then there are cheap flights every day to Budapest out of Kyiv.

Dubrovnik is your tough one.

Posted by Jennifer
Tunbridge Wells
2315 posts

You are going to need a holiday after this marathon slog!

You are going to be weary when you arrive in Split, so have 3 nights here and explore the city and nearby Trogir. Ideally have another night here and take a day trip to Plitvice, one of Croatia’s gems. It’s better staying a night at the park, but after such a long journey to get there, I would try to minimise the number of one night stops.

Take the ferry to Stari Grad on Hvar or Korcula and have 3 - 4 nights here to relax. Vis is too far for such a short visit.

Take the catamaran to Dubrovnik and have 2 nights here.

Alternatively, look at flying into Zagreb, staying the night, then taking the train to Split.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10367 posts

For a trip in June I would absolutely not plan a day-trip to Plitvice. You really need to spend the night in or near the park and get inside right at opening time. It's a wonderful place, but not so much when the walkways are as crowded as the Vatican Museums.

Posted by Digbydog
Cincinnati
71 posts

I’m not sure I would go to 3 islands and leave Split out. Diocletian’s Palace is very unusual. Vis was our favorite place in Croatia, but most accommodations require that you stay for 3 nights. Also, there is a catamaran between Vis and Hvar only one day a week. Otherwise you need to go back to Split to get between the two.

Posted by Raewyn OP
Cambridge, Waikato, New Zealand
56 posts

Thanks everyone for your advice. We had already decided we'd have to rule Plitvice out, due to lack of time unfortunately ,but are interested in the amount of time people are suggesting to stay in Split, Dubrovnik and the islands. it looks like we'll have to stay 2 nights in Split because of our long flights and tiredness. We hadn't realized Vis was so far away. Do have people have preferences as to whether Korcula or Hvar (staying in Stari Grad) is best, we have no idea and thought we could possibly stay 3 nights on each if that is the requirement. Is 2 nights in Dubrovnik enough or should we add an extra night? I've heard its lovely as long as the cruise ships aren't there? do they go every day in early June, maybe not?

Posted by James E.
USA
8167 posts

With regards to Dubrovnik. BEAUTIFUL. We were there in May and the place was packed to the point that walking was difficult. BUT, as the night progressed I guess they returned to the ship and things began to get really good. Since we stayed inside the walls everything was right outside our door and we could easily enjoy the evenings. Still, two nights was about right since we didnt plan any side trips, etc.

For Prague, well, its no more crowded than Dubrovnik. I like the Ventana Hotel located behind the Church of Our Lady before Týn at one of the entrances to Old Town. Far enough to be quiet, close enough to be able to see and enjoy.

I always plan our trips to end in Budapest, after towns like Dubrovnik and Prague its nice to be a lot more laid back and walk without bumping into people.

Posted by Raewyn OP
Cambridge, Waikato, New Zealand
56 posts

Thanks again everyone for your suggestions.

We have finally come up with an itinerary which could be changed still a little.
Split for 2 nights to recover
Hvar. ( probably staying at Star Grad) 3 nights and an island visit, perhaps Brac unless there are other ideas
Korcula 3 nights perhaps a visit to islands
Dubrovnik 3 nights or is that too much - boats are there for 2 of 3 days one til 9pm I see so a visit to the nearby islands on one day. Then fly to
Prague 4 nights. Fly to
Budapest 4 nights.

Would really appreciate any suggestions on this. We don’t want to be moving all the time now we are older!

Thanks again, the help everyone gives is so helpful.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
3328 posts

First - the cruise ship predictions are not always 100% accurate, so don't be shocked if there are ships there each day. That said, I'd target the one day when there (probably) won't be a ship in port, make that your day in Dubrovnik. One full day was enough for me. On another of your days when you're sleeping there, rent a car and do a day trip to Kotor (check there for cruise ships, too).