We are a retired couple in mid-sixties planning a trip to Croatia and Slovenia, with side trips to Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina in September 2019. I am planning for about 3 weeks and don’t have definite dates yet (will depend on flights). I’ve spent a lot of time reading incredibly helpful posts from Rick Steves’ Forum readers.
I want to rent a car and think I have come up with a possible itinerary to avoid switching cars or dropping it off in a different country. I still have lots of questions about the practicality of parking a car in many places. We are primarily interested in sightseeing and history – not beaches or night life. On this kind of road trip we would rather see more and not stay very long in one place (we spent 6 weeks driving around the UK and Ireland, and 3 weeks driving around New Zealand in the last two years). We stayed in Airbnb on both trips.
Here is a basic itinerary and I would really appreciate reactions and suggestions. I know this is a very ambitious pace, but we have done this type of pace before. Is it doable in 3+ weeks - I’m estimating up to 24 nights (# in parentheses)? What would you cut back on if we need to scale back?
(1) Starting in Zagreb (because it sounds like it is an easier airport to get flights to than Ljubljana and we could pick up a rental car in Croatia) - spending enough time to deal with jetlag before we drive to Ljubljana.
(2) A day in Ljubljana
(1) Drive to Bled and spend a day in the area
(1) Drive through Julian Alps and then head toward Istria, rather than back to Bled. Not sure where we would stay that night – could we make it through the Julian Alps and all the way to Rovinj in one day? Is it worth a stop in Trieste if we couldn’t spend much time there? Is there any problem driving over the Italian border?
(3) A couple of days in Istria (1 day in Rovinj and 1 day in hill towns). Not sure whether we’ll go to Pula – people don’t sound too impressed – I’ve seen a lot of Roman ruins other places, although I’d like to see the amphitheater.
(1) Drive to Plitvice – arrive to see some of it in the late afternoon, stay overnight and do more walking first thing in the morning before heading toward Split.
(1) A good place to stop on the way to Split? Sibenik, Krk NP, Zadar? None of those are must-dos on my list, but if we needed an overnight stop, any suggestions – or should one of those be a must-do?
(3) I don’t want to spend much time in Split (2 or 3 nights depending on what time of day we arrive) – a day to do the palace, and maybe a day boat trip to Trogir. Where would make the most sense to stay given that we’ll need to park a car?
(2) I think Korcula will be our only island – do you think we are missing a lot by just doing that one island? Does it make sense to take the car to Korcula? I’d like to see the Peljesac Peninsula. We could take the car ferry to Vela Luka from Split and then take the ferry over to Orebic and drive down the Peljesac, or drive down the coast and drive up the Peljesac Peninsula, visit Korcula via Orebic ferry and drive back down the peninsula. What would be the best way to visit Korcula since we’ll have a car? Will we be able to find a place to stay in Korcula for 2 nights in mid-September?
(1) Then head for Montenegro before Dubrovnik – I don’t know where we would stay for a night (Cavtat?). Do a day trip around Bay of Kotor and head back to Dubrovnik.
(3) Drop off rental car and stay in the old city for 2 or 3 nights. Primarily interested in seeing the Old City.
(1) Take a bus to Mostar – one night there if it works with transportation schedules.
(2) Take the train to Sarajevo and see the city.
(2) Fly to Zagreb. Spend a day in Zagreb before leaving.
Thanks for your help!