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Leave Dubrovnik out ?

Hi !
we are slowly planing our next summer (july 5 to august 1-2)trip. We are a family of 4 (2 kids of 7 and 11) and we are looking for a 24-28 days trip in the Dolomotise, Slovenia and Croatia.

It seems that renting a car in italy and taking it into Slovenia and Croatia it,s possile (but cost something like 7euro by day), but Bosnia or take the car into a ferry is not allowed. Thos facts would make a vitit to Dubrovnik very hard to do.

Also, it seems that Dubrovnik is a real zoo in summer time and that it's not easy with kids.

can we leave Dubrovnik out without missing our trip into Croatia completly ?

We are not that much beach type and it seems that it,s the main drag for Croatia, maybe we have done a bad trip choice ?

Thanks !

Posted by valadelphia
627 posts

There are ways to get around just about any transport conundrum, but it is no travesty to leave out Dubrovnik if you are satisfied with your itinerary. I am just guessing on the plan, but a week (or so) in the Dolomites, a week in Slovenia, and a week in northern Croatia sounds like a marvelous trip to me!
Give trip details if you need any advice, enjoy!

Posted by JS
Bay Area
3166 posts

Dubrovnik frankly is wonderful. Yes the summer is packed with cruise passengers etc but it is wonderful. Place to visit. Walk the walls is terrific etc. The evening hours are alot less crowded. For me it was a highlight of Croatia. We were on a guided tour with 3 nights there.

Posted by Paul-of-the-Frozen-North
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
1067 posts

One option would be to go to Split, and take the catamaran ferry to and from Dubrovnik. Your kids would enjoy it. Dubrovnik is cool. You could spend 1-2 days there. The ferry is not hugely expensive.

As to beaches, we do not go to the beach. We do other things in Croatia. There are many nice beaches if that is your interest - one in Cavtat (near Dubrovnik), one in Split. These are sandy beaches. Other places are pebble or rock.

As someone else noted, your itinerary would be helpful. Go ahead and post it.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10367 posts

I don't understand your car plans. Renting a car in Italy and dropping it in a different country will incur a very large international drop fee.

Posted by Lane
Seattle, WA, USA
1110 posts

A lot of folks here have talked about how Dubrovnik is one of the cities being ruined by overtourism. While it was crowded when I was there in May 2014, I didn't think it was so bad that I would recommend skipping it. I actually loved Dubrovnik. I found ways to avoid the worst of the crowds for part of the time at least -- the farther you get from the Stradun (the main street through the middle of the old town) the smaller the crowds. And walking the walls first thing in the morning was an absolute delight. I didn't pass or get passed by a single other person for 3/4 of the walk. I think your kids might get a kick out of some of the things Dubrovnik has to offer, but I also agree with valadelphia that you can skip it if you're happy with the rest of your itinerary. I think we all get too hung up on what we might miss when we travel that we forget to just be in the moment and love where we are.

You can also visit large portions of Croatia without stepping foot on a beach. I'm like you, not much of a beach person, and I loved Croatia, including Hvar and Korcula. There's plenty to see and do without being at the beach. On the other hand, it was not so hot in May as it will be in July when you're there, and cooling off in the water might be a welcome respite.

While a car is very helpful, especially with a family of 4, if you visit the islands you won't need the car, and ferries can get you wherever you want to go, including Dubrovnik.

If you need more specific help, it would be great if you can post your working itinerary.

Posted by jlschandler
513 posts

Agree with Lane's take on Dubrovnik. We were there last month mid September on our RS Adriatic Tour. That said, we stayed outside old town and did our tour early am before the crowds. By noon we hopped on the bus back towards our hotel. We headed to the beach area for just a quiet leisurely lunch to enjoy the scenery. Walked the lovely area in the afternoon. We loved Dubrovnik! We were happy to experience the history, the people, cuisine and beauty.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
3328 posts

Good advice above. I think you are mixing together some bad choices and misinformation (you also seem to be wildly jumping from a plan to visit one part of Europe to a completely different one - last week you were planning Scotland, no? Pick someplace!!!).

  • Yes, Dubrovnik is indeed very badly over-crowded and being loved-to-death. That just means you need to be smarter than the other 20,000 people squeezed into the old city every day (which is not difficult). Most of those people are off cruise ships. Avoid the old center during mid-day, get up super-early and enjoy the old city early and late - this is the same strategy you need to use at anyplace in Europe which is being loved to death. Don't skip Dubrovnik, just be smart about it.
  • Renting a car in Italy for this region is not smart (/understatement). Most companies will restruct where you can take their rental car - this is noting unique to this area. Rent a car in the country you're planning to drive it. You can get around limitations on ferry travel in rental cars, you just need to work a little harder.
  • If you don't want to go to the beach, don't go to the beach -- problem solved, no?

I think you are making this much more complicated than it needs to be...

Posted by bucephale OP
194 posts

Thanks for all those answers !

We are really thorn about Dubrovnik, the place seem so attractive but a bit of an hassle to get to.

