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Need help planning an itinerary before we board a Croatia cruise from Split to Dubrovnic

My husband and I will be joining friends on a 7 day Croatia cruise from Split to Dubrovnik. We have 7-10 days before hand to explore the area and were thinking about Prague, Budapest and Montenegro before the cruise. I think we would prefer a tour of some sort because we don't speak the language, but any input would be appreciated as we embark on planning this trip for 2022.

Thanks in advance for insight you may have :)


Posted by
1984 posts

In my experience, English was more commonly spoken in Croatia, Prague, and Budapest than in Spain and Italy, and that was several years ago. Montenegro was a toss-up. I don't think you need to worry about language at all in planning. But, do you want to hop around for the week or ? If it is 7 days, Prague and Budapest would be nice. If you make it ten, you can fly to Montenegro (or Dubrovnik, which is close) , and drive around in Montenegro a few days before the cruise.
I would consider also flying into Zagreb and exploring the northern part of Croatia before the cruise.

Posted by
6697 posts

No one expects tourists in Croatia to speak Croatian; same with Hungary and Czech Republic. I would use that time to explore northern Croatia at a leisurely pace instead of trying to see limited cities in 2 other countries (unless you don't mind hopping around and factoring in extra travel time between these disparate places). I would see Montenegro after your cruise since it's closest to Dubrovnik and won't require backtracking. Another possibility would be to combine Croatia with Bosnia (Mostar and/ or Sarajevo) since they are geographically closer together. But my choice would still be to maximize time in one country - Croatia has plenty to see and a very long coastline.

Posted by
4834 posts

Before we reached Croatia (not for a cruise, though), we flew in to Venice, then made our way through northeastern Italy and Slovenia. Then Zagreb, before reaching Split and the coast. We stayed in Solin, just outside Split, if you’re looking for your last couple nights before the cruise.

Your original thoughts would be great, but are you looking for a tour company that offers that? Sorry that I can’t suggest any tour options.

Posted by
12319 posts

The Balkans are my favorite after Budapest.

If you like glorious cities, then Budapest is the answer but I don't believe there are direct flights from Croatia (didn't use to be but check); if not, then there are direct flights from Podgorica and that gives you and excuse to visit my favorite country in the Balkans.

I have combined Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina (fascinating) and Budapest in one trip or Budapest and one or two of those on several trips (mostly Wizzair for under $100 a leg).

I will be back in the Balkans in about 30 days; love it that much.

PM if you are interested in any details, as it would be too much to post here (i know tour guides in the region that can plan it all and take you along).

Posted by
2019 posts

We, 6 adults, are booked on a 7 day cruise from Dubrovnik to Opatija this September 25. I have roughed out a 3 week plan as follows. One week pre-cruise in Dubrovnik with day trips to Kotor, mljet, and an overnight to Medjugorje with stop in Mostar on the trip back. Deciding on a separate day trip to Mostar. Post-cruise, 4 days in Opatija/Rijeka with day trips to Pula and Rovinj, then 3 days in Zagreb.
That is my itinerary but we’ve been to Croatia before and need to see some family/friends too. If you decide to just visit Croatia you could fly into Zagreb, a nice small city, visit Plitvice lakes staying one night, and along the coast there is Zadar and Rab to name a few places to visit. Also near Split there is Trogir, and Krka National Park. There are so many places to visit you won’t have trouble filling your days. Get Rick’s guidebook or look at for info. Don’t worry about the language, most people speak English, some older people may not. A side note, if you go with your plan, in 2014 we were in Budapest and couldn’t find a flight to Zagreb and ended up taking the bus. There might be a flight now, I haven’t checked. BTW, which cruise line are you using, we are going on Katarina Line.

Posted by
113 posts

While I love all the places mentioned in your itinerary, I don’t think it’s the most efficient use of your time considering the geography. I agree with everyone else that there is plenty to see and do In Croatia to fill your time. If you fly into Zagreb, there are many Northern cities and attractions worth visiting before heading to Split. Like listed above you can check out Zagreb, Zadar, Plitvice Lakes, Sibenik (Krka National Park), just to name a few.

If you want to visit Montenegro, I would visit after your tour since it is very close to Dubrovnik. I believe Kotor is only a two hour drive from Dubrovnik and you may be able to find a tour group doing a day trip to Montenegro from Dubrovnik to make your logistics easier. Also echoing what everyone says that most people in these tourist areas speak English so a guided isn’t necessary for getting around.

Might I also suggest Slovenia if you’re looking to explore outside of Croatia? I think you will endure less crowds than Budapest and Prague and encounter some gorgeous scenery. Ljubljana is an underrated city that has easy bus and train connections to Zagreb. There is also beautiful Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj and Triglav National Park. Or the charming old town of Radovljica. Lots to see and do in Slovenia and I think this country often gets overlooked.