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Itinerary without a car

Planning late May trip to hopefully avoid crowds but still nice weather. We will not have a car and will use ferries, bus and a private driver.

Arrive Dubrovnik bus use Cavtat as a base. Four nights there to include a day trip to Montenegro or Bosnia, Dubrovnik of course, and the other time to explore and decide at the time.
Driver to take us by way of wineries to Orebic to get ferry for Korcula. Three nights there to relax and explore.
Ferry to Split for three nights with side trips to Trogir, Solana
Bus trip from Split to Plitvice Lakes Where we would stay over one night.
Morning visit to the lakes and late bus to Zagreb for the night. 1 night there and to airport next day.

Any advice would be welcome. We do like to have some down time between excursions to just “ live” in the area as we rent apartments in walkable locations.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
7066 posts

I'm not clear on whether you're limited to the total number of nights mentioned in your post. If not, I'd add at least one extra night, if not two, in Zagreb. It has a very, very attractive old town with an active café culture, plus lots of interesting museums. It has a different look from coastal Croatia. I'm not suggesting that you reduce the length of your stays in the other locations, because I agree that it is nice to settle in for a few days.

Posted by robyn OP
bayville, NJ, United States
26 posts

Thank you. I have actually considered more time in Zagreb. Nothing is finalized yet so I will do some more reading on it . I appreciate your input.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
1505 posts

acraven and others like Zagreb a lot more than I did. Personally, I did not find the town very charming, and I was done with the sights in half a day. The trick for you, robyn, is figuring out whether you'll be one of the people who really like Zagreb or one of the ones who doesn't. Always hard to parse people's feedback and try to guess how it applies your preferences and travel style...

If you're headed from Split to Zagreb by bus, with a stop in Plitvice, I'd consider staying over in one of the park hotels - they are overpriced but extremely convenient to the bus. Otherwise, find a soba (B&B) that will pick you up/drop you off at the park and to/from the bus stops - there are such places. Another possibility is taking a tour that pick you up in Split, stops in the park for a few hours, and drops you in Zagreb at the end of the day. You can see Plitvice easily in 5-6 hours and get the gist. The downside of doing it this way is that you'd be in the park at peak period when it is the most crowded. I visited Plitvice mid-May a couple of years ago; it wasn't mobbed but still not empty mid-day. Just understand that the park will have plenty of people in it unless you get in when it opens at 7AM - easy to do if you are staying at one of the park hotels.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
7066 posts

Seeing Plitvice at its best would be a priority for me. I'd try not to do it on a day-trip, though I acknowledge that it mightn't be as crowded in May 2018 as it was for me in late August 2015. (Then again, it's certainly not getting less popular from year to year.) I suspect that visiting the park midweek might help a bit; a lot of my fellow visitors seemed to be Croatian, though there was no way to tell how many of them were mid-day visitors.

As for Zagreb, you can Google for photos as a starting point. The historic area is on two levels, the lower part being livelier and the upper part being quieter and having more museums, including a pocket-sized but really excellent museum of naïve art and the quirky but surprisingly fun Museum of Broken Relationships. The museums in the historic area are mostly rather small, specialized places. The larger museums are located sort of between the lower level of the historic district and the train station.

Outside the historic district and the "downtown" area with the big museums, Zagreb is a sprawling city of not much architectural distinction, based on what I saw. But I only cared about the part of the city of tourist interest.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
1505 posts

I enjoyed the small Croatian Museum of Naïve Art in Zagreb as well - small museum, very interesting works. The relationships museums had not yet opened when I visited.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
710 posts

Chalk me and my wife up as Zagreb fans. I too recommend an additional day at least. The Croatian naive art museum is a real winner. In addition, the whole "naive art" thing is taking off - there is now a small (if 4 rooms is small) art store with all that style near the cathedral. We've been 3 times to Zagreb, and it is better each time. We stayed on Ilica Street, 1 KM from the big square, and found a wonderful flea market on Saturday morning with lots of stuff and all at flea market prices. Lots of good and inexpensive restaurants - but the restaurant culture is growing up. We were there in early June, and sat in a downtown outdoor bar to watch a futbol match with hundreds of others. Fun. We have not gotten to the main cemetary, which we have heard good things about. There is another good museum. PM me if you would like my contact for my sobe owner in Zagreb. Croatia is such a great country!

Posted by Frank
Wilmington, DE
1894 posts

I too like Zagreb. The pedestrian area in the center is a lot of fun and Zagreb has some of the best pizza outside of Italy. There are some great pizzerias on the streets behind Josipa Jelacica Square (towards the old town).

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
710 posts

We used buses in Croatia in May to go several places. Flixbus is inexpensive, and the buses are nicely appointed. There was a bathroom on the bus sometimes, but they would stop every 2 hours. Most drivers smoke, and they need a smoke break. We did it all on-line - including ticketing onto our smart phones.

Posted by Nigel
Northamptonshire, England
17662 posts

but they would stop every 2 hours. Most drivers smoke, and they need a smoke break.

Actually they have to obey the driver hours law.