About the car: it's our main problem. Our Initial plane was to fly to and from venice and get a rental car for the whole trip and car rental in Croatia seem to be much more expensive than in Italy. Also, having a car for each destination would mean to have three cars. Doesnt make sens for us.

Beaches: We wpould like a mix of beache and more relax places. I know we dont have to do only beaches if we don,t wanted to. But is there some nice quiet place in croatia that would fun for us and the kids ?

Posted by valadelphia
627 posts

There is no way we can help without knowing the specific locations you are planning on visiting--are the flights booked or still under consideration? (and do you have flight options scoped out?)
It's easy for me because I have seen it twice, but although Dubrovnik is unquestionably beautiful, there are several similarly beautiful Croatian towns. I would not sacrifice a well-planned itinerary to shoehorn it in. But if you can fly open-jaw, for example, then why not--but something on the northern end will have to be left out.
If we know where you are going, we can help!

Posted by bucephale OP
194 posts

Valadelphia: Thanks for the help, I need it and it,s appreciated !

Our plan is not definitive yet, no flight booked. From Montreal we have direct flight to Venice (and elsewhere in Europe) and one flight by week to and from Split with a layover in Toronto. There's also 2 flights per week to and from Zagreb with, once again, a layober in Toronto.

Our Initial plan was to fly to Venice (we love direct flights) for 2 nights (already been there last year) , rent a car and go in the Dolomites for 3-4 nights. from there.
- Trieste (2 nights)
- Ljunljana
- Lake Bled
- Julian alps
- elsewhere in Slovenia for a total of 6-7 nights in Slovenia.
- Istria (3-4 nights)
-Pitlivice
that would leave us with 7-10 nights for elsewhere in Croatia.

Our initial plan was to get the car back into Venice but Dubrovnik- venice is a very long drive that would make us pass through the same places twice.

Posted by valadelphia
627 posts

Our plan is not definitive yet, no flight booked. From Montreal we
have direct flight to Venice (and elsewhere in Europe) and one flight
by week to and from Split with a layover in Toronto. There's also 2
flights per week to and from Zagreb with, once again, a layober in
Toronto. Our Initial plan was to fly to Venice (we love direct
flights) for 2 nights (already been there last year) , rent a car and
go in the Dolomites for 3-4 nights. from there.
- Trieste (2 nights)
- Ljunljana
- Lake Bled
- Julian alps
- elsewhere in Slovenia for a total of 6-7 nights in Slovenia.
- Istria (3-4 nights)
-Pitlivice that would leave us with 7-10 nights for elsewhere in Croatia. Our initial plan was to get the car back into Venice but
Dubrovnik- venice is a very long drive that would make us pass through
the same places twice.

Quite the conundrum! Just throwing some darts here for some things that could be investigated:
I am not as familiar with the Dolomites--might that part be done with public transport? Then you could go to Ljubljana from Trieste and rent a car there, then drop the car and take a train to Zagreb to start your Croatia portion.
Another option might be to rent a car in Italy, use it in Slovenia, but then drop it in Venice and take a ferry to Istria--would be a big loop, but maybe too much backtracking.
If you stick to the north, you could see the northern islands (Cres and Losinj were impressive to me, I have not been to Krk but it has a pretty Venetian town) and fly home from Zagreb.
Just keep plugging, it will eventually come into focus.

Posted by bucephale OP
194 posts

There's many options (maybe too many !)

Despite those ideas there still a major question mark...what to do about the car ?
Option 1) Venice to Venice. It,s the least expensive rental option, but that would mean to drop Dubrovnik and to get through the same places twice . t also mean to habve a car where we dont need it (Ljbljana, Split and maybe Zagreb)

Option 2) Venice-Split (or Zagreb) and a car for Dolomites part, and another for the Croatia/Slovenia part. It's a costly option since car rental In croatia or Slovenai is much more expensive than Italia. Still ahve to know where to take the car and where to drop it.

Posted by Paul-of-the-Frozen-North
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
1067 posts

Almost all suggestions about cars involve dropping in the same country as renting. Cross-border drop fees can be quite high. If you wish to do this, ask at a rental office before making plans - I have heard $300+ in fees. This is a lot of money in my mind.

As I suggested, it is very easy to consider Split-Dubrovnik-Split on the ferry. You get a relaxing 4 hour ferry ride each way, your kids can run around without a problem on the boat, and you don't have parking problems, as you have parked it in Split.

Posted by bucephale OP
194 posts

Thnaks for those ideas. Ferry is not a bad idea except the fact that i'm usually prone to motion (and sea) sickness ! Split to Dubrovnik would mean to leave the car in Split for 2-3 days before going to Dubrovnik....is it something we can do ?

Posted by Paul-of-the-Frozen-North
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
1067 posts

When we were on the ferry, in 2015, it was as steady as a rock. The day was calm, with little wind. I have no idea what it would be like on a windy day, so won't promise that it would be nice. But it departed with little motion, there was no rocking or wave motion.

It would be fun for your kids.